When considering a Disneyland vacation, you really have some outstanding options when it comes to accommodations! With Disneyland located in the middle of city there are a bounty of “off-site” hotels to choose from. So why would anyone choose to stay at one of the three Disneyland Resort hotel when there are hundreds of other lodging options surrounding the Parks? I’ll break it down and determine whether it’s worth it to stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel…or not.
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Should You Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel or Off-Site Location?
My family and I have stayed at all three of the Disneyland Resort Hotels over the course of many years. We’ve also stayed at dozens of the off-site locations and found some of them to be nicely accommodating!
So which one should you choose – A Disneyland Resort Hotel or an Off-Site Hotel? I’ll be giving you many discussion points to review before you book your Disneyland-area vacation hotel.
What are the Disneyland Resort Hotels?
The Disneyland Resort area is smaller than Walt Disney World and includes only three resort hotels – Disney’s Paradise Pier, The Disneyland Hotel and Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.
Each of the Disneyland Resort hotels have themed rooms and pool areas that offer a full day of entertainment. Each hotel offers a unique Character meal. The hotels are located within walking distance of the Parks. Some of the hotel areas are more “Disney” than others. Each of them offers great customer service and that feeling of being inside the “Disney Bubble” while on vacation.
Disney’s Paradise Pier is always the lowest cost of the three resort hotels (but still not “inexpensive” by any means!) The hotel has a whimsical beach theme with a rooftop water slide and great views of Disney California Adventure park.
The Disneyland Hotel is a classic – The entire hotel is heavy on the Disney theming, from the Mad Tea Party teacups in the lobby to the imaginative light-up musical headboards in each room. A fantastic pool area with Monorail-themed water slides make this a magical place to stay.
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is the closest hotel to the Park and hosts it’s own Resort guest-exclusive entrance to Disney California Adventure park. The dramatic lobby and more sophisticated style with subtle Disney details add to the upscale nature of this beautiful hotel.
What are Good Neighbor Hotels?
Good Neighbor Hotels are off-site Anaheim area hotels that Disney promotes on their website. Not sure if these are actually hand-picked and approved hotels by Disney or if the hotels pay to be listed under the “Good Neighbor” umbrella?
I’ve stayed at over a dozen and there is a vast range in quality, from low budget basic rooms to elegant family suites. Bottom line is that some of these hotels are better than others. Some of them are downright lousy, if I’m being honest!
Do your research – Read Yelp reviews. Take a look at the area map. Do a Google search. Ask a friend.
Two of my favorite off-site Disneyland area hotels:
Why Should I Consider an Off-Site Accommodation?
Far and away the best reason for booking off-site are the more reasonable low costs for a room. Hotel accommodations can be the major expense of any vacation and with Disneyland resort hotel rooms at $300+ per night, you might want to consider off-site lodging that is considerably less cost.
Many very good off-site hotels are within walking distance of the Disneyland Resort. In fact, some are even closer to the front gates than the Disneyland Resort hotels!
Be sure to look at a map of the area before booking though. Some off-site locations boast that they’re across the street from Disneyland only to find out that you’ll still have a long walk to get to the entrance!
More Dining Options
There are restaurants and fast food places located all around the Disneyland area, many of them inside off-site hotels. Many of the off-site accommodations also have a complimentary breakfast – sweet!
Shuttles or Public Transportation
Even if the off-site hotel is a mile away, many of them offer free or low cost shuttles to the park entrance. Public transportation (like the ART) stops near other hotels for a nominal fee (definitely cheaper than parking your vehicle at the Disneyland parking lot!)
Variety of Room Options
The rooms at the Disneyland Resort are all pretty standard sized. If you need something with more space or a suite on a budget, looking off-site will give you what you need.
What are the Benefits of Staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel?
Extra Magic Hour
Want to get inside the Park early and avoid extra long queues? Disneyland Resort hotel guests can take advantage of Extra Magic Hour for each day of their stay.
Staying in the Magic
If you prefer to avoid the “outside world” while enjoying a Disney vacation, you’ll love the Disneyland Resort hotels. You’ll never have to leave the area or step outside of the Disney bubble!
Special Guest-Only Offerings
When you check in, the Cast Member will give you a calendar of items that are happening at the Resort during your stay. This may include pool-side activities, Disney movies under the stars, early access to shops in the Downtown Disney District or free tours.
A History Like No Other
When you take a look at this wall of photos in the Disneyland Hotel you can see the rich history of the resort and what it has meant to so many. That’s a history that many Disney fans will love to soak in!
If you want to know more check out these valuable reasons to stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel.
Save money at DISNEYLAND!
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For more opinions on what is & isn’t worth the splurge at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Orange | Is It Worth It? Loop:
- 1st Stop – Heidi’s Head | 5 Reasons Why a Tour at Walt Disney World is Worth Your Money
- 2nd Stop – Saving Up for Disney | Is it Worth it to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel vs Off-Site?
- 3rd Stop – Frontierland Station | Character Dining: Is It Worth It?
- 4th Stop – Cool Nouns | Park Hopper Tickets
- 5th Stop – Distalgic | The Disney Dining Plan: Is It Worth It?