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Disneyland Hotels – Are They Worth Staying At & Which One To Pick?

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Disneyland Hotels

Disneyland Hotels – Are They Worth Staying At & Which One To Pick?

Are you wondering if staying at one of the Disneyland Hotels is worth the cost for an upcoming Disneyland trip. They do often cost much more than other nearby hotels, leaving many to wonder if it is worth the extra cost.

And before we dive into everything you will want to know about the hotels by Disneyland, you can find the best rates on Discount Disneyland Park tickets here. You will also sometimes find discounts for Disneyland Hotels (sometimes up to 25% off), or save on them when you bundle them with tickets for a vacation package (and use promo code THRIFTYNW to save an extra $10 off too)! If you find a great deal, they are worth it – no question. Plus, did you know that you can put your Disneyland vacation on a fee free, no interest Disneyland Payment Plan, if you find that great deal?

Current Disneyland Hotels Offers: 

Right now you can get 15% off Disneyland Hotel stays here!

  • Valid for Sunday through Thursday night stays
  • For stays from 03/11/2024 through 06/06/2024.
  • Book from now through 06/03/2024; travel must be completed by 06/07/2024
  • Find more details on this offer here.

If you decide that a hotel near Disneyland is the better fit for your family, you can get a FREE Night at these participating Disneyland area hotels!

  • Find 3rd, 4th and 5th night free specials!
  • Some of the most popular hotels offering a free night special include:
    • the Ayres Hotel Orange,
    • The Viv Hotel Anaheim,
    • The Westin Anaheim Resort,
    • Element by Westin,
    • Cambria Hotel & Suites, and more!

But if there are not super deals during your travel dates, here is everything you will need to know to decide if the cost is worth it for your upcoming trip.

disneyland resort hotels

Hotels on Disneyland Property

There are currently 3 Disneyland Hotels on Disneyland property that you can choose from. They include:

  • Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel (usually the most affordable)
  • the Disneyland Hotel (a nice middle ground)
  • and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel (the newest and most expensive of the three options)

You might be surprised to learn that there are other neighboring hotels that are located physically closer to the parks then some of these hotels on Disneyland property (well you cannot get closer to the California Adventure then staying at the Grand California Lodge). However, although there may be a few located closer to the Disneyland park, you will have to leave the Disneyland bubble to reach them. That and Disney has done such a great job of making your walk back to the Disneyland hotels feel like you are still at Disney, so that it makes them feel closer too. So proximity to the parks is a great perk, but there are quite a few others to consider too.

Here are some general benefits of staying at Disneyland hotels on property (that you should get by staying at any of the three). We will share more specifics about each of the hotels and what is unique to them below.

Benefits of staying in a Disneyland Hotel when visiting Disneyland –

Disneyland Hotel Themes

Each of the three Disneyland Hotels has a slightly different theme to it, but they are all themed really well. Enough to make you feel like you have not left the Disney bubble when you head back to your hotel, but not so much to be over the top. The theming is one of my favorite things about a stay with them.

Early Entry Into the Parks

Hotel guests of all three hotels, get to enter the parks 30 minutes before open on early entrance days. For you early risers, this is a big deal!

Package Deliveries

If you are buying items in the parks or Downtown Disney, you can have them delivered back to your room so you do not have to carry them around all day.

Preferred Dining Access

Registered hotel guests will get access to a limited number of dining reservations, to make that process a little easier.

Disney App & Magicband+

Get the convenience of charging to your room, or getting into your room with the Disneyland app or Magicband+

The Ammenities (pools, restaurants and other activities)

All three of the Disneyland on property hotels include great pools (some of my favorites). If you like pools and waterparks, we do share a number of other hotels near Disneyland with Waterparks here too.

I also love having a great restaurant or two right at my hotel, easy entrance access, wake up calls from Disney characters are super fun for little ones, and more.

Be sure to check the events schedule for each hotel during your travel period. They often host extra family friendly activities. In the past my kids have enjoyed story times around the fireplace, outdoor movies under the stars and even craft times. These things make your hotel stay feel even more magical.

