Staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel is definitely more expensive than choosing nearby accommodations, but for those who like to keep the Disney vibe going after closing time, it’s a must-do. Perks of staying on-site include early access to the parks (guests are allowed in 30 minutes before scheduled opening time), delivery of purchases to your room; special entrances; and opportunities to see Disney characters up close and personal (characters may saunter through the lobby or into the breakfast rooms). These are your choices, from most to least expensive:
Related: Here’s How to Save on a Disney Trip This Year
Disney’s Grand Californian
Cost: $600 to $1,000 per night
Capturing the spirit of early California, Disney’s award-winning Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is the most luxurious of the on-site properties. The first hotel to be built inside a Disney park (it’s actually a part of California Adventure), the GC is the flagship hotel of the Disneyland Resort, with 948 guest rooms and 71 Disney Vacation Club Villas. The sprawling hotel has an upscale lodge sort of feel, with dark wood touches and elegant odes to Monterey pines and redwood forests. There are also three (!) swimming pools and five dining locations, including Storytellers Café, Hearthstone Lounge, GCH Craftsman Bar & Grill, and the award-winning Napa Rose restaurant.
Worth Mentioning: Guests of the hotel have a private entrance into California Adventure, which lets them bypass long lines at the main entrance.
Cost: $500 to $800 per night
Filled with old-time nostalgia that would make Walt proud, this 973-room hotel (the first one to be built at the park) offers three distinct towers to choose from—the Adventure, Fantasy, and Frontier Towers—each an homage to the park’s original lands. The landmark hotel has two pools and two water slides as well as memorable dining options including Goofy’s Kitchen, Tangaroa Terrace, Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, and the award-winning Steakhouse 55.
Worth Mentioning: If you stay in the Fantasy Tower, keep an eye out for touches of pixie dust and “hidden” Mickeys lurking inside the hotel’s mid-century modern decor. In all guest rooms, the headboards light up with fireworks and play “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.”
Note: Families looking for a home away from home might want to check out the soon-to-debut Villas at Disneyland Hotel, which will offer studios with kitchenettes, washers and dryers, and private bedrooms. The villas are scheduled to open in Fall 2023.
Paradise Pier Hotel
Cost: $350 to $600 per night
Disneyland’s least expensive (but still pricy) on-site hotel, Paradise Pier, offers a more basic experience than its ritzier cousins—but if you want to stay inside the Disney bubble, it fits the bill. The 481-room high rise has a SoCal “day at the beach” theme, and littles will love the sizable pool and a twisty waterslide. For dining, guests may enjoy the whimsical PCH Grill restaurant, with quick bites and refreshments also available in the lobby’s Surfside Lounge or at the poolside Sand Bar.
Note: Travelers should know that the hotel is currently under construction, so there may be expected closures and construction noise.
Worth Mentioning: Despite being an “on-property” hotel, Paradise Pier isn’t actually next to Disneyland; it’s a half-mile walk to the park’s front gates or a 5-minute walk to Downtown Disney, (where you can hop on the monorail to get to Disneyland Park).
Off-Site Hotels near Disneyland
Hoping to save a few bucks and don’t mind leaving the Disney bubble for the evening (note: this may be a good thing)? There are plenty of choices for fun, quality off-site lodging. Looking for a water park? Check! Hoping for a view of the fireworks? OK? Want a themed hotel? Sure! Here are your best bets:
Best Themed Hotel (that’s not part of Disneyland): Anaheim Majestic Garden
Cost: $100-400 per night
Anaheim Majestic Garden
By the looks of the iconic castle turrets and the beautiful costumed princess who roams the halls, you’d think this place was a part of Mickey’s realm. On the contrary, this budget-friendly hotel just down the street from Disneyland offers enough magic for the littles without emptying your wallet (which means you can buy more at the park the next day!). The Medieval-themed hotel is sprawled over 13 acres that include three courtyards, a rose garden, an outdoor pool, and a koi pond. The rooms are spacious, with a royal theme that includes princess headboards and, in higher-class rooms, castle bunk beds.
Kids too pooped to stay at Disney until closing? The Disneyland fireworks can be viewed from several locations around the hotel, including the front entry and the pool area. When you’re ready to hit the park in the morning, the hotel has a free shuttle to whisk you the two minutes to the Downtown Disney shuttle stop.
Worth Mentioning: The hotel’s resident Princess Corinne is available for in-room bedtime stories or breakfast wakeup calls Fridays through Sundays. These visits include the princess and her royal page arriving with either a silver service of milk and a special sweet treat for bedtime, or juice and a sweet treat for breakfast. The visit includes a story, an autographed photo of the princess, crowns for each child, and a signed and dated “Royal Certificate of Visit” (The visit costs $75 for 1 to 2 children and $10 per additional child.).
Best Hotel with a Waterpark: Courtyard Marriot Theme Park Entrance
Cost: $400-$600 per night
Located a short walk from the park’s front gates, this hotel features a sprawling water park that’ll make your kids be all, “Disney-what?” (at least for a few hours). That, and its family-centric amenities—including large rooms (some with bunk beds!) shuttle to the park, and a poolside view of the nightly fireworks—make a stay well worth leaving Disney grounds. If you can spring for the one-bedroom, bunk bed suite, you’ll have a two-bedroom apartment, with two bunk beds in one room, a spacious bedroom in another, and a kitchen-ish area with a microwave and mini fridge.
