As magical as a trip to Disney (or any vacation!) can be, traveling can wreak havoc on your fitness routine if you aren’t careful – especially when there are delicious churros, DOLE Whips and turkey legs to be had. Fortunately, no matter if you’re just visiting for the day or spending a few nights at one of the hotels, staying fit at Disneyland is actually quite simple.
To learn how to keep wellness a priority on your next trip to Disneyland, read on for a few Disney-fied workout ideas (and we aren’t just talking about the gyms at Disney resorts), as well as how to stay healthy at Disneyland while still taking time to treat yourself. You are on vacation, after all!
Keep in mind that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some suggestions may currently only be offered to guests of one of the Disneyland hotels (like the Tenaya Stone Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel) or temporarily unavailable altogether (such as the resorts’ group fitness classes). As things are subject to change, we suggest you refer to Disneyland’s app or website for the most up-to-date information.
How to Stay Fit at Disneyland
Vacations are all about vacating your everyday life for a while, but that doesn’t mean that you have to step out on your workout routine too. Even with all the tempting theme park eats and things to check off your attraction to-do list, healthy opportunities abound throughout Disneyland.
Sure, there isn’t the same luxury of space that you’ll find at Walt Disney World, and it lacks the impressive array of Disney workout options. But, you’ll find more than enough to keep your routine on track.
And best of all, there’s no need to swap vacation fun for fitness-focused choices. No matter if you’re a young family on your first Disneyland trip or a Disneyland Magic Key Holder who considers the theme parks their second home, out-of-state visitors or SoCal locals, with a little pre-planning, you’ll find a few ways to keep working on your fitness while still enjoying the parks.
However, not all guests will have access to all wellness offerings. Some fitness activities require you to be a guest at one of the Disneyland hotels. So, keep this in mind if you’re only coming as a day guest or staying at Good Neighbor or other hotels near Disney.
7. Sweat It Out in the Gym
Aside from pulling up a YouTube video back in your hotel room, one of the easiest ways to work out at Disneyland is also the most obvious: Get into the gym.
Will you have an earth-shattering workout? Probably not. After all, who wants to bust out a few miles on the treadmill or mindlessly pump free weights while they’re on vacation? Not us. Will it be boring? Most likely, but it will also get the job done.
Even if you’re not a gym rat when working out at home, there’s no denying that one of the simplest ways to stay in shape at Disneyland is to get in a workout at one of the hotel fitness centers. You’ll find a gym at each of Disneyland hotel, with complimentary access included for all hotel guests.
Inside, gyms at Disney resorts come stocked with all the basics for a full-body workout, including free weights and an assortment of Life Fitness and Cybex weight machines. Plus, while you’ll have to wait until you get home to feed your Peloton addiction, cardio lovers can get their heart rate up on the treadmill, elliptical, stair climber, stationary or recumbent bike.
Disneyland gyms are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, making it easy to squeeze in a workout whenever it fits in your schedule. Fitness centers at Disneyland hotels include:
- Disneyland Hotel gym – The Fitness Center (temporarily relocated to the Mark Twain Room in the Frontier Tower)
- Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel gym – Eureka Fitness Center
- Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel gym – The Fitness Center (on the second floor)
6. Then Stretch It Out in the Morning
You don’t need an intense, sweat-dripping workout to do something good for your health. Your body also deserves a little TLC, whether it’s after testing your strength in the gym or putting in some miles at the theme parks. And one of the best ways to show your muscles and joints some love is with good, old-fashioned stretching.
While you could open an app on your phone or try your own version of Winnie the Pooh’s “Up, Down, Touch the Ground” exercises back in your room, we recommend you sign up for one of Disneyland’s group stretching classes instead. Open only to Disney hotel guests, at 45 minutes long, these instructor-guided stretch sessions are the perfect way to greet the morning, release muscle tightness and get ready for another day.
Choose from the Grand Morning Stretch at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel for a more subdued start to your day, or, for a gentle workout with a sprinkle of pixie dust, go for the Rise and Stretch in the Park at Disney California Adventure Park. Held bright and early in the morning at 5:45 AM before the park even opens its gates, it’s a truly magical way to relax your muscles and a great excuse for a workout.
Spaces are limited for both Disneyland stretch classes, so reservations are required. Getting past the park turnstiles before the rest of the crowds do is a rare privilege, so be sure to take advantage of this wellness amenity when staying at one of the Disney hotels.
5. Work Your Core During a Mat Pilates Class
If you’re the type of person that needs the peer pressure moral support of a group fitness class to make working out fun, then Disneyland’s mat pilates class is for you. Led by an instructor and featuring low-impact, mat-based movements that challenge your flexibility, balance and strength, it’s ideal for guests of all ages and abilities.
Add in props like a mini core ball, and you’ve got a workout that’s great for firing up your abs before you hit the theme parks (or working off all those churro-related calories). Like the two stretching classes, availability is limited. So, be sure to book your reservation in advance if you know you’d like to attend.
