Feb. 24th, 2011

The Ultimate Guide to Disneyland Theme Parks

A recent visit to the Disneyland Hotel with my children inevitably led me to the adjacent world-famous Disleyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks, which now offer a plethora of perks for the luxe-minded family vacationer.

When even an extraordinary day at Disneyland just won't do, consider these elite experience options:


VIP Tour Services
Perfect for those vacationers looking for personalized tours to ensure the perfect Disneyland vacation. Disney's team of vacation planning professionals customizes your vacation so you can spend your time playing, not planning. From the moment you arrive, your personal VIP guide is there to take care of everything-from creating your ideal itinerary to getting you the best seats in the house for live shows, parades and nighttime spectaculars. It's an extra level of service and convenience for a magical vacation you will never forget. Tour requests may be taken up to 90 days in advance and can be scheduled for up to 10 people. Park admission is not included.

Club 33
This is an exclusive, private club located in New Orleans Square within the Disneyland park. The up front membership fee is $9,500 along with approximately $3,000 per year in annual dues; park admission is included. This membership will give you exclusive access to a five-star restaurant and bar-the only place in the park that serves alcohol.

The Disneyland Dream Suite
This once-in-a-lifetime experience has, to date, only been enjoyed by winners of Disneyland's Dreams contest in 2008, although it is rumored to be opening up to the public as a luxury accommodation in the near future. It is located on the former site of the Disney Gallery above New Orleans Square and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The area offers over 2,600-square-feet of living space and can sleep up to six people. Of course, the suite offers an exceptional vantage point for the fireworks nightly shows. The contest experience ended with a character breakfast at the Plaza Inn.

Fantasmic! Premium Viewing
To reserve a prime seat for this breathtaking water show on the Rivers of America, you can book a dessert viewing. The show includes Sorcerer Mickey and film clips from Fantasia! A dessert sampler comes with table viewing in the elevated section near Café Orleans and the French Market. Seats are first-come, first-served for those with reservations. Reservations are accepted up to 30 days before the show. Ticket does not include park admission.

"A Walk in Walt's Footsteps" Tour
Follow in the footsteps of the man whose vision, determination and creativity brought Disneyland Park to life: Walt Disney. Hear how Walt wove his personal history and obsessions into an innovative destination for the whole world to enjoy. You can make a reservation up to 30 days in advance.

Disney California Adventure Park

Ariel's Disney Princess Celebration at Ariel's Grotto
This royal dining experience is hosted by Disney's favorite princesses including Ariel, Snow White, Belle, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Park admission is required (plus cost of lunch or dinner).

World of Color Dinner and Show
Book a prix fixe dinner at Ariel's Grotto or at Wine Country Trattoria and secure reserved viewing for the World of Color show with an excellent vantage point for this colorful nighttime extravaganza. The Wine Country Trattoria meal includes a three-course dinner with starter, entrée and dessert. Wine can be added to each course for an additional fee.

World of Color Picnics with Reserved Viewing
Book a picnic meal along with reserved viewing for the spectacular World of Color show. Picnic meals offer four themed choices for adults-All-American, European Antipasto, Taste of Asia and Mediterranean Vegetarian. The children's picnic boxes, Lunchbox Classic or Junior All-American, come with a souvenir light-up bracelet.

Ready to create your own divine Disney experience? Learn more online at disneyland.disney.go.com.

This trip was sponsored in part by Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern.
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Eric Rosen
Eric Rosen lives in Los Angeles and writes about food, wine, travel and adventure... usually in some combination of the four. He regularly contributes to Los Angeles...

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