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My Favorite Place in Disneyland: The Courtyard of Angels

It’s been over a month since I have experienced the Happiest Place on Earth and I find myself reminiscing over past trips… which brings me to tell you all, be looking forward to a plethora of Disneyland related posts coming your way. Blogging about THPOE is a poor placebo to experiencing the real thing but it’ll help make the withdrawls easier to handle.

Anyway—let me introduce you to my absolutely favorite place within the Disneyland Resort…

The Courtyard of Angels.

This secret escape from the masses of the park is always a favorite retreat of mine. Whether it’s decked out in its finest for the Christmas season or just any other day in the park, its usually emptied of guests—a wonderful breather! This is actually the place I secretly hoped my husband would propose to me (where he actually proposed would make a great post for later :))!

Anyway, here’s a small peek into the history of this grand courtyard.

Herb Ryman’s Le Grand Courtyard

Herb Ryman is an uber-famous artist from the 1950s, an actual Disney Legend. His beautiful drawing of Disneyland is what sold the park to its investors, so to some, maybe Disneyland wouldn’t be where it is today without him. Walt Disney loved Ryman’s concept for the courtyard that is was created perfectly to match its concept.

Here is what The Court of Angels looks like today:

The floors above the courtyard are home to the infamous Club 33 and its kitchen. What I would give to dine there! [EDITED TO ADD: Thanks to this very post, I got the chance to dine there, read all about it here and the photo tour here.]

You can find the courtyard by walking past the exit to Pirates of the Caribbean, past the Blue Bayou restaurant, past Club 33, and just past the next store… there are tall wide gates to your left that open up to the courtyard! If you hit the bathrooms by the train station, you’ve gone too far. 🙂

My absolute favorite time to visit my secret corner of the park is at Christmastime of course! It’s always decked out in its finest holiday garb!

2005, the year we first started dating and our first photo in the courtyard

2005, the year we first started dating, gotta love my Photoshop work of way back when

And while I don’t love the crowds outside my corner, I do love to share it with others! And I try to visit it as often as I can. Here’s just a few other photos I found in my archives from over the years:

Celebrating our first month dating with a Valentine's Dinner at Blue Bayou—our first photo in the courtyard, I had titled this photo "stairs" so I guess I didn't even know what they were at the time.

Celebrating our first month dating with a Valentine’s Dinner at Blue Bayou—our first photo in the courtyard, I had titled this photo “stairs” so I guess I didn’t even know what they were at the time.

Celebrating our 1 year dating anniversary!

Celebrating our 1 year dating anniversary!


just months before our wedding!

Rachel's first visit!

Rachel’s first visit!


With the Johnson girls, daring to go as far up the stairs without getting in trouble!

My little sister modeling for me right after I got my DSLR camera, 2011


My most recent photo in the courtyard, with my friend Lauren on the last day of her annual pass.

I don’t have any more recent photos from the courtyard as it has recently transformed into a store! Boo, and double hoo! Really, Disneyland, you don’t need any more places to shop!

But I’d like to end on a happy note, and while taking special moments in the courtyard are much more difficult now, I’d like to thank you for taking this trip down memory lane with me. And for sharing this special place at the Happiest Place on Earth with me.

If you ever get a chance to visit the Courtyard of Angels, please let me know! I’d love to see your photos and memories as well (just place a link in the comments below)!

[EDITED TO ADD: The Courtyard is now closed making way for a new entrance to Club 33.]

[EDITED TO ADD: Check out this link that tells the story of Sally, the inspiration behind the music instructor plaque along the stairs, and how the courtyard got its name.]

I believe in magic. I believe in the power of true love. I believe in fairy tales and happy endings. And I live to create stationery and art for the young at heart to allow my fellow dreamers to treasure all of life’s most wondrous moments!


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