As every experienced theme park commando knows, the Unofficial Guide’s number one tip for visiting Disneyland on a busy day (like during 2013′s spring break season) is “arrive early, arrive early, arrive early.” But the flip side is our paradoxical suggestion to stay late during extended operating hours, in order to take advantage of evening entertainment and shorter attraction lines.
Following both recommendations can result in spending a solid 16+ hours inside the park, if you enter at 8am and depart at midnight (a standard peak-season operating schedule). If that sounds more like a death march than a vacation to you, you’re not alone. That leads us to our most frequently overlooked essential epigram of touring intelligence: take a nap! A few minutes (or hours) of shut-eye in the middle of the afternoon will not only re-energize you for the evening, but also offer an escape from the worst wait times of the day. By the way, this advice is just as crucial for adults as it is for children. Even if you never take a nap at home, take the time for a lie-down any day you spend over 8 hours touring. Trust me, you’ll thank us!
Unlike the sprawling Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort is compact and easily accessible from numerous off-site hotels, making it easy for many guests to walk from the park gates to their rooms in less time than it take to retrieve a vehicle from the parking garage. If you are staying on property or within a short stroll of Disneyland, there’s absolutely no excuse not to take a mid-day rest in your room.
However, there are still plenty of visitors who can’t or won’t leave the Disneyland Resort and return again later that day. When you need to recharge, but don’t want to walk off property, where do you go? If you can’t retreat to your room, there are still some quiet corners amid the resort’s chaos where you can catnap. For starters, here are four of my favorite spots to sneak forty winks around the Disneyland Resort.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
In the now-extinct “Under New Management” edition of WDW’s Enchanted Tiki Room, Iago used to quip that he was going to “head over to the Hall of Presidents and take a nap.” In Anaheim, the show in the Main Street Opera House fills a similar role. Don’t get me wrong; the patriotic presentation is stirring, and the Abraham Lincoln animatronic stunning. But between the padded seats, dim lighting, and somber subdued tone, its all to easy to slide into the back row and slip into slumberland for twenty minutes. Just be prepared for the mid-show surround sound cannon fire to briefly rouse you.
Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular
Even better for napping than Old Abe’s theatre is Aladdin’s auditorium over in DCA’s Hollywood Land. You’ll have to do a little advance planning to pass out here, since there are only a handful of scheduled daily performance, as opposed to Lincoln’s back-to-back shows. But once inside, you’ll find equally accommodating furniture and — more importantly — a generous 45 minute running time. This show boasts the longest attraction length anywhere in the resort, making the back row of the Hyperion’s top balcony a top pick for serious zzzz’s.
Heading back across the Esplanade, you’ll find another fine hibernation spot in Tomorrowland — at least for the next couple weeks. The large rotating structure between Space Mountain and Autopia, which once housed the legendary nap-facilitators Carousel of Progress and America Sings, is now home to the underwhelming Innoventions exhibits, which have the charm of a neon-lit Best Buy blended with a tech trade show. The good news, for now, is that this is usually one of the least crowded spots in the resort, with many lightly-trafficked corners to crash in, especially on the outer ring of the first floor. You might even be tempted to stretch out in one of the model bedrooms inside the Dream House, though cast members discourage that. However, this venue’s placidity will be shattered on April 13th, when a Stark Industries Expo exhibit will open in conjunction with the big-screen release of Iron Man 3. As the first Disneyland experience associated with the mega-blockbuster Marvel Comics franchise, this interactive advertraction is certain to increase Innovention’s attendance numbers, likely spoiling this as a sleeping spot until it exits after September.
Grand Californian Lobby Fireplace
As nice as some in-park napping places are, it’s really best to escape the overstimulating environment, even if you don’t want to wander far. Many guests don’t realize that anyone can exit Disney California Adventure into the Grand Californian Hotel through the “exclusive” entrance near Grizzly Rver Run, regardless of whether they are renting a room there. Grab a comforting beverage from the Hearthstone Lounge, then pull up a comfy chair to the roaring fireplace in the majestic lobby. If you can keep your eyes open longer than 15 minutes in that situation, you’re a stronger man than I! When you awake, you can show your admission ticket to re-enter the park through the same side door, or perk up with a walk through Downtown Disney back to the front gate.
Those a are a few of my favorites; now I turn it over to you, our readers. Where do you sneak away to when you need to sack out at the Happiest Place on Earth? Please help out your fellow snoozers by suggesting your own siesta spots in the comments below!