So, here’s the part of planning a runDisney Race-Cation at the Disneyland Resort that I have the least experience with…staying at the Hotels. At the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon, I will be staying at the Disneyland Hotel for the very first time! I’m pretty excited about that. As a child, I had dreamed of staying at this hotel, even if for only one night. So, when I talked it over with my wife, we decided to splurge a little bit for this race and stay there. Why the Disneyland Hotel? Because, I noticed last year that it seemed to be the best situated hotel for the races. Walking back to the Grand Californian Resort and Spa or the Paradise Pier Hotel would require you to cross the race route to do so. That means waiting. The Disneyland Hotel was in the perfect place.
Unlike the Walt Disney World Resort, the Disneyland Resort has 3 Disney owned properties…The Disneyland Hotel, The Grand Californian Resort and Spa, and the Paradise Pier Hotel. There are lots of options for where you stay outside of that right next to the Disneyland Resort. If you choose to stay at a Disney owned property (and even if you didn’t), there are some cool things to do at the hotels. Here’s what I’m looking to the most…
Breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen…On Labor Day, the day after the races, my wife and I will be having breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen. When I was younger, I tried to plan it out where I’d get to eat here and it never worked out. Let’s face it, when you’re a live 45 minutes to an hour away, getting to the Disneyland Resort early enough for breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen with the theme parks right there just doesn’t work out. So, this year, since I’m actually staying at the Disneyland Hotel (where Goofy’s Kitchen is located), I can’t pass it up. From what I’ve seen I’m expecting this to be similar to Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World. Who can resist Mickey Waffles for breakfast? It wouldn’t be a Disney trip without them. Am I right? Anyways, this is a buffet style of eating with various characters wandering around to greet guests. Some folks might want to make this their post-race celebration meal.
I know that some might think that going to a breakfast buffet right after a race isn’t the best idea because you’re going to be hot and sweaty. Last year, I noticed a few runners I follow on Facebook and Twitter going to Goofy’s Kitchen after the 10K and thought the same. However, after the Walt Disney World 10K this year, my wife and I headed to the Cape May Café and had their character breakfast and it worked out okay. So, if you feel a little strange about doing this, it’s okay. Be warned, though, I would highly recommend booking reservations for Goofy’s Kitchen in advance. You might be able to get in just walking up. However, the reservation will save you waiting and also alleviate any long wait time.
Over at the Grand Californian, the Storyteller’s Café is where I’m thinking about eating with my wife and parents as we celebrate both my wife’s and my birthdays. My wife’s birthday is August 21st and mine is August 28th. Since my parents have never stayed at the Disneyland Hotel before, we decided it would fun to have them join us at the hotel on Saturday so they could see the inside of the hotel room and go out for a celebratory meal. I’ve heard good things about Storyteller’s Café. So, I can’t wait to check it out!
Tangaroa Terrace is a place I’m considering eating at after the 10K this year. The food is reasonably priced and is at the Disneyland Hotel. This is also a possibility for dinner on Friday evening. I’m still weighing my options with this. Tom at The Disney Tourist Blog gave this 9.5/10 in his review. So, there’s a very good possibility I’ll find myself there at some point over Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. The good thing about Tangora Terrace is that you won’t need to make an advanced reservation.
From what I’ve heard, Trader Sam’s is the place to visit at the Disneyland Hotel. I have yet to read of anyone who didn’t like this place. Here is Tom’s review on The Disney Tourist Blog. His review is consistent with every other review I’ve seen. Tom even gives it the perfect 10/10. Now, I don’t drink alcohol. However, the menu looks pretty similar to what’s served at Tangora Terrace. So, I might as well just head over to Trader Sam’s instead. Of course, this bar is not open for breakfast. So, it might be that Tangora Terrace for breakfast and Trader Sam’s if we decided to do dinner.
If money is no object to you or you wish to enjoy one evening of fine dining, the Napa Rose at the Grand Californian is for you.
With prices like this, it’s out of my budget. However, if you’re out here on a race-cation and want to celebrate your accomplishment in the grandest of style, the Napa Rose offers the very best dining experience at the Disneyland Resort. I’ve only known a few people who have eaten here because it’s so pricey. However, every person I’ve known who has eaten there has told me it’s the best dining experience at the entire Disneyland Resort. They have even placed it above dining at Club 33. That’s saying a lot. However, for the prices you pay, it had better be worth it. So, if you want to splurge on the finest dining experience Disneyland has to offer, make sure to get that reservation at the Napa Rose. For more information about what it’s like to dine here, I again defer to The Disney Tourist Blog. Tom places the Napa Rose as the second best dining location at any Disney resort in North America.
Other than the dining at the hotels, I’m most looking forward to trying out the new Monorail themed water slide at the Disneyland Hotel. Seriously, staying at the Disneyland Hotel is kind of a dream come true for me. I’ve wandered by the pools at the Disneyland Hotel for years and always wanted to be able to swim in them. Other than going in the rooms, the pools are really the only thing I think you have to be a guest at the Disneyland Hotel to participate in. So, it’s always been off-limits to this local visitor. That will change. The Monorail water slide was part of a renovation to the Disneyland Hotel a few years ago. I can’t wait to try it out myself!
One last thing you might want to consider, as my wife and I are doing, is booking time at the Mandra Spa in the Grand Californian Resort and Spa. You can visit their web site for more information about pricing and how to make a reservation. Brooke and I got a couples message while we were at Walt Disney World for the Marathon Weekend and it was amazing! If this can fit into your budget and you’re willing to give up some theme park time, a message on Saturday after the 10K race (if you’re coming in for the Disneyland Half Marathon, Star Wars Half Marathon, or Tinker Bell Half Marathon) might be the perfect way to unwind and leave you well rested for the half marathon on Sunday.
One thing I would recommend, whether you’re staying at the hotels or not, is to wander around a little. Especially at the Disneyland Hotel. The walls have lots of fun images. This one is close to where the Expo will be. If you wander down the hall towards Goofy’s Kitchen, you’ll see this wall with images of the Disneyland Hotel’s history. It’s kind of cool to take in the history a little bit.
At the Grand Californian, I like this little outside area to just hang out. Also, the monorail passes overhead. This is on your way from the hotel to Downtown Disney.
The nice part about the hotels are that you don’t need to be staying at them to enjoy many of their amenities. Even if you’re not staying on a Disney owned property, you can always make reservations at the table service restaurants and visit the counter service restaurants. I know that when you come out to Disneyland for a runDisney race, you probably want to have as much time at the theme parks as possible. This post is to give you some alternatives to wearing yourself out at the parks around the races. When some plan their trips to Disneyland, they might decide to stay a day or two after the last race and postpone their time in the theme parks until after their last race. For those folks, I hope this gives you some options as to what to do while you’re at the hotels, but not in the theme parks.
If you’ve stayed at one of the Disney owned hotels before for a race, what are some of your favorite things to do at the hotels?