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Disneyland Resort: A Different Way to Exercise

Heather Hust Rivera

by , Director of Public Relations, Walt Disney Publishing

We all know that exercise is great for us but it also can get boring. I suggest you hop off that treadmill, drive past your gym and head over to the Disneyland Resort for a few hours of fitness fun.

Ideal for Annual Passholders, guests can burn more than 350 calories per hour briskly walking from land to land. Pushing a stroller adds extra resistance burning even more!

Disney’s California Adventure Park has a hidden gem of a gym called the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. Climb, stretch, scramble and slide through more than two acres of trees, hollow logs, caves and rock cliffs. To improve balance and core strength, give the rope bridge a try!
Disneyland's Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

Skip the tram and park in the Downtown Disney District parking lot. You’ll burn extra calories while window shopping and parking is free up to three hours.

Another tip: when you’re counting calories, try not to walk past the corn dog cart! That’s especially challenging for me because that’s my favorite food at the Resort.

Do you have any exercise tips to share?


  • I managed to lose upto 20 lbs in 6 months by walking 10,000 steps going back and forth to both parks. I really recommend this type of exercise for mom’s who are unable to fit time in at the gym. I just put my pedometer on and put my baby in his stroller and walked off my pregnancy weight. Exercising at Disney and DCA is a great way of staying in shape since there is a lot of things to see while power walking. The best part is the Disney offers a power pack for kids which I found to be perfect for those moments of feeling very hungry.

  • i love the way the redwoodcreak trail can tire out my eight year old .

  • I’m reading alot of comments about people’s feet hurting them after a day of walking around the park. Mine used to hurt too UNTIL I started wearing Crocs. Oh my gosh… what a difference! Now whenever I go to DL that is all I wear and my don’t hurt at the end of the day. They aren’t the prettiest, but I will sacrifice looks for non aching feet. After wearing them all day around DL, I’m a believer!

  • I look forward to visiting the Disney parks even more with this knowledge! I think it is a great thing that Disney is doing to help bring fitness to its customers. If all the parks you post this information I think it would make a great impact on visitors. Knowing that you can enjoy your visit by having fun at the park and getting in your exercise is a new and exciting concept!

  • Running the Disneyland Half Marathon was not only fun, but a great way to see the parks with hardly anyone in them. Because of the anticipation of your trip to Anaheim, training for the event is also enjoyable. Try to have fun, upbeat Disney music on your ipod for training as well.
    I LOVE Disney races!!!!

  • Try carrying a 6 year old on your shoulders . . .

  • I know this is about excercise but I would like to bring in another point of view, from the handicapped. Unfortunately, my handicap is temporary, but still serious. I was not able to get a placard in tiime. We had to park in the complete opposite corner of the Mickey and Friends Structures, from the elevator,take the elevator down, take the tram, walk to the ticket booths where my friend brought me an electric scooter.

    I have a pressure ulcer on my foot, that was just about healed when this happened. I read up and did not know of any way for my friends to drop me off in front of the ticket booths. In the parking structures, we saw some golf carts, but there was no cast members in sight. I think that they should have a cast member or security that goes around the structures to make sure everything is ok or be able to offer people assistance. At least have an emergency phone system in the HUMUNGOUS parking structure, for emergencies…

  • The link in your post to Downtown Disney takes you to the Orlando DD not the California DD.

  • Stay at a Good Neighbor Hotel like the Annabella and walk to the parks. That was a good warm-up for the rest of the day and a cool down at the end.

  • Walking from Downtown Disney’s parking or the structure is great. If the parks are too crowded for our walk, we’ll duck into the Grand Californian from Downtown Disney and walk the stairs and around the central hall with a great view of the lobby, then back down and out the front doors and up the street between the rows of palms back to the parking areas.

    I also think weaving in and out of the park crowds while trying to keep a steady pace is great for balance and coordination.

  • I often take these walks…. When walking the resort or an individual park I always keep to the right… and let the path take me where it takes me. You notice things you might not otherwise see…Especially in Disneyland where the brilliant design of the park calls your eyes towards things they want you to see and not the things you see when you stick to the path.

  • The Grand Californian has an early morning walking tour around DCA that is a fairly fast paced, 2+ mile walk that definitely gets the blood pumping. And very cool to see the park completely empty.

  • I refill my water bottle ONLY at Rancho Del Zocalo, so where ever I am in Disneyland and need a refill, I take the walk back to the restaurant and back to where I left my group.

  • Since when isn’t walking the parks an exercise in and of itself?! we took our 3 and 6 year olds and I don’t remember a better form of exercise!

  • Just walking around all day in either park is good exercise. At any theme park =P

  • I always park at Downtown Disney when we are only staying a few hours for exercise or to get on a ride or two. I don’t think Disney minds passholders parking there because most people will purchase something along the way!

  • I tend to set a goal of at least one ride in every land. Ive been lucky to be gifted with feet that dont wear out so i take full advantage of that and end up going from one end of the park to another at least 3 times. Also Fast Passes have been very helpful in exercise. I tend to wait until the last 10 min of the Fast Pass, which forces me to walk faster and breath harder. If i miss the ride, oh well ive been on it many times already over the years so one loss isnt that bad.

