The rooms here are large and have the most magical details! Firework bedspreads, Cinderella quote pillows, fun Mickey Mouse touches in the rug and in the shower tiles, a picture of Walt on the wall, the rich blue and gold color scheme. Two of my favorite details are the Mickey Mouse “glove hand” lights on the walls and the light up firework/castle headboards. You press Tinker Bell on your nightstand and the headboard lights up to music. Totally magical.
Single rooms and suites are available, but most rooms can sleep up to five. Two queen beds and a fold over couch with one bathroom. For spring break we slept four in this room layout comfortably. If you are looking for a “wow” moment for your kids on your trip, I highly recommend these rooms at this resort. The little details are just so cute.
Trader Sams is the enchanted tiki bar by the pool and it is a huge plus to staying at the Disneyland Hotel! The drinks are wild, the food is good, and the atmosphere is way fun. It sometimes gets crowded, but if you can snag a seat its worth experiencing. Tangaroa Terrace is in the same building and has the same menu but is child friendly.
This is a personal plus in my book, but it depends on what you like! One of the things I love about the Disneyland Hotel specifically is the characters you can run into in the lobby when you are checking in or going to your room. If you end up in the fantasyland tower during your stay, bumping into Goofy or Minnie Mouse becomes a regular occurrence. I think this is so fun for little ones and really rounds out the magical experience of your Disneyland vacation.
The interactions in the lobby are also longer and the characters have the time to really interact with you because there is less of a demand for them. Chip and Dale paid us a visit in the gift shop once and Dale ended up taking the DSLR camera we had for a test drive.
I came back to the room and we found this selfie that he took.
This really depends on what tower you end up in but the monorail is just a short walk away, as is Downtown Disney. It makes it easy to get into the parks and you have a few options when choosing how you would like to enter.
The monorail pool is scenic and big enough that the crowd is never a problem and the Minnie Mouse shaped hot tub is just plain adorable. The pool is also shallow and perfect for little legs. Overall the pool area is just so beautiful and lush that it makes the courtyard scenery a huge plus.
This may seem silly because Starbucks is the semi-official caffeine provider of all Disney Parks, but I love this itty bitty coffee bar that is right in front of the pool. It’s a small thing, but sometimes I get up early and love taking a minute to sip some coffee here before a crazy Disney day. It’s hardly ever crowded and the coffee is quite good. I usually start here and get a secondary cup at Starbucks in the park in the early afternoon.
Both great restaurants! Goofy’s Kitchen is buffet style and family oriented, expect characters to come greet you at your table. While it isn’t my favorite character dining experience at the resort, it is a classic from my childhood and I have very fond memories of the food. If you are a healthy oriented eater, this is probably not the place for you. Think of the menu like a kid’s dream, its full of fries, sugary cereal, pizza, ice cream, mac & cheese, and cupcakes.
– Disneyland hotel is the middle in terms of pricing, so keep that in mind when selecting between this hotel and others. For a few hundred more per night, the direct entrance to DCA at the grand is very handy. I think it comes down to how long you are staying.
-You could score when booking a room and get a view of the park or the pool and a great building location or you could pay the same price for the opposite with a view of the parking lot. With this hotel I recommend people call Disney to ensure their needs are met, but remember that sometimes it comes down to just pure luck.
-This is random and not a deal breaker by any means, but this area gets SO brutally hot in the summer. Part of me thinks this has to do with the blue reflective glass on the sides of each building. The Grand Californian is a whole lot cooler in the summer months and has more shade throughout. When it is hot in Anaheim, you have zero sun protection in the Disneyland hotel courtyard.
Why is this hotel my favorite? Well, I think you get the most for your money and it’s definitely the most “Disneyland” themed of the bunch. If that’s your thing, then stay! If you are looking for something more tranquil and luxurious, let’s move next door and talk about….
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel
Here are some benefits to staying at this resort.
The Direct Park Entrance:
This feature is perhaps the biggest “plus” to staying at The Grand Californian, there is a direct entrance to Disney California Adventure just off the lobby of this hotel. The entrance is restricted to hotel guests in the early hours of the morning but then opens up for public use. The advantage to this is that in addition to getting into the park early (a perk that comes with any on-site hotel) you get access to the park quicker than if you were to enter in by the main gates. Later in the day it serves as a plus to take a break, re-apply sunscreen, or grab a sweater and hop right back into the magic after. It makes it easy to access your room and anything else you might need throughout the day.
Is this a plus? yes! But because of the high price point, don’t let the park entrance be the only deciding factor in where you stay.
