Every trip to Disney is made better with a stay “on property.” It helps carry the theme of your vacation throughout the duration of your stay, and we are hard-pressed to argue for a hotel that does that better than the Disneyland Hotel. It captures the classic spirit of Walt’s vision from the teacup chairs in the lobby to a miniature model of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the Frontierland Tower. However, there are a few not-so-obvious features that kids will really enjoy.
ANIMATED SHORTS IN GOOFY’S THEATER
All Disney hotels play a series of cartoons in their lobbies for kids to watch while parents check-in. In addition to the viewing area in the lobby, the Disneyland Hotel actually has a separate theater dedicated to this. Goofy’s Theater is found in the same building as Goofy’s Kitchen. In this little theater, Disney movies (usually animated shorts) are played throughout the day. It’s a great spot to sit and cool off in a dark, air-conditioned room with a bit of entertainment.
WASHCLOTH FOLDING IN THE ADVENTURELAND TOWER
We all go crazy over those little towel and washcloth animals that housekeeping leaves in our rooms. Now is the chance for everyone to learn how to do it for themselves. On selected mornings, a long table is set up in the Adventureland Tower where families are welcome to take a few lessons in washcloth origami. The great thing about this is that your kids can learn a skill that they will take home after vacation, making their newly acquired talent a souvenir of sorts.
LUNCH OR DINNER AT TRADER SAM’S
Being primarily a bar, Trader Sam’s fame is based on its liquor menu. You should know, though, that children are welcome to dine with their families inside before 8pm. It has a limited menu; however, this shouldn’t deter you. Many kids are fascinated by the “attraction” aspect of the place. It has an atmosphere that combines the Enchanted Tiki Room and Jungle Cruise, and there are so many intricate details to look at along the walls and on the shelves. In addition to that, occasionally interactive elements in the room (such as a faux tropical rainstorm) are triggered for an added bit of fun.
MONORAIL SLIDES IN THE POOL AREA
Pool areas are a “given” when it comes to the things that kids love. Add a couple of large water slides, and you certainly have their full attention. Make those waterslides look like monorails on tracks, and you can pretty much count on having to drag them out of the water play area.
CHARACTER MEET AND GREETS
If you ever want to meet a Disney character, you should prepare to stand in a lengthy line or cough up money for a character meal…unless you are staying at the Disneyland Hotel. Very classic characters like Chip and Dale, Minnie, Pluto, and Goofy can be found roaming the entryway and lobby daily from 12:30pm-1pm. With the characters being extremely accessible and ready to play without an assembly line, it feels like you have spontaneously bumped into a few celebrities.
THE MOST MAGICAL HEADBOARD
When your long day is done and it is time to get some shut-eye, the Disneyland Hotel rooms come with their own version of a nightlight hidden in the headboard. A beautiful wood-carved headboard is the focal point of each room. The scene depicts Sleeping Beauty’s castle with a number of exploding fireworks in the sky. The magic comes into play when you push a couple buttons on the base of a lamp that is placed on the nightstand. With that single touch, the room is softly illuminated by small lights in the headboard that make the fireworks appear to be exploding against the background of twinkling stars in the sky. All this is done with a music box rendition of “When You Wish Upon A Star” that ceases to play after about a minute. It is an elegant touch that is a hit with adults and children alike…one that ends each day with that little bit of Disney magic that we all love.