Disneyland vacations: What are the best places to rest and relax?

Trying to get out of the sun and grab a little refreshment is an important part of planning a day at Disneyland.

Without some rest and relaxation, and maybe even a little nap, a day at the park can quickly turn sour.

Here are some of my favorite places to relax a bit without having to leave the parks – some better known, some more off the beaten path.

The Disneyland Railroad train

This is sure to be on many people’s list for a great place to sit and relax, and for good reason.

Riding the train that travels around the perimeter of Disneyland allows park-goers to watch people stretch their legs or rest sore body parts, and the view of the park changes along the way.

The best part? You can make the trip as short or as long as you want – there’s no need to disembark at a stop – and there are four stations to help you get from one side of the park to the other.

Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

While the trail itself is designed to have a place for younger guests to hang out, there is plenty of shade both within the trail and along the walkway between it and Grizzly River Run, thanks to these gigantic trees in the region.

It can sometimes be a bit difficult to find a place to sit on the walkway, however, with a limited number of benches, it may require a bit of searching for a spot during the busiest part of the day. There’s also a churro cart nearby that sells, among other things, those delicious churros S’mores, and a toilet set isn’t far away.

Disneyland restaurants like Red Rose Tavern, River Belle Terrace or Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

It might be a little cheating, but the atmosphere in all three places is great for finding shade and people watching, while eating great food.

There’s a little something different to see at each location: the New Orleans River and Square near River Belle Terrace, Fantasyland and all of its attractions near Red Rose Tavern, and the bustle of the Disneyland hub in opposite Sleeping Beauty’s castle near Jolly Holiday.

One thing to keep in mind here: Red Rose Tavern and Jolly Holiday are walk-in (or mobile order) dining options, while River Belle Terrace requires a reservation.

Smokejumpers Grill/Fly Over the World

This is perhaps the best planned area where there is a dining option right next to an attraction at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure.

That’s because there are plenty of shaded outdoor seating at the Smokejumpers Grill – where you grab a quick bite without a reservation – and there are also shaded benches next to the attraction’s exit.

With restrooms on the other side of the walkway, it’s a great place to hang out and enjoy some downtime whether you’re hungry, waiting for someone to come down from Soarin’, or just waiting for the arrival of your very own Lightning Lane redemption window.

The world is small

OK, it might sound a bit blasphemous to say that a ride is a good place to rest, and the Enchanted Tiki Room might be considered a more obvious attraction for some R&R.

It’s a Small World and the Tiki Room are both known for having top-notch air conditioning and providing a way to cool off, and unlike the Small World ride, you can enjoy a treat like Dole Whip when you catch the show.

I would say, however, that It’s a Small World is a perfect place to take a little nap. It takes about 15 minutes to complete the indoor part of the ride, the gentle waves of the water ride are soothing, and although the song is extremely repetitive, it isn’t too loud.

I’ve fallen asleep several times on It’s a Small World – I just try to make sure I have at least one ride per trip where I stay awake, to fully experience it – and found myself more relaxed in coming out of It’s a Small World when I entered it.

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