Staying in a Disney hotel offers an experience unparalleled to anything you’ve ever experienced. Nothing can beat that classic Disney magic and all the benefits that the hotels give you. Staying in the park also means you get magic hours, getting you access to the park before anyone else.
Disneyland offers three hotels and Disneyworld offers many more, as the size of the parks are vastly different. This post will focus on Disneyland’s three hotels, what each is known for, and what each has to offer.
The three hotels in Disneyland are: the Disney Hotel, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.
There are also “Good Neighbor” hotels, these are hotels that also offer magic hours but they lack the Disney magic that we all know and love.
First, my favorite, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.
This is the most expensive hotel, starting around $400 a night. But it is by far one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in. It is elegant, beautiful, and is able to combine a Disney experience with a modern feel that is distinctly Californian.
The appeal of this hotel is more than just appearance. It is also newly refurbished and has an exclusive entrance to the California Adventure’s park, letting out right in front of Grizzly River Run. This is a complete lifesaver for a hot and long day, especially for families with young children.
Top tip! – have young children? This hotel offers the easiest way to have a full day of Disney fun, while also being able to take your children back to the hotel to have a quick nap. That’s because even though you’re in the hotel, the hotel is part of the park! The entrance has no lines like the front of the park does and delivers you right into the heart of California Adventure’s.
This hotel offers the water features (three pools in all) with hot tubs and a 90 ft long waterfall. It also has an award-winning spa and a Character Dining room called Storyteller’s Cafe (best for breakfast and an early lunch in my opinion).
Next, The Disney Hotel.
This hotel has the very essence of the Disney spirit at its core. Everything is themed, from the rooms, to the pools, to the very towers that the room are in. The hotel is dedicated to the past, present, and future of Disneyland, with the towers called “Fantasyland”, “Adventureland”, and “Frontierland”.
This hotel is the second most expensive, with rooms around $350 a night. The rooms are modern and somehow still classic, with a headboard showing the Sleeping Beauty castle that can light up on command and Mickey’s voice greeting you with wake up calls in the morning.
It has, along with the Grand Californian, access to Downtown Disney. But the Disney Hotel has a better access, from the very front and from the iconic Mickey sorcerers hat.
It has the most Disney face characters and, in my opinion, the best Character Dining room called Goofy’s Kitchen. No Disney trip for me is complete without it. It is buffet style and can’t compare to the food found in the other Character Dining halls, but is known for having the most Disney characters – meaning that characters from the park come in, go around to every table, and take pictures with everyone.
I recommend this hotel for those who are on a medium budget, especially those without younger kids because in that regard, the Grand Californian really cannot be beat. My family and I visit this hotel now most often, as the old Disney spirit is exciting and the access to Downtown Disney is great.
Next, Disney’s Paradise Pier.
I have only stayed in this hotel once, as it cannot compare to the Disney spirit of the Disney Hotel and the convenience and grandeur of the Grand Californian. However, it is still a great option for many people, especially those who like rooftop pools and a boardwalk-like theme.
(Below, the land of which the hotel is themed around)
The hotel is fashioned in an old style, an old boardwalk style as said before. The tickets are around $250 a night, the cheapest option of the three hotels. You’ll still receive a great Disney experience, at a cheaper price and with the best water slide and pool view of the three. There is also a Character Dining experience here as well, called Surfs Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends, but there are fewer characters here and the hours are more limited.
The view is a great asset, as the fireworks display at the Disneyland park is in clear view of all of those staying at Paradise Pier. You could not hope for a better view of both parks and all it has to offer.
Truly, there is no way to go wrong with any of these hotels. The extra hour you get in the park with no other tourists make the trip 100% worth it, as you can get to those rides that have no fast passes and are always crowded (I’m looking at you Peter Pan’s Flight).