Disneyland Hotels Guide for Disney World Regulars

Disneyland Hotels Guide for Disney World Regulars

Disneyland Hotel sorcerer Mickey entrance

Hello. In this, I am going to try and help you make your vacation planning to Disneyland a little easier. If you are a Disney World regular (like I was when I first visited Disneyland) planning a hotel is going to be a much different experience. 

This first section is going to be about the differences between Disneyland and Disney World Hotels. If you have never been to Disney World feel free to skip this part.

Differences Between Hotels and DL and WDW

At Disney World, it is normal for most visitors to stay on property. With dozens of hotels in varying price ranges, almost everyone planning a trip can find one to fit their budget. This is not the case at Disneyland.

There are no value resorts (All-Stars/Art of Animation) at Disneyland. In fact, there are only 3 hotels in total, but we will describe them later. Just know that all 3 of these are priced as much as the more expensive hotels at Disney World.

Another major difference: NO BUS SERVICE TO THE PARKS

Now granted the parks are all what Disney calls "walking distance" away, but this is still a good distance as you have to walk through Downtown Disney to get to the parks or take the monorail, which will take you to Tomorrowland (Park Ticket Required).

Another difference is in the benefits staying onsite gets you. If you are used to getting extra magic hours you are in luck! Every morning there is an Extra Magic Morning at one of the two parks, but none after the park closes.

The final main difference, the offsite hotels are CLOSE. I mean REALLY CLOSE. Many are even significantly closer than Disney Hotels as the offsite ones are just across the street from Disneyland, not miles away like at Disney World. If you are looking for a short walk, the offsite hotels are for you, where you are never 5 minutes walk away from Main Street USA.

Benefits of Onsite Vs. Offsite

Now we will weigh the pros and cons of staying on Disney property or at one of the other hotels nearby.

Pros Onsite
  1. Stay in the magic: It is undeniable that the magic of a Disney Hotel is something special beyond any other.
  2. Avoid Harbor BLV: If you are going to walk from an offsite hotel, you will come across Harbor BLV, the street that borders Disneyland. I never have found an issue with this street, although it can have the occasional protester or group of homeless people.
  3. Luxury: The Disney Hotels are much nicer than any of the offsite hotels, which can be a great benefit.
Cons Onsite
  1. Expense: These hotels are double, or sometimes even TRIPLE the price of an offsite hotel.
  2. Distance: Even though these are on Disney property, they are actually further from the parks than many of the offsite hotels.
  3. Availability: These hotels, as there are so few of them, often sell out due to being connected to Disney.
Pros Offsite

Full Article
  1. Distance: As I said, many of these hotels are closer to the parks than the actual Disney Hotels.
  2.  Expense: These are MUCH Cheaper than Disney Hotels, even the closer ones. 
  3.  Availability: These hotels rarely sell out, so it is much easier to book here.
  4.  Fireworks: Unless you get lucky or pay more, it is unlikely you can watch the fireworks from your room at a Disney Hotel. But you can from most Harbor BLV hotels.
Cons Offsite

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  1. Harbor BLV: This is a busy street in a city. It seems like a busy street in a city, with occasional protests (rare) and daily street vendors, homeless people, and traffic.
  2. Quality: These hotels are spotty and require more research. While some are perfect, others can have problems with their rooms.
  3. Restaurants: Almost all of these hotels have restaurants. Some of which (Mimi's Cafe, Coldstone Creamery, Pizza Press) are great. Others are HORRIBLE!! (CAPTAIN KIDD'S BUFFET) 

Onsite Hotels

This is the first built of all the Disneyland Hotels and in my opinion the best value. It is expensive, but the rooms, even the base room, are HUGE. I mean if you have ever stayed in a Disney Hotel before you will be shocked by the size of these rooms. It is the second closest to the parks but is right next to the security check. I would personally recommend the Downtown Disney side rooms on the Adventure Tower, but they can be more expensive, but sometimes you can get one there if one is open.

Rooms are expensive often running in the $300 range.

Here's a guide to some of the smaller details of the hotel.


Pool: 2 normal sized hotel pools themed to E and D tickets. The real gem is the Monorail slides.

Restaurants: There are multiple food outlets scattered throughout the hotel, but for the best restaurant got to Trader Sam's. It is a bar, but kids are allowed inside. Be sure to order one of the specialty drinks and watch what happens. :)

Grand Californian

This is the most expensive hotel in the resort. If you have been to Disney World, think of it as a cross between Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge with no animals. This is the most luxurious hotel, from the rooms to the piano player in the lobby. 

Rooms here can easily pass $500 a night.


Pool: This is a traditional hotel pool with a slide surrounded by stones. 

Restaurants: There are many high-quality food locations at this hotel. I would personally recommend Storytellers, especially if you want a character meal with characters out of the ordinary.

Park Entrance: There is a special entrance to California Adventure just for guests from this hotel. It lets out right in between Grizzly River Run and Soarin'.

Paradise Pier Hotel

This is the least expensive and in my opinion the worst of Disney Hotels. It is far away from the parks, it was not even supposed to be a Disney Hotel, it was bought by them later and was quickly given Disney theming as it could be seen from California Adventure. I would recommend staying offsite before staying here as it is overpriced for what it is and is far from the parks.

Offsite Hotels

There are dozens of offsite hotels. I am only going to review those I have been to as there are so many.

Park Vue Inn

This hotel is right across the street from Disneyland. I mean the crosswalk goes up against the parking lot. You cannot get closer. It is also extremely cheap considering its location. The rooms are TINY. I mean the location of this hotel is great, there is a deep pool, but seriously these rooms are small. If you don't intend on spending much time in the room, or just don't care about how small the room is, this is for you.

Howard Johnson

This hotel is a significant distance from the park. You are directly across from Toontown, so to get into the park it is like walking from the front of the park to the back of the park. The rooms, however, are great. They are quite large and many have a view of the fireworks and even World of Color. The only real negative is the walk from the hotel to the park and back.