Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA, is known to many as the happiest place on Earth. It is, perhaps, less well known for its health and wellness offerings. On a recent trip to Disney with my mom and son in tow, along with taking advantage of such iconic experiences as the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, I also hunted for ways to bring wellness into the amusement park mix. Here is what I found:
- The sheer size of the park makes it an ideal place to get in your steps, so be sure to charge up your tracking device and prepare to be amazed. By our 3 pm stop at the Mad Tea Party, I was at nearly 12,000 steps, and as we left the park after 5 pm, I had logged 14,553 steps and 6.48 miles.
- A few experiences, particularly when paired with chasing a busy five-year-old who loves to climb, are ideal for fitness seekers with a penchant for boosting their heart rates. A race up Tarzan’s Treehouse in New Orleans Square or through Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island in Critter Country are better than any stadium stair running workout. Another great way to fit in an upper body workout Davey Crocket’s Explorer Canoes where guests paddle their way through a sightseeing adventure around Tom Sawyer’s Island.
- Though the park certainly offers its fair share of delicious, high calorie options, healthy, nutritious offerings abound. We stopped for grapes and watermelon at Toon Up Treats in Mickey’s Toon Town and other fresh fruit fare at the Fantasyland Fruit Cart. Other highlights include Vegetable Skewers at Bengal Bar B Q, Grilled Vegetables and Whole Grain Salad at Jolly Holiday, and Cauliflower Tacos at Rancho Del Zocalo.
- Any wellness seeker can attest that rest is part of the journey. We found a few experiences offered a few blissful moments to rest our feet and take in the scenery, including floating journeys aboard Mark Twain’s Riverboat and the Sailing Ship Columbia and a ride on the Disneyland Railroad, which was an ideal way to traverse the park when little feet needed a break. Wild five-year-old driving aside, another relatively relaxing experience was an open-air drive through Autopia in Tomorrowland.
- Removing stress from the sometimes-stressful experience of waiting in lines is also an important part of wellness, and this was accomplished by using the very handy Disneyland mobile app. Along with being able to take note of the wait times at our favorite rides and plan our day accordingly, we also took advantage of the Fast Pass option and were able to skip the lines at some of the more popular experiences, alleviating the stress of a managing an antsy line-eschewing child . It’s also possible to use the app to pre-order food and have it ready for pickup whenever you are ready.
- The best way to unplug after a day at the park is some time at the spa. For those staying at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the onsite Mandara Spa is an ideal retreat. And within an easy drive of the park are countless resort spas and day spa retreats. We made our home 30 minutes away at Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach, CA, and I found the ultimate post-Disney treatment to be the Global Traditions, a massage that combines herbs, massage, pressure points and heat.
Perhaps the best wellness experience of the day was the mental wellness boost that came from a multi-generational travel journey. Three generations spending time together having fun and enjoying the day was the ultimate wellness experience. Turns out the happiest place on Earth can also be one of the healthiest!