Napa Rose and Storytellers Cafe:
Both amazing restaurants! Storytellers is character dining/buffet style in the morning and casual table service in the evening. The breakfast is delicious and I think if you are going to do character dining at Disneyland storytellers is the place to do it. Even though bacon, eggs, and signature Mickey waffles are widely available at the buffet the options tend to be a bit healthier than at Goofy’s Kitchen. At dinner time the baked chicken and other entree options are not to be missed and the space transforms from character dining to a regular sit down restaurant.
Napa Rose is amazing and unlike other park restaurants. You won’t find characters running around or mouse shaped menu items, but what you will find is unbelievable five star dining (and a huge selection of wine!) Napa Rose is perfect for a dinner that feels miles from the hustle and bustle of the park but is only steps away. If the park is busy chances are this restaurant will be busy, so be sure to make reservations in advance.
Two honorable mentions include Whitewater Snacks and Hearthstone Lounge, one is great for by the pool snacks and the other offers an evening retreat for adults.
This one isn’t standard, you have to get lucky! But overall the views from each room are stunning at The Grand Californian. The grizzly peak decks that look out into the park and Paradise Pier views are obviously the most desirable, but I think the Downtown Disney views are beautiful too.
The Adult Friendly Factor:
I definitely think that The Grand Californian is the most adult friendly of the three on property hotels, and by that I mean the hotel with the least amount of kid oriented theming. Lets put it this way, you could take The Grand Californian out of Anaheim and it would still be a nice resort to stay at. The same can’t really be said about Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier.
It’s peaceful and undeniably Disney but not in a way that screams it. Some of the restaurants are adult oriented, there is a spa near the lobby, and even a workshop for kids to go to when parents need reprieve. The Grand Californian was built with both adults and kids in mind and I love how almost anyone (kid/teen/adult/family/couple) will likely be satisfied staying there.
Like every hotel on this list, the rooms are beautifully designed and spacious with magical details. I love the woodland theme, but if you have little ones (or teens!) in tow the bunk beds in some of the rooms really can’t be beat.
Here are some drawbacks to consider with this hotel:
-The biggest issue with this hotel for most families? The cost! This resort is beautiful and convenient, but that is very much reflected in the price. During peak seasons, expect to pay close to $1000 a night. During all other times of the year the lowest I have seen is $350 for a standard room. I think depending on when you visit and what your needs are it can be worth what you pay, just be aware of the pricing and try to go when the demand is low if you want to stay at this hotel.
-This hotel is huge and I do mean HUGE. This could be a problem or not be a problem depending on where your room is located. If you are close to the lobby, everything is literally steps away. If you have a room that is in one of the far away building areas, you have extra walking to deal with. Once again I recommend people call Disney to ensure their needs are met, remembering that sometimes it comes down to just pure luck.
Not interested in spending so much on a Grand Californian room but still want to stay on property? Then the final on property hotel; Paradise Pier, might be for you!
Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel
The biggest benefit to this hotel is the ability to stay on property with Disney, for less than you would pay at the other two hotels. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a budget resort and rooms will still run you a few hundred dollars per night. But if you are set on staying within the resort this hotel is the best value. Rooms are spacious and have a beach theme with Disney touches. The same kind of magic, for just a little bit less.
I love the pool at this hotel! It is the cutest and has such a fun vibe. The fact that is on the rooftop is kind of unique for the Anaheim area and it makes the pool a great place to watch nighttime attractions like fireworks and World of Color.
Such a special aspect of this hotel is that many of the rooms and the pool overlook the Paradise Pier section of DCA, hence the name. If you get placed on the side facing the park, you can watch World Of Color from your room which is incredible. Like my advice for all things regarding what Disney room you get, give them a call to book and ask! Don’t be too demanding or insistent but cast members often love to make magic happen for you on your trip.
Here are some drawbacks to consider with this hotel:
-The accessibility from this hotel to the parks isn’t as great as the other two, but it certainly isn’t far away either. This hotel was owned by another brand and then later renovated into Paradise Pier so it wasn’t originally placed as an on property resort. Not a deal breaker, but something to consider if you have little legs in tow.
-There are three places to dine on this property! PCH Grill, The Sandbar, and The Surfside Lounge. I have eaten at all three and they all have food that is up to Disney standard but with that said they aren’t ones that I necessarily think of when picking a place to eat. I would go out of my way for some of the restaurants at the other two hotels, so while these aren’t bad places to eat they aren’t that memorable either. Just something small to note.
-Early entry into the parks
-Exclusive entrance to DCA
-Free resort wifi
-Disney character wake up calls
-Many rooms accommodate up to 5 people
-Merchandise delivery to your hotel
-Charging privileges throughout the resort
I hope this article helps to clarify the decision of which hotel might be the right fit for your group 🙂 Stay tuned for an off property guide soon and as always, you can reference my “Disney Guide” for more recommendations and tips. And if you are making some travel decisions at either Walt Disney Word or Disneyland, below are the links to some articles you might find helpful!