One of the best way to make memories at Disneyland is to not do what you think you are there to do.

The rides (called attractions in Disney-speak) are great.  Your family will definitely enjoy them, and it’s a huge part of any Disneyland experience.  But if that’s what you think is going to create great memories with your family, you’re going to lose out.

Because the attractions themselves are only a few minutes long.  You don’t spend your time looking at or talking with each other.  You are experiencing something great together (especially when everyone can finally ride everything), but it’s not the best way to make great memories with your family.

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Here are five easy ways to create memories that don’t involve an attraction:

  1. Wait for a parade.  Seriously.  There’s some great laughs and memories to be shared while waiting for Paint the Night or Mickey’s Soundsational Parade.  There are people everywhere, and it’s fun to watch them.  (Some of our favorite memories are pre-parade–like the time the Dapper Dans serenaded us with When I See an Elephant Fly.)
  2. Grab a snack.  Get a churro or popcorn or something like that.  And then find a quiet place to sit and enjoy it.  Watching your little kid eat a churro bigger than their head is a memory you won’t soon forget.  (It’s a nice way to force everyone to slow down, too.)
  3. Press some pennies. The most cost-effective souvenir at the Parks, and kids love doing it.  Carry pennies and quarters in bags and stop by the machines whenever you can.  And they are actually collectibles. (Handy maps of where you can find the machines are available in most gift shops.)
  4. Play games in line.  If you have a smartphone, the Heads Up app is great, and everyone enjoys it.  If you have to be on a phone in line, use it to engage the family! (Not a paid endorsement.)
  5. Take time at meals.  Don’t rush through your meal.  Some of the best atmosphere in Disneyland is in the restaurants, and it’s nice for the kids to take a break with you.  (The Hungry Bear has a great view, and there’s something nice about sitting in the French Market as the train comes into the station.)

You may think you can only have great memories based on how many times you to get ride Space Mountain, but trust me.  These quick tips will help you create memories in ways you never expected.

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