When it comes to a visit to the Disneyland Resort, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Between the record breaking crowds visiting, the unbearable parking situation plaguing the resort, as well as the construction going on at the back of Disneyland Park, it can cause a lot of headaches. But what if I were to tell you that there were quite a few “hidden” gems of the Disneyland Resort that will sometimes give you the needed break from your otherwise chaotic vacation? Well, I am here to tell you I have put together a 4-part series on just that. And today we begin with where it all began, Disneyland Park.
The first stop on our Hidden Gems tour of Disneyland is going to be Main Street U.S.A. This is our gateway to Disneyland. Pass through the tunnels underneath the train station and you are in the middle of Main Street U.S.A. Most of us use this place as our coffee stop (Starbucks), to get our souvenirs from the trip (Emporium), or to get that famous Disneyland Corn Dog. But to escape the hustle and bustle of a Disneyland Day, this is a great spot to relax and enjoy some hidden gems of Disneyland. Here is the list of Hidden Gems at Main Street U.S.A:
Main Street Opera House (Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Disney Gallery): This is one of my favorite spots in all of Disneyland. Inside you get to see a park bench from Griffith Park, where Walt Disney first envisioned Disneyland. Once farther into the building, you will see a giant model of Disneyland on opening day in 1955. There is also a model of Splash Mountain on display. There is also a very little “theater” that plays clips from a film shown in the Opera House during the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland, hosted by Steve Martin. Once you pass the Disneyland section of the Opera House you will see a giant model of the Capitol. Here, a movie will play explaining the show you are about to go in and see. Inside the theater, you will be able to see Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, a show first conceived for the New York World’s Fair and brought to Disneyland. The show recently got an update to include one of the most sophisticated audio animatronics to date. Enjoy this relaxing 15 minute show. A good time to just relax and recharge.
Main Street Cinema: This place is so much fun. Love Mickey Mouse? Love old cartoons? Love air conditioning in Southern California’s brutal summers? Then this is the place for you. The cinema plays multiple classic Mickey Mouse cartoons on a loop. It is a great place to just sit down (or stand) and take a break from the crowds of Disneyland.
Next stop on our tour is Fantasyland. This is the most magical land of them all. This land holds the record for most Disney classic-style dark rides, at a count of 4 in the land. This land is also home to one of the most popular attractions in all of Disneyland, Peter Pan’s Flight. Here are my list of hidden gems of Fantasyland:
Alternative Sleeping Beauty Castle Experience: Many people know of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough attraction, which tells the story of Sleeping Beauty in amazing animated and construction vignettes. But what most people do not know of, is the alternative experience. At the exit of the attraction, there is a door to the right. This is a mini theater inside. Just ask a Cast Member at the exit to be able to experience this. Once inside, the lights will dim, and you will be taken on a fully animated version of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough. It’s a lot of fun, and a good place to relax.
Our final stop on this first part of the hidden gems tour takes us to Tomorrowland. This is my favorite land in all of Disneyland, as this was the land I worked in as a Cast Member years ago. This land is full of super popular attractions like Space Mountain, Star Tours and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, but there is one hidden gem in this land that is a fantastic experience that I believe everyone should do!
The Marine Observation Outpost (Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage alternative experience) : This one is so much fun. I know a lot of people who absolutely love the Submarine Voyage, but I also know of the guests who would not go down that winding staircase if it was the last thing they ever did. Luckily, Disney has thought of this. Just off to the right of the loading dock is the Marine Observation Outpost, which is an alternative experience for the attraction. Ask a Cast Member for the alternative experience and they will take you into this highly themed room with a “live feed” to a submarine about to take off on their voyage. You will be able to experience the entire 15 minute attraction on a large screen “window”. There are also some fun things about this experience as well. Come and experience it at different times of the day, as it will reflect whatever time of day it is outside. Also, look inside some of the lockers next to the windows. You will find a WDI t-shirt in one of them. Also towards the end of the voyage, look out for a particular starfish from Finding Nemo. This is exclusive to this experience.
And there you have it. The first part of this series of Hidden Gems of the Disneyland Resort. I hope you all enjoyed reading about them, and get out to the parks and experience these Hidden Gems. Until next time!