Disneyland Resort Hotel Review – Paradise Pier Hotel

Disneyland Resort Hotel Review - Paradise Pier Hotel

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are reviewing the official Disneyland hotels and some of Disneyland’s Good Neighbor hotels. While Walt Disney World boasts dozens of “on-site” resort hotels, the Disneyland Resort only has three – Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the original Disneyland Hotel and the Paradise Pier Hotel. I’ve had the pleasure of staying at the Paradise Pier Hotel many times over the years and as with all other Disney resorts, I’ve enjoyed my visits.

Disneyland Resort Hotel Review - Paradise Pier Hotel

Image Credit: Disney Parks

When you first step into the lobby, you might feel that this particular hotel is lacking a bit in the theming that is so prevalent at the other two hotels. While the other two Resort hotels were built specifically as Disney resorts, the Paradise Pier Hotel was actually a different establishment that was taken over and remodeled by Disney. The Paradise Pier started its life as the Emerald of Anaheim in 1984 and later renamed the Pan Pacific Hotel. It was purchased by Disney in 1995 and renamed it the Disney Pacific Hotel. In 2000, it was re-branded as the Paradise Pier Hotel (to match the Paradise Pier theme at Disney California Adventure Park).

Disneyland Resort Hotel Review - Paradise Pier Hotel

Inside the Paradise Pier Hotel gift shop, Mickey in Paradise

The lobby is a bit lackluster, I will admit. There is a Goofy statue that’s fun to take your picture with. There is a large gift shop (called Mickey in Paradise). There’s a restaurant (home to a Character breakfast) and a lounge. And a kid’s space called the “Paradise Theater” that shows Disney cartoons in a beach-theme. It’s a small lobby that lacks the “grandness” (obviously) of the Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and the vintage-chic feel of the Disneyland Hotel. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just not very “Disney” feeling. But then again, you can always go and visit the lobbies at the other two Resort hotels and come back to the Paradise Pier Hotel to stay the night, right?

So what makes the Paradise Pier special and worth a stay? Here are some upsides:

A Beachy-keen Theme – The rooms are light and breezy in a fun beach theme that reflects the Paradise Pier, complete with beach balls pillows on the bed. There are subtle Disney details throughout too, including a lifeguard Mickey lamp. I think it’s a really fun and roomy space. There’s even a sleeper sofa for extra space.

Gotta Love that View – Watch the action taking place below with a stunning view of Disney California Adventure Park.

Disneyland Resort Hotel Review - Paradise Pier Hotel

A vintage view of Disney California Adventure Park, circa 2009

Extra Magic Hour  – While staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel, guests may enjoy the theme parks an hour before park opening with Extra Magic Hour. All Disneyland Resort hotel guests also have access to the exclusive entrance to Disney California Adventure park from Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. It’s a great way to get that Radiator Springs Racers FastPass.

Slightly Lower Cost – Paradise Pier is always the lesser priced of the three Disney Resort hotels but it’s still priced quite a bit more than other area Good Neighbor hotels.

Disneyland Resort Hotel Review - Paradise Pier Hotel

Catch a Wave for Breakfast – Disney’s PCH Grill hosts the Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey & Friends, a highly enjoyable character dining experience. We’ve dined here several times and appreciate the variety at the buffet (can’t go wrong with Mickey waffles!) as well as the entertainment and characters that come to each table.

Concierge – We splurged on concierge during one of our stays here and it was a treat. We were able to enjoy the special lounge for a light morning breakfast, return for an “evening happy hour” with appetizers and pick up bottled water and a few snacks before heading to the pool. There was also turn-down service and a special treat for the kids when we returned in the evening.

Disneyland Resort Hotel Review - Paradise Pier Hotel

Proximity to the Parks – Yep, there are definitely motels on the other side of the Disney Parks that are technically closer to the front gates. Still, it’s really less than a 10-minute walk from the Paradise Pier to the special “Guest-only” entrance at Disney’s Grand Californian (bring your valid hotel room key & park tickets for access) and it’s only a few minutes more to reach the Monorail Station entrance in the Downtown Disney District. And the landscaped walk along the curving footpath is pleasant.

Disneyland Resort Hotel Review - Paradise Pier Hotel

California Streamin’ waterslide

A Pool with a View – Situated on the third floor, the Paradise Pool is an enjoyable respite mid-day. My kids have always loved the California Streamin’ waterslide and little ones will enjoy the Children’s splash pool. It’s a smaller area than the other Disney Resort hotel pool areas, which can be a good thing when you have small kids to keep your eye on.

Fireworks – Come night fall, from the third floor pool deck, you can pull up a beach chair and watch the Disneyland fireworks over the Park. There is a live synchronized broadcast over the loudspeakers so you’re fully involved in the show. I have fond memories of my dad’s last visit to Disneyland, as he held two of his pajama-clad grandsons on his lap while we watched the fireworks from this location.

The Paradise Pier sounds like the perfect place to start the day (with a Character breakfast) and a lovely place to end the night (with fireworks)! What is your favorite feature of the Paradise Pier Hotel? Share below in the comments!



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7 replies
  1. DIStherapy
    DIStherapy says:

    Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel is an unexpected winner! I stayed there 5 years ago when the rate was still a bargain and fell in love with the bright, beach ball decorated rooms. (I had a room overlooking the construction of the California Streamin’ slide, so I’m happy to read that your kids enjoyed it so!) Unfortunately, the room rates have caught up with its popularity, so the Disneyland Hotel usually wins it for me. BUT, with its proximity to the corrals for Tinker Bell Half Marathon (in its parking lot), I would stay here again in a heartbeat!

  2. elaine massey
    elaine massey says:

    I have been to Disneyland twice and we stayed at The Disneyland Hotel for the first last Feb. and then The Grand Californian for the second in June. I considered Paradise Pier, but the Disney folks suggested the other ones. This sounds like nice hotel. The concierge is a great thing if you can afford it. We did it once at The Beach Club Hotel but it’s quite a bit extra. Thanks for the review. I have been curious about this hotel.

  3. Lin
    Lin says:

    When we were planning our trip we struggled with resort selection a lot! Though we finally settled on Disneyland Hotel it looks like a stay at Paradise Pier is in order for another trip. Thanks for providing a thorough review!

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