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Where are the best spots to rest and relax at Disneyland?

5 excellent places to sneak in a quick nap, sit in the shade or enjoy a refreshing treat, without having to leave the park

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The Disneyland Railroad Main Street, U.S.A. train station sits just beyond the front gates of the park, welcoming guests into Disneyland.

The Disneyland Railroad Main Street, U.S.A. train station sits just beyond the front gates of the park, welcoming guests into Disneyland.

Brandon Judd, Deseret News

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

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

Here’s a few of my favorite places to get a little R&R without having to leave the parks — some more well-known, some more off the beaten path.

The Disneyland Railroad train

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

Riding the train that runs around the perimeter of Disneyland allows parkgoers to people watch as they stretch their legs or rest some aching body parts, and the view park changes throughout the ride.

The best part? You can make the ride as short or as long as you need — there’s no requirement to unboard at a stop — and there are four train station locations to help you get from one side of the park to the other. 

Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

While the trail itself is geared toward having a place for younger guests to get their wiggles out, there is loads of shade both in the trail and along the walkway between it and Grizzly River Run, thanks to those gigantic trees in the area.

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

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

This may be cheating a bit, but the atmosphere at all three locations is top notch for finding some shade and people watching, all while eating some good, replenishing food.

There’s a little something different to see at each venue: the river and New Orleans Square area over by River Belle Terrace, Fantasyland and all its attractions by Red Rose Tavern and the hustling and bustling of Disneyland’s hub in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle near Jolly Holiday.

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

Smokejumpers Grill/Soarin’ Over the World

This may be the best-planned area where there’s a dining option right next to an attraction in either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure.

That’s because there is plenty of shaded outdoor seating at Smokejumpers Grill — where you grab a quick bite to eat without a reservation — and there are shaded benches next to the exit from the attraction as well.

With restrooms across the walkway, it’s a top spot to chill out and enjoy some relaxation time, whether you’re hungry, waiting for someone to get off Soarin’ or waiting for your own Lightning Lane redemption window to arrive. 

It’s a Small World

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

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

I’d contend, though, that It’s a Small World is a perfect place to grab a quick nap. It takes about 15 minutes to complete the indoor portion of the ride, the gentle waves of the water attraction are calming and, even if the song is extremely repetitive, it’s not overly loud. 

I’ve nodded off 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 exiting It’s a Small World than when I entered it.