Thinking of staying on property at the Disneyland Resort?
With only three hotels, capacity is tight, cost is expensive, and holidays are a nightmare. But staying so close to the theme parks is also a dream come true. There truly is nothing as special as Disney hospitality and Disney quality. Plus, the magic of the parks becomes extended to where you sleep. Each hotel has its pros and cons and as you might be considering pouring out the extra money to stay close by, we thought we’d give you a rough breakdown of each one.
Paradise Pier – The farthest of the hotels is also the cheapest. Of course, cheap at Disney does not mean “inexpensive.” It just means it costs the least of the three. There is no direct transportation to the parks and for security reasons (and for guest convenience) you cannot walk across the street and enter through The Grand Californian. You must walk to the Disneyland Hotel end of Downtown Disney to reach the parks but it’s only about five minutes longer each way. The featured restaurant at Paradise Pier is PCH Grill which features buffet dining for breakfast and dinner. Breakfast is a character dining experience and currently features Donald and friends. Dinner is character-free. The pool is nice but unremarkable. Still, if you want the best view of the parks, this is the place to stay. Even though The Grand Californian is literally attached to Disney California Adventure, you get the best view of World of Color and the entire Paradise Pier area from your Premium View room. It is worth the extra money for the view!
- Average cost: Standard view – about $375; Premium view – about $475
- Best feature: The VIEW!!! So beautiful.
- Featured dining: PCH Grill (character dining at breakfast only)
Disneyland Hotel – At one time, this was a separate property allowed to use the Disney name, but today it is owned and operated by the Disney company and it shows. While the shell of the hotel still has that mid-century modern look, the interior of each room has been redone recently and is worthy of a five-star hotel. Although there is no direct transportation to the park, it is close to the monorail which can be boarded for a trip to Disneyland. There are some great places to eat at the Disneyland Hotel and it would be worth the walk no matter which hotel you’re staying at to try a few of them. Steakhouse 55 has to be the featured dining experience. Reminiscent of the finest Hollywood establishments, this restaurant is like a return to the 50’s (without the racism and other social problems of the times). With steak and seafood as its prime offerings, it’s incredibly tasty. And priced accordingly. In the afternoons, you can come and take part in Afternoon Tea which is a delightful experience. We’ve done it now about four times! For breakfast, I might recommend Goofy’s Kitchen right next door featuring a character buffet dining experience. Of course, if you miss breakfast, dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen is also filled with characters. For the adults, you must go to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar which not only serves great alcoholic creations, but non-alcoholic also and wonderful food. Best pool of the three hotels with a monorail slide! Very cool. The views really aren’t that great so I don’t know if I would spend the extra money on the view. Oh, and the good night experience is the best. Try turning on the headboard. Yes, you heard that right.
- Average cost: Standard view – about $510; Deluxe view – about $560; Premium view – about $610
- Best feature: The Monorail pool and Afternoon Tea at Steakhouse 55
- Featured dining: Steakhouse 55 but many great options
The Grand Californian – Clearly the best. The rooms have the most comfortable beds. The location is the closest to the parks (if you stay at the hotel you even have your own private entrance to Disney California Adventure). The food is among the best. And the holidays are special at this place. Based on a rustic, craftsman-style architecture, this is rustic done chic. The funny thing is even though this is the nicest and most expensive of the hotels, you have to walk the farthest to reach your room. But it’s worth the walk. The rooms are beautifully well-apportioned with sweet amenities (although no light-up headboard like at the Disneyland Hotel). Service is top notch. And you are definitely the closest to the parks. Food is plentiful. Not only are you in the heart of Downtown Disney, but the hotel has a number of great dining experiences. Napa Rose is considered the premier dining experience here, but Storytellers Cafe is a favorite among guests especially for breakfast when Mickey comes to greet guests in Mickey’s Tales of Adventure. Plus, the food at this buffet is wonderful. They do have a dinner buffet, but like PCH Grill it is character-free. The pool is very nice and themed to the hotel, but not as fun or exciting as the Disneyland Hotel. No cool monorail. Although the water slide itself is very good. The views are only okay. You are really paying for the room, the proximity, and the amenities of the hotel. You can get a view of Downtown Disney and if you’re truly lucky the theme park. But is it worth the extra? Probably not.
- Average cost: Standard view – about $675; Courtyard view – about $720; Premium view – about $870
- Best feature: Comfort and proximity and so close to so much good food.
- Featured dining: Storytellers Cafe (although many would say Napa Rose – too froo froo for me)
No matter which one you stay at, they are all great. And all have better proximity than any hotel you could stay at off property. Plus, there is something special about the Disney touch that makes it extra awesome! Tell us your stories and your experiences.
All prices are based on a one-week stay from 10/18/2020 through 10/24/2020 and are only an estimate. Based on availability and time of the year, prices will vary.