Recently, we arranged to take our Australian relatives to Disneyland. Michael was over for his honeymoon with his wife Jenna. However, we had a Disneyland dilemma. We’d only had our newly adopted dog, Pixel, a few weeks. As such we couldn’t leave him at home for 8+ hours with no potty breaks, no walks, and no food. Plus, I did not like the idea of leaving him in his crate for that long. So we decided to try out the Disneyland Kennel Club.
If, things turned out to be a nightmare. We agreed that I’d take the dogs home, and come back later to pick Bob up (always have a backup plan right?). And so we began our preparations to take our dogs to Disneyland!
Research before you go
Before we headed to Disneyland with the dogs we researched ahead of time about the Disneyland kennel club on the Disneyland website. We gathered the relevant vaccination records with us, as per the website. Don’t go without these. Without vaccination proof you will be denied boarding, and that’s your day at Disney ruined.
Almost all the reviews online were favorable. The ones that weren’t were basically people complaining that the staff at the kennel club don’t walk or play with the dogs. This is NOT doggy day care! It’s a kennel. No frills, no fuss, no muss. Plus it’s $20 a day, what were they expecting? Boarding at doggy camp around me is $50 for a playday. Disney provide shelter, water, food and bowls in the kennel… that’s it. This is not somewhere to dump your dogs and have someone else do the work.
Our Day begins at Disneyland
Firstly, I want to point out that Disneyland Kennel Club does not do reservations. Honestly, this is the biggest flaw of this service. I’d love a way to have my dogs on the “system” and be able to book ahead. As there are only a limited number of spaces at the kennel. We arrived at the parking lot around 9:45 am. We asked the parking ticket booth attendant if we could park on the ground level as we had dogs. He gave us a special ticket, and the parking attendant waved us through a different section to park on the ground level. This made it much easier for the dogs.
If you park on the higher floors, you’ll have to navigate the stairs, elevator or escalator with your pooch. Make sure your dog is used to these. You don’t want your dog freaking out being in an elevator for the first time! Once parked, we grabbed our bags and headed out on the walk to the park. Note: Dogs can ride on the tram to the park. However, your dog has been cooped up in the car for the drive down (in our case about an hours drive). Plus, they are about to be cooped up for hours while you go have fun at the parks! So I suggest walking. It’s not far, about 3/4 mile maybe. The dogs loved it. The perfect chance to sniff, pee and poop.
Once in Downtown Disney, we found the Disneyland kennel club to the right of the Disneyland park entrance. Right by the stroller service. The walk through the ticket booths, and lines were interesting. Let me tell you TWO DALMATIANS AT DISNEYLAND CREATE QUITE A STIR!!! The dogs got LOTS of attention that day!
We met a member of staff who checked out paperwork and made copies of vaccination records. Our dogs are 50lbs+ and they had large pens available so we took one of those for each. I took a blanket, food and treats for each dog. Each kennel had a clip for leashes/bags.
The Disneyland Kennel Club provides dishes for water and food. Also, the whole space is air conditioned. The kennels are stainless steel for good hygiene, and the place was spotless. I think bringing a blanket from home is a good idea. The reviews online said the kennel does provide blankets. Maybe it’s just me being sentimental, but it seemed a good idea to remind them we were coming back.
Pixel filled his kennel a little better than Sky. Honestly, Sky could have gone in a smaller one. But, the staff gave us these two large pens that were next to each other. They do allow multiple dogs in the same kennel (note: you still get charged per dog), But, as our two barely knew each other at this point, we figure give them some room. Once settled we left and headed off to meet our relatives and enjoy the park for a few hours.
The rules of engagement
The kennel paperwork tells you that you must come back every 4 hours. So, I set my phone alarm for 4 hours and off we went. We managed to get some rides and grab some lunch before our first visit back to the dogs at the kennel. For fun, we took the relatives with us. I was nervous as to how they were going to be after being in the kennel for a few hours (overprotective dog Mom!) but they were fine!!! Totally fine. The kennel staff were lovely too. We took the dogs into the run area.
Yup it’s cliche Lady and the Tramp, but it’s fun! Obviously, I’d have much preferred 101 Dalmatians. Now, for one downside. If you have a medium-large dog, the run area isn’t that big. But, I’m honestly so thankful that they have this service I am NOT complaining.
Pixel immediately cocked his leg up the fire hydrant and lamps. Unfortunately, Sky was NOT impressed with the fake grass. She wouldn’t go potty. In the end, we lamented, leashed up, and took them for a walk around the entrance. Sky finally did her business, and all was well again. Then we returned the dogs to the kennel and headed out for another adventure at the park.
The rest of the day.
Four hours later, returned and walked the dogs again. This time we took a longer walk. During this time we also made a reservation for dinner. It’s worth noting here that you cannot take the dogs into Downtown Disney. Stay on the path from the trams stop, to the parking lot. We knew this from our research. And honestly, the dogs were getting enough attention as it was. We had to stop every few minutes for photo’s and pets. I could only imagine Downtown Disney would absolutely erupt with two dalmatians walking through it!
We settled the dogs back in the kennel for the third time then headed out for more park fun. After dinner, we decided to leave our guests early and head home before the fireworks. Again, remember at this point we’d had Pixel about 2 weeks! Unfortunately, our timing was off and on the walk back to the parking lot the fireworks started. Initially the dogs initially were spooked by the loud noises but soon settled. I still credit this experience to Pixel being so good with fireworks on 4th July and New Year. The ride back home was uneventful.
All in all, for $20 a dog, I’d do this again in a heartbeat! The staff are super friendly. The fact that Disneyland provide this service is amazing. Cheap, clean and convenient. My only disappointment is that they don’t allow reservations. With reservations, that would give them 10/10. As it is for the service, price and convenience the Disneyland Kennel Club is a solid 9/10.
Update: Subsequent trips have yielded the same amazing experience. On two occasions we’ve been denied ground level parking. However, it’s worth a try. You lose nothing by asking!
- Would you take your dog to Disneyland?
- Have you used the Kennel Club at Disneyland?
- Do you