- Make Reservations prior to your arrival by calling the Disneyland Hotel Front Desk. There are a limited number or cabanas and they are reserved on a first come first served basis.
- If you’re traveling with kids or adults who will be predominantly using the water play area request one of the cabanas nearest the Monorail Slides.
- There is a limited pool menu to order from but if you’ve got specific eating requirements or would rather not pay an additional fee for food be sure to pack a lunch or snack.
|Photo courtesy of the Disneyland Resort|
Mother’s Day is just a few weeks away on Sunday, May 12, so it’s time to make plans to honor the moms in our lives! What better place to do so than the Disneyland Resort, where she (or you!) can feel like a true Disney princess?
In Disneyland Park, three restaurants will be offering special meals to celebrate moms. At Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square, you’ll find prosciutto-wrapped halibut with forbidden rice and corn chowder for $39. Carnation Café will serve honey-mustard, lemon-roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and glazed baby carrots for $16.99, and Plaza Inn’s menu will include fruit-glazed salmon with mango-kiwi relish, rice pilaf and baby carrots for $16.99.
At Storytellers Café at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the brunch buffet is being spruced up with even more treats for Mother’s Day, including made-to-order omelets, brioche French toast, beef au jus, and roasted salmon. The cost is $31.99 per person.
The most elaborate option is to attend Disney’s Royal Mother’s Day Buffet in the Grand Ballroom at the Disneyland Hotel. My family and I had the pleasure of surprising my mom with a meal there last year, and it was a magical way to celebrate. Being the Disney-loving family of “foodies” that we are, this sought-after brunch was the perfect way to honor my mom, and I’d secretly (or perhaps not-so-secretly) been waiting for years for the opportunity to attend!
When we entered the impeccably-decorated ballroom, Disney’s trademark attention to detail was apparent at every stunning glance. Colorful floral arrangements, custom light projections, and breathtaking food displays adorned the huge space. A live band played and several Disney characters were on hand for photo opportunities—including Cinderella (complete with her carriage!), Snow White, Belle, Aurora, Tiana, Minnie Mouse, and Chip and Dale. Moms could even pose on a royal throne for photos with their families!
The buffet included a spread of hot main entrees, traditional breakfast fare (plus Mickey-shaped waffles, of course!), made-to-order omelet stations, fresh fruit, deli meats, a cold salad station, an artisan cheese display, and a seafood bar. Champagne mimosas were also offered as a refreshing treat for the adults. The dessert tables offered a variety of sweet treats, including flourless chocolate cake, gourmet cupcakes, fruit tarts, chocolate-dipped French macaroons and cake pops. Made-to-order strawberry or bananas foster crepes a la mode were served and there was a full-service five-tier chocolate fountain with fresh strawberries, cookies and more for dipping.
My son loved the children’s buffet, which offered a variety of kids’ favorites, like macaroni and cheese, mini corndogs personal-size pizzas, chicken strips, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and even Mickey-shaped soft pretzels. Desserts included fruit pizza, chocolate-dipped Mickey-shaped cereal treats, “worms and dirt” cups, cookies and cupcakes. He was thrilled to find a freezer cart with ice cream confections just like those offered in the parks!
The cost of Disney’s Mother’s Day Royal Buffet is $71.99 plus tax and gratuity for adults, $20.99 plus tax and gratuity for children ages 3-9, and children under 3 are free. Premium Annual Passholders get a 15-percent discount, and all other annual passports get a 10-percent discount. Four hours of parking is included, and then every hour after is $6. I think it’s a splurge worth making at least once when you consider the amazing food, service, entertainment and photo opportunities!
Reservations can be made now for any of these special Mother’s Day dining experiences by calling (714) 781-DINE.
