Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

A Whale of an Itinerary for Disney Guests

Every year, the trek to the Magic Kingdom in Anaheim bring scores of families to Southern California.  As Disneyland is often the busiest and most sought after attraction, savvy travelers can plan ahead and maximize family time in Anaheim to include must-see activities beyond the mouse. If time is precious, Anaheim visitors can actually start the day at the sparkling sea, enjoy whale watching and still be at Disneyland’s doors before noon. (It is a small world, after all.)

Two Kinds of Wildlife

How to make it possible to enjoy the wildlife on land and the sea, in one truly amazing trip.

Tips for the perfect Anaheim vacay calls for researching the best ways to buy Disneyland tickets (online, online, online!). Get to know the fast pass, the max pass and the photo pass (say that 3x fast) and still avoid crowds so you can enjoy the best Southern California has to offer, like whale watching from a cozy boat with plenty of elbow room.  A trip to Anaheim / Southern California would not be complete without taking a welfie (um, that’s a selfie with a magnificent whale in the background) to add to your Insta collection of memories.

More Disney tips can be found at

Just 33 miles from Disneyland, Anaheim bound families can enjoy the serene and inviting Pacific Ocean, home to thousands of ocean wildlife that will create unforgettable family memories.


Sample Itineraries:

Morning Whales, Afternoon Tales

Begin with a dose of Vitamin Sea aboard a whale-watching adventure with Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari in picturesque Dana Point Harbor, less than 35 miles from Disneyland.

Why morning? Anaheim travellers benefit from the morning calm and glassy conditions of the Pacific Ocean.

Whales, dolphins and sea life, oh my! Get up close and personal with the stunning giants of the magical undersea kingdom, less than an hour from Anaheim.

Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods.  A chance to be part of the pod! Entertaining, expert naturalists will educate your brood with fun facts and an interactive micro-museum!

And the two-and-a-trip will still leave you plenty of time to explore Anaheim’s attractions, including Disneyland, California Adventure or Downtown Disney right next door.

Afternoon Activities Just Beyond Anaheim

After some memory-making moments in Disneyland (hopefully memories do not include collecting a family member from lost and found), it’s time to hit the beach and chillax!  Drive 33 miles from Anaheim and enjoy ocean therapy, because, well… beach.

Here’s a couple of little known great family ideas, just south of Anaheim:

Baby Beach at Dana Point Harbor

Located within the protected waters of the harbor, there are no waves.  (No babies provided either unless you bring them, and you can!) Baby Beach is perfect for younger swimmers or maybe Aunt Harriet who prefers calm waters.  The seaside grassy picnic area is the essential vacation spot to bring food, save some vacation dollars and recharge before hitting Disneyland again. The more adventurous Anaheim travelers can rent kayaks or stand-up paddles from Westwind Sailing, right next to Baby Beach.

Doheny State Beach

Surf and sand for the whole family at California’s first state beach. Just 33 miles from Disneyland in Anaheim, if Doheny sounds familiar it’s because it is — the Beach Boys referenced Doheny in “Surfin’ U.S.A” and this surf spot is very popular with Anaheim guests for a reason. The beautiful shore and glistening ocean beckons. Or Anaheim vacationers can stay dry and rent a surrey bike or bicycle and cruise along the coast.  Enjoy a scrumptious burger and shaved ice at the Boneyard Beach Cafe.

But The Family Wants to See Whales and Dolphins

For the families who have visited Disneyland and want an aquatic adventure to round out their Anaheim vacation, here are some important time-saving tips:

  • Plan for the 33 mile drive from Disneyland to Dana Point Harbor.  Download the WAZE app or other GPS app for driving time, which can vary in Anaheim and Southern California.
  • Whale watching Anaheim vacationers only need 2-3 hours to encounter dolphins and whales.
  • Choose the correct boat that suits your family’s needs.  Select the right vessel to ensure up close and personal experiences with dolphins and whale watching.  High tech? Viewing pods? Can you bring food on board? Roomy vs not-so-roomy?
  • Reserve tickets in advance, as whale watching cruises tend to sell out quickly.

What Whales and Dolphins Will Anaheim Travelers See?

Driving south from Disneyland, Anaheim visitors can expect to see whales and dolphins such as Humpback whales, Blue whales, Gray whales, Minke whales, Fin whales, Bottlenose dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, common dolphin or pacific white sided dolphin. (Common dolphin are anything but common, they are just in need of a better publicist.)

Why Disneyland Visitors Love Whale Watching

Since Dana Point offers premium whale watching excursions year round, the mammals are often sighted along the Southern California coastline before entering Mexico’s warm and inviting waters. Rumors that whales migrate faster to Mexico on Taco Tuesdays are unsubstantiated. But whales do make the 6,000 mile migration for breeding and calving while in Mexico, and then travel up coast to their own feeding grounds in Alaska.

The magnificent Blue Whale is especially popular with Anaheim visitors that make  the trek to Disneyland. Blue whales are the largest animals ever known to have lived. These magnificent mammals rule the oceans at up to 100 feet long and upwards of 200 tons. Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant. Their hearts, as much as an automobile. Anaheim travelers should make this a must-see!