The Grand California Lodge

Staying at the Grand California Hotel & What You Need To Know

The Disneyland Grand California hotel is the newest and most luxurious of the three (and the price point will confirm that). It is themed with a California Craftsman style theme, and is also the closest to the parks of all three of them. It is technically located inside the California Adventure park, so also gets the bragging rights to be the only one located in one of the theme parks.

Grand California Lodge Pool area

The Grand California hotel pool area is very nice too. It has a forest kind of theme (tree stumps and boulders), and is a beautiful area. While there are slides, they are smaller and so not as fun for older kids, but younger kids will love them, as well as a mickey shaped pool and lap pool area.

There are two character dining options at the Grand California Hotel. You will find both the Disney Princess Character Adventure at the Napa Rose, and Mickeys Tales of Adventure at the Storyteller Cafe. That is the most you will find at any of the hotels.

You can find more details on all the Disneyland Character Dining options here too to decide which one is the best fit for your family.

Does the Disneyland California Hotel Hotel Have its Own Disneyland Entrance?

YES! It is into the California Adventure. This hotel is also convenient for the Disneyland park (although not a dedicated entrance), but you can exit out to Downtown Disney. It is very convenient because you skip the long security lines (you still go through security, its just the huge lines you skip), and it makes it super easy to get in and out of this park. I especially loved this when my kids were young and needed to rest during the day. Then in the evenings we could easily go out and get in a few more rides, and then head back to the hotel if they got cranky.

Although it does not have a dedicated entrance to the Disneyland park, it is the closest hotel of the three to that park entrance too after you exit out into Downtown Disney.

Cons –

The main con in my opinion is the price. It is definitely the most expensive out of the three, and can be cost prohibitive. The property does feel smaller to me as well, but it is laid out so well that you never feel cramped. Because it is a lodge theme, it is darker, so if you do not like that aesthetic then you may prefer another spot.


Staying at the Disneyland Hotel – What You Need To Know

The Disneyland Resort Hotel is the original hotel, and themed with Disney memorabilia in mind, and can be very nostalgic. You will find lots of touches of Disney history, as well as new things throughout this hotel. It is often a favorite of Disney fans. It is one of my personal favorites, as I like the openness, restaurant options, and pool area. The start of Downtown Disney is right out the front of the hotel, with easy access to even more restaurants.

Disneyland hotel pool

Personally, the Disneyland hotel pool is my very favorite. It is by far the largest of the three, and has different waterslide levels for different interests. The waterslides are designed like monorails, and they are set apart from the main pool areas, which I think makes it easier to watch your kids. We have never had a problem getting a chair at the pool, and like how large the area is allowing us to spread out more for pool time.

the villas at the Disneyland Hotel

They have recently opened up The Villas at Disneyland Hotel if you are looking for more room to spread out as a family too. If more space is what you need with a more affordable price tag, we share hotels near Disneyland with family suites here.

disneyland hotel lounge area

Goofys Kitchen is always a favorite character dining option, and it is right on site. I also am a fan of Tangaroa Terrace for some more casual and affordable dining options. There are a number of chairs right below the Tangaroa Terrace that you can get your food to go and eat at, or eat right on their deck terrace too.

Disneyland Hotel room

The rooms have magical touches that Disney fans will love, like the headboards that light up with a fireworks display when you turn them on. They make such a fun nightlight at night.

We have also run into various Disney Characters right on the hotel property on multiple stays. This is always fun, as there is generally no waiting in line like you do in the park when this happens!

Does This Hotel Have its Own Disneyland Entrance?

No, out of all of the Disneyland hotels, this is the only one without a private entrance into the parks at this time.

The Monorail is located very close to this hotel though, for easy access to Disneyland (will drop you in Tomorrowland). This is a convenient option, if the lines are not too long for it.

Cons –

The biggest con for me is the fact that it is the only one out of the three Disneyland resort hotels that does not have a private entrance. However, it is the closest to the Monorail, providing easier access into Disneyland. And generally the security lines at the start of Downtown Disney are very fast (you do not see the same huge lines you see over by the transportation center entrance).

