Lost Weekenders

Attractions

Adventureland Tropical Hideaway

AttractionsStephen

I’m very excited about this portion of Adventureland being used again. It’s been used sporadically and for different purposes over the years and it’s amazing to have a future.

Tropical Hideaway Coming Soon Adventureland

When I was young, coming to Disneyland with my family, I remember having reservations at Aladdin’s Oasis. It was a small stage show with actors coming out of the Cave of Wonders, included lunch in its exotic tiered outdoor patio and even had a magic lamp built into every table that when you rubbed, had smoke come out. 

In 2008, to coincide with the release of the Crystal Skull, they had a small, short lived, Indiana Jones Stunt Show.

Tiki Room Reopening Fall 2018

The personal excitement for this new space comes mostly from it being located in Adventureland. The feeling of the area and theming of Adventureland totally embodies all that makes Disneyland so special. Looking forward to something more in this amazing land is truly exciting and I anticipate how totally reimagined this longtime abandoned area . Its also very sad as a longtime visitor to Disneyland to see a part of the park that was magical for me lay dormant for so many years.

Concept Artwork ©Disney

Concept Artwork ©Disney

Based on the official information from Disney about what this space will offer, it’s going to be unique and fun to hang out. My favorite element is seating that overlooks Jungle Cruise and on a portion of the porch of the Tiki Room. 

On the surface, it’s just seating and snacks, but by expanding the land into a previously unused corner, it’s going to make a big difference for the better!

Adventureland

Everything You Should Know About the New Pixar Pier

Basics, Beginners, Tips, AttractionsKelseyComment

New things at the Disneyland Resort? Heck yes.

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What was formally Disney California Adventure’s Paradise Pier, based on the coastal boardwalks of California like the Santa Monica Pier and Santa Cruz Boardwalk, is transforming into Pixar Pier. Now home to all things Pixar even though Disney already has Pixar themed rides and lands throughout both parks. Are we excited? Maybe! Are we gonna tell you what we know? Duh of course we are.

When it opens

Most of Pixar Pier is slated to open June 23, 2018 (like next week as I’m writing this). However, there are some rides that won’t roll out until around 2019 (Disney hasn’t given exact dates on those, yet).

 

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Layout

The new Pixar Pier will be split into four “Neighborhoods”. Incredibles Park, Inside Out Headquarters, Toy Story Boardwalk, and Pixar Promenade. Each neighborhood will have its own rides, food, and theming. According to Disney, some of the rides in the Toy Story Boardwalk and Inside Out Headquarters seem to be slated to open in 2019.

Honestly, we’re a little confused as to why the whole thing wouldn’t just be...Pixar Pier. This will be the first time at the Disneyland Resort that a land has been broken down into more little lands. It’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out in-person.

The area that stretches from the Silly Symphony Swings, all the way over to Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, that currently also houses the Jumpin Jellyfish, and Goofy’s Sky School will stay as it is and be renamed “Paradise Park”.

 

Rides

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Most of the rides will just be a re-theme of the existing rides.

One of the biggest re-themes slotted is the transformation of California Screamin’ into the Incredicoaster. I don’t know how I feel about all of Disneyland transforming into IP themes, but not gonna lie, Incredicoaster looks dope. It seems like they used up any previous dead space to tell a story, which is very much like Disney, and calls out to all the other themed coasters in Disneyland. Honestly, Screamin’ was a little left out of the fun theming. It didn’t get the memo, I guess.

 

The next theme change turns Mickey’s Fun Wheel into the Pixar Pal Around which gives me and Kat a good laugh any time either of us says it. Not much is happening with the Pal Around other than the cars will be Pixar themed now. The iconic Mickey face will stay plastered on the front, and Kat and I will still refuse to ride because it’s a terror filled death trap.

 

Midway Mania will stay the same, but right next door, King Triton’s Carousel is getting a Jessie themed update, which will turn all the currently existing sea creatures into animal friends based on the “Woody’s Roundup” clip in Toy Story 2. However, you’ll have to wait until 2019 to experience the unadulterated thrill.

