There is a saying that Napa Valley is kind of like a Disneyland for adults. It’s an enchanting, wine-soaked land that is generously garnished with intoxicating sights and experiences (pun intended) and every full-grown person dreams of coming here at one point or another. However, when we, a duo of wine-loving adults from Napa, recently ended up in the actual Disneyland, without any kids in tow, it was fair to say we were fish out of water. Not quite knowing how to handle ourselves, we enlisted the help of some outside assistance.
Ultimately, we partnered up with the amazing Casey Starnes at Disneyland Daily to accomplish some very specific goals, and lucky for you, she made our custom itinerary available to all of YOU! Although we didn’t want to abstain from providing information on family activities, we really wanted to specifically focus on adult fun…whether it be a girls’ day, a group date with friends, or a team building activity for coworkers. Also, it was important for us to hit BOTH parks at the Disneyland Resort in just one day, have time for light shopping, and include time for both good food and WINE (and a few beers and cocktails in-between). What we discovered, in case you didn’t already know, is that you can actually have a wonderful time at Disneyland, indulge in a beautiful meal, and not feel guilty about not toting toddlers around Fantasyland all afternoon. Best of all, you can even find Miner wines along the way!
Eat at Napa Rose
Located in the Grand Californian Hotel on the Disney property, you will definitely need a reservation to dine here. It is easily one of the nicest restaurants in all of Orange County. They have an amazing wine list which periodically includes Miner, a beautiful space, delicious menu and best of all, you can come right in wearing what you wore in the parks. Ears and all! Each server is a certified sommelier and whether you feel like trying a local craft beer, having a favorite Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, or an off-the-menu cocktail creation, these wonderful stewards of their craft will guide you in the right direction. Plus, the food is divine! We shared the scallops to start, and each had a completely mouthwatering main course.
Life is a celebration! Each day we spend on this beautiful, albeit weird, planet is a blessing. This experience is no exception. Make time early in the day to grab a pair of ears or some sort of wearable park swag. Better yet, our pal Casey has some great tips on accomplishing this BEFORE you even get into the park so you waste no time at all. Hello $1 section of Target!
The plan we followed worked very well and checked a lot of boxes on our wish list. However, there are still things we didn’t get to see or do. For example, we really wanted to go on Indiana Jones but every time we passed by it was broken down, or had an incredibly long wait while we were already holding Fastpasses for something else. Adding insult to injury, there was no single-rider option on this particular ride on this particular day so we were really out of luck. Ain’t nobody got time for a 75 minute wait! After checking the ride wait-time app on many occasions (yes, there’s an app for that!), we were able to figure out a back-up plan to move on without feeling let down.
It’s Cool To Be Single
Despite many previous visits by both of us to Disneyland, neither of us had ever used the single-rider option or really known much about it. If you don’t mind sitting separately from your kids or partner– and let’s be honest, it’s likely to be a welcome break later in the afternoon – this can save you a ton of time. We weren’t able to get a Fastpass for the very popular Radiator Springs Racers in California Adventure. The standby wait time was close to 90 minutes at 3pm on a Friday, but the single-rider line was an easy, breezy 20-25 minutes. That was actually the longest line we waited in all day following Casey’s plan!
Get the Big Rides Done Early!
On a hot afternoon, there is little to no chance of waiting any less than 90 minutes for a ride like Splash Mountain. Instead, grab a cool Fastpass on the way into the park (we got one for Hyper Space Mountain) and then make your way around to any and all rides that will have bigger lines as the day progresses. It was barely 9:30 AM when we got on Splash Mountain. In fact, it was the first ride we did. Talk about an exhilarating way to start the day!
Keep Some Spare Clothes Handy
Things like a spare t-shirt or socks easily fit into a small cross body bag or backpack without being intrusive. When there’s a chance you’ll be wet all day, why not plan ahead? Although no damage done on Splash Mountain, we DID get soaked on Grizzly Rapids immediately before dinner at Napa Rose. Only one of us ate dinner dry that night…. Can you guess who? Additionally, keep some sunscreen, lip balm, granola bars and anything else you need to keep hanger and irritation to a minimum throughout the day.
Take A Break!
Again, it’s all about keeping irritants at bay. This plan gives plenty of leeway to actually enjoy the time you have. We had done everything we wanted inside Disneyland by 1pm and then made our way to a delicious lunch at Uva Bar in Downtown Disney, located between Disneyland Park and California Adventure. Downtown Disney is full of fun little shops for adults and kids alike. Uva had a great menu of refreshing cocktails and the tapas here were top notch. For a theme park location, we were very impressed and very full before continuing our Disney odyssey and entering California Adventure for the afternoon.
Once you’re inside California Adventure, don’t let that buzz go! There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy delicious wine and great beer in between rides. Seriously, you can grab a drink all over this place! Walt always envisioned Disneyland as an alcohol-free zone but California Adventure is a whole different ball game. Yet another reason to start your day at Disneyland and merge over to California Adventure to finish up. And truthfully, it seems there aren’t as many visitors or well-know attractions here, which makes a leisurely afternoon very doable. Heck, we even went on the Little Mermaid ride because it took no effort to do so (side note: the air conditioner in this little ride is amazing and the wait time is rarely more than 5 minutes…so keep that in mind if you need to find respite on hot, busy days).
If you’re going to do Disney, do it right! That doesn’t mean you have to spend a small fortune IN the park. We can’t stress enough that you should start with our friend Casey Starnes and her amazing blog. It’s easy to get carried away inside the parks but with a little advance planning you can make your trip fun and affordable while still having the extra duckets for some impromptu adult beverages. Buy Mickey shirts at Target and save yourself up to 40-50%, then parlay that coin into a fancy dinner! We love Casey’s tip of buying glow sticks and bubbles at the dollar store. Boom! $20 back toward your wine budget. You see what we’re saying…she has some other great partners – us included! – offering some pretty fab discounts to her readers, so definitely check it out before your next trip!
Although we aren’t actual Disneyland experts, just Napa experts, we hope these tips helped. If they didn’t, visit www.disneylanddaily.com for some real advice! If you want advice on coming to Napa Valley, aka Disneyland for adults, we’re here for you! Concierge services are one of the perks of membership at Miner which we hope you will use. For more information on the membership benefits of membership, visit www.minerwines.com/club.
Laila grew up in Sonoma county eating dinner out every night. Really. When your father is the owner and chef at a busy French restaurant, family time requires you to dine on fabulous cuisine daily. Her father’s motto is “teach them young”, and so at an early age Laila learned all about hard work, hospitality, food and wine.
In 2004, Laila entered the wine industry and has since gained invaluable experience, developed countless programs and is recognized as one of the leaders in her field.
Her creativity and passion for an unforgettable club experience, starting at the tasting room level and resonating through all points of contact, keeps her members interested and engaged.
When asked what’s the best part of her job, Laila says, “That’s easy, I get to interact with some of Miner’s most enthusiastic fans.” Sweet gig.
Chief Hat Wearer (literally), Resident Hunky Ginger and Wine Club Coordinator at Miner Family Winery, Tyler likes to surround himself with good friends and great times. He feels that wine plays a big part in that. His goal is to provide unpretentious insight on wine culture from a guy’s perspective, as well as the Napa Valley in general. He also loves baseball and dogs.