I've always been a Disney girl. So when it came time to plan my bachelorette party last year, there was only one place I wanted to go: the Happiest Place on Earth! Lucky for me, my maid of honor and bridesmaid were both game to make an exhausting one-day trip south to Disneyland to make it happen.
On a Saturday in early December 2013, we hopped an EARLY flight from Portland, OR to Long Beach, CA (flights were cheaper to Long Beach than to Santa Ana). We rented a car and drove to our hotel (the rental car was cheaper than paying for three shuttle bus tickets), then hit the park immediately for a long, exhausting, magical day of celebrations.
We managed to get into the park around 10:30am or so ... and we didn't stop until the park closed down at midnight. We didn't let a little rain stop us (we got ponchos, instead), nor did we let the exhaustion of our early morning slow us down (Disney now serves Starbucks in the parks - hallelujah!).
It seems that Disney bachelorette parties are becoming more and more common (not everyone wants to go to Vegas). So with that in mind, here are my tips for having the best, most magical Disney Parks bachelorette party ever:
Whether you all have matching shirts and/or ears or not, make sure you've got some kind of gear that indicates you are here to celebrate a bachelorette party. My girls both had matching pink Minnie ears, and I donned Minnie bride ears, and we all wore buttons indicating our role: bride to be, maid of honor, and bridesmaid. I also rocked a "bachelorette" sash in hot pink, because that's what one does at a bachelorette party. (I really, really wanted a sash - it was the one thing I'd asked for!)
Whatever way you dress up, the point is to let people know you are in the Disney Parks to celebrate the bride's upcoming nuptials and have one last, magical "fling before the ring."
Don't Expect Perks
... But you'll probably get them, anyway. Besides the bevy of congratulations we received from guests and cast members alike, my girls and I also received some unexpected but truly magical experiences. One cast member, who graciously stopped to take our photo in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, then escorted us to the front of the line at "Star Tours" after learning we were celebrating a bachelorette party. Another gave us a FastPass good for any ride of our choice. Yet another escorted us to VIP viewing for "World of Color."
I always tell guests celebrating something special at the Disney Parks to NOT expect any perks. They're never a guarantee. But if you make sure people know you are celebrating, and have a generally genuine, celebratory mood -- chances are, the Disney cast members will go the extra mile to make your experience a little more magical.
Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World are strictly no alcohol parks. But at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim or at Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, or Epcot in Walt Disney World, there are plenty of adult drinks you can knock back to celebrate. I mean, it IS a bachelorette party, right?
For my bachelorette party, we grabbed appetizers and cocktails at the Cove Bar (next to Ariel's Grotto) in California Adventure. During our Disney World honeymoon, my husband and I encountered two bachelorette parties celebrating with "drinks around the world" in Epcot's World Showcase. (I paid forward some of the magic I'd experienced at my bachelorette party, and bought a drink for one of the brides we encountered.)
Remember the Magic
My girls surprised me with a really sweet gift towards the end of our night in Disneyland. They'd bought us all matching necklaces, which included a crystal Mickey charm and a charm of our first initial. It was a small, unexpected token, but has proven to be a truly unforgettable keepsake. Every time I wear mine, I think about the wonderful time we had together in Disneyland, and how much these two ladies mean to me.
Though we took photos ourselves, we also splurged on one Disney PhotoPass purchase, after a cast member snapped a pretty great photo of the three of us at nighttime in Disney's California Adventure Park. (My camera took pretty crummy night photos!)