While I love visiting all of the sites within the Disneyland Resort, my favorite place to stay is The Disneyland Hotel. The hotel is a great retreat from the busy crowds and has a lot to offer. Located at the far end of the Downtown Disney District, the hotel boasts a variety of good dining, bars for a little nighttime fun, a large pool area, and fantastic rooms. There are three separate towers that make up this great vacation spot and each tower has been recently renovated for a more chic escape.
You don’t actually have to stay there to enjoy some of the amenities offered to resort guests. For a great date night, I suggest hitting up Trader Sam’s. This bar is an attraction all on its own – think the Tiki Room mixed with adult fun. There are rainstorms, volcano explosions, and a small ship wreck for your viewing pleasure. I don’t want to spoil all of the surprises, but some of the attractions may happen when you order specialty items on the menu. I highly recommend trying their appetizers while you sip on your tropical cocktail. Their flatbread and lettuce wraps are delicious. As for drinks, I usually go for the white wine sangria – the peach schnapps give it a nice kick.
Just outside Trader Sam’s there is a nice outdoor terrace. On Friday and Saturday nights, live Island music floats through the air. This may be a one-man guitar show or there is a lovely father-son team who occasionally play. They also take requests, so if you have a favorite tune, shout it out. This is free folks and I definitely recommend sitting in on one of these sessions. You also cannot beat the décor with Tiki torches, a waterfall just a few feet south of the terrace, and the thatched roof of the bar beyond. Listening to the music, you start to believe you are on a tropical excursion – not in Anaheim . The outside world is not visible from this vantage point, so this is an easy way to relax and recharge after a long work week. I should also add that this spot is quite romantic at night. Cozy up to your honey and let the ambiance take you away.
Adjacent to Trader Sam’s is the kiosk-style dining experience at The Tangaroa Terrace. With a similar array of appetizers offered at Trader Sam’s, Tangeroa includes items such as pulled pork sandwiches, hamburgers on wheat buns, sweet potato fries, and various other easy eats. Once you order your meal, take a seat outside and wait for the food to come your way. You can also eat in the outdoor bar area in front of Trader Sam’s so you can continue to enjoy the live music and cocktails.
For a more refined dining experience, check out Steakhouse 55. Located below the main banquet halls, 55 offers fine cuisine with a wonderful wine menu. I discovered some of my favorite wines here at The Disneyland Hotel and their wait staff is well-versed in their selections. The meals are primarily ala carte and the side dishes are big enough for two. I recommend starting with the onion soup or caesar salad. As for meats, their porterhouse and filet are both full of flavor. On the side, I usually share a potato stack with my husband which is au gratin potatoes beautifully stacked like a piece of lasagna. This is a Lawry-level dining experience which may seem unexpected for an amusement park destination. I highly recommend you try this restaurant at least once. We tend to go for special occasions such as anniversaries and birthdays. I recently went with a group of friends, including foodie blogger Tom Holmberg. Check out his site at www.tomsfoodieblog.com for a more detailed account of this fine menu.
For families looking to kick back and let the kids enjoy some Disney fun, check out Goofy’s Kitchen. Goofy’s is a character dining experience which brings the excitement of the parks to your dinner table. The menu includes many of the fun foods kids love to devour. While I have not eaten here, I have passed the restaurant many atimes and there never is a dull moment. The children look excited and bewildered by these large-than-life characters. For parents who need a break from the excitement, a bar is just around the corner from the restaurant. There is also a viewing room with Disney cartoons (some of the classics!) across from Goofy’s as well.
If you plan to stay the night, the rooms are freshly remodeled with new furniture and nice décor. And there is always a little bit of magic in each room. By the push of a button, the headboard lights up with a fireworks display and music. I was quite tickled when we discovered this and I am sure this will impress children of all ages. The rooms are also generously spacious, which is a must if you plan to be there for several days. One thing I always check when staying at a new hotel, is the room service menu. Disney offers a variety of eats throughout the day. Sometimes I want downtime while on vacation and ordering room service with my hubby is just the ticket.
So whether you are visiting the resort for a nice, long vacation or stopping by for a quick date night, escape the crowds and check out The Disneyland Hotel. You don’t have to get past a ticket booth to have a truly fun night.