Is it worthwhile to stay on-property at Disneyland?
Some people say "yes." Some people say "no." We say: There are many good reasons for staying both on and off-property...and whatever gets you to Disneyland is a good way to go! ;)
There's certainly something magical and "all-inclusive" about staying on-property at Disneyland. Being immersed in the atmosphere of innovation and imagination is an electrifying experience. The Disney culture is pervasive - in a very positive way! You and your kids are sure to be greeted with smiles and attended to with care.
There are currently three options for staying on-property:
Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa - Themed like a national park lodge, this resort is equal parts elegance and warmth. If you love the outdoors, you'll be right at home with the decor - while having all of the comforts of a luxury resort. The Grand Californian boasts a premium location, adjacent to Downtown Disney and Disney California Adventure. Need to return to your room for snacks, water, nap time, or pool time? No problem!
Disneyland Hotel - Fan of Walt Disney? The Disneyland Hotel is reminiscent of a bygone era - with a special emphasis on the Mouse who started it all. There are 3 pools to entertain the kids, including one with a monorail-themed slide and a Minnie Mouse shaped jacuzzi! Plus, little ones will adore the twinkling, musical headboards on the beds. Coming for a conference? The DH is home to the Convention Center. Booking Tip - the Adventure Tower and Fantasy Tower offer the closest walk to the parks.
Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel - This is the only on-property hotel that we haven't personally stayed at, but the website promises that "this seaside-themed hotel will carry you on a wave of relaxation, all the way up to the California Streamin' waterslide at the scenic rooftop pool."
All three clearly offer charm of their own. Note that if you stay at any of the hotels above, you have access to the pools, activities, and amenities at all three of the resorts.
Here are six reasons you might consider staying on-property.
(1) Parking - At the time of this writing, parking is not complimentary at any of the three property hotels. STILL, parking is way easier and less of a headache than fighting the masses in the big parking garages outside of the parks. You have the luxury of waking up and walking right into the parks or the nearest monorail station. Super convenience! Less stress! You even have access to a hotel-guest-only entrance to Disney California Adventure.
(2) Pools - All three hotels offer pools with watersides (+ hot tubs). Paradise Pier's hotel is on the rooftop! Disneyland Hotel's pool is newest and includes a monorail-themed waterside, plus a splash area for little ones. You won't be disappointed if you plan to spend some time soaking in the California sun!
(3) Extra Magic Hour - Disneyland Resort Hotel Guests can enjoy early admission, during every day of their hotel stay, to select attractions in either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park one hour before the park opens to the public.
(4) Decor - You'll find that decor in the hotels is more "subtle" than you might imagine. You'll find Mickey ears and white gloves in unexpected places. You probably won't find characters walking the grounds very often, but you'll want to have your camera handy because there are quite a few photo spots nevertheless - waterfalls, Disney character shaped bushes, interesting architectural details, etc.
(5) Fireworks From Your Room - Do you have tired tots who can't keep their eyelids open until the spectacular fireworks show? Or who have massive meltdowns post-bedtime? Watch the impressive display from your bedroom window (or the rooftop of Paradise Pier) instead.
(6) Disney Character Wake-Up Calls - Arrange to have a wake-up call by a Disney character to start off your morning in an ultra-magical way.
You can go here for a handy comparison of all three hotels.
Have YOU stayed at any of the three Disneyland Resort hotels? Share your top tips and/or highlights.
*Note that the hotels also offer daily activities (crafts, dive-in movies, etc.), but we've always been to busy in the parks to participate.
*All three hotels offer complimentary internet access (which we hope, in this day and age, is a given).