Disneyland Summer 2016 Planning Guide

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Disneyland Summer 2016 Planning Guide

Summertime at Disneyland is a magical time. The weather is warm and perfect for rides that splash you with water, and since the kids have off from school, you can get there early and stay up late!

We spent last Saturday exploring the park, and put together our favorite things to do during summer 2016 at the Disneyland Resorts!

Let’s start at Disney California Adventure Park…

Soarin Around The World Review

Soarin’ Around the World.

I had to start here because this is our number one favorite ride, and although I couldn’t imagine it getting better, this new version is out of this world amazing!

The latest airborne adventure offers breathtaking scenes from locations around the world: over the snowy peak of the Matterhorn, along the Great Wall of China, through the majestic buttes of Monument Valley, hopping over the top of the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and across spectacular Sydney Harbour. As the next generation of Soarin’, Soarin’ Around the World is an exhilarating aerial adventure that immerses guests in a multi-sensory experience, complete with stunning sights, spectacular sounds and even subtle scents. Guests don’t just see these gorgeous landscapes with their eyes. They use all their senses to feel, smell and hear the world through this thrilling experience that could only be created by Disney. 

frozen at disneyland
‘Frozen – Live at the Hyperion’!

The New Stage Musical, is now at Disney California Adventure Park. Sit back and enjoy an Emotional Journey with Anna and Elsa that your kids (and you) will love!

This new theatrical interpretation for the stage immerses audiences in the beloved world of Frozen and takes audiences on the heartwarming journey of Anna and Elsa, with all of the excitement of live theater. Under the direction of Tony Award® nominated Director Liesl Tommy, the show features elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects, and show-stopping production numbers. An exceptionally large production, the show features an opening cast and crew of more than 200, six full musical numbers and a 2,200 square foot video wall which combine for an unforgettable theatrical experience. 

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters.

Casa Della Tires dance with joy as Luigi’s cugini (cousins) have come from Carsoli, Italy, to celebrate Race Day in Radiator Park. Guests hop aboard miniature Italian roadsters, in the style of late 1950’s micro cars and groove with Luigi’s singing in a precision-choreographed dance across a trackless “dance floor.” Each car has its own routine, so guests can enjoy different ride experiences during each dance.

Captain America

Look out for Captain America in Hollywood Land at Disney California. Also swinging into Hollywood Land is everyone’s favorite web slinger, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

In Disneyland Park there is a lot of summer fun to be had…

picture with minnie mouse disneyland

Bring those cameras, autograph books and pens, because the characters are all ready to meet you! When the weather gets too warm, take a break and have a cool drink while waiting to meet your favorite characters.

disneyland 2016 guide

All of your favorite treats are there too! Maddie’s favorites are the popcorn and the Mickey Mouse pretzels!

favorite disneyland snacks

Become a ghost at the Haunted Mansion when you take your picture in the photo opp area right outside the ride!

Disneyland 60 Haunted Mansion

Be sure to actually go on the ride too!

Disneyland ghost

season of the force disneyland
The Season Of The Force is still in full effect!

There is so much to do! Stop in Star Wars Launch Bay to visit a Star Wars-themed cantina, discover authentic replicas of film props, and encounter Star Wars characters such as Chewbacca, from the light side, and Kylo Ren from the dark side.

Go on Space Mountain and enjoy a Star Wars-themed transformation turning it into Hyperspace Mountain with an X-wing Starfigher battle as you race through the darkness. The experience is enhanced by a thrilling soundtrack, inspired by the Star Wars films’ musical themes and re-orchestrated to match every move in the attraction.

Star Tours is out of this world fun where you can encounter an exciting adventure and characters from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” while journeying aboard a Starspeeder 1000.

Ready to relive the Star Wars saga, or discover them for the first time through the short “Star Wars: Path of the Jedi” film which connects iconic scenes from the iconic films in fun ways. This is also a great place to cool down in the afternoon!

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple has been reimagined with Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister Inquisitor from the popular Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels.

Adventureland Disneyland Tips

Let’s talk Disneyland summertime food!

At Disneyland, the Star Wars-themed menu at Galactic Grill includes the Darth Tamale, a First Order Specialty Burger with Angus beef and chorizo on a dark bun, and The Pastry Menace éclair. Plaza Inn is ideal for family dining with a menu that features fried chicken, pot roast and made-to-order Children and the young at heart are delighted to encounter Disney characters at the “Minnie & Friends Breakfast in the Park” at Plaza Inn, one of several character meals at the resort.

At Disney California Adventure, the recently opened Smokejumpers Grill inside Grizzly Peak Airfield fires up delicious burgers and other favorites, all served in a themed environment. The popular Cove Bar along Paradise Bay serves beverages and appetizers in an expanded patio. The elegant Carthay Circle Restaurant continues to provide an ideal location for fine dining and adult relaxation in its lounge. And guests who want to meet Disney Princesses will find them at the character dining at Ariel’s Grotto.

No summer visit, really no visit at all, is complete without Dole Whip or a huge chunk of ice cold pineapple chunks.

pineapple chunk disneyland

This time we had a Dole Whip Float, with pineapple juice topped with Dole Whip!

