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Disneyland Article
I Went To Disneyland By Myself Even Though I Hate Rides And Crowds Here Are 11 Of My Favorite Things I Did

Candy Palace
ID:
TMS-5119
Source:
insider.com
Author:
Anna Haines
Dateline:
September 4, 2022
Posted:
September 11, 2022
Status:
Current
When I embarked on a five-week trip across California, I had no intention of hitting up Disneyland. But when I booked a beach resort close to the theme park, it felt like too good of an opportunity to pass up.

Even though park reservations were sold out, I managed to snag a last-minute ticket by repeatedly checking the website the morning of.

I hate rides and crowds, but I committed to my spontaneous decision and hopped in an Uber. As expected, the theme parks were packed.

Despite this and the fact that I didn't have anyone to share my experience with, I still had a good time.

I snapped photos at the entrance of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Arguably no landmark says "I've arrived at Disneyland" like Sleeping Beauty Castle.

The iconic Bavarian-inspired castle provides a picturesque backdrop for selfies and group shots.

I noticed some people having their photos taken by Disney photographers. If I was traveling with family, I would've considered this so I wouldn't have to worry about getting the perfect shot.

My taste buds went on a trip abroad with globally inspired dishes.

My longest wait of the day was for food (I didn't realize you can order ahead of time on the Disney app). But it was well worth it.

There are countless restaurants and snack stands serving up American cuisine — think turkey legs and burgers — but I went with more international-inspired flavors.

The rich tonkotsu ramen at Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar consisted of a steaming bowl of thick noodles, juicy pork belly, and wood-ear mushrooms. It was filled with umami flavors.

After the indulgent ramen, I was craving some fresh vegetables, which aren't the easiest to find at a theme park. But I got my fix at Bengal Barbecue, where Mediterranean vegetables are grilled on succulent skewers of meat.

It was just the light bite I needed on a hot day.

I went window-shopping at the charming shops on Main Street.

I'm admittedly not that into Disney merchandise, but the storefronts on Main Street were too charming to resist.

Even the Starbucks inside the park looks like a cute bakery from the outside.

The Candy Palace and Candy Kitchen satisfied my sweet tooth cravings, and I got my art fix at the Disneyana gallery.

The Emporium was my favorite shop by far.

It's not hard to find Disney-themed souvenirs throughout the park, but Disneyland's biggest store — the Emporium — definitely had the best selection.

From Mickey Mouse ears and loungewear to cute pins and toys, the store has you covered for all things Disney.

I was lured back outside by the Dapper Dans.

It wasn't long before the Emporium started to feel too crowded for my comfort, so I made my way back outside just in time to catch a passing trolley with four charming men singing a catchy tune.

Known as the Dapper Dans, the harmonizing act is a delight. And with several sets a day, it's hard to miss them.

Instead of waiting in line for rides, I lived vicariously by watching other people on them.

Ever since I was a little girl, I've been averse to rides, especially anything that goes upside down.

One look at the wait times (which averaged around 45 minutes), and I knew this wasn't going to be the day for challenging that fear. I felt perfectly content keeping both feet on the ground.

Instead, I paused while walking around to observe other people on rides.

It might sound boring, but I found it quite entertaining to catch glimpses of the train whizzing by on Big Thunder Mountain and watch the blur of smiling faces inside the spinning teacups of the Mad Tea Party.

I love people-watching, and Disneyland is arguably one of the most entertaining places to do it.

I loved witnessing adult visitors attempt witty commentary and occasionally appear starstruck when they'd encounter Disney characters around the parks.

Better yet, all the adorable kids in elaborate princess dresses made me nostalgic for my own girly childhood.

There's nothing like seeing the way a child's eyes light up when they spot their favorite character in real life.

I caught a gospel concert at the Fantasyland Theatre.

I was wowed by the gospel group Sacred Groove. The a capella performance at the Fantasyland Theatre gave me goosebumps.

The concert was part of the park's "Celebrate Gospel" series in honor of Black History Month and provided a refreshing reprieve from the repetitive ride tunes played over the speakers.

I took in the park from a higher vantage point on the monorail.

After several hours on the ground, I appreciated seeing everything from a different view on the monorail.

I skipped the crowds at the main entrance and hopped aboard in the Downtown Disney District.

During the 13-minute ride, I saw everything from Fantasyland to the Matterhorn Bobsleds to Grizzly Peak.

Better yet, it's one of the few Disneyland experiences that doesn't really involve a wait during the day, since the trains come every 10 minutes.

Trying Dole Whip was worth the trip alone.

As an avid fan of soft serve and piña coladas, I've been wanting to taste the famous pineapple Dole Whip for years.

Despite the dessert's popularity, the wait at the stand was surprisingly short compared to my previous eats, which took 45 minutes to an hour to prepare.

After a long day in the hot sun, the cold, creamy treat quenched my thirst. I even added a sprinkle of Tajín seasoning to spice it up.

If you really love pineapple, try the Dole Whip float, which combines the soft serve with pineapple juice.

Staying away from the parks made the experience more relaxing.

Instead of staying in Anaheim, I opted for more relaxing accommodations in Huntington Beach.

Paséa Hotel and Spa and the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, two of the closest beach resorts to the parks, made tranquil resting spots to scroll through my Disneyland photos while lounging by the pool.

 
Attractions Referenced

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Disney Gallery (Main Street)

Disneyland Monorail

Fantasyland Theatre

Mad Tea Party

Matterhorn Bobsleds

Sleeping Beauty Castle

 
Restaurants Referenced

Bengal Barbecue

Candy Palace

Market House

 
Shops Referenced

Disney Clothiers Ltd

Emporium

 
Lands Referenced

Fantasyland

Main Street U.S.A.

 
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