When many people think of Disneyland, they think of rides, meeting characters, fireworks, and parades. There is actually so much more to do, and I don’t mean eat and shop! Attractions await all across the park that you may not know exist! Some of these lesser-known experiences are my favorite things in the park!
- Tiki Room
- Tarzan’s Treehouse
- Storytelling at Royal Theatre
- Bippity Boppity Boutique
- Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
- Main Street Cinema
- Street Shows
- Animation Academy
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- Beast’s Library
- Hyperion Theatre
This show is more well known than most of the other items on this list, but I felt the need to mention it as many new Disney-goers skip it. This classic, animatronic show has been around since 1963 and embodies the fun and magic Disney is all about. I personally love this show and it makes me feel like a kid again! The song “Tiki Room” is arguably the second-most iconic song in the park (next to It’s a Small World), so be prepared to get it stuck in your head! You can find the Tiki Room at the entrance to Adventureland, right next to the Dole Whip stand.
Another Adventureland classic is Tarzan’s Treehouse. Previously called the “Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse”, this walk-through attraction was re-themed to “Tarzan’s Treehouse” in 1999. Many people notice this attraction at the entrance of Indiana Jones Adventure, but walk right by. There is never a line and it only takes a few minutes to walk through, so why not check it out? If you’re a fan of Tarzan, you will recognize the scenes set up around the treehouse. Kids will especially love the interactive elements at the end of the treehouse! I used to love that area myself, and as I’ve gotten older I love seeing how much fun kids have there.
Storytelling at Royal Theatre
The Royal Theatre hosts comedic retellings of various Disney Princess Stories. Even though my family has gone to Disneyland regularly my whole life, we only recently stopped to watch a show under this big, colorful tent. We thought it was going to be a small, silly show, and it was, but we really enjoyed it! If you have kids, they can sit up front and play along with the actors during the show. The 20-ish minute shows change occasionally, but you can typically count on performances of Beauty and the Beast and Tangled being performed throughout the day. You can find showtime for the day outside of the tent, which is located to the left of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
Bippity Boppity Boutique
The Bippity Boppity Boutique is a fun place for kids to be transformed into a princess or knight! When I was a kid, I did this myself and loved it! You can select from a variety of packages, all described here. In summary, their cheapest package for princesses is $75 which includes hairstyling, shimmering makeup, princess sash and cinch bag, face gems, and nail polish. The most expensive package for princesses is $450 which includes everything mentioned before plus a high-quality tiara and box, a signature Disney princess gown, and a garment bag with a satin hanger. There are options in-between these two as well. For a knight makeover there are only two options: $20 for hair gel, a sword, and a shield, or $80 for this plus a knight costume. This experience can get expensive, but it created great memories for myself and my family and I know if can for you too!
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
Walt Disney admired Abraham Lincoln, so in his honor Walt created Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. The animatronic Lincoln is extremely lifelike, especially considering it was created in 1964! This short show goes over Lincoln’s life and his accomplishments from Lincoln “himself”. My mom is a huge fan of Lincoln herself, so we make sure and visit every time we go to the park. If you are not a history buff, the lobby is still worth visiting. The scale-models of Disneyland and other Disney history artifacts are super interesting to me!
Main Street Cinema
This is another attraction people often walk right by. When you are walking down Main Street facing Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, you can find the Main Street Cinema on your right. Walk right in and you will find yourself surrounded by classing Mickey Mouse cartoons. Personally, this cinema makes me appreciate where Walt started and how far his dream has come. Stay as long as you like, and leave when you are ready.
Throughout the day you may run into random performances around Disneyland! Two noteworthy ones in Disneyland are the Dapper Dans and The Bootstrappers. On Main Street, you can find a crowd surrounding the barbershop quartet called the Dapper Dans. They walk around Main Street singing classic Disney songs and posing for pictures. Outside of Pirates of the Carribean you can find The Bootstrappers – a pirate group singing about classic pirate tales. As you might expect, they sing “A Pirate’s Life for Me” quite frequently! Both of these groups pop in and out of the park randomly, so if you see them, make sure to stop and listen!
This is one of several great attractions in the often overlooked Disney Animation Building. The lobby of this building is full of Disney movie magic, and each attraction inside is just as special! When you walk in the Animation Building, turn left and you will quickly see the Animation Academy. Inside you are given paper and a pencil, and follow along as a Disney animator shows you how to draw a classic Disney character! The classes occur every half hour and a different character is drawn in every show! The characters being drawn change every day, so ask the cast member at the queue for a list of that day’s characters. Typically, you can get in line right before a show starts and find a seat, no problem. However, if you are drawing someone super popular, you may want to get in line 20-30 minutes before that show starts. During my visit, Baby Groot was a popular character to draw so we got in line early to ensure we had a spot.
Turtle Talk with Crush
The Disney Animation Building is home to our next great attraction: Turtle Talk with Crush. This show is fun for the whole family! Enter the “human tank” where you and your kids can get a chance to talk to this beloved sea turtle. This interactive show is a lot of fun, even if you are not chosen to ask Crush a question! Last time I went to Turtle Talk, Crush gave my sister a nickname that stuck for the rest of our trip!
This room in the Disney Animation Building has been described as a “hidden gem” of the park. Walk all the way through Sorcerer’s Workshop and step into the Beast’s Library where you can open a magic book to find out which Disney character is most like you! This experience is a lot of fun for the whole family! If you stay in the library long enough, you’ll see some Disney magic take over the room. My family never goes to California Adventure without stopping by the Beast’s Library, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
This theatre is located in Hollywood Land, right next to Guardians of The Galaxy: Mission Breakout. 45-minute broadway-style musicals are performed here a few times a day. From 2003 to 2016 Aladdin was performed here, but it has been replaced with Frozen. If you want to experience this theatre yourself, make sure to pick the time you want to go and arrive early. Showtimes vary by day, so pick up a schedule on your way into the park.
Which of these often-skipped attractions is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!