Worth mentioning: If your kids want to use the water park, be sure to make a (required) reservation! Guests are allowed three time slots per day.
Best Bang for Your Buck – Cambria Hotel & Suites
Cost: $300-$400 per night
Featuring a 30,000-square-foot waterpark, this hotel opened in 2020 and offers large, clean rooms, entertainment for kids, and a free hot breakfast. It’s a bit further from the park entrance (about a mile), so we recommend taking Anaheim Resort Transit (ART), which has a stop in front of the hotel. When you’re not at the park, kids will be happy to spend the day zipping down the slides or the evenings watching a movie on the wall by the pool. As for the rooms, they are all spacious, with family suites featuring bunk beds, a kitchenette, separate living and sleeping spaces, and two separate showers (plus a bathtub).
Worth mentioning: Kids must be at least 44 inches to ride the water slides (and there is a small baby pool for little swimmers).
Best for Littles – Howard Johnson Hotel and Water Park
Cost: $160-$300 per night
Howard Johnson Hotels
If you’re a Disney regular, you’ve probably seen the whirly tube slides of this popular hotel from the monorail, since it sits just on the other side of the fence from the Tomorrowland station. Not surprisingly, Castaway Cove, the hotel’s pirate-themed water park, is the big draw here. The toddler-centric water park offers an assortment of water play features, a 200-gallon drench bucket, and a large curved slide. As for the hotel, which was originally built in 1965 (and which has been updated numerous times since then), it is simple but clean, with cheery rooms that are well-appointed, colorful, and spacious.
Note: Large families will want to opt for the deluxe rooms or suites, which offer bunk beds or “Kid Suites” so that parents can have a bed to themselves.
Worth mentioning: All Castaway Cove water features are shallow enough for non-swimmers to enjoy, so the water park is a thrill for even the youngest of guests. (That said, it’s definitely geared more toward younger kids than older, adrenaline junkies.
Closest Walk To Disneyland – Best Western Park Place Inn
If you’re looking to stay as close as you can to Disneyland while still reaping the cost benefits of staying off-site, this reliable no-frills hotel is just a stone’s throw from Mickey’s realm. Located across the street from the park entrance, all you have to do is wait for the light to turn green and walk 60 seconds to be in Disneyland territory (according to Disney Tourist Blog, it’s a 10-minute walk from the hotel to the turnstile). As for the rooms, don’t expect high-end perks—this is a “budget” hotel, after all—but the rooms are clean and newly renovated, and the breakfast is free. Enough said.
Worth mentioning: If you’ve got cranky kids and don’t want to wait to see the fireworks from inside the park, this hotel’s proximity to Main Street makes it a worthy viewing spot for nightly displays. Book a room facing the street and you’ll even be able to pop over to the window and see the sparkles without even going outside. Otherwise, standing just in front of the hotel works fine, too.
Best Hotel With a View – The Westin
Cost: $250-$350 per night
An upscale hotel that opened in 2021, this large modern hotel is a great choice if you’re looking for a more elegant style without compromising on location. Located right next to Disney’s California Adventure, the 618-room hotel is a peaceful respite from the theme park hubbub, with a grown-up vibe that’s markedly absent of toddler-filled splash pads and buzzing arcades (good news for some; not for others). The hotel also offers several upscale dining options, including a Mexican restaurant, a steakhouse, and a gorgeous rooftop lounge with a sprawling view of California Adventure and the SoCal mountains in the distance (you can see the Disney fireworks from here, too!).
Worth mentioning: Even though Pixar Pier is just across the street, you still have to walk all the way around the park to get to the entrance to either California Adventure or Disneyland Park. It’s a 15 to 20-minute walk that can be hard for little legs—so bring a stroller and get ready to crush your daily steps goal.
Best Airbnb – This Disneyland Dream Home – Orange, CA
Cost: $400-$700 per night (varies by season)
Whether or not you’re within walking distance of the park won’t matter when you step foot inside this amazing Disney-themed home that recreates the spirit of the park throughout its whimsical interior. Each of the home’s four bedrooms embodies a different part of Disneyland: There’s a vintage Mickey room (above) that will make you feel like you’ve stepped foot into a black-and-white cartoon; a “Frontierland” room that feels like a woodsy cabin, with a real, working train that chugs in and out of the room on a track by the ceiling; an “Indiana Jones” room, with genie lamps perched on shelves and old maps clinging to the wall; and an “It’s a Small World” room that has the iconic Small World facade painted on one wall and odes to the ride scattered throughout (it also has two bunk beds and a trundle so the room can fit a small world of its own!). There’s also an arcade and theater room that will keep the kids busy for hours.
Worth mentioning: Disneyland may have to wait once your kids see the backyard, which is a tiny park unto itself, with a mini golf course, a ping pong table, swings, a climbing structure, several playhouses, and a plethora of lawn games.
#Magical #Disneyland #Hotels #Family #Budget
(With Inputs from redtri, thebarefootnomad)