Where Do You Nap at the Disneyland Resort?

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photos by Seth Kubersky

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.

Innoventions

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!

 

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Posted on April 3, 2013

18 Responses to “Where Do You Nap at the Disneyland Resort?”

  • by Bill Hudson on April 3, 2013, at 10:11 am EST

    I napped during the Muppet show during our visit in January, it wasn’t on purpose and being woken up by a booming cannon wasn’t ideal.

    • Thanks Bill! I can’t sleep through Muppetvision because a) it’s too loud, and b) I love the Muppets too much.
      (RIP Muppet co-creator Jane Henson, who passed away yesterday.)

  • by Heather Louise on April 3, 2013, at 10:12 am EST

    My husband believes that Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln was made for napping. He would sit/sleep through two showings at a time.

  • During the 24 hour leap day, I took a wonderful nap in the Tiki Room (although the thunder at the end was a little much), and some of my friends took a Grand Circle Tour nap on the Disneyland Railroad. Just get at the end of a row, so that no one has to step over you to get in or out. Plus, at the very end, you can rest your head on the car dividers.

  • When I was little I fell asleep at the tables at Carnation Plaza during the swing dancing. It worked out great until Captain Hook came out of the back area to go greet guests and he woke me up by tapping me on the shoulder. Imagine being 4 years old and being woken up by Captain Hook.

  • by Truly Huish on April 3, 2013, at 10:58 am EST

    My husband loves to take a quick nap during It’s a Small World!

  • My husband and I went to Walt Disney World (we grew up near Disneyland) for the first time in 2011. I planned a non-stop park touring and dining extravaganza.(Your Touring Plans website was a huge help) It went well, but I feel like I missed out on enjoying our resort (the Poly). Also the hubby and I both have had knee/leg issues which ended badly.
    Now I’m planning a Sun through Sat visit which also includes our 28 year old daughter at Port Orleans Riverside. I’m trying to plan our agenda which will include more “napping” type activities – laying around the pool for instance.
    So I’d love to see a similar post about WDW. Also some “how to spend a relaxing 3 hours at Epcot/AK/MK/HS” kind of plan.

  • After a 15 hour flight I grabbed a few micro-naps on POTC

  • Sleep! NO Sleep, go for days without sleep.
    Michael Darling, Peter Pan

  • I agree with Debbie V. I would love to hear top picks for grabbing a few winks at each park in DW.

  • Tom Sawyers Island. I grew up within an hours drive to Disneyland, so we went a few times a year, but only for the day. At mid-day we’d head to the Island, eat our packed lunch (technically not allowed to still do this, but I’ve never been stopped bringing my own food in) and take our naps in the shade of the trees or find a cozy spot in the cave.

    I’ve also found several spots in the Redwood Creek Trail area in California Adventure similarly suited to power nap / downtime.

  • For Debbie V….At EPCOT, in the World Showcase, the American Adventure is the best place in WDW to catch a nap. It’s a good animatronics/film show, but it serves a better purpose as a nap stop. And, as previously mentioned, the Hall of Presidents, in Magic Kingdom, is another good napping show. You can also hop on the monorail to the Contemporary resort and find a comfy chair in one of the many lounges and seating areas.

  • A good nap spot in AK is Finding Nemo, the Musical. I accidentally slept through it my first trip. It’s cool, dark and the seats are really comfy! If they have it open, Sounds Dangerous is great for a nap in DHS. You can sit through several shows without moving and get a decent power nap (or two).