With the number of guests that visit Disneyland every day, it is difficult to imagine that there are many secret spots left that most people don’t know about. However, within Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park, and the onsite resort hotels, there are still some special areas that are typically less crowded or known about that we enjoy spending time in when we need a break from the action or want a unique experience.
Those who are massive Disneyland fans and know the parks inside and out tend to give us grief when we reveal these secret spots, but we believe that the secrets should be shared so more people can enjoy them. If you’re interested in learning about 10 of our favorite secret Disneyland spots, keep reading!
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Within Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure lies the Disney Animation Building, where a variety of fun activities await. The building is made up of several different sections, and the farther in you venture, the cooler it gets, but most people only stop into the first section or two. Towards the back lies the Sorcerer’s Workshop, where you can experience two different interactive rooms inspired by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Beauty and the Beast.
In the Magic Mirror Realm, you can learn more about old-fashioned styles of animation like zoetropes and even create your own animated strip and watch it come alive in the twirling machines. After passing through the Magic Mirror Realm, you’ll encounter the Beast’s Library, where you can watch the room transform between the magic of the Prince and his Beast form. You can even take a quiz to find out which Disney character your personality is most like!
Sitting Area at Harbour Galley
If you’re looking for a quiet place to sit and rest your feet that also has a beautiful view, one of our favorite secret spots is the sitting area right next to the Harbour Galley. This dining location is found at the front of Critter Country in Disneyland Park, just past The Haunted Mansion as you’re leaving New Orleans Square, and there is a small set up of covered tables and benches around the side of the Harbour Galley building.
In addition to enjoying a tasty meal from the Galley, you can spend some time sitting and unwinding for a bit and giving your kids (or even you) time to take a quick nap. It is located right on the Rivers of America, so you can look out across the water to the Pirate’s Lair at Tom Sawyer Island or wave to the passengers on the Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia while you relax.
Grizzly Peak Pass
One of the areas at Disney California Adventure Park that truly feels like entering into a different world is Grizzly Peak. With just a few steps, you’re transported from the magic of Hollywood to the rustic forests of northern California, with the area providing a much calmer and quieter experience than the rest of the theme park. One of the less traversed sections is Grizzly Peak Pass, which is located within the Grizzly River Run attraction.
This trail stretches underneath the main lift hill on the River Run and offers scenic views of the attraction and other fun props along the walkway. You can enter it from two different spots: within the Grizzly Peak area itself and the main street that connects that section to Paradise Gardens Park. If you’re coming from within the area, the entrance to the pass is just before the River Run entrance when you’re walking toward it from Soarin’ Around the World. Coming from Paradise Gardens Park, when the street ends and splits in either direction, you’ll take the path to the right.
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa Lobby
In addition to our favorite secret spots within Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, we also wanted to share a couple of places outside the theme parks where we enjoy spending time. The first of those is at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort, which is easily accessible to guests visiting Disney California Adventure. You can enter the resort grounds through the gate in the Grizzly Peak section of the park, and you don’t need to be a guest of the hotel to visit.
The lobby of the resort is a great place to take a rest break during your day at the park, especially if you’re looking to get out of the heat for a while. There are lots of big comfy chairs and couches spread out around the room, and with the exception of guests checking in and out or passing through, it remains pretty calm throughout the day. You can also enjoy the crackling fireplace and listen to some relaxing music to help you reset before heading back out to the park for the evening!
Inside Sleeping Beauty Castle
Sleeping Beauty Castle, the icon of Disneyland Park, is beautiful to look at from the outside and walk under, but did you know you can actually go inside the castle as well? Another one of our favorite secret spots is the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough attraction, which may be known about but isn’t often visited by most guests. The attraction takes you through the story of Sleeping Beauty in a series of vignettes, 3D dioramas, and sound and special effects.
You can find the walkthrough entrance on the backside of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Fantasyland. If you’re walking toward the castle from within Fantasyland, the queue will be on the right side of the main opening, near the passage that takes you toward Frontierland. If you’re coming from the park’s hub and walking inside the main castle tunnel, you’ll simply turn to the left once you enter Fantasyland.
