Disneyland: Commando Weekend or Vacation Experience?
Let’s clear up a common misconception: Disneyland is not only about theme park til you drop for 2 days and then heading home. Sure, that’s how a lot of people do it. And if you’ve only got a weekend and want to make a run at it, that’s fine. But if you’re thinking Disneyland for your next vacation, and actually want it to be, you know, a VACATION, then it absolutely can be!
First off, let’s start with the idea that you actually want to enjoy the entire experience. You’ve got kids in tow, you want this to be special for them, and you want to enjoy your time, maybe even (gasp!) relax a bit. If we’re starting there, let’s maybe throw the Motel 6 idea out the window. I know, I know, it’s so common for people to say that the hotel is “just somewhere to crash at the end of the night.” Except, what if it isn’t? What if you could actually enjoy your hotel? What if it was part of the overall experience?
Well, in that case, let’s consider an actual resort. There are several to choose from in the area, but I’m talking nice rooms, nice services, and a super awesome pool. Because honestly, most kids are all about pools and a super awesome pool just makes the vacation so much better. For example, at the Disneyland Hotel, we’re talking about gorgeous hotel rooms, with Disney touches throughout, on property restaurants (including character breakfasts), characters visiting in the lobby, excellent customer service, and when you walk out your hotel lobby, you walk into Downtown Disney. How’s that for staying in the Disneyland experience? Plus, the pool area is amazing. Two pools and a an entire monorail themed waterslide splash area, with three sizes of water slides. Now add in cocktails by the pool for the parents – perfect.
By now some are thinking, “When would I use any of that? I’ll never be at the hotel, I have to get through the parks.” Back up – we’re trying to avoid that commando approach, remember? Instead, we’ll head to the parks at opening to beat the crowds, have lunch and then head back to our (super close) hotel for an afternoon break. Now we’ll have plenty of time for swimming and relaxing. After we’ve cooled off and had some resort fun, we can head back into the theme parks for the evening.
Is two park days enough if we’re doing it this way? Nope. But we’re aiming for a full vacation experience here, so that’s ok. In this case, you’ll want at least 3 park days to allow for a good pace, afternoon fun and plenty of time to get all of the rides in.
What else? How about a day just for pool fun, exploring Downtown Disney and trying out some of the fun and delicious dining choices there? Next up, we can take a day trip to nearby Huntington Beach for some ocean fun and relaxing views. Universal Studios can be a fun day trip, and older kids may enjoy visiting Hollywood as well. Have a few more days? You can pack up and head down to San Diego to a lovely resort near the beach, for a visit to Sea World, Legoland and to explore the city of San Diego.
There are so many ways to make your Disneyland trip into an enjoyable, fun paced vacation. If that’s what you are looking for, don’t be fooled into thinking Disneyland is a one weekend only destination. That version is fast, furious, and tiring. I’d love to help you turn it into a fabulous week of family vacation fun instead!