Full disclaimer, I love Disneyland more than most 5 year olds. Disney just has this ubiquitous euphoric magic about it, it makes me all kinds of giddy. Like, kid in a candy shop, giddy. I think there’s some unwritten rule that if you’re on Walt’s property, you have to be in a good mood— and rightfully so.
When I requested the time off of work, my boss said, “you’re going to Disneyland, again?” I don’t think he gets it, considering I’m going on 27 years old.
Now that my brother and I are both adults, my family has a new appreciation for Mr. Mouse. We can actually enjoy nice meals and cocktails, outside of the park, in-between It’s A Small World and Indiana Jones. We take breaks for coffee and enjoy the forgotten gems. The days feel slower and easier, but either way, it’s filled with lots of Mickey madness.
So, here are some of our must-do attractions, tips and hacks while strolling the parks;
TO EAT + DRINK
Mint Julep Bar — If you’re looking for your morning coffee in Disneyland, make your way over to New Orleans Square. Why? In addition to a warm cup of joe, Mint Julep Bar is home to the Mickey shaped beignets. Breakfast of champions, my friends.
Harbour Gallery — This is one of my favorites. Harbour Gallery, in Critter Country, serves clam chowder and broccoli cheddar soup bread bowls. It’s quick, easy, and keeps you toasty (literally) when the sun goes down.
Cove Bar — Everyone raves about Cove Bar’s lobster nachos, so if lobster is your thing, try them. I don’t eat lobster, or any seafood for that matter, so I stick to the booze. If you want to drink like a fish while overlooking California Adventure’s Paradise Pier, Cove Bar above Ariel’s Grotto is your place.
Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar — If you really want to feel like you’re on a tropical vacation, wander over to Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar in the Disneyland Hotel. It’s basically like you’re in Hawaii— hawaiian shirts, tiki torches, umbrellas in your drink and a whole lot of rum. Mr. Mouse makes a mean mai-tai.
Cozy Cone Motel — If you’re strolling through California Adventure, make a pit stop at the Cozy Cone Motel. They have all kinds of yummy treats, like churros, vodka and lemonade cocktails and mac and cheese in a bread cone. Did I mention the vodka and lemonade?
Ride solo — If the lines are long, opt to go as a single rider. I only do this on the big rides, like California Screamin’ or Space Mountain, but it saves oodles of time that you could be spending in line for a beer.
Snap a photo — If you didn’t take a photo in front of the dusty blue wall by It’s A Small World, did you even really do Disneyland? Extra points if you can find a character walking around.
Seasonal attractions — We just happened to be in California Adventure during their 2017 food & wine festival, which included a ton of boozy beverages and fancy cuisine booths. Although this was for a limited time, keep your eyes peeled for special events around the parks (for example, Mickey’s Halloween Party).
Find the hidden Mickeys — Rumor has it there are hundreds of incognito Mickey Mouse ears hidden around the parks. Make it a game to hunt for them while you’re standing in line, or on a slow paced ride— whoever finds the least amount of hidden Mickeys buys the next round of drinks in Downtown Disney.
Take a dip — When you’re planning a multiple-day trip to Disneyland, sometimes your legs (and sanity) need a break. Stay somewhere with a fun pool, and take a mid-day dip to break up the time spent in the parks. You’ll appreciate the magic a whole lot more when you’re energized and refreshed.
Until next time, Mickey.