Paradise Pier Hotel

Staying at the Pixar Place Hotel (formally Paradise Pier Hotel) – What You Need To Know

The Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel is getting ready to be transformed into the Pixar Place hotel, so much of the current surf theming with be replaced soon with Pixar theming (for example the pool area will be reimagined with some Nemo theming).

They just announced that Pixar Place Hotel at the Disneyland Resort will officially open on January 30, 2024!

Note – because of the theming renovation, I would confirm ahead of time if any of the hotels amenities will be affected. On the flip side, it may be an opportunity to get better rates right now too. I believe that the pool and dining options are all affected during the renovation.

Paradise Pier Pool

The pool here is a roof top option with some fun waterslides. It also has had a great viewing deck for watching fireworks (although I am not sure what will happen during renovations, so be sure to double check on that if you are planning a trip in this timeframe).

If you get a room with a park view, you will see out over Pixar’s Pier for some fun views, especially in the evening when it is all lit up.

It is generally the most affordable of the three Disneyland Resort Hotels. That has always been the number one reason I have booked the Paradise Pier.

In my opinion it is also the most laid back hotel, which I have enjoyed. You stay in the Disney magic, but also it seems a bit quieter tucked back at this hotel (which may be a positive or a negative for you).

Paradise Pier entrance near Corn Dog Palace

Does This Hotel Have its Own Disneyland Entrance?

YES! As we mentioned above, one of the best perks is that the security lines will be much shorter. The general lines can back way up during busy seasons, and this will be a very nice convenience.

Many years ago we used to walk across the street and go through the lobby of the Grand California Hotel and then use their entrance into the California Adventure park. They stopped allowing that a few years back. They recently opened an entrance to the California Adventure Park for Paradise Pier Guests. All Disneyland hotel guests can use it, but it is exclusive to resort hotel guests only.

It is similar to the old route I mention above. The only difference is that this one winds through a walking path behind the Grand California Lodge. You will enter in the Paradise Gardens Park section of the park (near the Corn Dog Castle). This is a nice perk for sure. My only complaint is that you will still need to go out and cross the street at the light. This breaks a bit of that Disney bubble magic, but really not a big deal!

If you want to get to Disneyland from this hotel you can either go through the California Adventure Park and across to Disneyland from the exit, or walk over to the entrance of Downtown Disneyland and then get to Disneyland via one of those routes (the Monorail or walking through Downtown Disney).

Cons –

This is now the only Disneyland hotel that does not have a character breakfast onsite (since they discontinued it). We will see if they add one back in with the new Pixar theming though.

Are the Disneyland resort hotels worth staying at?

Whether or not the Disneyland resort hotels are worth the higher prices will depend on your travel style and budget.

Personally, if it makes sense for my budget, then they are always my first choice. There are lots of wonderful hotel options near Disneyland though. So if a Disneyland resort is not in my budget, I am always happy to stay in a good neighbor hotel nearby.

Some reasons why I do find it worth it, if I can swing it in my budget:

Disneyland is already a pricey vacation, so I like to make the most of it while I am there. We usually do a 4 night 5 day trip. Since it is often a shorter trip I like to stay in the magic bubble if I can. The Disney theming cannot be beat in my opinion. We have even run into Disney characters at our hotels on many stays.

When my kids where young I liked staying as close as possible. That way we could head back to the hotel for nap breaks or pool breaks mid day. The Disneyland hotels made this very convenient. Now with teens, I like that once we leave the park they can run to downtown Disney without me, to grab food, etc. So the proximity to the parks, security and access to restaurants and shops are all things I like.

We like to dine onsite when at Disneyland. Many of those spots are in Downtown Disney and the Disney Hotels. I like that I can hit them on the way out of the hotel, or out of the parks easily.

Making Disneyland Hotel Reservations + Tips & Important Info When Staying at the Disneyland Hotels

To make Disneyland Hotel reservations, we always recommend going through Get Away Today. Get the best rates, as well as the best customer service. Plus they offer lots of perks like no fee layaway options, and cancellation protection. They will walk you through all the steps to book (comparing prices, when to set reservations and much more). Use promo code THRIFTYNW to save an extra $10 off with them too.

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