Disneyland is often considered the happiest place on earth, and millions of visitors flock to its magical realms every year. However, amidst the enchantment of Main Street, the thrill of Space Mountain, and the delight of meeting beloved Disney characters, there are hidden gems that only true theme park pros know about.
These secret experiences add an extra layer of magic to your Disneyland visit, making it even more memorable and unique.
In this article, we’ll reveal 10 secret things to do in Disneyland that only the most knowledgeable park-goers are aware of.
In this article:
Take a Peek Inside Sleeping Beauty Castle
While many people admire the grand exterior of Sleeping Beauty Castle, few realize that you can actually step inside. The Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough is a self-guided tour through the castle’s interior, complete with beautiful dioramas that tell the story of Sleeping Beauty. It’s a serene and often overlooked experience, perfect for those who want a break from the crowds.
Disneyland Entrance with Shorter Line
Most Disney fans understand the struggle of arriving at rope drop and not being able to enter the park as quickly because of the long entrance lines. Only Disneyland experts know about the entrance with a consistently shorter line! Located on the right side of the Disneyland entrance behind the tree, blocked by some planters, these turnstiles are usually open with much shorter waits.
There are also theme park entrances other than the main entrances that can be utilized if you are staying at the Disneyland Resort hotels, including one for the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and one for the Pixar Place Hotel. If you’re entering through Downtown Disney and heading to Disneyland Park, you can also board the Disneyland Monorail at the Downtown Disney Station to be taken straight to Tomorrowland. Make sure to always be aware of long entrance lines and plan your rope drop time accordingly.
Lilly Belle Presidential Train Car
When you’re at the Disneyland Railroad Main Street Station, you may encounter the Lilly Belle Presidential Train Car. This beautifully restored and decorated car was originally created for Walt Disney himself, but in recent times, it has been proven to be more difficult and exclusive to ride this iconic train car. The Grand Circle Tour used to offer the opportunity for guests to circle the park aboard the Lilly Belle, and guests who are on VIP Tours may request the chance to ride in the Lilly Belle with a small group. Riding in the Lilly Belle is like stepping back in time and experiencing the park’s history in a very special way.
Walt’s Main Street Story Tour
For those who want to uncover the history and secrets of Disneyland, this guided tour is a must. Led by knowledgeable guides, you’ll embark on a walking tour down Main Street, U.S.A., learn about the connections to Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri, visit Walt’s apartment above the Disneyland Fire Station in Town Square, enjoy refreshments on the apartment patio, and take PhotoPass photos with your party with complimentary digital downloads during this 90-minute experience.
Ride the Haunted Mansion Holiday
If you visit Disneyland during the Halloween or Christmas season, you’re in for a spooky surprise. The Haunted Mansion undergoes a holiday-themed transformation, becoming the “Haunted Mansion Holiday.” Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas takes over the mansion, and the entire attraction is redecorated with a festive, haunting twist. It’s a unique experience you won’t want to miss during the holiday season.
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar
Tucked away in the Disneyland Hotel, Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar is a hidden paradise for those seeking a more relaxed and intimate atmosphere. The bar is adorned with exotic decor inspired by the Jungle Cruise, and it’s known for its unique drinks and magical effects. Be sure to try one of the cocktails that trigger special effects throughout the bar–it’s a delightful surprise!
Stay After Closing for Disneyland After Dark Events
Disneyland hosts special separately ticketed Disneyland After Dark events, which allow guests to stay in the park after it closes to the general public. These events offer exclusive entertainment, rare character meet and greets, themed merchandise, and unique food offerings. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy the park with a more intimate crowd and experience something a little out of the ordinary.
Monsters, Inc. Mike and Sully to the Rescue is a family-friendly attraction that sometimes garners long wait times throughout the day. Though it does offer Genie+ Lightning Lane, what makes this ride unique is its “Buddy Pass.”
Sometimes Single Rider is not ideal for dodging higher wait times, especially if you have any party members under 7 years old who can’t participate in Single Rider lines. When the Buddy Pass is offered, small parties of one or two can receive a Buddy Pass to fill any empty spaces in the ride vehicles. This comes in handy with younger guests, as it helps reduce wait times while also allowing even the youngest guests to ride with supervision. Make sure to politely ask if the Buddy Pass is being offered during your time of riding, and make sure to use this handy trick!
Club 33 – The Ultimate VIP Experience
Club 33 is perhaps one of the most exclusive and secretive spots within Disneyland. Hidden in plain sight in New Orleans Square, Club 33 is a private members-only club, accessible only to the elite few who have the privilege of membership. With its lavish interior, gourmet dining, and a fantastic view of the park, it offers an experience that’s unparalleled in the park.
If you’re not a member, try to spot the entrance–a simple green door with the number 33 on it. Although you may not gain access to the club itself, it’s a fun scavenger hunt for many Disneyland aficionados.
Pin Trading with Cast Members
Disney pin trading is a well-known tradition in the park, but not everyone is aware that some Cast members have their own pin lanyards! Cast Members often have their own unique pins, and if you strike up a conversation or show enthusiasm for pin trading, they may offer you a special hidden gem. This adds an extra layer of fun and excitement to your visit, making it more interactive and personalized. Make sure the next time you are pin trading you keep an eye out for Cast Members with pin lanyards!
10 Forgotten Disneyland Attractions You’ll Never Get to Ride
As the old makes way for the new, several attractions have been forever retired at Disneyland. In our list of forgotten Disneyland attractions, we’ll take you through 10 attractions that will never be experienced again by guests.
Boomers Make These Ten Embarrassing Mistakes at Disney Parks
There are some major Boomer mistakes to avoid in order to make the most of your experience. From ignoring mobile apps to resisting breaking out of the same food routine, be sure to read our list of the biggest mistakes that boomers make at Disney.
10 Failed Disney Rides That Were so Unsuccessful They Were Removed Swiftly
While several beloved Disney rides have stood the test of time, others have faced issues or declined in popularity to the extent that they were removed. See our list of 10 failed Disney rides and learn why they were removed from the parks.