California’s Disneyland is one of the most popular attractions in the world, with an estimated 44,000 visitors per day. So, if you haven’t visited the theme park yet, it’s probably on your bucket list. Why is Disneyland so popular, though? Well, it’s dubbed the “happiest place on Earth,” so that might be a great selling point. There are so many reasons for this title. One is because it’s home to all of our favourite characters, from Ariel to Winnie the Pooh. Another reason is that it’s also filled with fun shows, innovative rides and delicious food.
Additionally, the employees (called cast members) go above and beyond to make guests happy. In fact, there’s a rule that cast members must answer all of your questions (no matter how silly it may seem) and do what they can to make your experience special. There are so many things you can ask the cast members and characters to present to you or do for you at no extra cost. Many of them are not well known, which is why this list is a must-read if you’re planning to visit Disneyland soon. When you do visit, you’ll be well prepared for an extra memorable trip! Enjoy!
25 Replace Your Popped Balloon For No Cost
Disneyland’s signature balloons are iconic. The clear balloons—with a Mickey Mouse-shaped balloon nestled inside—are a guest favorite. Everyone wants one the minute they step into the theme park. Although the balloons are $9, they’re worth it for the smiles and they make great photo props, too! It would be a shame if your relatively expensive balloon popped before you had the chance to fully enjoy it, though! Fortunately, Disney lives up to its title as the happiest place on Earth. Instead of paying for a new balloon, all you have to do is show your popped balloon and ask for a replacement (Disney Parks Disney Go). That’s right—you’ll get one for free!
24 Order Food From Secret Menus
Starbucks isn't the only place with a secret menu! Disneyland has some pretty great food and treats, but there are even greater options on their secret menu (Undercover Tourist). These items all combine certain ingredients from the current menu items and the results are fantastic.
One of the most mouth-watering items on the secret menu is the Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bread Bowl. This cheesy delight can be ordered at Pacific Wharf Café in Disney California Adventure Park. Other notable items include a Main Street float made of rainbow sherbet in orange soda and the Galactic Burger at Tomorrowland. They all sound delicious, don't they?
23 Ask A Character To Join You On The Rides
Going on the rides at Disneyland is definitely fun. So, what could possibly make the experience better? If your favorite Disney characters came on the rides with you, of course! You didn’t think that was possible, did you? Well, it just may be! All you have to do is ask! Your best bets are asking characters near the Mad Tea Party (AKA the teacups), Dumbo the Flying Elephant or King Arthur’s Carousel. There are accounts of guests riding with Alice on the teacups and cast members choosing someone to ride with a character on Dumbo the Flying Elephant (Undercover Tourist). It’s worth a try!
22 Become An Honorary Citizen Of Disneyland
The buttons at Disney are fun to collect. If you’re a frequent visitor of Disneyland, you’ve probably seen most of them. But, there’s one that’s pretty rare—the Honorary Citizen of Disneyland button (Sights And Flights). Typically, cast members present this button to guests who demonstrate the Disney spirit—which refers to acts of kindness, bravery or enthusiasm. It can make you feel really special if you receive one this way.
But, if you’re a collector of the buttons or know someone who deserves this particular one, you can ask a cast member for one. Your best bet is going to City Hall to make your request.
21 Enjoy Free Entertainment From Cinderella's Stepsisters
The character interactions are one of the best things about Disneyland. It’s always fun to meet your favorite character, have a conversation, get their autograph and snap a picture. Some of the characters have surprising talents and others are downright funny.
The next time you visit Disneyland, there are a two characters you absolutely need to meet: Cinderella's stepsisters. They will sing for you if you ask them! They also give fun responses when you ask which of the two is the prettiest. Try it out! You're guaranteed to be entertained and make some long-lasting memories.
20 Steer The Mark Twain Riverboat
The Mark Twain Riverboat is one of the coolest rides at Disneyland. The ship makes its way around the Rivers of America in 12 minutes, providing a scenic treat for guests. Did you know that you can steer the boat for a few minutes? There’s no age restriction for this, but you must be the first person to ask a cast member for permission (families.com). If others have already asked, you’ll be required to wait for the next sailing. Once you’re aboard the ship, you’ll be led to the wheelhouse with up to three of your friends or family members. After the experience, you’ll receive a riverboat’s license bearing your name.