 

Not too much is known about the new Inside Out ride, the only new ride to the land, which won’t open until 2019. From the concept pictures, it looks like it’ll be an Inside Out themed replica of Flik’s Flyers, currently in Bug’s Land. Which makes sense, because Bug’s Land will soon be closing to make way for a new Marvel themed land (please keep Heimlich’s Chew Chew we are BEGGING YOU). It would be pretty easy to move Flyers over to Pixar Pier and give it a re-theme.

Food

Ah, food. The most important thing. Disney nailed it with the food theming not gonna lie.

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Already open, taking over the Soft Serve window in between Cove Bar and California Screamin, is the new Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats, which offer lemon soft serve and if that’s not the cutest thing I don’t know what is. Full on love that switch.

 

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Next up, the Poultry Palace, which is shaped like a giant to-go box and I’m not hating it. Give me all the kitsch. If basic reason works out in my favor, I’d guess this will serve things like chicken tenders but it’s also very possible it’s another turkey leg stand.

 

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Senor Buzz Churros, Angry Dogs, and Jack Jack’s cookies are all pretty self explanatory and I’ll eat all of it thank you very much. I’m actually very excited for a cookie stand? Hopefully they differ than the normal cookies you can find in almost every candy store. Don’t get me wrong, I love those cookies, but like...chewy fresh chocolate chip cookies would do something special for me you know.

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There will also be Bing Bong’s Confectionery which looks like a giant magical candy store based on the bright beloved Inside Out character. Carbs and sugar, people. Keeps the day going.

Last, the long time fan favorite Cove Bar along with Ariel’s Grotto is sadly turning into the new “family friendly” (stop it) Lamplight Lounge. Both the downstairs and upstairs areas are being converted, downstairs a reservation only restaurant, and upstairs walk-in only bar area. All will be a new warehouse theme which is...kind of odd considering the rest of everything around it. Lobster nachos will still be a mainstay.

Games

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The existing midway games will be getting rethemed all based on Pixar’s shorts. The one I’m most excited about is the La Luna Star Catcher, which is based on my favorite star-sweeping Pixar short of all time. We’ll also be getting Heimlich’s Candy Corn Toss, and Wall-E’s Space Spin. The Bullseye Stampede game will stay the same.

 

And that’s what we got so far! We’re super interested to see how all the changes look and feel in person. Anyone going for the opening?

                                                                                                                           Images: Walt Disney Company

 

 

10 Hidden Gems in Fantasyland

Attractions, Disney HistoryKatComment

Fantasyland is easily one of the most magical places in Disneyland and unfortunately, that means it’s frequently crowded with people all trying to experience that magic. In the rush to get to a ride before a huge line creeps up you could easily miss one of these hidden gems:

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Rapunzel’s Tower

This might be my favorite hidden gem in the entire park. Rapunzel’s statue, at the center of Fantasy Faire, is a great place to take a break and rest your feet while watching a (bad) performance at the Royal Theatre - but when the sun goes down, the magic really comes out: the statue lights up and plays music.

I cannot for the life of me figure out the timing of this thing, and it doesn’t happen during Swing Dancing nights (which is almost always the one night we have on our Disneyland trip), but my best guess is that it happens every 15 minutes or so. If you’re lucky enough to witness it, it’s truly magical!

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The Evil Queen

Keep your eyes on the window above the Snow White queue entrance to get an occasional glimpse of the Evil Queen, gazing with disdain at the passers-by.

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The Poison Apple

Speaking of the Evil Queen, next time you’re entering the Snow White queue, give the bronze Poison Apple at the entrance a touch - you might just get a reaction from the Evil Queen herself.

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Snow White’s Wishing Well

Snow White’s wishing well is located on a less-traveled path on the side of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Toss a coin into the fountain and listen to hear Snow White sing. Perch there for a few minutes, and you might get to enjoy a small water and light show at the grotto across the water. It’s also a hotspot for Character meet-and-greets, if that’s your thing.

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Yeti Footprints

As you walk the perimeter of the Matterhorn, keep an eye out for a cast of a footprint believed to belong to Harold the Yeti himself.

