For all that has been written about Disneyland, one underreported fact remains: The Magic Kingdom is an excellent place to bring your girl. It has everything a fun getaway needs: nice weather, hotels with pools, good restaurants, bars, plenty to do, plenty to see and lots of places for photographs. Bonus: when she tells her friends you took her to Disneyland her friends will go, “Awww.” Your hero status climbs every time you can make her friends, who all secretly hate you, go, “Awww.”
Yeah, we all know Disneyland is for kids, but it is not just for kids. It’s for grown-ups, too. If you’re considering the Magic Kingdom for a getaway, follow these seven tips on how to have adult fun at Disneyland.
1. Get a pass to both Disneyland and California Adventure (pictured above). Disneyland is great. It has all the classics. We’ll get to those in a minute. California Adventure does not have Disneyland’s history and rep, but it does have the California Screamin’ roller coaster, the very cool Soarin’ Over California flying experience, Mickey’s Fun Wheel and the deceptively scary Mulholland Madness one-car coaster ride.
2. Don’t just go to Disneyland. Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs and Temecula’s wine country and casinos are all less than two hours away. Within Orange County, you can also hit Knott’s Berry Farm or catch a Ducks or Angels game. Many Disneyland Anaheim hotels, such as Hyatt Regency Orange County, offer pre-game drink and appetizer specials and shuttles to and from Angels games. Always nice to hit a ballpark you’ve never been to.
3. Hit the classics. No trip to Disneyland is complete without these essential attractions: Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, the Indiana Jones Adventure, Space Mountain, the Matterhorn Bobsleds and “it’s a small world.” Also, hit the Star Wars-themed Star Tours, captained by a robot Pee-Wee Herman. Trust us. It’s awesome. And if it’s still playing, catch Michael Jackson in Captain EO. It will make you miss his talent, and 1980s mullets.
4. Get to know the FASTPASS System. Disney’s FASTPASS service lets a visitor enjoy the rest of the Disneyland Resort while his place in line is saved. For example, you want to ride Space Mountain (which everyone should ride), but you don’t want to wait 45 minutes. Insert your ticket into the FASTPASS machine. The machine spits out a ticket that allows you to return at the head of the line at a specific time.
5. Rent a nice hotel room. You don’t have to stay at Walt Disney World Resort, although you can. There are dozens of Disneyland Anaheim hotels nearby that offer amenities such as pools, gyms, bars, restaurants and transportation. Much like Las Vegas, the pool is the key. Just like you need respite from Las Vegas’s relentless onslaught of casino sounds and smells, so you will need somewhere to escape the long lines and huge crowds. At least for a morning or afternoon.
6. Visit Downtown Disney. Downtown Disney is where the bars are. They don’t sell booze at Disneyland, so, if you’re planning to get drunk, this is where you will do it. Pleasure Island has Raglan Road Irish Pub & Bar, Fuego by Sosa Cigars, Paradiso 37, Curl by Sammy Duval, Orlando Harley-Davidson and outdoor food and beverage locations. These are the places Goofy goes to get drunk when he clocks out. Probably.
7. Check out the World of Color at California Adventure. Not sure how long this one will be around, but if you have a chance to, go. The World of Color is a nighttime water, light and fire show that takes place in the Paradise Bay lagoon. It’s the Bellagio fountain on crack. You will need FASTPASS tickets to view the show from the viewing area. If you’re too late, you can catch a decent side view from the waterline by the Golden Zephyr. Odds are, you and your girl will be the only ones standing there. Awww.
Photos by Jen Jones of Creative Groove