Deciding on a hotel at the Disneyland Resort

When planning a vacation at the Disneyland Resort the biggest question is do you stay on property at one of the 3 Disney hotels or do you stay at a “good neighbor” hotel?  What many people who have never been to Disneyland before, but have been to Disney World, don’t realize is that the resort is much much smaller.  You walk from all 3 of the Disney hotels to the parks and you can walk from many of the good neighbor hotels.

The Grand Californian is BEAUTIFUL.  The location can’t be beat, but it also comes with a hefty price tag.  If you can swing the price than this hotel is definitely my first choice.  It has it’s own entrance right into California adventure which saves the time of the long lines at the normal bag check and turnstiles.  The lobby is gorgeous.  The pools are great too.  I would probably rank the Grand’s pool a close second behind the Disneyland Hotel though.  This is only because the Disneyland Hotel has just redone their pool area and they have 2 cool monorail themed water slides, plus a tiny slide and some splash and play style fountains.  My daughter being 3 loves this.  The Grand has one big water slide and several big pools and a baby pool as well, but not quite as awesome as the new monorail pool area.

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One of my favorite pictures of my daughter at 6 months old in one of the little chairs in the lobby of the Grand Californian. Such amazing memories.

The Disneyland Hotel is great.  The rooms have all be recently renovated and the new room decor is my favorite as well as my daughters.  The headboard has the castle on it and you can flip a switch that lights up lights like fireworks above the castle.  The location is twice the distance to walk than the Grand though.  It is at the opposite end of Downtown Disney, which isn’t that long of a walk, but long enough.  The monorail does stop at that end of Downtown Disney, but FYI, unlike at WDW where you can just push your stroller right on, on the monorail at Disneyland you have to fold your stroller up.  If you are a parent like me that carries everything you could possible need in the stroller than you don’t want to have to unpack and fold it up and would rather walk.

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The fun headboard in the rooms of the Disneyland Hotel.

The Paradise Pier Hotel is the more affordable of the three hotels, but still a little pricey compared to the good neighbor hotels.  The pool area has a water slide and is nice, but not was fancy as the other 2 hotels.  It is also the furthest away.  Again, although not that far, just a decent walk.  With any of the 3 Disney hotels though you get the Disney service.  In my opinion that is worth the extra money right there. Paradise Pier used to be the Pan Pacific Hotel until 1995 when Disneyland purchased the hotel.

When I stay at a hotel in the area that isn’t a Disney hotel I try to choose one on Harbor Blvd as close to “the crosswalk” as possible.  This crosswalk is where you walk right in to Disneyland.  If you pick a hotel further away they do have a transportation system, but I prefer not to have to wait for a shuttle or like I said, fold up my stroller.  The Park Vue Inn, Del Sol Inn , Tropicana Inn and Desert Inn are all right there and very walkable.  There are some more too, but that will give you the general area of where you want to be if you want to walk.  These motels are for the most part a little older and very budget friendly, but a convenient walk.  Some are more run down than others so I would recommend Googling pictures if that is a concern of yours.  For the best rates I always check Expedia and the hotel’s own website.

These are my recommendations.  I have grown up at Disneyland and it is my home away from home no matter way I stay…although the Disney hotels do seem to have a little more magic and pixie dust.

Where have you stayed and what is your favorite place to stay when at Disneyland?