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Golden Spike at the Center of Disneyland

Rumor has it that this spike in the ground marks the center of Disneyland - but unfortunately, it’s just a rumor. Really, it was just placed there to make sure Main Street was lined up perfectly to Sleeping Beauty’s castle. It’s actually not even a spike at all, just a gold cap in the ground - and there are a few of them throughout the park. But even if there is no huge significance to the “gold spike” of Disneyland, it’s a fun gem to spot.

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Castle Walkthrough Special Surprises

As you’re enjoying the Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough, be sure to touch and pull on every door handle and latch you can. There are several bits of Disney magic that are only activated that way.

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Sword in the Stone

They say that if you are successful in pulling the sword from the stone in front of King Arthur’s Carousel, you’ll be crowned king or queen. The sword DOES come out of the stone on occasion, though it hardly ever actually does - but you never know if it will work for you.

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Monstro

The entrance to Storybookland is through Monstro the Whale’s giant and terrifying mouth - but he’s holding a few more secrets. If you watch him long enough, you’ll notice Monstro’s giant eye blinking, and you might even get to see him blow up a jet of mist (which totally terrified me the first time I saw it).

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Tinkerbell’s Fountain

At the entrance to Pixie Hollow, there is a fountain featuring Tinker Bell and her pixie friends. At night, every so often, you can enjoy a small light and water show at the fountain - imagine the tiniest World of Color.

 

10 Hidden Gems in Adventureland

Tips, AttractionsKatComment

Adventureland is always a sea of hustle and bustle - sometimes you’re lucky just to get through the walkway down to the Pirates of the Caribbean line (and let’s not talk about the disaster that is the area right in front of the Indiana Jones queue). Because there is always so much hullabaloo, it’s easy to miss these hidden gems - but next time you’re in Adventureland, keep your eyes peeled!

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The Little Man of Disneyland’s Door

In 1955, a Golden book was published about a leprechaun, Patrick Begorra, who lived in a tree in a grove in Anaheim. He meets Mickey Mouse and his friends, who let him know that the trees will need to be moved to make way for Disneyland. Naturally, Patrick isn’t too happy about the situation, but Mickey and friends show him all of the amazing plans for Disneyland and eventually Patrick agrees to let them build the park - as long as he can stay in a tree house tucked out of the way.

In Adventureland, you can find Patrick Begorra’s door of his house, hidden away in a tree next to the Indiana Jones ride. It took us many, many trips to Disneyland before we finally happened to see the door - making this about as hidden as a hidden gem can get. 

 

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Eeyore Sign in Indiana Jones

Before Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye was built, the land it’s situated on was home to a parking lot. The name of the parking lot was - you guessed it - the Eeyore Parking Lot. Behind the projector in the safety video room, there’s a sign featuring Winnie the Pooh’s grumpiest friend, which is just visible in the dim light.

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Indiana Jones Props

Speaking of Indiana Jones, did you know that both the mine cart and the Mercedes truck in the queue (most visible as you’re exiting the ride) are actual props used in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?

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Indiana Jones Queue

While we’re still on the topic of Indiana Jones, while you’re inside the Temple in the queue, pay attention to the signs asking you not to pull on the bamboo and or the rope - and do the exact opposite.

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Mrs. Potts And Chip

As you wander through Tarzan’s Treehouse, you may see a familiar face (or lack of one, really). The tea set on the ground floor features none other than Mrs. Potts and Chip from Beauty and the Beast - minus the enchanted facial features.

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Swisskapolka

While you’re searching for Mrs. Potts at Tarzan’s Treehouse, pay close attention to the gramophone at the base of the tree. It’s playing the Swisskapolka, a song from the Disney film Swiss Family Robinson, which was the inspiration for the original Swiss Family Treehouse before it was re-themed to the Tarzan's Treehouse of today.

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Adventureland Radio

The next time you’re walking by Jungle Cruise, stop and listen to the loudspeakers. Adventureland has its’ own radio station - perfectly themed to match the vintage environment. Some of our favorite excerpts include updates on recent lost Jungle Cruise voyages and ads for new-and-improved mosquito netting.

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We Buy and Sell the Rare and Exotic... Sign

Set up on a back wall of the seating area for Bengal Barbecue is a sign that reads “We Buy & Sell the Rare & Exotic...at our other store” This sign, up until Summer 2017, was featured prominently on the Tropical Imports facade across the walkway.