19 Ride The Lilly Belle Car
The Lilly Belle train car is a must-see secret! It was named after Walt Disney’s wife and designed by her. Its interior is gorgeous, with plush red Victorian décor. In order to ride the special train car, you must arrive at the park in time for Rope Drop and be one of the first people in line at the train station. Once you’re there, ask the conductor if the Lily Belle is available to ride (Disney Dose). If it is, you’ll receive a reservation to go on board. During your train ride, a cast member will share fun facts about the train with you and you can take as many photos as you’d like.
18 Receive A Drawing From A Character
When you meet Rapunzel and ask her about Flynn, she sometimes responds that she’s teaching him how to draw. So, when you meet Flynn, talk to him about drawing and see how he responds. Sometimes, he’ll draw something for you without having to be asked. But, if he doesn’t, you can always ask him to do so (Disney Dose). Be sure to bring an autograph book or notebook, though. This drawing makes a cute little souvenir that you can bring home.
In general, the characters will also write personalized messages for you if you ask them! So, if there’s a holiday or birthday coming up in your family, bring a small poster of the character or a greeting card for them to sign.
17 Get Free Desserts
If you let the waiter know it’s your birthday or anniversary, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll get a free dessert at any sit-down restaurant in Disneyland. This is usually a slice of cake, cupcake or sundae. However, if you’re a member of the exclusive Club 33, you might receive adorable Mickey and Minnie chocolate-covered mousse desserts. If you would like something customized, all you have to do is ask kindly. Depending on the type of dessert, the chef may write a message in chocolate sauce or bring a candle for you to blow out and make a wish. If you’re too shy to ask for a dessert, simply have your birthday button visible and be engaging with your server.
16 Tour Haunted Mansion's Pet Cemetery
You’re probably aware of the pet cemetery in front of the Haunted Mansion. But, on the west side of the building, there’s a secret pet cemetery that is only accessible by those who ask a cast member for a tour. According to Mouse Planet, this pet cemetery is the original one, built in the 1980s. There are four tombstones in this cemetery: Stripey (a skunk), Bully (a frog), Miss Kitty (a cat) and Big Jake (a dog). Each tombstone has a cute, rhyming inscription. There’s also an unmarked pedestal in the middle of the cemetery with a planter on top. Cast members often report finding the planter toppled over during the night. Spooky!
15 Celebrate Your Birthday Anytime
What better way to celebrate your birthday than by spending it at the happiest place on Earth? When you tell an employee at the entrance that it’s your birthday, you’ll receive a birthday button. This button allows you to get special attention during performances and when meeting characters. For example, when performers need a volunteer, they’ll likely choose someone wearing a birthday button (Mickey Visit). The best part about this whole ordeal is that you don’t need to show proof of your birthday. That means you can celebrate it for an entire week! Better yet, you can celebrate a month later (or whenever you’re free to go to Disneyland).
14 Get Maps On The Jungle Cruise
The Jungle Cruise is a classic family ride. Located in Adventureland, the cruise takes you on a 10-minute guided tour through some of the world’s most remote rivers. During the adventure, you’ll be able to spot replicas of hippos, elephants, lions and tigers. There are even some funny jokes told by the tour guides to keep you entertained along the way. When you exit, you can go to the tour desk and ask for a map of the cruise (Mouse Planet Mouse Pad). Not many people know about these maps, but they’re free and make great souvenirs for both young and older guests!
13 Be The Guest Conductor For The Main Street Railroad
Walt Disney loved trains and imagined a railroad system going through the park. His dreams came to fruition with the creation of the Disney Railroad and its five operating trains. The trains make quite a few rounds around the park each day and if you’re lucky, you can be a guest conductor! One of the trains usually has a seat for a guest conductor. Try asking a cast member or conductor at the Main Street station to “ride the tender.” They’ll allow you into the tender box if a seat is available and you’re wearing closed-toed shoes (Disney Parks Moms Panel). You’ll be able to ask questions, take photos and yell, “All aboard!”
