I'm so excited to be writing this. (I'm actually smiling) I think thats just what Disney does to you. It has such a magical presence that I still get giddy when we are heading into the park. We are Disneyland Annual Passholders but we have never experience a night in any of the Disneyland Hotels. To celebrate my James (aka Love Bug) turning "9" we wanted to have the full Disney experience. We stayed at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel which was such a fun experience. The hotel has direct walking access to the parks. If you are staying in one of the Disney Hotels you also get a few perks. Magic Hour is one of them. You can go into Disney California 1 hour before the park opens to the public.
Even though we are locals we still can never manage to get into the park before 8am. We really took advantage of this hour and we got to ride Radiator Springs Racer which was a first for me! I have been coming to Disneyland for many years and we have had passes since James was born. I have a few "Disney Hacks" that I have picked up over the years. I have personally tried all of these myself.
1. Baby Care Center - Located on Main Street in Disneyland. This is a life saver especially if you have kids. I have taken full advantage of this facility many times. You not only can warm up your babies bottle but they provide a full changing service with multiple changing beds for your baby. Wipes & diapers are provided. Full nursing stations so you can nurse your little bundle in comfort and privacy. There is even a high chair and TV to entertain your older ones while your feeding. Even if it is just to relax for a minute this place is so helpful.
2. Lilly Belle Reservations. This is a must Disney experience. I would say this is a first stop due to the limited space. You will need to go to the Disneyland Railroad. Once you get in line make sure you let them know you are here for the Lilly Belle reservation and fingers crossed you will get it!! It has been known to be named after Walt Disney's wife Lillian. It was originally intended for VIP's and special guests to be transported in a secure and private setting. You can read more about the Railroad here.
3. Bengal BBQ Phone Charging "SECRET SPOT" - Well, this is a newly discovered spot and if your like me and need a phone charging station on the regular then you will be thanking me for this one. There are additional charging stations but they are not everywhere. When I stubbled upon this after hearing about it, I had to check it out myself. It is located in Frontierland at the Bengal BBQ restaurant. It is adjacent to one of the far tables when you walk in and there is a table conveniently located right by it so you can sit, charge and have lunch!!
4. Dole Whip. If you know then you know! Ha ha ha! No, really if you have not tried the Tiki Room's Dole Whip then you need to go ASAP! Disneyland's perfectly textured tropical treat! There is always a major line for this incredible must have disney treat. I found that if you turn approximately 10 feet into the actual waiting area there is another Dole line and it is usually 1/2 the size of the one outside the Tiki Room. You will thank me later for that one!!
5. Mark Twain Riverboat Pilots License - Earn that coveted Mark Twain Pilot Certificate. You will have to ask a cast member for this one. You will be escorted to the wheelhouse where you will have a "job" to do. You may be asked to man the ginormous wheel, take charge of the whistle and bell system as you wave hello to guests on Tom Sawyer's Island. In the end you will receive a Pilot Certificate which is by far the one the coolest things ever!
6. Disney's Griffith Park Bench - I really love the story behind The Wooden Bench. The idea for Disneyland was imagined while Walt Disney watched his girls play on the merry-go-round at Griffith Park. This actual park bench was restored and is on display in Disneyland's Opera House lobby. "An ordinary wood bench with extraordinary history."
I hope this helps make your next Disneyland trip even more magical! Please share your favorite Disney memories or your favorite disney hacks below! I would love to hear them!!