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Jungle Cruise Offboarding Dock

The next time you ride Jungle Cruise, take a look at the end of the dock as you depart your boat - often, there are funny messages written on sign-boards, props you might not expect to see, or other easy-to-miss hidden gems. While you’re there, you might as well ask a Cast Member for a Jungle Cruise map.

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Shrunken Ned

Now that a good portion of the Adventureland shops have been remade into Bengal Barbecue seating, it’s easy to walk by Shrunken Ned, the Head Shrink of the Jungle and fortune-telling machine. For a quarter and a quick scan of your palm, Shrunken Ned will give you some useful advice and a printed fortune (one of Disneyland’s cheapest and most unique souvenirs).

 

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort 2017

Basics, AttractionsKatComment

The time we’ve been waiting for is finally upon us: the holidays at the Disneyland Resort. The second those glittering icicles top Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Disneyland transforms into a place of even more magic than usual (plus the cooler weather and new sweet treats everywhere you look don’t hurt either).

If you were considering visiting the Disneyland Resort this Holiday season, here’s a quick roundup of all the things you can look forward to:

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Main Street, USA

The Holidays transform Main Street into a winter wonderland, complete with festive garlands above every door, Christmas carols piped through the loudspeakers, and, of course, the colossal Christmas tree at the end of Main Street. This update also comes with a parade - A Christmas Fantasy Parade - which we found skippable, unless you’re really into not-quite-cute, more-like-nightmarish snowmen and one (bad) Christmas song repeated over and over and over (and hey, Small World is one of our favorite rides, so we have a high tolerance for repetitive songs).

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"it's a small world" Holiday

Every time Small World gets its’ holiday overlay, we find ourselves asking why the ride doesn’t look as nice year-round. The additions to the ride are over the top, changing what is usually a pretty hokey ride (we love you, small world) into a truly magical one. Plus, the nighttime lighting is particularly loud and unsubtle, in true Disney fashion.

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Haunted Mansion Holiday

If you didn’t make it for Halloween, have no fear - Jack Skellington and the rest of the citizens Halloweentown stick around through Christmas, so enjoy the Tim Burton-ed Mansion while you can. We recommend either getting to the ride first thing in the morning or investing in a Fast Pass, because that line gets long FAST.

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Cars Land

This year for the first time, both Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree (now Mater’s Jingle Jamboree) and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters (now Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl) have gotten Christmas overlays, including new songs and decorations. While you’re there, be sure to check out the holiday decorations all over Cars Land, especially the various Christmas trees of Radiator Springs residents and the themed Radiator Springs entryway billboard.

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Buena Vista Street

DCA’s main thoroughfare gets the holiday treatment with the Christmas tree next to the famous ‘Storytellers’ statue of Walt and Mickey, decorations in the shop windows, and general holiday magic. Mickey and friends can be found down Buena Vista sporting new Christmas outfits, and even the various street performers get into the holiday spirit.

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Festival of Holidays

Paradise Pier is now home to the Festival of Holidays, a street fair celebrating food, music and dance throughout the world. Sample treats from or inspired by faraway countries, watch some dancing or a live performance as you munch, or head down to Paradise Garden Grill to say hello to Elena of Avalor.

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Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

Pick up a treasure hunt map and go explore the holiday version of the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. There are holiday decorations at every turn, a surprise stand with warm bourbon cider (oh heck yes), and even Santa makes an appearance!

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Holiday Castle

Have we mentioned the holiday decorations on Sleeping Beauty’s Castle? Because they’re amazing. Nothing says the holidays like seeing lit garlands, glittering icicles, and white snow covering the castle turrets. Pose for a picture in front if you can - if not, try taking one from one of the smaller paths around the castle - it’s almost as good of a view, with nearly no crowd.

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World of Color: Season of Light

For a limited time, Paradise Pier hosts World of Color: Season of Light. Honestly, we’ve never been able to sit through this show (we left halfway through the one time we tried it because we found it particularly grating) but if you’re into holiday cartoons, Christmas carols, and the general feel of the World of Color show, give this a try!

