Every day at Disneyland is a special one, but this year marks an occasion worth celebrating since the park is enjoying its 60th anniversary. Walt Disney opened the gates to the theme park on July 17, 1955. Though the actual birthday has passed, Disney’s going to keep the party going for months and months with the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. They’ve added sparkly touches throughout both Disneyland and California Adventure—including adding big, shiny bling to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle—and Carthay Circle Restaurant. There are countless small ways to live it up at the parks and embrace the festivities, but if you need suggestions on how to celebrate, we have you covered.
Eat Specially Themed Foods
Disney loves to throw themselves into a theme, and they don’t hold back when it comes to food. The main edible attractions for the 60th anniversary are two massive cupcakes available in Disneyland at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe and in California Adventure at Fiddler, Fifer, & Practical Cafe—the former location has lemon-flavored cupcakes and the latter has orange ones. Both cupcakes are topped with piles of not too sweet icing and an edible Disneyland “D.” Get one to share with a friend or do what I do and make the cupcake a meal.
Other than cupcakes, you can track down limited edition beverages, popcorn served in Mickey Mouse ear balloon buckets, Mickey and Minnie 60th cake pops and candy apples, and more. It’s possible to eat nothing but bedazzled confections all day—but probably not recommended. Protein is useful.
Go On All the Rides… No, Really
It’s possible to go on every open attraction at Disneyland in a single day—and it’s a blast to attempt. Make a list of all the attractions and decide whether you want to count activities like Tarzan’s Treehouse (I say yes) and riding all the Main Street Vehicles. Then, make a plan of attack based on which rides have the longest lines and which ones have fast passes. Get to the park when it opens and be prepared to be there until closing. Stay hydrated, eat substantial food (not just cupcakes for meals), and don’t run. I almost completed this mission on a busy summer Saturday (I hit my wall at 10:30pm with two rides left) so knocking this out on a weekday would be as easy as pie. If you want to throw in an extra twist, build in a scavenger hunt.
See New Entertainment
Disney rolled out three new pieces of evening entertainment for its 60th birthday, and they’re all worth checking out once—and I say this as a person who doesn’t often stop for parades or fireworks. Over in California Adventure, you can enjoy a brand new World of Color. This time around the water show is hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse and highlights a number of Disney and Pixar properties–the montage includes Star Wars and Marvel for the first time.
Disneyland offers a fancy parade called Paint the Night. It’s similar to the Main Street Electrical Parade in that it glows and dazzles. The park also has Disneyland Forever, a fireworks display that incorporates projects for a whole ground to sky experience.
Check the showtimes for each of these events when you arrive to the parks and consider staking out viewing spots an hour ahead of time (except for World of Color—you can nab a Fast Pass for it).
Eat Mickey Mouse-Shaped Food
Can you tell one of my favorite activities at Disneyland is eating? Just to change things up, challenge yourself to only eat meals and snacks shaped like Mickey Mouse ears. Start with Micky Mouse waffles at Carnation Cafe or Mickey Mouse pancakes at the River Belle Terrace. Then throughout the day have Mickey Mouse ear-shaped beignets, Rice Krispie treats, cookies, cupcakes, pretzels, sourdough bread, and ice cream bars. Maybe tackle this project with a friend to avoid complete and total sugar overload.
Make a Bucket List
Have a long Disneyland wish list? Put it on paper and make a concentrated effort to cross items off throughout the rest of 2015. No item is too big or small. Some examples of what you could include: Dining at Club 33, seeing the Hatbox Ghost in the Haunted Mansion, tracking down 10 new Hidden Mickeys (hidden Mickey Mouse heads can be found all over the parks), riding on the Lilly Belle on the Disneyland Railroad, etc.
How are you celebrating? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: Amy Ratcliffe