Last week my family and I had a fun-filled four day trip to the happiest place on earth. The first day it was about 95 degrees there. It felt much warmer than that because there wasn’t even a breeze, just hot stale air in a crowded Disneyland. Not to mention the fact that we’ve had unseasonably cool temps in northern California so we weren’t exactly prepared for the heat.
I had packed shorts and short-sleeved shirts for everyone, but we needed more than that. We had a ton of bottles of water and kept making the kids drink. We also bought frozen apple juices and frozen lemonades to keep the kids cool and hydrated. In an effort to keep everyone cool, entertained, and happy I discovered some places in Disneyland Resort that did just that.
Experiences and Shows
Super shady. It’s a walk-through experience.
Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
Tons of shade and the caves are very cool inside. It’s a very short boat ride over the River of America.
Big Thunder Ranch Petting Zoo and Cabin
There is a little cabin across from the petting zoo that has air conditioning and two big tables with crayons and coloring pages.
This area is rarely crowded and Woody and Jessie are here often.
Big Thunder Ranch Petting Zoo
The petting zoo is pretty well shaded.
Donald’s Boat and Goofy’s Playhouse
Both have some serious air conditioning
These are some other great ways to cool down in Disneyland:
- Main Street USA – Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln – Air-conditioned theatre
- Adventureland – Enchanted Tiki Room – Air-conditioned theatre. Do yourself a favor and get a Dole Whip while you are waiting. It’s a delicious soft serve available as is or in a float form.
- Fantasyland – Fantasyland Theatre – shaded but not indoors, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Walk-through – Air-conditioned but it can be a bit scary to younger kids, Mickey and the Magical Map
- Mickey’s Toontown – Mickey’s House, Minnie’s House – both are wonderfully air conditioned, Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Treehouse – very shaded.
- Tomorrowland – Innoventions, Captain EO, Starcade, Captain America: The Living Legend and Symbol of Courage – all take place in a nicely Air-conditioned theatre.
Disney Animation Academy
I could go on and on and on about how cool this building is. I cannot believe I have never been in here before. First of all, it’s huge. Second, it’s air conditioned. Third, it has ton of cool things to do. There are several hallways from this main room that take you to different experiences and shows.
I apologize for the terrible photo. This looks like it could be the old library in the Beast’s castle before it was fixed up for Belle. There are a ton of these little storybook stations. You sit down, the book takes your picture and asks you questions. At the end, they tell you what price or princess you would be. Brady was Capt. Hook. Lou and I were Belle. So so fun!
This is hard to see, but this wheel has clay molded into various stages of animation. Right before your eyes it starts to spin faster and faster until you are seeing a scene from Toy Story play out right in front of you. It was awesome!
Secrets of Drawing
With the help of a Disney artist, you can sketch your very own Disney character. We did not do this, but we’ll definitely do it next time!
Turtle Talk with Crush
The kids and all the adults really liked this. I still have no clue how they are actually able to do it. You enter a theatre and kids can sit “criss-cross apple sauce” in the front of the theatre in the “reef” while the adults can sit in theatre chairs behind them. The screen appears to be a large aquarium with a microphone. After an introduction, Crush (Finding Nemo) swims out and says hello. He asks the audience questions because his kids are always asking him about humans and he doesn’t know the answers. Then we are able to ask him questions. He tells the cast member who to bring the mic to. It was so awesome. The only bummer is that my kids would have loved to talk to crush and they didn’t get the opportunity. There’s always next time!
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
This is another area I have never really explored. The kids loved it. They could have been in this area for at least four hours. It’s not crowded and it’s very shaded. I still take my double Bob stroller for the kids and the storage while in the park, so it’s great that I can get some miles on the kiddos. It’s modeled after the Wilderness Explorer Russel in Up. When you enter the area a ranger hands you a map and explains that you can earn your Wilderness Explorer badge by completing six obstacles.
You have to find Kevin’s tracks. There are several tracks to throw you off.
They call it a tire slide, but it’s really a tire zip-line.
Brady was too small, so they had another obstacle for smaller Explorers.
She loved this and felt so accomplished.
Brady was too small for this so he got to climb this instead. His sister hammed it up for him.
They have logs to slide down while you howl. There were these ones for the smaller explorers.
This took place in caves that scared my kids. So, no pictures. But they were cool caves.
There are statues and poems along a trail. The kids have to name the trait from the poem. It ends at this log. The kids had the best time playing here.
We came back to this log area a couple of times so the kids could get out and run around in the shade.
After they’ve complete their obstacles they get a badge. You can get it at a ceremony or the ranger at the gate can give it to them.
Other than the obstacles they had a ton of fun stuff to offer.
Tons of rope bridges to climb across.
Tall lookouts to check out.
And wooden bridges to run across.
Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular
This was a shockingly well done live-action 45 minute play that took place in a beautiful, three level, large and air conditioned theatre. The actors were great, especially the Genie. Warning: the wait to watch the show is outside in a mildly shaded area.
Disney Junior – Live on Stage
Always a family favorite. This show is indoors, lasts 23 minutes, and uses puppets. While there are benches around the perimeter of the theatre, it’s many floor seating. They rotate the shows occasionally. It always starts with Mickey and friends who need help to accomplish a job. They ask their friends via the mousketool for help. This time they received help from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Doc McStuffins, and Sofia the First.
Enjoy the mist outside the Soarin’ Over California Ride
It only goes off every 15 minutes, but it’s very nice when it happens.
These are some other great ways to cool down in California Adventure:
- Hollywood Land – Muppet Vision 3D – Air-conditioned theatre, but they haven’t changed the show for a few years.
- “a bug’s land” – Princess Dot Puddle Park – basically a sprayground, It’s tough to be a bug!, extended sneak peak of Maleficent
- Pacific Wharf – Boudin Bakery Tour
- Adventureland – Indiana Jones Adventure
- New Orleans Square – Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion
- Critter Country – Splash Mountain, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Fantasyland – Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, King Arthur’s Carrousel, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Peter Pan’s Flight, Alice in Wonderland, It’s a Small World
- Mickey’s Toontown – Gadget’s Go Coaster, Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
- Tomorrowland – Finding Nemo Submarines, Space Mountain, Star Tours – The Adventure Continues, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Hollywood Land – Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- “a bug’s land” – Francis’ Ladybug Boogie, Flik’s Flyers, Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies, Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train
- Cars Land – Radiator Springs Racers
- Paradise Pier – King Triton’s Carrousel, Toy Story Midway Mania, The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
- Grizzly Peak – Grizzly River Run
- Condor Flats – Soarin’ Over California
Stay cool everyone!