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Fireworks

Be sure to set some time aside to view the holiday “Believe...In Holiday Magic” fireworks show on Main Street, complete with projections over Sleeping Beauty Castle (and Small World, if you don’t feel like fighting with the Main Street crowds for a castle view) and the magic of snow.

 

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Don’t forget to look for Holiday magic everywhere you are: part of the beauty of Disneyland is in the more subtle details, and almost nowhere is left undecorated. Check out the decorations in every shop window, most rides and attractions, and always be prepared for some holiday cheer to pop out of nowhere!

 

The New Route of The Disneyland Railroad

Attractions, Disney HistoryStephenComment

We love The Disneyland Railroad because it's an original park classic, nothing beats a slow steam powered nap around the park and the smell is just as iconic Disneyland as Pirates. 

The Disneyland Railroad has a deep history, held a very special place in Walt's heart, and like most of the rest of the park, it continues to evolve.But there's some awesome new changes that bring fun new charm to the ride, great props and elements they brought back, and at this time, a view of the construction and hope for the future of Star Wars Land. 

We're gonna take a peek into a super brief history and how it's evolved, and show you some of our favorite and not so favorite updates. (Sorry new narrator, just not the same). 

The exciting new left turn!

The exciting new left turn!

A Brief History

The Disneyland Railroad was born from Disney's deep rooted passion for trains. Walt was fond of trains from a young age, in fact, one of his childhood jobs was selling newspapers and snacks on trains in Missouri. He loved this so much despite rarely making a profit.

When Disneyland was conceived and built, the railroad was so special to Walt that it was owned by a separate company, Retlaw. That's Walter spelled backward. Walt seemed to be killer at using word jumbles as company names. This separation allowed him to handpick cast members, pay special attention to attraction operation and even design their paychecks in a unique way.

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Early changes to the Railroad

In 1955, when the park opened, the Disneyland Railroad offered two unique grand circle tours of the Magic Kingdom. From Main Street Station you boarded the Passenger Train and from the Frontierland Station, the Western Freight train.  This is the same New Orleans station you see today, but this area wasn't called New Orleans Square until 1966.

Each train steamed around Disneyland with no stops in between and had unique train cars that followed the Passenger and Freight Train theme. it's a Small World and the entire area surrounding it, the Fantasyland Theater and Toontown didn't exist yet. so the Disneyland Railroad tracked a much tighter route, behind Casey Jr., Midget Autopia, and the Motorboat Cruise.

In 1956, the Fantasyland Depot opened, approximately where the path now leads you to Small World and leading up to the opening of Small World in 1966, the track was rerouted to where you see it today.

The New, New Route

Galaxy's Edge, commonly known as Star Wars Land is a massive construction project that took a little bite out of The Rivers of America and required the railroad to slide a little south. This is the most major change to the route since Small World was added and they did a great job. You'd never know the train ride got shorter and the added elements are delightful.

The two most apparent changes are the bridge that takes you over a waterfall, visible from the Rivers of America, and the brand new left turn which realigns the tracks with the path to Toontown Depot.  

 

Bridge and Waterfall along the Northwest side of the Rivers of America

Bridge and Waterfall along the Northwest side of the Rivers of America

Under the tracks, as seen from the Mark Twain. Beavers gnawing away!

Under the tracks, as seen from the Mark Twain. Beavers gnawing away!

Keep your eye out for the relocated Indiana dog house. 

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One change we're not so keen on, the new narrator. Just not the same charm. 

 

And there you go! Have you tried out that new left turn yet? 

The Best Indoor Places to Kick Back in Disneyland

Attractions, TipsKelseyComment
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It happens to the best of us. You’re intent on being a Disney warrior. You crushed the morning, you’re feeling good, but then slowly it starts to seep in. Burnout. Total meltdown tired burnout. It’s hot. People are crying. Are you crying? You might be the crying person. Your bones hurt. You might not have bones any more. But then why do they still hurt? Who finished the bottle of aleve? 

 

Shhh shh sh. We got you. For the times when you cannot take another step and you legit just need a break, there are lots of options to grab a snack and kick back. That rhymed. 

 

We usually save to do these all at once in the middle of the day when the parks are busiest. When you’re walking from show to show and you know you won’t meet a line or a crowd, it acts like a nice break. 