Dole Whip Float

And we can’t forget the cupcakes! These beauties are all dressed up for the Diamond Celebration, so certainly get one or two of these while you can!

disneyland cupcakes

Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration will end on Sept. 5, 2016. 

Be sure to enjoy it all now this summer…

“Paint the Night” parade builds on the tradition of breathtaking nighttime parades in Disneyland Park that began with the “Main Street Electrical ” Illuminated almost entirely by LED lights, “Paint the Night” is a state-of-the art, vibrant wonder that immerses guests in the magical, luminescent worlds of many Disney and Disney●Pixar characters, including Ariel, the Little Mermaid; Woody and Buzz Lightyear from “Toy Story”’; Lightning McQueen from “Cars,” Disney Princesses and Mickey Mouse and his pals.

“Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular entertains guests from the tips of their toes to the sky high above, surrounding the audience with music, dazzling visual projections and other special effects that bring the pyrotechnics to life in surprising Guests may enjoy the projections from multiple locations, including Main Street, U.S.A., and Small World mall.

Disney California Adventure, “World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” is a fun-filled version of the popular, nighttime “World of Color” Award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris joins Mickey Mouse on a magical water canvas, bringing to life the remarkable story of Walt Disney and The Happiest Place on Earth with animated imagery, live-action film, fountains, lasers, special effects and a stirring musical score.

Disneyland Diamond Days,** an exciting text-in-for-a-chance-to-win sweepstakes, awards daily and weekly prizes as part of the Diamond Weekly prizes include authentic one- and two-carat diamonds custom engraved for Disney – one-carat diamonds are paired with a stay in the Disneyland Dream suite – as well as a one-of-a-kind dazzled Mickey Mouse ear hat adorned with crystals and a white gold plated, silver emblem with a large topaz and smaller pavé diamonds; and private experiences in the park such as a Breakfast in Mickey’s Toontown or an exotic Jungle Cruise Dinner. The available prizes vary each week. Daily prizes also are awarded during the Diamond Celebration, and each daily prize package for that day includes an individualized tour of the parks with dining, preferred access to select attractions, and VIP viewing at some of the dazzling nighttime spectaculars. Daily prize winners must be present on the Disneyland Resort premises at the time of entry and at the time of prize redemption in order to be able to enjoy these special experiences, and theme park admission is not necessary to enter or win the sweepstakes. More details, including a complete list of prizes, may be found here.  

Do you have a Disneyland visit planned for this summer?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • Oh, fun fun fun! Disney has so many new attractions now, it’s almost like a totally new park! Thanks for sharing all these great ideas.

  • I’m going to Disneyland in just a few weeks and can hardly wait! Can’t wait for Soaring around the world!

  • We’re going to the Disney on the other coast next month and we are looking very forward to it.

  • I wish we were planning a Disney trip this summer. What fun, this is a really great guide! That dole whip I hear so much about I NEED to try at some point!

  • It’s amazing how much there is to see and do at Disneyland. It’s so much fun! Hopefully I can make it there sometime soon in the future.

  • Looks like such a fantastic time and that you know how to have a Summer go out with a bang. This certainly is a favorite place to go for many families!

  • I have never been to California but if I end up there this is on my list of places to visit. We have went to the Florida one but I have always been curious about the difference between the two.

  • Such a fun place to visit during the summer. And the food there is so good – churros, corndogs, lobster rolls…yum!

  • I have never been to Disneyland before. I have always wanted to go though. I hope that someday I can take my girls there. I think it would be so much fun.

  • I am hoping to get to Disney in the next year. I am so excited for all the Star Wars additions. I love your photos.

  • We are saving up for a trip to Disney. They kids are going to love it. We are planning on surprising them and not telling them where we are going.

  • Seasons of Force is SO awesome! I was there when it first opened and sadly, did not have a Dole Whip or ice cold pineapple slice – for shame!

  • I like this guide! I want to try those cupcakes! I want to be in Disneyland next summer!

  • You shared some good tips for visiting Disney It is a nice place to visit and most people want to experience it at least once in their lifetimes.

  • Beautiful guide, it’s quite helpful as well especially since you’ve covered pretty much all the attractions that the kids will love. Aside from the rides and the Disney characters, I enjoy tasting the food available in Disney as well, especially since you can’t get them anywhere else!

  • What great fun! We adore Disney world but have never been to Disney Land. We hope to go someday and your family clearly had a blast!

  • My family and I have never been to Disneyland or California for that matter, but it’s on our list of things to do in the future! Maybe not this summer, but perhaps sometime within the next few years. 🙂

  • So much fun! The weather is perfect for getting out & having some magical experiences with your family. Can’t wait to see the new entertainment at both parks.

  • What a great guide! I have always wanted to go to Disney and actually experience it without running around like my head is not attached to my shoulders.

  • Never been to Disney Land but I have visited Disney World in Florida. I can’t wait to go back there. My husband and I are planning a trip there for this winter. I can’t wait!

  • I’ve never been to any Disney park but this totally makes me want to. So much fun to be had! And Captain America??? He’s my favorite!

  • This is a really great highlight of what you should visit!! We just missed out on the Frozen musical so that’s on our list next time for sure!!

  • This looks amazing! I am so excited for when my kiddo is old enough to go to and enjoy Disney! It looks like you had an AWESOME time! Your planning guide really lays it all out and I love that

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