12 Wake A Parrot
The Tiki Room at Disneyland is well known for having the best treat in the theme park—Dole Whip. But, it's also worth visiting for another reason. The hut-styled attraction is filled with hundreds of singing birds, flowers and totem poles. One thing you may not have known is that one of the animatronic parrots can be woken up upon your request (Getaway Today). You can ask a cast member to wake Jose and have him start his musical performance. The cast member will use a baton to tap Jose's perch. Once he is awake, he will call out to his fellow birds. It's quite amusing to watch!
11 Get Free Balloons
Sometimes, we don’t want to pay $9 for a balloon at Disneyland (as pretty as they may be). In fact, we would very much appreciate it if we can get a balloon for free. Actually, it is possible to get free balloons! If you see any at your resort reception desk, kindly ask for one and they will gladly give it to you. It’s always fun to put colorful balloons in your room, take photos with them, tie them to your child’s stroller or give your child to play with them (Disney Dose).
The only exception to this is Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which doesn’t have balloons because they can be harmful to animals.
10 Get A Button For Pretty Much Anything
Who doesn’t enjoy some special attention from their favourite Disney characters or those jolly cast members? Buttons are so great because they allow you to have this. Plus, they make cute, but inexpensive souvenirs! It doesn’t have to be your birthday to get a button, though. You can get one for just about anything—from your new marriage to your first time visiting Disneyland. And if there isn’t a button that meets your specific needs, you can always get the “I’m Celebrating” button. Yep, Disney always goes the extra mile to make sure that every single guest can feel special. At one point, there were even buttons for kids who got vaccinated!
9 Buy Two Burgers For The Price Of One
As with most tourist attractions, the food prices at Disneyland can be quite high. Fortunately, the food is top notch. Nevertheless, we’ve got a brilliant tip that can help you save on your next meal. If you order a double burger at any vendor, simply ask for an extra burger bun. This way, you can deconstruct the double burger and create two single burgers—enough to feed two! Doing this is much cheaper than purchasing two single burgers, even if you are required to pay a few cents extra for the bun (Disney Dose). Next time you look at a menu, confirm this for yourself and try it out! Some employees may give you the extra bun.
8 Trade Pins With Cast Members
Have you ever seen cast members or other guests wearing lanyards filled with cool pins? These are pins that can be traded as part of one of the most interactive activities at Disneyland. If you’ve purchased official pins from Disneyland or online, you can ask a cast member to see their pins and trade you for one that you’d like (Travelling Moms). They never refuse, unless it’s a pin that they currently have on their lanyard. Some of the pins worn by cast members cannot be purchased, so you’d be lucky to get your hands on these! There are also collectible and limited edition pins to be traded.
7 Order Secret Drinks At Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar
Sure, there are secret food items at Disneyland. But, there are also secret beverage items! Considering how hot the weather usually is when you visit Disneyland, you can probably expect to purchase a few beverages per day. So, why not be adventurous and try out the secret items? Some of them are totally photo-worthy and taste delicious, of course!
We'd recommend the Mickey's Fun Wheel at the Cove Bar. It features three colours and a frothy whipped topping. The Disneyland Resort Hotels have secret menu items, as well! At Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar, you can order the new Kungaloosh, which consists of strawberry daiquiri mix, orange juice, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and blackberry brandy (Disney Dose).
6 Get A Message From Milly or Molly
Milly and Molly are bike messengers in California Adventure. The often ride around calling out certain names, saying that they have a message for these people. Of course, they’re just trying their luck to see if a guest with that name is around at the time. It sure makes someone feel special if their name is actually the one being called.
If you see Milly or Molly, ask them if they have a letter for you. They’ll give you an adorable, encouraging message which makes for another inexpensive souvenir. Millie and Molly also collect letters to Santa. So, if you visit Disneyland during the holidays with little ones, you can ask Milly and Molly to deliver it (Disney Dose).