The Happiest Place on Earth: How to Explore Disneyland as an Adult

Disneyland for adults

It’s that classic catch phrase that everyone longs to say; “I’m going to Disneyland!”

What started off with a simple mouse named Mickey has grown into a billion dollar corporation that holds the adoration of those who are young and young at heart.

At the age of 20, I got my first Disneyland annual pass, and with me living in Long Beach, it seemed like a great idea because I could go almost anytime I want and it was really close by. Let me just say, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

But as adults, there are certain things that we look for when we go out for a day or a night off. You may ask, why is Disneyland a place I would want to visit? Why would an adult with no children want to go to Disneyland, a place for kids?

You can discover a whole new Disneyland as an adult that the younger you would have never thought to look at.

We are the group known to the Disneyland corporation as ‘nonfamily guests’ and we should be proud. So for all of the ‘nonfamily guests’ out there, here are some tips for how to have the best time at Disneyland as an adult.

Food and Drinks

Many children are picky eaters and don’t appreciate the incredible artistry that goes into the food and desserts that Disneyland creates for its visitors.

But as an adult, you get to enjoy the finer side of things. While some may argue that Disneyland food costs a fortune, how do you think the park makes money, the quality of the food is well worth it.


In Disneyland, some of the finest food comes from the Jolly Holiday, the Blue Bayou and the French Market.

The Jolly Holiday is classic American food, with the best grilled cheese and tomato soup you will ever eat. And if you have a sweet tooth, the desserts are amazing! I recommend the raspberry macaron and the Matterhorn coconut macaroon.

The Blue Bayou and the French Market offer cajun and creole dishes. The French Market serves classics such as jambalaya, gumbo served in a bread bowl and red beans and rice. The Blue Bayou, which is located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, offers the more high end dishes like filet mignon and rack of lamb.

California Adventure

If you travel over to Disney’s California Adventure, you can get not just delicious food, but alcoholic beverages as well.

I will save you some research and tell you all the restaurants and places you can get alcohol at in California Adventure. There’s the Cove Bar, I would recommend getting the lobster nachos as well, the Alfresco Tasting Terrace, it’s perfect spot to watch the Pixar Parade as well, Bayside Brews, Carthay Circle, Mendocino Terrace, Rita’s Baja Blenders, Sonoma Terrace and Wine Country Trattoria.

Many of the places listed above have incredible food as well, but I highly suggest going to the Pacific Wharf and getting clam chowder in a bread bowl, especially if you visit during the winter time.

Hidden Gems

When at Disneyland, all a kid thinks about is going on the rides or meeting the characters, but there are so many quirky and hidden things to look for when visiting the parks.


This sounds like a weird one, as cats are known to chase mice, Mickey Mouse watch out! But there are many cats roaming around the parks, California Adventure mostly, to get rid of the rodents. There are many feeding stations located all around the parks for the cats and they are free to go wherever they please.

The only downside is you can’t really go looking for the cats as there is no one set location to find them, but you’re more likely to see them roaming at night than during the day.

Hidden Mickey’s

We’ve all heard the stories of the hidden Mickey’s located around the park. It can be a fun game to play with your friends to see who can find the most hidden Mickey’s during your trip. Or, you can go the easy route and buy the Hidden Mickey’s book.

Free Certificates

This one is not a guarantee, but at the Haunted Mansion and the Jungle Cruise, you can ask a cast member for free souvenirs. Once you get inside of the Haunted Mansion, ask one of the cast members for a death certificate and once you get off the ride, they will have one ready for you. You can test your luck even more and ask a cast member to take you on a tour of the pet cemetery!

For the Jungle Cruise, you can ask a cast member for a map and they will give you a free souvenir map of the route for the ride.


If you take a turn on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, keep an eye out for the real human bones that sit above the bed in one of the chambers!

Rides and Parades


How could I forget the rides and parades that make Disneyland so special! As an adult, you might say that going on rides is silly, but trust me, they’re not.

Nothing compares to that feeling of being a kid again and screaming your head off while on the best ride ever. So here are a few rides that you can appreciate more as an adult than you did as a kid.

The Hollywood Tower of Terror is a thrilling drop ride that makes you come out of your seat, literally. Based on an episode of The Twilight Zone, this up-and-down adventure is not for the faint of heart, but is guaranteed to give you a rush!

Soaring Over California is a beautiful masterpiece that takes you through the most scenic views California has to offer. With upgraded graphics, you feel as if you really are floating above some of the most well known stops in the state. But the best part, the sweet tang of oranges that fill your nose as you float over the orange fields.

Across the way in Disneyland, Space Mountain is a classic that takes you to the outer reaches of the universe. And if you’re lucky enough, you will get to see what Space Mountain looks like with the lights on. It’s a completely different ride experience.

One of my personal favorites, the Teacups. While some may not like the teacups because they don’t have the strongest stomachs, for those who can handle the dizzying effect, the purple and orange cups spin the fastest. And little known secret, if you ride the teacups while the parade is going on, you have some of the best seats in the house.


There is no leaving out the wonderful parades of Disneyland. The newest parade, Paint the Night, is an incredible spectacle of lights and characters dancing to an arrangement of songs from Owl City’s Adam Young. If you really want a show, when Mickey and friends come out to close the parade, keep an eye on Donald Duck, he really knows how to move.

If you’re more of a Pixar fan, be sure to check out the Pixar Parade that takes place in Disney’s California Adventure. You get the chance to see your favorite animated characters dance and there’s a special part that features bubbles!

Why Disneyland?

So why should you chose to discover Disneyland as an adult? To re-discover the magic and that it is real. Trust me, there’s a reason why it is known as the happiest place on Earth.


Marty the Adventurer

Kayce Contatore
Hey y'all! My name is Kayce and I'm a journalism major at Cal State University, Long Beach. If it involves food and shopping, I'm definitely in. Oh, and I aspire to be Carrie Bradshaw.