4. Walk Around the Parks…A Lot
Want to know the secret to staying in shape at Disneyland? It’s all the time and energy spent walking around the parks. With so many things to see and do, especially if you’re going to both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, you can cover a lot of ground during a Disney vacation.
That can add up to an impressive number of calories burned – around 350 calories per hour if you tend to walk briskly from attraction to attraction and land to land. However, there are a few things you can do to maximize your calorie burn and boost your step count even more.
If you’re driving, plan to park your vehicle at one of the further parking areas. Then, rather than hopping on one of the parking trams to get to the main entrance, hoof it the entire way to squeeze in some extra steps instead.
Or, for an early morning wake-up call with a dose of Disney magic, reserve a spot at the Get Up & Go Power Walk. Held at Disney California Adventure Park before it opens, this high-speed trek gives guests a sneak peek at the theme park before it gets overrun by crowds, along with one heckuva workout.
Unfortunately, you must be staying at one of the Disneyland hotels and at least 14 years old to participate. You must also be able to maintain a 15-minute-mile pace at a walk – no sprinting or dilly-dallying for crowd-free social media photos here.
3. Turn the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail into a Workout
The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at Grizzly Peak in Disney California Adventure Park may be a glorified playground at its core, but it can also be a fun and unique spot to fit in a little workout – if you don’t mind getting in touch with your inner child.
A kid-friendly play area similar to Tom Sawyer Island or Tarzan’s Treehouse, this sprawling collection of rope bridges, log towers and rock faces made for climbing was designed to help little ones burn off some energy. However, the same obstacles and activities can also help you burn a few calories.
Winding trails and secluded caves are made for exploring, with the entire area inspired by the natural beauty of California. Remember those ab muscles you worked on earlier at the mat pilates class? You’ll need them to help stabilize your core as you traverse the attraction’s rickety rope bridges. And while you won’t get nearly as far off the ground as you would climbing somewhere else in The Golden State, the Cliff Hanger Traverse Rock Climb challenges your strength and balance, but not your fear of heights.
2. Make Healthy Dining Choices
Don’t let all those extra steps and vacation workouts go to waste by gorging yourself on bread bowls, funnel cakes and supersized bites from the Pym Test Kitchen. Make your healthy choices count by filling up on wholesome meals the rest of the day.
While popular Disneyland snacks like Mickey ice cream bars, apples cloaked in chocolate and caramel and other With so many options like salads, bowls and other plant-based meals on offer, as well as nutritious snacks like fresh-cut fruits and veggies, making healthful swaps is both simple and delicious.
To really set yourself up for success, we recommend scoping out the restaurant menus before you even arrive. This will give you an idea of which restaurants offer dishes that both fit your wellness goals and sound satisfying ahead of time, so you aren’t left scrambling (and making unhealthy decisions) once you’re there.
Plus, since that California sun can get hot, don’t forget to stay well hydrated while you’re exploring. Disney offers free water (not bottled water) to all guests. Simply stop by the nearest quick-service location and ask for a cup of ice. Some locations will go ahead and fill it up for you, while others will point you towards the nearest water bottle refill station.
1. Treat Yourself to an Indulgent Massage or Other Spa Service
With attractions to go on, lines to wait in, parades and fireworks to enjoy and endless churro variations to consume, a Disney vacation can seem anything but relaxing, especially if you’re adding in a workout on top of everything. That’s where the Tenaya Stone Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel comes in.
Taking its inspiration from California’s majestic landscape, the Tenaya Stone Spa is well worth a visit. This earthly retreat combines elegant Craftsman-style design with luxurious spa treatments in a 6,000-square-foot facility complete with a steam room, relaxation lounge and more – perfect for unwinding tight muscles and crowd-weary senses.
Luxuriate in rejuvenating services like invigorating massages, detoxifying body masks and more. Foot rubs and soaks get out the kinks after days spent in the parks, while salon services like manicures and pedicures keep you feeling your best. Or, for an indulgent treatment inspired by California’s natural beauty, pamper yourself with an invigorating massage featuring handcrafted compresses of wild herbs or the spa’s namesake river stones.
Well, to all you fitness-minded Disney fans out there, that wraps up our guide to staying in shape at Disneyland. We hope we’ve given you some ideas for keeping fit and making healthy choices, even when visiting The Happiest Place on Earth. With a bit of pre-planning and some dedication, you’re sure to return home with a few more steps on your pedometer and no damage done to your fitness routine.
Worried you won’t have enough time to squeeze in a workout? Free up your schedule with our 1-Day Disneyland Park Plan. Want to treat yourself to a well-deserved massage? Make some room in your travel budget with our discount Disneyland tickets.
What’s your favorite way to work out at Disneyland? Did we forget any exercise ideas? Let us know in the comments!
Amber is a proud former Walt Disney World Cast Member, an unabashed travel addict, and a hospitality and tourism specialist with over 10 years in the industry. She likes getting her wanderlust fix by sharing her favorite park tips and tricks with other Disney fans. When she isn’t working, you can usually catch her in a hot power yoga class or spending way too much money at Disney Springs.