One of the best parts about Disney is that there is something for everyone, from 1 to 92, as they say. For some reason a lot of people seem to think that a Disney park is just for kids. If anyone tries to tell you that, get rid of them – you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. The truth is there is a ton of stuff for adults to do at Disney. In fact there’s even a few things that kids should probably steer clear of. From High thrill rides to informative experiences, and even things that are just too dang expensive to do with a 4 year old who isn’t going to enjoy it – or might yell through it. Disneyland is for anyone willing to open their mind, heart, and wallet. Here’s our guide to doing Disney like a grown up.
- Grown Up Rides at Disneyland
- Grown Up Food and Snacks
- Shows, Events, and Parades for the Kid at Heart
Grown Up Rides at Disneyland
It’s no secret that the main attraction at a Disney park is the rides, and we take that very seriously. Disneyland is only open for so many hours a day, so it’s important that your time isn’t wasted on a dinky kids ride (I mean, unless that’s your thing). So, what are the best rides for a grown-up Disney day?
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster
Yes, this is a grown up ride. This new form of dark ride is themed around Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear and takes you through a live action video game. Your ride vehicle is equipped with laser guns which you use to fight off encounters with Emperor Zurg throughout the ride’s track. Why is this a grown up ride you might wonder? Because it’s a video game and we’ve been training for this mission since the days of SNES.
This ride is scary for little kids. I’ve seen some little tykes have full on break downs on this ride (I may have been one of those kids at the ripe age of 4). It’s a traditional dark ride that takes you through a beautiful mansion haunted by 99 grim grinning ghosts. The technology used to create some of the ride’s effects was pretty ground breaking when it originally opened. It’s still pretty interesting today, but more than anything it’s just a fun cult classic with a fast moving line.
More your style for a grown-up day? The notorious Disneyland mountains are probably what comes to mind when most people think about adulating at Disneyland. The mountains (Splash, Space, Thunder, and the Matterhorn) are rollercoaster thrill rides with bumps, twists, turns, and of course drops that will keep you on your toes. (Except Splash Mountain, it’s a log ride but has most of those elements still). These thrill rides are absolutely must do’s on your kid free trip, but don’t get hung up on doing just these.
While we wait and wait for Galaxy’s Edge to open, be sure to stop by and check out Star Tours. It’s not as high octane as the aforementioned mountains, but its still really fun. This is a simulator style ride that takes you on one of several different Star Wars themed adventures. The line for this one can get long, and the theming is definitely geared more towards adults. So that is why it made the list, and most of us grew up watching one trilogy or another.
Hear me out before you close the page! The Disneyland railroad is the only Disney train that Walt himself rode. It’s short on thrills, which is why most kids get bored. But you, as an adult can appreciate the historical significance of the experience. It’s also a great way to kick back and take a break between those true big kid rides.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Come on – you can’t go to Disneyland and not go on Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s not specifically a grown-up ride but it is an everyone ride! You can’t go wrong with any ride that includes Johnny Depp. Keep your eyes peeled on this ride, because Disney lore says that the man himself has been known to pop in and replace a prop version now and again. Things would get very grown up if I spotted this. 😡
Indiana Jones Adventure
Another ride that’s pretty scary for little ones. This mini coaster type dark ride takes you through the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. You’ll battle the undead and have a run in with a giant snake. Not to worry though – Indy shows up in the knick of time.
Grown Up Food and Snacks
Not all theme park food is created equal. There are burgers and pizza, but then there’s also tastes from around the globe. Leave your tiny picky eaters at home for these grown-up meals.
Royal Street Veranda
If you’ve been to Disneyland you’ve probably walked right by this place. The Royal Street Veranda is at the very front of New Orleans Square. It offers gumbo, chowder, and an impressive view of the crowds. Sitting on the corner of Royal Street, right underneath Club 33, is the perfect spot to rest your feet and enjoy some quality people watching.
Blue Bayou Restaurant
Arguably the most romantic Disneyland restaurant, Blue Bayou is a must do on your adulting Disney day. The seating is inside Pirates of the Caribbean, making it feel like you’re sitting right on a bayou on a crisp clear evening. The menu is similar to what you would expect at a steak house, and so are the prices. It can get really expensive, so your best bet if you’re on a budget is to go for lunch and split an entrée.
Tiki Juice Bar
Dole Whip is not just for kids. Be sure to stop by the Tiki Juice Bar and grab this quintessential snack. If the line is too long, hop into the queuing area for the Tiki Room where there is a second serving station.
Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge
The Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge is brand spanking new and you need to visit on your next trip. Built on the outer patio of the second story of Star Wars Launch Bay (Formerly Innoventions), this dinning option is a must do – especially if your adulting. At nearly $50 a piece, this is something you’ll want to experience without the littles. Essentially, it’s a dessert party. Each guest is provided a small container of various Disney themed sweets and a non-alcoholic beverage. The patio is lined with white leather couches and fun neon lit tables. Reservations are required, and space is limited so be sure to book it as far in advance as possible. The lounge is open from 8pm – 10pm on select nights. Which means you’ll also have a spectacular view of the fireworks.
Shows, Events, and Parades for the Kid at Heart
Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular
Opening on April 13, 2018 (huh, the day after my birthday – how weird!) is this brand new Main Street Show. It’s a fireworks and projections show that runs from the castle down the length of Main Street. As with all Disney nighttime shows, it’s bound to be amazing.
Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Guided Tour
This is another one of those things that just too expensive for a young kid who probably won’t fully appreciate it. The Walk in Walt’s Footstep tour takes you around the park and teaches you all about Disneyland history. It’s not cheap, but it is absolutely worth every penny.
Those are the highlights for adulting at Disneyland park. Be sure to check back next week to read all about adulting at California Adventures, and don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list so you never miss a thing!
What’s your favorite grown-up attraction at Disneyland?