It’s simple to have an amazing Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure vacation as an adult, but what do you do when you’ve had enough of the strollers, frazzled parents, screaming kids, etc. There are some secrets that make it totally possible to enjoy the happiest place on earth in adult solace. In the article, I’m going to share the top 10 ways to find adult only escapes in Disneyland.
Planning a trip to Disneyland? Don’t forget this handy planning guide before you go.
1. Timing is Everything
Plot your trips around the school calendar. It’s as simple as that. Families don’t always take their kids out of school to vacation and tend to take advantage of fall break, winter break, spring break or long holiday weekends to travel. Check the crowd counters and schedules for national holidays and schools in southern California. It also helps to watch Annual Passholder blackout dates. Vacationing during lower crowd times ensures that you’ll see fewer children, and can find more ways to find adult only pockets of time.
2. Party at Downtown Disney
A nice break away from the park is to visit Downtown Disney for some nightlife entertainment. If you need a distraction, watching a movie at AMC Downtown Disney 12 is a great option. If live music and adult libations are more your style, then check out Flambeaux’s Jazz Club.
3. Single Rider Line
This is not only a great time for getting on rides faster but also a great tip for avoiding kids and families. Young kids can’t be left alone to ride by themselves and families tend to avoid being split up while riding the rides. This means that the chances of waiting in line, sitting next to and riding with a kid are rare. Obviously, there are times when your single rider might have to fill a car or row with an already seated kid, the likelihood of having to interact with them at all is limited because you’ll be seated for the ride and take off. Worst case, you’ll get stuck with an independent tween or group or tweens, which in my experience, actually listen if you tell them to “chill out” for a few minutes.
4. Use Disney’s MaxPass
The best way to avoid the crowded lines full of families is to take full advantage of Disney’s MaxPass. Yes, you’ll have to pay a little extra for the experience, but this is one that most families won’t be able to take advantage of when the investment is $10 per day per party member. For a family of four, that’s an extra $40 a day. Using MaxPass means that you can not only avoid the long ride lines full of families, but you don’t even have to venture over to the rides to collect a Fastpass from the kiosk. That’s more time relaxing through the park and avoiding the heavy bustle of families during peak times.
5. Hidden Bars
Outside the parks are some excellent escapes for the 21 and over crowd. Hit up Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel for some tropical drinks and atmosphere, order a beverage and relax next to the fire at the Hearthstone Lounge at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, or venture away from Disney property for a night of dancing at Anaheim GardenWalk’s Heat Ultra Lounge.
6. Extra Magic Hours
When you book at one of the Disneyland resorts, you get access to “Extra Magic Hours” which allow you to enter the parks before or after operating hours. This perk affords those who want to limit their interactions with children at the advantage of how well they can decode the patterns. Most families are up early and into the parks upon opening, especially when a park offers these extra hours. If you want to avoid this rush of small feet, visit later in the day or simply avoid the park where those hours are being offered, since most families can’t afford a park hopper pass for their entire brood. Then, take full advantage of the evening hours, especially anything after 10:30 PM, because most families with little ones are going to have headed back to the hotels for bedtime. In general anything after 10:30 PM or following the evening shows are peak times for childless adults to enjoy the park.
7. Less Popular “Child” Attractions
This doesn’t mean hanging out in a less popular attraction all day. What this means is gauging the popularity of attractions by time and plan around them. If there’s a parade going on, hit up all the attractions around it that won’t be attracting the families with children. Another nice way to escape the family rush is to hit up the exhibits and educational rides within the parks. There are plenty of shops to browse through, just avoid the areas with toys and linger more on the adult merchandise for a little peace and chill.
8. Restaurant Selection
This is a tip that is one of my favorites – as a Disney foodie and childfree adult – select the higher end establishments such as Carthay Circle, Napa Rose or Steakhouse 55. Okay, so even if you can only afford to visit one of these on your trip to Disneyland you won’t regret the food or experience, along with the peace and quiet that accompanies these locations. Most parents won’t bring their families to these restaurants not only because of their high price point, but most of these menus are enough to scare away parents with picky eaters. Enjoy a nice meal and escape from the bustle of the park and family noise. Just make sure you make reservations!
9. Time Your Meals
Anyone with kids knows that schedules and consistency are vital to avoiding tantrums and meltdowns. The childfree adult should look to use this to their advantage. Scheduling you snacks and meals during less popular times ensures that you are exploring the parks when families are dining and dining when families are exploring the parks. Pick schedules that overlap with parades or shows during the evening and head out afterwards to enjoy the park while the parent are dragging their brood back to the hotel for bedtime. I also highly recommend packing your own snacks to avoid that mid-afternoon craving for popcorn or ice cream with a line full of families.
10. Special Events
Yes, I know, here’s another paywall to the Disney experience – but it’s only a known fact that families won’t always pony up for anything that means an extra cost or ticket. That’s why Halloween, Christmas, and Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival are great times to avoid large crowds of children. Another excellent option is Disneyland After Dark, which grants a limited number of guests access to a closed Disneyland for five hours. If you want to enjoy Disney without seeing a single underage face, this might be $95/person worth budgeting into your trip.
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What do you do to find an adult only escape at Disneyland?
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