Four Things You Must See at Disneyland This Spring

Four Disneyland Must-Dos for Spring 2024

Springtime has sprung once again at the Disneyland Resort, and today the Unofficial Guides team is taking a look at four new or returning activities you won’t want to miss during your Anaheim visit.

nighttime exterior of Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle lit up by pyrotechnic flames during the Wondrous Journey fireworks
The explosive encore of Wondrous Journeys is one of the Unofficial Guides team’s must-see attractions for spring 2024 at the Disneyland Resort. (Photos/videos by Seth Kubersky)

Thanks to mild weather, moderate crowds, and vibrant landscaping, spring is traditionally a terrific time to visit the Disneyland Resort, and there are a number of fresh (or refreshed) activities for fans to enjoy in the parks this season. Here’s a look at four of our favorite must-dos at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure for spring of 2024.

Adventureland Treehouse

Although it reopened in late 2023, Disneyland’s reimagined Adventureland Treehouse is now in the full flower of its first spring, making it well worth a walk-through or three. Formerly home to figures from the 1999 Tarzan cartoon, the treehouse has returned to its roots and is once again inspired by Walt Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson, much like the Walt Disney World version.

However, Disneyland’s take on the Swiss Family Treehouse features a wealth of new decorations, effects, and animated figures (crafted by Garner Holt Productions) that bring the classic story to life like never before. Of particular note are the moving waterwheel, automated kitchen appliances, and adorable animatronic animals—including a mischievous monkey and an ostrich named Jane (after the former occupant).

Fans of Disney’s metafictional Society of Explorers and Adventurers should keep an eye out for a few references to SEA hidden throughout the treehouse.

Note that experiencing this attraction involves climbing up and down several flights of steps, and guests often ignore the inconspicuous “exit only“ signs, which can make the climb congested. However, the ground floor exhibits are fully accessible.

Enjoy a vicarious trek through the Adventureland Treehouse with this POV video:

“Magic Happens“ Parade

Disneyland’s latest daytime parade debuted as part of the resort’s 65th anniversary celebration in late February 2020, just weeks before the pandemic shutdown. It didn’t return until last year; after taking another hiatus for the 2023 holiday season, “Magic Happens“ is once again performing daily.

Featuring an original theme song sung by Todrick Hall, the “Magic Happens“ parade puts the spotlight on the relatively recent hit films Moana, Coco, and Frozen II, ending with a finale that pays tribute to classics like Cinderella, Sword in the Stone, and Sleeping Beauty. While we might not find it quite as compelling as the former “Soundsational“ parade, the choreography is creative, and the floats and costumes are vibrant (especially if viewed in the early evening under illumination).

If getting a great view of the parade is important to you, you may want to consider the “Magic Happens“ parade viewing dining package, which includes a meal at the Plaza Inn, followed by access to a reserved viewing area during the second “Magic Happens“ parade of the day.

The reserved viewing section for dining package purchasers is in a picture-perfect spot dead-center in Main Street USA’s town square, directly across from the train station.

Guests regularly line up along the rest of Main Street an hour or more before the parade, and on peak days the crushing crowd of parade-watchers can be oppressive. So you may find it worth the price simply not to be crammed elbow to elbow with others on the sidewalk—and instead be able to move around freely through the spacious reserved area, which encompasses some benches and railings to lean on.

However, be aware that if you want a seat along the curb, you’ll still need to line up outside the reserved section well before it opens 30 minutes prior to step-off because those coveted spots will be claimed almost instantly.

The lunch beforehand includes a salty (but extremely tender) slab of short ribs topped with tasty chimichurri sauce, plus a thigh and drumstick of the Plaza Inn’s justly famous fried chicken.

You also get a beverage, as well as an unnaturally blue sugar bomb for dessert that may have colorful aftereffects in the bathroom.

Adults pay $55 plus tax (kids get chicken tenders for $28), which values the viewing access at around $15-$20. If viewing the parade on Main Street is a high priority for you, and you were already interested in eating at the Plaza Inn, the “Magic Happens“ dining package may be worthwhile. But we don’t think it’s as good a value as the World of Color dining options, especially since it’s usually possible to get a decent view of the parade from Small World Mall without much hassle.

Watch a complete twilight performance of “Magic Happens“ as seen from the dining package reserved viewing area in this video:

World of Color ONE

Speaking of World of Color, springtime is a great time to stick around until closing to enjoy the signature nighttime spectacular at Disney California Adventure. After being preempted by the Season of Light holiday show and a refurbishment, World of Color ONE finally returned in early 2024, about one year after its initial debut during the Disney company’s 100th birthday celebration.

The current version of World of Color ONE, which uses fountains and flames (rather than fireworks) to light up DCA’s central lagoon, has been subtly improved since its initial debut, with judicious edits that smoothed some jarring jumps between genres—from Disney and Pixar to Star Wars and Marvel characters—and made the finale more satisfying.

We consider World of Color ONE “not to be missed,“ but seeing the show ideally requires a ticket to access Paradise Park’s tiered viewing area, which isn’t large enough to accommodate everyone who wants to see the show on busy days. Limited passes for the free viewing areas on the sides are available on a first-come/first-served through the Virtual Queue feature in Disneyland’s app.

Alternatively, this spring there’s a new World of Color dining option exclusively available to guests who are Magic Key holders (or who know one). The passholder-only Magic Key Terrace above Wine Country Trattoria in Disney California Adventure recently added a World of Color dining package that we think may be an even tastier deal than the one we’ve previously enjoyed in the restaurant below.

The Magic Key Terrace World of Color menu starts with either a creative Caesar salad sprinkled with pepitas and olives, or an earthier version of Jolly Holiday’s craveable tomato soup.

The entrées we had included a fried hen that was even tastier than the Plaza Inn’s bird, albeit a bit awkward to eat, and a vegan roasted cauliflower that was wonderfully seasoned but could have been served warmer.

Service in general here can be slow, leaving you plenty of time to linger over the refreshingly not-too-sweet dessert of fresh berries and smashed macarons, which pairs well with a cup of coffee.

At $62 (plus tax and tip) for a well-prepared three-course table service meal, the Magic Key Terrace World of Color dinner looks like a bargain by Disney standards, especially when compared side-by-side with the Plaza Inn’s “Magic Happens“ package.

Here’s the view from the World of Color ONE dining package viewing area, as seen in spring 2024:

Wondrous Journeys

Last but not least, although our first three springtime suggestions should continue indefinitely, the return of Wondrous Journeys will only last for a very limited time. From now through April 14th, visitors can once again experience our favorite fireworks show since Remember…Dreams Come True debuted during Disneyland’s 50th anniversary.

With a catchy theme song by Duddy Brown and Alex Geringas, impressive projection mapping and special effects (like the Blue Fairy and Baymax flying over the castle), and a score smartly selected from across Disney’s entire century of creations, Wondrous Journeys was our favorite element of the Disney100 celebration, so we’re excited to see it return, if only for a limited time. After April 14th, it will disappear again in favor of Together Forever and the revived Pixar Fest, which will take over both parks through the summer.

If you can’t make it to Disneyland before April 14th, here’s a video to help you relive Wondrous Journeys at home:

What are your must-dos at Disneyland Resort this spring? Let us know in the comments below!

For all there is to see and do at Disneyland, check out The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland by Seth Kubersky with Bob Sehlinger, Len Testa, and Guy Selga Jr. All Disneyland fans should also check out The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream by Sam Gennawey.

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