Okay, this post is a long time coming. I did my "research" over the summer, but haven't had time yet to really sit down and perfect my map (at the bottom of this post). I still would love to make it fancier and more detailed (and to a better scale), but I have gotten to the point where my graphic design skills (pretty much nonexistent) have gone as far they can go. So it's time for the post! I hope to one day make this a series with editions for Have a Great Disneyland Experience as a Pregnant Woman, with a Baby, with a Toddler, etc. But for now, we are talking about how to have an awesome time at Disneyland as an adult sans the kiddies.
It is no secret that I love me some Disney. I have been a passholder for the past twelve years (I just did a little bit of mental math on the cost of that and had a mini stroke), and have been going to Disneyland since I was one year old. Obviously for the die hards like myself, part of the appeal is the nostalgia of Disney. But there is also a ton of fun stuff you can do in the park even if you don't have a history with Disney or a little one to entertain. Today, we are focusing on California Adventure. If you are an adult going to Disneyland, visiting California Adventure (or DCA as the regs call it) is a must. It's where the adult stuff (aka the booze) is. And DCA is like Vegas--it's perfectly legal to walk around with your drinks! So here is my tour of the best spots in DCA to have an adult level good time.
The Karl Strauss Beer Cart (number three on the map) is located at the Pacific Wharf (where there are also tons of food options, including a Ghiradelli Soda Fountain). There are multiple draft beer options available here. They come in plastic cups (second pic) perfect for carrying around the park. It is much less painful waiting in a long ride line when you have a cold beer to drink while you wait!
Mr. B and I typically buy our beers and then head over to Paradise Pier and Toy Story Midway Mania. There is usually a longish line for this ride, so we enjoy our beers while we wait. Toy Story is an awesome ride, mainly because it's a competition. You travel through a bunch of 3D style carnival games and rack up points. We plays for beers, so whoever loses has to buy the next round.
Also along the Paradise Pier is the Cove Bar (number five on the map). This bar is a little swankier, but you cannot beat the view of the ferris wheel and California Screamin (the roller coaster). This is a great place to go when the weather is nice as all the seats are outside.
The Sonoma Terrace (number four on the map) is a new discovery for us, but this is a convenient spot to grab a beer or a glass of wine. They have a great selection of craft brews, and a lot of yummy California wines. Plus, there is a nice patio where you can sit and relax. Bonus, last time we were there, they had to get rid of their pretzels and gave us one for free! Free stuff doesn't happen very often at Disney, so you have to take advantage when you can!
Another tip if you are in an adults only party, check out the single rider lines for the popular rides. The Radiator Springs Racers (located in Cars Land) tends to have a minimum of an hour and a half wait every time we are there, but the single rider line is usually about thirty minutes. You and your party will most likely be in separate rows, but I have always ended up in the same car as my group and the wait is way shorter. Totally worth it.
By far, my favorite spot in DCA is Carthay Circle Restaurant (number one on the map for a reason!). This newly opened restaurant is decked out in a 1930's California theme, which means the bar is all dark wood and jazz (all they play are jazz versions of classic Disney songs, and yes, I own the soundtrack) and the martinis are divine. We have only eaten there once as the food is super pricy (but amazingly delicious) but we stop at the bar every time we visit the park. The best thing to do is get a Fast Pass for a ride like Tower of Terror (number two on the map), then go enjoy a martini at Carthay Circle. By the time you are done with your drink, it is usually time for your Fast Pass!
If you want to take a little walk and explore, you can head out to Downtown Disney (exit is marked on the map) where there are tons of great restaurants and shops. At the end of Downtown Disney is the Disneyland Hotel, one of my most favorite places in the whole world. Trader Sam's is a tiki bar located near the hotel pool that has tons of fun tropical drinks. At night they have live music on the patio (this is where we came after our wedding!). If you sit inside, you get to see lots of cool effects as people order their different tropical themed drinks. Today's Disney trivia questions, where is Trader Sam located inside the Disneyland Resort? (Give your answer in the comments! You won't win anything, but I will think you are super cool if you know the answer!)
Alright, and here is the little map I came up with to show you where all the cool stuff is located in DCA. Please note, this map is not anywhere near to scale. Please also note, I am sucky with technology and graphic design. Don't judge my skills.
I hope I have convinced you that you can have an awesome time at Disneyland as an adult. If you have Disneyland related questions, post them in the comments and I will do my best to answer!