Trader Sam’s Fireplace
Another one of our favorite secret hotel spots can be found at the Disneyland Hotel. Across from the unique and exciting Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, there is an area with hanging lanterns, a massive fireplace, and lots of chairs and couches to lounge on. Although this area can get a bit more crowded in the late afternoon and evening as the bar fills up, it is still relaxing during that time and even more so during the day.
This fireplace area is another nice place to take a break during a busy day at the theme parks or shopping in Downtown Disney. If it’s cooler outside, the warmth from the fire will feel great, and it’s in a fairly shaded spot off the main pool deck, so you can still enjoy being outdoors without the sun beating down on you. To reach this spot, just walk into the resort through the Downtown Disney entrance and past the Adventure Tower until you find Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. The fireplace is directly across from the bar doors.
There are a lot of reasons why someone may not be able to enjoy a specific attraction, whether due to height, fear, or discomfort. When Disney is able to work around those things and create an alternative option, it can make for an awesome experience for everyone. That’s why the Observation Outpost at Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is a favorite secret spot of ours.
The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is located in Tomorrowland at Disneyland Park and takes you under the sea to view Nemo and his pals swimming around in their natural habitat. However, if you’re someone who is taller or has claustrophobia, you may not enjoy the tiny space inside the submarines.
The Observation Outpost is a perfect solution to still enjoy the ride. It’s a little room that keeps you on land but still allows you to see and hear everything that takes place on the attraction. The Outpost entrance is near the submarine loading docks, so when you arrive at the attraction, you’ll simply walk through the exit and tell the Cast Member there that you’d like to experience the ride from the Observation Outpost, and they will get you all set up!
Cars Land Walkway
A beautiful spot in Disney California Adventure Park that is not often talked about is the walkway in Cars Land that takes you to San Fransokyo Square. When you walk in the main entrance to Cars Land, you’ll take the street in front of Flo’s V8 Cafe. As you continue walking, you’ll pass the Radiator Springs Racers track, and then you’ll see a large stone overpass that leads into San Fransokyo Square.
We love this area for a couple of reasons. The path is not nearly as busy as the main streets in the park, so if you’re looking for a break from all the stimulation, it’s a lot quieter, especially once you’re past the hustle and bustle of Cars Land. It’s also a very pretty part of the park, with the theming of the rocks and brush that are common along Route 66. We think the best time of day to visit this spot is around golden hour as the sun is setting and lighting up all the surroundings.
We love that this whole area is themed so well to the Cars movie trilogy, and Radiator Springs Racers is one of our favorite attractions based on a movie! Check out the rest of our top picks for Disneyland attractions based on movies here.
Main Street Opera House
One of the coolest parts about visiting Disneyland is the amount of Walt Disney memorabilia and original artwork available to view. There are several places you can visit to see pieces of Walt’s history, but our favorite is the Main Street Opera House on Main Street USA in Disneyland Park. Inside the Opera House, you can view rare items like scale models of attractions, original illustrations, and even a carousel horse from the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round.
The Main Street Opera House also hosts the attraction Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, a historical figure Walt Disney was particularly interested in, that features stories about Abraham Lincoln’s life and legacy. When you cross under the Disneyland Railroad Station and head into Disneyland Park, simply turn toward your right and the Main Street Opera House will be only a few steps away.
This is one of the many patriotic things you will find at Disneyland!
Snow White’s Grotto
Although this spot isn’t quite as secret as some of the others, we still really love Snow White’s Grotto at Disneyland Park. This beautifully designed little area can be found by taking the path directly on the right side of Sleeping Beauty Castle when walking toward it from the main park hub. Depending on the time of day, it isn’t usually super busy, and the trickle of the waterfall and soft music in the area make it a great place to spend some quiet time.
You can take in the sight of the pristine statues depicting Snow White, her forest friends, and all seven of the dwarfs and also think of the perfect wish before tossing a coin into Snow White’s wishing well. There is also a special tree in this area that has the initials of Peter Pan and Wendy Darling carved into it. The tree is fairly small and skinny and somewhat difficult to find, but if you look near the stairs at the back of the castle wall, you just might be able to find it.
Are there any spots on here that you love and wish we hadn’t revealed, or are there any that we missed? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out our article on even more Disneyland secrets.
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