If I plan on spending a full day from Rope Drop to The Kiss Goodnight at Disneyland with my family, I need a place for my dog Ellie to go. Since most Doggie Daycares only stay open until about 6 or 7pm, and we'd prefer not to board her overnight (we'd miss her bedtime snuggles!) the Disneyland Kennel Club is the best option for us.
Located to the right of the Main Entrance to Disneyland (beyond stroller rentals) is the Kennel Club. At only $20 for the whole day, it's an affordable option, but there are some things you need to know before dropping off your best friend.
1. Vaccination Requirements and Proof - First, and most importantly, you'll need to make sure your pet is vaccinated. Check the website https://disneyland.disney.go.com/guest-services/kennel/ to see exactly what vaccinations they currently require, because sometimes it changes. Thankfully, Ellie was up to date on everything so we didn't need to schedule a vet visit, but still I made a quick call to my vet's office to confirm. They emailed me exactly the paper Disneyland required. YOU WILL NEED TO PRINT OUT THE PROOF OF VACCINATIONS and it needs to have your contact info and your vet's contact info on the form. You will need to bring this info EVERY TIME. The Disney Kennel Club does not retain your pets’ records. Your records will be returned to you upon check out.
2. Note the Hours of Operation - The Kennel Club opens 30 minutes prior to the earliest park opening time and typically closes 30 minutes after the latest park closing time. (So if Disneyland is open 8am-12am, the Kennel will be open 7:30am-12:30am.) No overnights, and remember that the 3 Disney-owned hotels (Disneyland Hotel, Grand Californian, Paradise Pier Hotel) are not pet friendly, although many local Anaheim hotels are. Kennels are ONLY available on a first-come, first-served basis and reservations are not accepted. They have about 40 kennels and told me they only ever really fill up on holidays. HOWEVER, they are VERY limited in terms of kennels for large dogs. I think I only saw about 4-6. If you have a dog 45 lbs or more, I would get there early or consider a different option.
3. What to Pack - Besides your Proof of Vaccination, you will want to make sure your pet is wearing a collar with tags and you bring their leash. You can also bring your pet's own bed, blankets, bowls, food, treats, and toys to make their stay even more comfortable. I left a tote bag on top of her kennel with her leash and everything in it. They always provide a blanket and water (and air conditioning!) They do have some extra food, treats, and poop bags, but you have to ask for them.
NOTE - For liability reasons, the staff WILL NOT touch your pet, feed your pet, administer any medication, or walk your pet. They will walk by and talk to them and make sure they have fresh water and that is it. They will call your provided cell if there are any emergencies.
4. They get to ride the tram! - If you park in the Mickey and Friends Structure, your pet will go through security and ride the tram with you. So fun and cute for pictures. They'll also walk through Downtown Disney with you.
HOT TIP - I'd recommend keeping them on a shorter leash as you walk through Downtown Disney (or carrying them) especially if they are small. There are usually a lot of strollers and children around and you don't want anyone to trample them!
NOTE - A few park goers gave us "questioning" looks and some even asked incredulously, "Are dogs allowed in the park?!" or "Where's her support dog vest?" so you may have to tell a few people "We're going to the Kennel Club." Expect a few questions and concerned looks. Not many people know about the kennel! But once you tell them, they chill out.
5. Walks/Checking on them - You are required to visit the Kennel Club a minimum of every four hours. Four hours flies by at Disneyland, so I usually plan out the day and set alarms on my watch/phone to remind myself that someone needs to go walk Ellie. You'll take her out of her private kennel and you can either let her run around in the indoor play area (see video below) or take her for a walk around the park entrance. My dog likes a like stroll up and down Harbor Blvd to do her business on the grassy area. Don't forget poop bags and treats!
6. They'll be okay during the fireworks - I don't know about your pet, but Ellie is TERRIFIED of fireworks. She shakes, hides in the closet, and has accidents because she hates the sound of them so much. With the Disney fireworks happening so close by, you'd think this would be an issue, but the DKC has thought of this and is pretty soundproof. The kennels are enclosed, there's an extra sliding glass door that muffles sound, and they seal the front door during fireworks as well. (I've heard they sometimes play music too.) If you want, you could even lay blanket over the kennel door for extra sound protection. Ellie was fine!