In addition to being a Babes In Disneyland contributor, Courtney is a Disneyland Resort Specialist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel. You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter (@2Courtney).
|Entrance to the Grand Californian from Downtown Disney|
|View of Disney’s California Adventure from Our Room|
|Evan and Chip at Storyteller’s Cafe|
|Hidden Mickey on the Carpet|
4. Magic Mornings/ Early Entry
|Evan Excited for Magic Morning|
|Emma and Evan Ready for the Pool|
|Evan enjoys the water slide.|
Pro tip: If you want to splurge, consider renting a cabana for the half or full day. Rates vary by season and reservations and price inquiries can be made by contacting the hotel directly. It is incredibly luxurious and the ultimate splurge on a hot summer day.
|My Favorite H2O Spa Products|
The Disneyland Resort is often overlooked as a place to eat breakfast. While there are a number of great places to eat inside the parks (my favorite being Flo’s V8 Cafe in Cars Land), my all-time favorite place to grab breakfast is Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel. Tangaroa Terrace offers great, fresh food at a reasonable price and is a great place to eat whether your heading to the parks, staying at the resort hotels or just an Orange County local looking for a unique place to eat breakfast.
Why Tangaroa Terrace is Terrific for Families:
- There’s always plenty of seating at the Terrace. Although indoor seating is limited, there is always plenty of outdoor seating. Both seating areas are always very, very clean and while outside, you just can’t beat the view of the hotel pool. Larger families may be more comfortable at the outdoor tables.
- Guests order food at Tangaroa Terrace using touch screens. The screens allow visitors to modify meals and if you have difficulty ordering, friendly Cast Members are available to help. The screens are fast and easy to use and the kids think they are really cool.
- Tangaroa Terrace has a great selection of foods available for breakfast with other snacks and meals available throughout the day. Plus, if you compare the price of the meals (listed below) with the cost to go out to breakfast elsewhere in So Cal, the prices are completely on par with what you would pay for food of this quality outside the park. If the kids will agree on what they want to eat, it’s a good idea to have two children split an adult meal.
- Tangaroa Terrace is a great place to meet up with friend or family you’ll be heading into the parks with later in the day.
- Breakfast Platter with scrambled eggs, bacon, roasted potatoes and a bisquit. $6.99
- Breakfast Wrap with scrambled eggs, ham, avacado, shredded cheese in a whole-wheat wrap and served with roasted potatoes. $6.99
- Egg White, Vegetable and Tofu Bake filled with silken tofu, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and cheese and served with fruit. $6.99
- French Toast topped with warm banana-caramel sauce. $6.99
- Grilled Cinnamon-spiced Oatmeal Cakes served with island fruit compote and Greek yogurt. $5.99
If you can’t make it to Tangaroa Terrace for breakfast, the restaurant also serves lunch and dinner. With Trader Sam’s next door, it’s easy to make a pool-side trip to the Disneyland Hotel a fun outing!
|Here is my room, before it was lived in. The beds in the
Grand Californian are absolutely lovely.
“We’ll be at the park all day, so it doesn’t even matter what hotel we stay at.”
I have heard this too many times to count from people (and myself at times) who are planning a trip to Disneyland. And maybe in my pre-children days, yes. But, if you have ever shared this thought or wondered about the importance of picking the right hotel, this post is for you.
I tend to think there are two kinds of vacationers – the super-laid-back-go-with-the-flow vacationers and the go-go-go-do-it-all kind. When I’m at a Disney Park, I’m the latter – I’ll be out the door at 7:00 in the morning and not come back again until sometime after midnight. You know what I’m talking about, right?! It makes sense to wonder if the hotel really matters if you’re not planning on being there that much!
Well, I’ve tried them all – I’ve stayed in what I would definitely call a “dump” all the way up to as good as it gets, and several in between. Whether you’re laid back or have a printed, laminated itinerary of your daily schedule, my feeling is that the hotel. does. matter.
When taking little kids, this becomes even more important for those who have to walk back and forth between hotel and park for naps, because you left something there, or for a spit-up catastrophe that requires changing and washing clothes–you get the picture. These minor things can become major if you’re looking at a super long walk to and from, or even the inconvenience of waiting for a shuttle bus that takes precious extra time out of your day.