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Great Moments with Mr Lincoln

No lie, I can barely sleep in my own bed. For reasons unknown but should be tested by scientists, the second I sit down in Great Moments with Mr Lincoln I am out. It’s more effective than NyQuil which says a lot because for a while NyQuil was my favorite drink until I reassessed my life. It might be due to the fact that a Ken Burns-esque slideshow kicks off the show and like…is super important or whatever but my body just completely shuts down. Or it could be that I know robot Lincoln is coming and I’m on the verge of horrified every time so I react by passing out but anyway.

 

Great Moments with Mr Lincoln is the one of the first buildings on the right when you enter Disneyland. Not surprising (sorry, Abe) it’s not the most popular attraction at the park, which is perfect, because that gives you a lot of room to stretch out in the air-conditioned and dark theater and take a 10-15 minute power nap. 

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Tiki Room

Tiki Room is great because even though it looks like the audience is going to be completely packed every time, it’s actually surprisingly roomy inside. And most people want to see the show (suckers) so they’ll sit in the front, which leaves the seats in the back wide open. And since they’re all bench seats you can spread out and just chilly chill with your dole whip. 

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Long Rides

If you’re exhausted but still want to power through rides, consider longer attractions. Rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and Small World load you onto a boat and then cradle you for a solid 15 minutes. Plus you can totally nap on Pirates. We’ve all done it and I’m not even a little ashamed. Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and Jungle Cruise are also longer, and you can fast pass both Mansion and Splash.

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Silent Theater

If you’re walking toward the castle on Main Street, you’ll spot what looks like a ticket booth with a terrifying mannequin and a turnstile. This is the Silent Theater, a super sweet little piece of Disney History that’s both worth checking out and a great place to kick back for a bit. Inside you’ll find a collection of screens playing old Mickey Mouse cartoons. There aren’t any seats but most people just pull up a spot on the floor and hang for a while. 

 

The Path of Jedi

This is a 3D show in the theater next to Space Mountain that housed Honey, I Shrunk the Audience and Captain EO. It’s a Star Wars montage of sorts that takes you through the storyline of all the movies. It’s alright? Nothing super special. We’ve only seen it once, but it’s air conditioned and it’s inside which sometimes is all you need amiright. 

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Tough to be a Bug

Let’s hop on over (GET IT) to California Adventure, and head into Bugs Land. Guys I flipping love It’s Tough to be a Bug. It’s charming. I know all the words to the musical number at the end. There are points of sheer terror in the middle so you don’t get bored. And I’ve never been in a full showing of It’s Tough to be a Bug, so it’s another good place to get away from a crowd and chill for a while. 

 

Frozen if you’re tired

I’m not going to sugarcoat this. The Frozen show at the Hyperion in Hollywoodland is not…good. It’s not good. It’s not really worth the space it occupies, and I’d never thought I’d say I miss Aladdin, but at least Aladdin had some good sets and there were some good magical moments. Frozen has some very large doors, so there’s that. But if you have kids and they’re starting to flop, it’s a good option to give them a break and keep them entertained while you pass the eff out for 45 minutes. 

 

Animation Studio

The animation studio on your right as you make your way down to Hollywoodland is a magical and special place. Inside, there are huge screens where they project favorite moments and the making-of lots the Disney classics. It’s a great place to kick back and take in some straight nostalgia. And I know I cry at everything but sometimes I cry in the Animation Studio because it’s so great. 

 

Grand Californian Lobby

There’s an entrance to the Grand Californian as you make your way toward Grizzy River Rapids, which makes it easy to check out their huge and beautiful lobby, modeled after mountain lodges like the Awanee in Yosemite. Take a flop in one of their huge and comfy chairs. Fun fact- there’s a water station by the entrance of the Grand Californian Bar, so you can pour yourself a cup of water and take a load off. 

 

Movie Theater

If you are DONE and you need a serious break from the park, consider checking out the movie theater toward the end of Downtown Disney, close to the Disneyland Hotel. No one really goes to Disneyland to go to the movies, so it’s rarely crowded. The theaters themselves are huge, so you can usually get a few seats to yourself to spread out and get away for a couple hours.