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Okay- you already sprang for a hotel on the Disney property. What if I told you it doesn’t cost that much more to really up the magic factor for your entire family’s stay?
You can rent a fully outfitted poolside cabana for a half day or a whole day at a surprisingly reasonable rate. It’s the best way to enjoy the amazing water park on the Disneyland hotel property. I’m going to give you the top five reasons that booking a poolside cabana was the smartest thing I did to add extra magic on our Disneyland Vacation.
Ease of Early Check-in
We drove to the Disneyland hotel from Coalinga, California. I will be telling more about our stay at the awesome Harris Ranch in another post. We were slated for an early afternoon arrival in Anaheim, and Disneyland Hotel checkin time is the standard 3pm. Disneyland Hotel will hold your baggage until check-in time, and give your room keys to you at early check-in as a courtesy. This momma made a half day cabana reservation in advance, so our family headed straight to the pool after we dropped of our luggage with a VERY helpful bell captain. It was so nice to have our own private “spot” to just relax and unwind after a long week of travel.
If you plan to arrive at the Disneyland hotel earlier in the day, you can reserve a luxurious cabana for a full day. The full day reservation begins at 9:30 am. We did the full day cabana reservation on the second day of our trip. I wanted to spend more time at the pool than the half day reservation allowed (and we had dinner and show reservations later in the day), so for our convenience I booked the cabana for the entire day. We spent the morning in Disneyland, then most of the daytime back at the pool. It was nice to have our cabana waiting for us after a long, hot morning in the park. We went back to the park that evening for dinner at Blue Bayou followed by the Fantasmic show and the fireworks. If you have a longer time at Disneyland than we did, I would recommend at least one solid day of pool time-of course with a cabana reservation!
The cabana has curtains that can close on all sides, so I just closed them all up and dressed myself and the kids for the pool right there. (I made sure to have a small pool tote with our pool clothes handy in our stroller, separate from all the luggage we left when we checked in.) There was a fresh fruit tray and bottled water waiting for us when we arrived. Any mom worth her salt knows how far snacks go towards getting everyone relaxed and calmed down. My banana-loving little girl spent a lot of time attacking that fruit tray! With the press of a button, we were able to order food for everyone. This was probably my favorite “extra magic” touch! I just played in the pool with the kids while we waited on our late lunch.
We came back to the cabana and noshed a while, then went back out to the water and played some more. It was great to have a home base of operations. There’s a TV with lots of channels, including Disney movies. This was nice for our daughter who’s not always keen on going into the pool. It was also wonderful to be able to park our double stroller in the cabana. There was still plenty of room! The comfy furniture is a great place for little ones to nap. Really it’s good for anyone to nap.
One other tidbit: the Disneyland Hotel offers free swim diapers at the pool for your munchkins. They are in a basket right beside the cabanas. I definitely took advantage of this perk!
Be sure to ask for a cabana near the water slides if you’ve got young kiddos-they are right beside the shallow kiddie pool and water slides. We were right next to our kids’ favorite spot to play in the water. If they were a little older, I would have been comfortable enough to let them play while we watched from our loungers.
Let’s face it-what’s a good vacation without a little luxury? It was so nice to have plenty of room, comfortable seating (indoor and outdoor!), snacks, a big TV, ceiling fan, and a safe for valuables. Let me tell you, the ceiling fan is a big perk too!
There was sunscreen, lotion, and even a spray to clean our eyeglasses. We had plenty of towels for everyone-and our own hamper. It was so nice not having to stake out a chair and fight with the crowds. We had a refrigerator to keep everything cold-important for young ones who still drink milk, like my crew. It would even be a great place to stash some aloe vera gel or some after sun lotion! I will say I packed sunscreen but even I didn’t think about after-sun care-I’ve lived in Alaska for too long.
My favorite part was this button right here.
I loved being able to press this to call a server over. As always, Disney service was fabulous. No one in our family went hungry or thirsty in the cabana, that’s for sure. They bring the food in some pretty seriously stackable spill-proof containers. Our server even tipped us off to some tempting off-menu cocktails. Order the Mosquito Mojito from Trader Sam’s-you won’t be disappointed!
The Dad Factor
My hubby was seriously not sold on the idea of Disneyland being a fun vacation destination. He is not an amusement park kind of a guy, and he does not enjoy swimming pools. I will freely admit I booked the cabana solely to get him to sit by the pool with us so I wouldn’t be alone with two kiddos out there in a huge crowd.
My husband loved every minute of his time in our private oasis! He had enough shade and a comfortable place to stretch out and people watch. Not to mention, plenty of food and drinks. He was excited when he flipped on the cable tv-he was able to catch a NASCAR race. He also spent a great deal of time just snoozing. The rest was well earned-he did drive us through the entire state of California.
He kept our food and drinks ordered, paid for it all, and kept Baby Girl company when she didn’t want to swim. He kept watch over all of our stuff like the stroller, bags, etc. I had to keep the eyeglasses cleaner in my purse-he was very impressed with that thoughtful touch! Steakhouse 55 was his absolute favorite part of our trip, but the poolside cabana is one of the top three reasons my once-reluctant hubby says we WILL be going back to Disneyland! Woohoo!! If you have a hubby who is less than enthusiastic about doing Disney, this cabana just may be the trick to turn him into a believer.
My Alaskan babies are especially not used to the California sun, so it was nice to be able to keep them in the shade for a good bit of our pool time. It was also great to come back to the cabana to reapply sunscreen periodically. ( My favorite sunscreen is Countersun Mist -and the travel size is perfect for flying!) I felt that our bags and stroller were more secure inside the cabana. There was even a combination safe for my purse. The landline telephone would be very handy for emergencies. I liked having one spot to gather my family, in relative privacy. My little ones tend to wander off, and with a defined perimeter it helped to keep them close. It was a great way to keep them in one spot and away from the water until I was ready to take them back to the pool.
Here’s a pro tip: Ask your cabana host to place life vests in your cabana so that you don’t have to track them down for your kids! They do have them available throughout the pool area, and they’re pretty easy to find.
I am so glad that I took the extra time and effort to book a poolside cabana for our brief stay at the Disneyland Hotel. It was really a worthwhile touch that made our Disney vacation much more memorable and relaxing. It took me a few tries to get the correct phone number to actually reserve the cabana, so it would definitely be beneficial to call the Disneyland Hotel directly or use a travel agent! Our trip came together rather last-minute, and I was able to get the reservation just a few weeks out from our stay. There are only six cabanas on the property, so book yours early if you can!
Click here for more information about this magical way to sprinkle in some more pixie dust on your next Disneyland Hotel visit!