If you want to stay on Disney property, the Grand Californian is the closest – in fact it even has its own entrance into Disney California Adventure park. The Disneyland Hotel is next closest (boy, do I want to stay here someday! Read more about it here), and farthest from the parks on property is Paradise Pier Hotel. Of the off-property hotels, the one that claims to be the closest is the Best Western Park Place Inn & Suites, which is literally right across the street from the Harbor Boulevard entrance, but there are several hotels that are literally only a few steps further in either direction. If the address is in the 1500s or low 1600s, on Harbor Boulevard, then you won’t have much of a walk. Be wary of hotels that state that they are the closest to the parks – some of them may be closer as the crow flies – but not closer to walk to. If we are looking to stay at a new place that we haven’t before, I use Google Earth to find the entrance and then the hotel to best see how close it is.
2. Suites – If you have a large family or travel with extended family or friends, like us, a hotel with suites may be a better fit for your group. Many hotels offer family suites that include separate sleeping and television quarters for the kids. Many even include bunk beds.
|Swimming pool at the Hilton Anaheim, one of Lisa’s
favorite off-property hotels.
3. Swimming – If you are visiting in the hot summer months, a pool break in the middle of the day can be the perfect way to cool off, rest, and soothe your feet.
|I spy Bambi characters! Wish I could take
this shower curtain home with me.
6. Reviews – It is very important to check reviews to see what people have to say about the quality and cleanliness of the rooms. Many hotels have been named by Disney as “Good Neighbor Hotels” (off property hotels that Disney reviews and recognizes), but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are 4-star places, so still check the reviews for these hotels as well. (Lisa had a very unpleasant stay at a Good Neighbor motel.)
|This is a view of Lisa’s messy room
at the Grand Californian. We figured
we might as well show a “real life”
photo since this is how everyone’s room
looks in the morning!
If you are not on a budget or have a little more to spend, (first of all, congratulations!) then I 1,000% recommend the on-property Grand Californian Hotel. My parents took us to stay here once and it was phenomenal. Being on property and having that Disney theming made it extra magical, the rooms were so lovely and had the best layout for setting up a pack-n-play, the pool area is super fun, not to mention being able to walk straight out of my hotel and into a park – amazing! If I could stay here, or any on-property hotel, I would every time. Unfortunately though, the prices are really steep and that will probably be the only time we will stay there, but I’m so glad to have been able to do it once! Click here for a tip from Lisa on choosing a hotel.
|My kids playing on a sheet on the hotel floor.|
- Bring a large sheet or ask the hotel if you can have an extra one. Little kids, especially babies learning to crawl and walk, want to be out and down as often as you’ll let them. No matter how clean the hotel room appears it still grosses me out that my baby has her face inches away from an unknown floor, so it helps to spread out the sheet and designate it a play area.
- Bring comforts from home. For example, my kids both sleep with nightlights and white-noise machines, so we bring these with us when we stay at a hotel. Once when we didn’t bring a nightlight, we turned out the lights to sleep for the night and the pitch black completely unhinged my son. Also bring a blankie or lovie, something else that feels and smells like home and will be comforting.
- Bring your own portable crib. The Disney hotels had nice, new ones – but at other hotels we’ve had to use their ancient, enormous, metal-bar ones… yikesies. When you bring your own, you know what you’re getting and you know it’s clean, plus it smells like home and is more familiar to your children. A heads-up, while airlines don’t charge for strollers and car seats, unfortunately they do count a portable crib as a checked piece of luggage.
Lisa’s kids sleeping at the Hilton Anaheim. Aidan
decided he wanted to sleep in two club chairs pushed
together instead of the room’s extra bed! It was the
perfect size. They always bring a pack and play!
- (This may not be at all helpful for you, but…) Attempt to block your child’s view of you. My kids sleep really well in their own room by themselves, and when they’re in a room with other people it just makes it harder for them to fall and stay asleep, so we’ve gone so far as to rearrange hotel furniture to put the crib as far away as possible to block noises, light, and us to help the kids feel more like they do when they are at home.