With three on-property hotels and a variety of off-property options, it can be difficult choosing where to stay during your Disneyland Resort vacation. Each of the three hotels has an on-site pool, various dining locations (including character dining), and close access to the theme parks, but each is also unique and themed quite differently. Here are the benefits of staying at each hotel, so you can decide which resort is right for you.
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel Spa
The most elegant and top-tier of the Disneyland hotels, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel Spa, transports guests to a Northern California lodge with its redwood-style interiors and west coast elegance. Rooms are themed to honor furry woodland friends like Chip and Dale and Bambi, so while the kids and kids at heart will love the character touches, adults can appreciate the attention to detail.
Many guests choose to stay at this location because of its beauty and transportive nature. Upon entering the lobby, you may feel as though you have escaped the bustling Southern California lifestyle and entered a Lake Tahoe lodge. Here you can take in the warmth of the lighting and atmosphere, sit your children near the round-the-clock TV display of Mickey Mouse cartoons, and grab a cocktail or appetizer while lounging on the couch and admiring the grand architecture.
Disney’s Grand Californian is home to the most upscale dining experience outside of the two theme parks. Napa Rose is on almost every Disney foodie’s bucket list, and rightfully so. The restaurant combines California flair with fresh ingredients to serve innovative dishes every season. The accessibility of this renowned dining location makes the Grand Californian a great place to stay.
One of the major benefits of staying at this hotel is its separate entrance to California Adventure park. The Grand Californian provides hotel guests with an exclusive entrance into Disney California Adventure, allowing visitors to go to and from their hotel and the theme park easily and with little to no line. Note: valid theme park admission is required.
This is also the only hotel on Disneyland property that is also a spa. Mandara Spa at the Grand Californian is a full-service spa and salon that offers facials, massages, and other beauty and wellness treatments. If you want the ultimate relaxing getaway while staying on Disneyland property, this may be the hotel for you.
Often dubbed the hotel with the most Disney magic, the Disneyland Hotel is in a league of its own. From the beautiful hotel grounds to the rich history, this hotel is a favorite among Disney fans and Disneyland locals alike. Each of the three hotel towers is themed after a different land in Disneyland (Fantasy Tower, Frontier Tower, and Adventure Tower), allowing guests to feel as though they never left the theme parks when they set foot on hotel grounds.
The guest rooms are exquisite and are often the reason why guests continue to stay. There is something magical that happens when you turn on the headboard before you go to sleep (or any time of day, for that matter). If you haven’t experienced this yet, we won’t spoil it, but note that you should definitely check this out when you get a chance to stay here.
The Disneyland Hotel also offers its own fan-favorite selection of dining, including Steakhouse 55, whose name pays tribute to the date of Disneyland’s opening. Steakhouse 55 is an upscale on-property dining location that serves delectable steaks and an elevated breakfast menu. The restaurant’s décor pays homage to influential movie and music stars of the 1950s in black and white photographs, and the dim lighting is perfect for a date night or a relaxing dining experience.
If you want to have access to not only a prime steakhouse but also Dole Whip, then Disneyland Hotel is the place to stay. The Coffee House at the Disneyland Hotel is the only on-property location outside of the theme parks where you can purchase Dole Whip.
Disneyland Hotel is also home to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, the famous nightlife location home to interactive experiences, entertainment, and well-known drinks. Trader Sam’s is a local favorite and a tourist must-do. If drinks are your thing, this may be your reason to stay at the Disneyland Hotel.
The third on-property hotel at Disneyland Resort is Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. This is the most modestly priced of the three hotels, as rates tend to stay within the $200 range during non-peak seasons. Themed to honor the bustling prime of California’s oceanfront boardwalks, Disney’s Paradise Pier hotel is reminiscent to the beach.
Arguably the best part of staying at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel is the opportunity to stay in a park-view room, from which you can see World of Color (on nights when it is showing). Not every room has this view, but if you are able to snag it, it’s worth it. We’re not sure if Disney plans to re-theme this hotel since the 2017 reimagining of Pixar Pier (formerly Paradise Pier, from which the hotel got its name). If they do, we hope a Pixar-themed hotel is in the works!
This is also the only hotel where you can meet your favorite Disney characters dressed in their vacation attire. Mickey and Minnie are dressed in their lifeguard garb, Daisy and Donald wear special beach vacation clothing, and Goofy is also dressed ready to hit the waves. If you love meeting characters in exclusive or unique outfits, this is the place to check out.
Overall, if you are looking for an on-property hotel at a more affordable price, with all of the amenities that come with staying on Disneyland property, consider staying at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel on your next vacation.
Good Neighbor Hotels
If staying on property isn’t the best option for you, Disneyland recommends a variety of Good Neighbor hotels for your stay. Many of these hotels are at lower rates than those on Disneyland Resort property. Generally, these off property hotels offer similar perks, such as purchasing park tickets at the hotel and transportation to-and-from the theme parks. Most of the Good Neighbor hotels are also within walking distance of Disneyland Resort property, making them great options for a vacation.
Where do you plan to stay on your next trip?