Which Disneyland Park Should My Family Visit?
By: Phoebe Ackland, ellaslist
Disneyland is a family holiday and accommodation destination that every family should experience at least once. If you’re one of the people who immediately think of the United States when Disneyland comes to mind, then now is the time to broaden your horizons! There are a large number of incredible Disney resorts and parks globally that could top your list in terms of amazing family holidays including in Tokyo, Paris and Shanghai. Check out the video below and some stand out features of some of the world’s best parks.
DisneySea in Tokyo is constantly rated the best, if not incredibly high on the list of best Disneyland’s, and even theme parks in general, in the entire world! Visitors to Tokyo DisneySea claim that Mysterious Island in the centre of the park containing a large volcano is well worth the hype, and that Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage is so good it should be copied in other parks too. Other highlights include its Venetian style gondolas for transportation around the park as well as elevated electric railways (trains often being a huge part of the moving and energetic spirit of the Disney theme parks). The cast members are supposedly the most friendly, helpful and all round incredible in terms of any other park globally, and overall, the way DisneySea transports you and submerges you in a mystical Disney-world makes you feel as if you aren’t even in Tokyo anymore. Tokyo Disneyland is well worth a visit too, where the entertainment and live shows are said to even cause adults to clap and dance along more so than anywhere else in the world!
Image: Mysterious Island at DisneySea Tokyo
2. Hong Kong
The Disneyland in Hong Kong makes our list for the most culturally authentic take on Disney. It incorporates elements of feng shui into its design, as well as wood, fire, earth, metal and water used in construction to create a positive energy throughout the park. It has 7 lands, including Adventureland, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, Toy Story Land, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Main Street, U.S.A. Take a picture with the characters in Fantasy Gardens, have an authentic Chinese lunch (most of which are Disney-themed) and take note of the very cultural elements of the park including many superstitions about numbers (there are no level 4s in the elevators and the Disneyland Hotel is a lucky 888m2).
Image: Tarzan’s Treehouse, Hong Kong Disneyland
3. Florida, US
Disney doesn’t forget animal lovers- Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida is home to over 2000 animals. It celebrates a love of nature and the beauty of the natural world (where so many Disney characters are from) across 6 different lands: Oasis, Discovery Island, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia and DinoLand, U.S.A. lands. Kids will especially love the live shows including the Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo the Musical and The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic with animals featuring in some of the shows. Whilst in Florida, check out Walt Disney World too, one of the 2 original resorts.
Image: Finding Nemo the Musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Florida
4. California, US
Disneyland Park in California is Walt Disney’s original park. There are infamous crowds and lines, but nothing really compares to the history and excitement of being where it all began. There are 8 extravagant lands full of pirates and princesses, including Main Street, U.S.A., Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Mickey’s Toontown, Frontierland, Critter Country, New Orleans Square and Adventureland. You’ll find a ride for all of your favourite characters including Alice in Wonderland, Goofy’s Playhouse, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and Peter Pan’s flight (just to name a few). The (original) happiest place on Earth.
Image: The Orignal Disneyland, California
Enter Disneyland Paris through the arcade which features a small replica statute of Lady Liberty, a perfect symbol of the connection between Paris and the US. Uniquely French elements in this park include the CineMagique which is a theatre show with live actors, as well as Discoveryland- a land dedicated to famous Europeans like Da Vinci and with a rocket ship ride designed by Italian inventors. Hint: this is the only Disneyland where you can have a wine or alcoholic drink with your lunch (how very French.) Top a magical day off with the fireworks and light display over Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
Image: Mickey Mouse and Kids at Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Shanghai proves how the Disney message is translatable just about anywhere. It is home to the largest Disney castle on the planet- the Enchanted Storybook Castle where you can even indulge in a royal banquet! Get ready for the brand spanking new and exciting 6 lands: Mickey Avenue, Gardens of Imagination, Fantasyland, Adventure Isle, Treasure Cove and Tomorrowland. Some attractions include the Alice in Wonderland Maze, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and a Fantasia Carousel. The TRON Lightcyle Power Run presented by Chevrolet is said to be a twisting and turning ride of your life experience. We expect this Disneyland will be particularly shiny, so why not make a visit whilst it is still so young??
Image: Introducing the New Disneyland Shanghai
Located on 21 acres of beachfront paradise on the coast of O‘ahu, Aulani Resort offers a Disney experience like no other. What truly separates Aulani Resort is the depth and breadth of opportunity for fun, relaxation and magical memories for the entire family – here, adults, kids and teens discover separate areas and programs designed just for them, set amongst a family-friendly wonderland of winding streams, interactive play areas, shimmering pools and even a private snorkelling lagoon. World-class entertainment abounds, from adult relaxation in the spa, beachside fun and themed pools, fireside storytelling and Disney Character appearances to ‘Ohana Disney Movie Nights and a Hawaiian celebration under the stars. With so much to offer every age and interest, Aulani Resort is an unforgettable vacation experience for the whole family.
Image: Wishing Mickey Mouse a happy birthday, Hawaiian style
8. Disney Cruises
From (Pirates of the) Caribbean Cruises to Star Wars Day at Sea….Disney Cruises truly are a happily ever after of the high seas. There’s destinations all around the world, and live shows with original Disney music every night of the week including Tangled: The Musical, Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular and the Golden Mickeys (to name a few). Kids club couldn’t get any cooler with character meet and greets including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Cinderella, Captain Hook and more—at designated areas throughout the ship. There are Disney tea parties for young princes and princesses alongside the Disney princesses themselves, as well as breakfasts each morning on longer cruises where the characters will join you for toast and a glass of OJ. There is just too many activities and events happening on a Disney Cruise for families not to have the best vacation of their lives.
Image: Star Wars Day on a Disney Cruise
Top Tips For Taking The Kids To Disneyland
Stay Close: It might be cheaper to stay in a hotel nearby the park, but we recommend you stay at one of the Disney resorts or on-site accommodation. You really can’t put a price on a total day and magical night(s) sleeping in Disneyland- it allows you to absorb the whole experience. Having a bed nearby means tired kids can be easily whisked away for a break which would be a nightmare if you weren’t staying nearby.
Plan Ahead: It’ll make the day flow more smoothly and you can fit more in if you know some of the highlights you want to see or rides you want to go on. Consult park schedules and maps too.
Book Tickets: Disneyland lines are infamous- pre book tickets and invest in FASTPASS which allow you to schedule your ride times.
It’s All In The Details: It’s tempting to rush around and tick the boxes of what you want to see and do, but take the time to notice and appreciate the Disney details around the park- a pretty design, a side show, signage, a fireworks display. Those memories will probably be what kids remember.
You Can’t Fit It All In One Day: Trust us. Stay at least a couple of days- it’ll take the pressure off, allow you to enjoy yourself and relax, and you will be able to get more out of the park.
Prepare for a Splurge: To be honest, Disneyland is a hard one for family’s on a super strict budget. Prepare yourself that you are likely to get caught up in the shiny souvenirs and novelty meals and items available- and be warned that children will nag. A photo with a character is a family gift that will last forever and sure is worth it.
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