One Day in AnaheimAAA editors suggest these activities for a great short vacation experience. Those staying in the area for a longer visit can access a 3-day itinerary at AAA.com/TravelGuides.
Morning If you’re like millions of other visitors who travel to Anaheim every year, you’re in town for one reason: Disneyland® Resort , which includes Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure® Park . Just exploring one would take a full day, so your best bet is to focus on Disneyland Park, especially if you’re a first-time visitor.
To make the most of this destination, start your day early to beat the crowds. Gates open between 7-10 a.m., depending on the time of year. Keep in mind the time you’ll spend parking, taking the tram to the main gates and passing through security.
For breakfast, head to La Brea Bakery (1556 Disneyland Dr.) in the Downtown Disney® District, which is free to enter. Known for freshly baked artisan breads, this local restaurant opens at 10 a.m. and it’s just a short walk to Disneyland’s front gates. Try the short rib hash: two eggs served over tender beef and breakfast potatoes—delicious and filling.
Once inside the park, you’ll pass the old timey storefronts of Main Street, U.S.A. and get your first glimpse of Sleeping Beauty Castle. For an excellent selfie, step over to the statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse hand-in-hand and you can get a shot with them and the castle in the background.
Facing Walt and Mickey, make a sharp left to enter Adventureland, home of the Enchanted Tiki Room, where animatronic birds and flowers have been singing since 1963. Among the other fun things to do with friends in Adventureland: Indiana Jones Adventure, a thrill ride through a mysterious temple.
Remember to pick up FASTPASS® tickets for Disneyland’s top things to do at kiosks near ride entrances. It’s like making an appointment to join a much shorter queue later on, and it can save you a lot of time.
Next up: New Orleans Square, where you’ll find two longtime crowd pleasers: Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. The buccaneers, ghosts and ghouls inside each are definitely kid-friendly, but thanks to Disney special effects magic, both attractions are among the top things to see at Disneyland for all ages.
For some nostalgic fun sure to please adults and kids, proceed to Critter Country and get in line for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh where you’ll go on an adventure through the Hundred-Acre Wood and meet Pooh Bear’s friends.
As you backtrack through New Orleans Square, stop for lunch at Cafe Orleans, which serves Cajun and Creole cuisine. Choose the patio outside and enjoy the Big Easy-inspired scenery. Since this is one of the park’s most popular places to eat, make reservations to be sure you get seated quickly.
If you’ve just eaten, you may want to steer clear of Big Thunder Mountain Railway in Frontierland for now. As far as rollercoasters go, it’s pretty tame, but it might still be a challenge on a full stomach. Better, go directly to Fantasyland for Peter Pan’s Flight and the Disney-fan favorite, “it’s a small world.” Don’t be surprised if you end up humming “it’s a small, small world” for the rest of the day.
Continue on to Tomorrowland for more top things to see: Space Mountain, an indoor, space-themed roller coaster, and Star Tours, an exciting motion simulator journey through the “Star Wars” galaxy. For nighttime fun outside under the actual stars, stay for the dazzling fireworks. Check Disneyland’s calendar to see which pyrotechnical display will be lighting up the sky during your vacation.
For dinner, head back to Main Street, U.S.A. and the Plaza Inn, which is among the park’s best restaurants. For more than 60 years, visitors have savored the signature specialty fried chicken within an opulent Victorian dining room that includes carved gingerbread trim, crystal chandeliers and a stained-glass ceiling.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
State and county sales taxes total 7.75 to 8 percent in Anaheim. A lodging tax, called a transient occupancy tax, of 17 percent also is levied along with an 8 percent rental car tax.
Anaheim Global Medical Center, (714) 533-6220; Anaheim Regional Medical Center, (714) 774-1450; Kaiser Permanente Orange County - Anaheim Medical Center, (714) 644-2000; St. Joseph Hospital, (714) 633-9111; West Anaheim Medical Center, (714) 827-3000.
2099 S. State College Blvd. Suite 600 Anaheim, CA 92806. Phone:(714)765-2800
John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Santa Ana, nearly 13 miles south of Anaheim, is served by major domestic and commuter carriers. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), approximately 33 miles northwest of Anaheim, is served by international and major domestic carriers. Long Beach Airport (LGB), about 19 miles west of Anaheim, is served by three major domestic airlines. Ontario International Airport (ONT), approximately 33 miles northeast of Anaheim, is served by international and major domestic carriers.
Most major car rental agencies serve Anaheim. Hertz, (800) 654-3080, provides discounts to AAA members.
Amtrak, (800) 872-7245, departs from Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC). Amtrak provides daily service north to Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, and south to San Diego. Metrolink is a commuter rail service in Southern California with two stations in Anaheim, Anaheim Canyon Station and ARTIC, (800) 371-5465.
Anaheim Resort Transit (ART), (888) 364-2787, is an 18-route bus network to nearly every local point of interest and hotel. Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), (714) 636-7433, provides regional service. Greyhound, (800) 231-2222, provides national service. Tres Estrellas de Oro, (323) 588-9188, provides service to Tijuana. Greyhound and Tres Estrellas de Oro buses have a terminal at Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), 2626 E. Katella Ave.
The base rate is $3.50 at flag drop and $2.75 per mile. Two large companies are California Yellow Cab, (714) 444-4444 and Yellow Cab Co, (714) 999-9999 OR (800) 649-1222.
Transportation by bus and commuter rail service is available in Anaheim.