10 Great Places to Relax at Disneyland
Let’s be honest, sometimes a trip to Disneyland or Walt Disney World can wear you out! While I do believe Disneyland is more relaxing than Disney World, there are still times where the heat, the crowds, the pace – something – will wear you out. When that happens, it’s time for a break! To really enjoy a Disney vacation, I’m a big believer that you need to incorporate some time to relax on your vacation. Sometimes it’s so hard to make yourself take a break. There’s always one more ride to ride, one more show to see, one more Mickey bar to eat, etc. If you don’t want to take a full fledged break back in the hotel room, or the hotel pool, here are some suggestions for places at Disneyland Resort for a quick break. Take some time to rest and rejuvenate! It is, after all, a vacation.
1. Redwood Creek Challenge Trail – One of our favorite places to sit and relax is inside Redwood Creek Challenge. There are so many cool shady spots to chill out while your kids work off some energy. Redwood Creek is full of things to entertain your kids, a rock wall, zipline, rope bridges, slides, etc. Disney California Adventure recently added an Up element to the trail. Dug and Russell left some clues to help you earn Wilderness Explorer badges. Being a huge fan of Up, I thought it was a great idea. There is only one entrance and exit to Redwood Creek, so if your kids are old enough to entertain themselves, but you’re worried they’ll get confused and go back out into the park, pick a bench where you can watch the entrance. Then sit back and relax while they enjoy some freedom.
2. Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island – Similar to Tom Sawyer’s Island at Disney World, Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland is an excellent place to escape the crowds. Accessible only by a slow loading raft ride, the fact that there are no rides or eateries on the island makes Pirate’s Lair a fairly quiet place. Even if you do hit it on a crowded day, there are tons of nooks and crannies and shady spots to get away. It’s shady all over and that may be enough to relax you, but if you need to sit, there are lots of places to do that too!
3. Sonoma Terrace – Sonoma Terrace is a beautiful place to sit and eat at Disney California Adventure. It’s attached to the Wine Country Trattoria at the Golden Vine Winery restaurant. It’s reminiscent of a vineyard in wine country California. There are beautiful vines growing all over the walls and trellis work above much of the seating to provide lots of shade. It’s all so peaceful back there. If you order a World of Color picnic meal, this is your pick up place, so stay and enjoy your meal in this beautiful setting! Even if you’re not eating, just go sit on the terrace for a little while.
4. Grizzly Trail – Grizzly Trail is a quiet pathway behind Grizzly River Run at Disney California Adventure. It winds around beside some beautiful waterfalls and is a great place to take pictures! There’s no destination in particular, it’s just a trail to walk on and enjoy. On particularly hot days, this is a great place to go and let the mist washing off the waterfalls wash over you to cool you down.
5. Court de Anges – Back in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square there are some quiet, tucked away places. The Court de Anges is a courtyard nestled among a shopping area that sometimes is one of the best places to enjoy a quiet moment. It used to be quiet all the time, but lately the powers that be at Disneyland choose to put merchandise carts back there some days and character meet and greets on other days, it’s not always so quiet anymore. Still, if you can catch it on a day when there aren’t any carts or characters, it’s a beautiful little picturesque courtyard. It’s particularly decked out during the holidays, so definitely check it out then.
6. Underneath the Silly Symphony Swings – You may never have noticed, but there is a great area perfect for relaxing built in under the swings at the back of Disney California Adventure. There are several benches right on the water and it’s not a place the crowds tend to seek out. The entrance walkway is just past the swings as you are walking from Mickey’s Fun Wheel. It’s shady, quiet and has beautiful views of the water and Paradise Pier. When the crowds get high, or the temperature goes up, this is definitely a place to get away.
7. Restaurants – Believe it or not, even in a resort full of screaming children (I can say that as Mom of two), there are some quiet places to eat. While children are certainly allowed, there are a few restaurants that tend to cater more to adults, such as Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. Unless you’re unlucky enough to be seated near a rowdy child, you’ll probably have a very peaceful dinner. Wine Country Tratorria in Disney California Adventure is also a beautiful, peaceful setting similar to Sonoma Terrace in number 3 above.
8. Mark Twain Riverboat – This one is technically a ride, but it’s a super peaceful one. It’s a giant paddle wheel riverboat that travels around Tom Sawyer’s Island in Disneyland. It’s not usually hard to find somewhere to sit for about 20 minutes while you take in the views as you sail around the Rivers of America.
9. Snow White’s Grotto and Wishing Well – As you are facing Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, off to the right is Snow White’s Grotto and Wishing Well. Stop and enjoy the waterfall, and the statues of the dwarves and Snow White tucked all over the rocks. If you stay long enough you can hear Snow White herself singing and you just might see some Disney princesses make an appearance.
10. Boat pier and steps – In Disneyland between the Matterhorn loading area and it’s a small world, there are a couple of great sitting areas. Right next to the walkway back to small world, there’s a tiered sitting area with a great view of the water and even the monorail. At night time, it’s also a good place to watch the parades and even the fireworks. During the day when nothing’s going on, though, it’s just a nice place to sit and people watch. Below that, there’s a former boat dock with a covered awning. It’s often a place for stroller parking these days, but it’s still somewhere to enjoy the quiet.
How about you? Do you know of any other great places at Disneyland to get away from the hustle and bustle for a little while? Share them with us!
11 thoughts on “10 Great Places to Relax at Disneyland”
You don’t mention the Tiki Room! That’s our favorite place to relax. We get a Dole Whip from the cart and relax in the courtyard before going into the cool dark building to enjoy the show.
That is a great one! I love that little courtyard too. With a Dole Whip? Even better!
When it isn’t too crowded, Hungry Bear’s downstairs seating area. Or the animation academy at DCA but there aren’t many benches, though it’s dark and quiet.
You’re right, Hungry Bear does seem to always be fairly quiet. The shade is an added bonus. We’ve definitely gone into the Animation Academy to escape the heat too.
When I’m in the park and feeling like I need a power nap, I actually jump on Pirates of the Caribbean or the railroad.
Pirates is a nice, cool place on a hot day – and the line moves fast. Plus, the ride is one of the longest in the park at around 16 minutes. Once you get past that first drop it’s all droopy eyes for me.
The railroad is a nice one to go undisturbed for almost as long as you want. They only clear the train on busy days or when they have to close down for the fireworks or parade, so technically you could ride in circles around the park for hours. Grab a seat in a corner and no one will disturb you until you’re ready to hit the park again.
This blog also makes me wistful for the People Mover and the Skyway. Those used to be my favorite ways to relax in the park.
That’s a great tip about the railroad. If they aren’t clearing the train, you could relax there for quite a while.
The People Mover is an excellent place to relax at Walt Disney World and I’m glad it’s still there at least. It’s too bad we can’t enjoy it (and the Skyway) at Disneyland.
Tammy you should do something similar to Brian Nichols’ GOAT system.
I like that idea, Will! I’ll have to talk to Brian to see if I can borrow his system…
Oooh like this how about a series of the 10 best places to relax in Walt Disney World, park by park.
I like that idea too, Tracy! It’s good information!
Has anyone noticed there’s very little shade at Disney California or places to sit outdoors. After being at the park for 12 hours and spending $700.00 on hopper tickets, you’d think there would be a place to put your kids and stuff for a few minutes, besides the ground. The little Mermaid has more than enough space out front and below it to add many benches.
Viewing for the world of colors is ridiculous too as the deck around the venue looks like it was not made for for spectating. View for the show is optimal for only a few hundred people. They need to reconfigure the dock into staggered stadium seating so 4x as many people can see the show and have a place to sit during the day.