    Oh and as for hide & seek on Tom Sawyer Island, Ive had some fun doing that since I was a kid and it was an excellent workout. And I still remember two spots on there where nobody has been able to find me. :-)

  • We have annual passes and when we go we stay at the Grand Californian Hotel which I think Is a work out, all the hallways you walk down and then walking thru the park. We do lots of walking and not too much riding only if the lines are a 5-10 min. wait. We need all the walking because we usually have a good dinner at ESPN. I do really like how there is other options now for kids like the apples instead of fries, we also love eating at white water snacks beacuse of all the fruit and sandwiches.

  • When you want to get the great view of the fireworks in front of the castle, you are looking at a 3 hour sit on Main St. Bring a blanket and get in your Pilates or Yoga. I don’t know those, so all I did was some simple leg stretching. Oh man, were my legs killing me the next 2 days.

  • Seriously Disney (and I know you are reading this), why can’t you install those 25 cent foot massagers in your parks like we always see at the county fair? You know they would be a money maker, and maybe people would walk through your shops more if their feet didn’t hurt so much from walking all around your theme parks.

  • If they would place the Churro stands further apart I might have a chance! mmmmmm Churros…….

  • I only wish they didn’t keep the Redwood climb locked with the rest of DCA. I personally would love to climb all that as an early morning workout, then go back to the hotel, shower, change, breakfast, and head back for the rest of the park. [especially useful for me as I’m an east-coaster, so with the time difference I’m usually wide awake at 6am with little to do.] :)

  • My feet can only last so long at disneyland usually about 4 hours before they are just about to fall off. I love going to walk around and honestly people watch, but if i walked from the parking structure to the gates i would have less life on my feet :) high arches is a downfall and have not found a good footpad to relieve it.

  • my family have been excercising for yrs. at disneyland. we are ALLL anual passholders.another good excersing place is on tom sawyers island. the only place thats hard is to avoid excersing around the jungle cruise area. to conjested. you will loose your timing there. thank you

  • I like to walk from the parking structure to the Monorail in Downtown Disney. This takes me right to Space Mountain where I grab my Fast Pass, hit Buzz Lightyear and score a million points or so, and then over to CA Adventure to wait in line for Toy Story Mania 4D, which is a freaking awesome ride!

  • It’s a bit late in the season this year, but rowing on the explorer canoes is good exercise as well.

  • The walk from the parking structure is a good warm up. Rushing from land to land to use FastPasses is another. There’s always Tom Sawyer’s Island, Tarzan’s Treehouse, and the Grizzly Trail at California Adventure. Stick to the fresh fruits and water for snacks….. stay away from the corn dogs and ice cream carts!!

    But, after all, a trip to Disneyland… sometimes ONE treat is what its all about…. moderation… we all know that.

    • Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  • I always skip using the tram to and from the park, it’s a great way to start my exercise 😀 sometimes we just walk around both parks with only riding a few rides 😀 It’s my home away from home… I don’t mind just spending time with my husband and friends when I know I can just come back another day(with having a pass). It’s nice not to stress about how many rides we ride or having to watch all the shows… 😀

  • I like to get a fast pass at Disneyland, then walk to California Adventure for a fast pass and a ride, tne back to Disneyland to use the fast pass I am holding, but first secure another fast pass from Disneyland, then back to Cal. Adv. for another fast pass and ride, etc. – MANY MILES – holding 2 fast passes at a time.

  • When it’s time for parades, fireworks or Fantasmic, I put my daughter (5yo) on my shoulders and walk as fast as I can away from/through the crowds. Power walking + extra weight!

  • We like to play hide and go seek on Tom Sawyers Island. It’s fun and gets your heart rate up. The kids love it and don’t know they are helping mommy and daddy exercise.

  • my cousin’s phone has a pedometer and on our last trip to disneyland we walked 6 miles. we were running back and fourth from CA adventure and disney land to use our fast passes lol

  • We stay at one of the Good Neighbor hotels and get a little extra walk that way! Can’t wait for our next trip from Austin TX to DISNEYLAND!!!

  • Walking through Tarzan Tree house is a great way to burn calories.

  • There’s always the stairs at Tarzan’s Treehouse!

  • I’ve skipped the tram and walked to Mickey & Friends, but last time we saved a few steps (and I mean a few) by taking the monorail out and walking to Mickey & Friends.

    But I find it interesting that a CM on a Disney site is suggesting folks skip the tram and park at Downtown Disney when all the signs entering the DTD lot say, “NO THEME PARK PARKING.”

  • Agreed, Christian; I’ve taken advantage of parking at the Mickey & Friends parking structure and walking to the park entrance from there. It’s a great way to beat the crowds on the way in and out, especially during the holiday season.

  • Parking at the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure and walking the path to the main entrance esplanade is good too. It’s about a 1/2 mile walk.

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