View Full Version : 1 day at DisneyLAND- what to see/ do with a 5yo? General info?

05-17-2007, 01:55 PM
Can I hit enough good stuff in 1 day? I don't think we will do CA Adventure Land(?). I have only been to Disney World and ds has never been. I know we will hit Fantasy Land but beyond that I don't really know much about Disneyland.

He isn't really into characters but a character meal would probably be fun, right?

He *loves* rides and is pretty brave with rides. He gets scared by things though (I am worried that something like "Pirates of the Caribbean" may be too scary in his book).

His favorite Disney movie is "Cars."

How about restaurants worth hitting/ avoiding?

I have the Disneyland brochure but I am still in early stages of researching. Any advice, tips, recommendations would be appreciated. :)


05-20-2007, 10:13 AM
If you only have one day then you should skip Disney's Califiornia Adventure. It is a seperate park w/seperate admission price.

For planning, I recommend this site: http://www.wdwinfo.com/disneyland-california/ which has an overview of the entire park and there's a very active forum there too which you might find helpful.

The last time we were at DL my ds was 3 but here's a list of things he really enjoyed:
Alladin's Oasis (storytelling)
Jungle Cruise
Tarzan's Treehouse
This part also has Indiana Jones ride which a timid 5yr old might find frightening but it is a fun ride for the adventurous.

Critter Country:
Winnie the Pooh ride (a family fave)
Splash Mtn (has ridden at WDW but not DL-loves the WDW version)

All the rides should be OK for a 5yr old. Some kids find Snow White's adventure to be a little dark and frightening.

Big Thunder Mtn RR (he wasn't tall enough when we were at DL but has recently ridden it at WDW)
Golden Horseshoe revue (show)
raft to Tom Sawyer Island

Chip & Dale Treehouse (play area)
Gadget's Go Coaster (IMO only worth it if the wait is short)
Roger Rabit's cartoon spin
Minnie's & Mickey's house (great place for Character Greets)

New Orlean's Square:
Haunted Mansion
Pirates (POTC)
--- Pirates was recently redone to include scenes from the new movies. I haven't seen the redo at DL yet but the one at WDW has Captain Jack added to some of the scenes. I've heard the DL redo was even better. This ride has always been a big hit with my ds who thinks he is part Jedi, part Pirate (lol). Whether your 5yr old finds the ride frightening or not really depends on his personality. If he's seen the first movie (or parts of it) and liked it then he might find the ride very entertaining. Having a son that is a total daredevel and adventurer, I'm probably not the best person to dole out advice on this though. ;)

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
He hasn't been on Space Mtn yet however since the DL ride has been totally overhauled this is a very smooth ride (not the old jerky style roller coaster). The cars are arranged so two people can sit side by side. There is music played as you ride (composer is the same one who wrote music for The Incredibles so it's that style of music just to give you an idea). I highly recommend this ride. We convinced our very timid 7yr old nephew to ride it at WDW a few years ago by telling him it was like flying thru outerspace and once he rode it, that ride became one of his favorites - and the WDW version doesn't hold a candle to the new DL version IMO.

Star Tours - DS loves this simulator ride - he wasn't tall enough at DL but has since ridden it at WDW several times. :-)

As far as Dining goes we found that Character Dining at DL is pretty expensive and I wouldn't recommend it for a really picky eater. We did do the Lilo and Stitch breakfast at PCH Grill but dh and I opted for the entree option instead of eating off the buffet because we knew at that time ds would not eat enough to make the cost worthwhile.

We have also had dinner at Goofy's Kitchen (DL hotel) and thought the food was all right and the atmosphere was very fun. There is lots of opportunitites there for the children to interact w/the characters. Goofy comes out of the kitchen and the kids can get out of their chairs and bang on pans. The characters also make their rounds thru the tables as well.

This site lists the different Character Dining Meals available at DL

Other things to be aware of:
Blue Bayou restaurant (overlooking part of the POTC attraction) - a big favorite and probably impossible to get into w/out an advance dining reservation. Not worth the $$ IMO - the atmosphere is interesting but the food was just mediocre the last time I ate there (admittedly several years ago though) but it's a pretty high $$ place to eat.

If your ds likes Chicken Strips then the ones at the Golden Horseshoe are pretty good. They are actually chicken breast strips, not the pressed together Mcdonalds variety.

As far as restaurants that we didn't like the one the sticks out the most for me was the Redd's Rocket Pizza Port. The choices there are pizza and pasta. I just thought the food was not good at all.

The kids meals come in souvineer boxes which are cut but the food of course is "kid fare". The chicken nuggets were either Mickey shaped or pop-corn size nuggets depending on where you're eating. The potatoes where not french fries but were happy-faced shaped - almost like a mashed potato that was shaped and fried.... quite interesting, but hard to describe, lol. DH loved them but I thought they were just so-so.

Well that's all I can think of for now. I hope this helps!!