The Hotel: *The Disneyland Hotel
Where: Anaheim, CA
The Disneyland Hotel is one of only three onsite hotels at the Disneyland resort. It’s located just beyond downtown Disney, about a 10- or 15-minute from the main entrances to the two Disney parks.
If you have your admission pass you can pick up the monorail in Downtown Disney, which will take you to a stop in Disneyland that is close to Fantasy Land and Tomorrow Land.
Built on the site of the original, far more modest Disneyland Hotel, this resort is a celebration of Walt Disney and his first park.
A giant mural map of the original park greets you as you walk in. Lobby seating includes giant teacups (Tiny Traveler loved them and insisted on eating breakfast in them as least once). The pool slides have a monorail theme, the hot tub looks like Minnie Mouse.
In spite of all of this, the hotel does not have a kid-centric vibe. It’s modern and stylish, with the Disney details laid on top of that.
That said, if you are a parent who is a reluctant Disney visitor, this is probably not the hotel for you. If you love the parks, have an appreciation for nostalgia or have kids who are (or were) fans of the Mickey Mouse Club House, you’ll be very happy here.
The Disney celebration continues.
The best part of the room is a wood carving that runs the length of the beds and depicts the park in a fairy tale way It lights up with what look like fairy lights. Tiny Traveler was amazed and I have to admit I was impressed too.
When we returned to our room the second night and it wasn’t lit up we called the front desk to ask how to turn it on (it involves fairy music).
Book a room facing the park if it’s at all in your budget. The outside wall are floor-to-ceiling windows.
The night we checked in, the fireworks started a few minutes after we arrived and our room had a bird’s eye view. This impressed Tiny Traveler even more than the fairy lights.
Look for mouse ears in the carpet and on your faucets and mouse arms holding the lamps in the bathroom. A plate of Minnie and Mickey cookies greet you if you stay in a room on the executive club level.
Aside from the Mouse details, it’s a comfortable but fairly standard room with a couch, refrigerator and small but nicely finished bathroom and the same citrusy toiletries all their hotels use.
The Disneyland Hotel has two pools, two hot tubs and three slides of varying heights. The pool area seemed to have a fair number of chairs, but we weren’t there on a peak week.
They have staff playing pool game with kids at certain hours of the day, but only during peak weeks.
Dining options include a Tiki Bar by the pool and Tangaroa Terrace near the pool for breakfast or a quick lunch. Steakhouse 55 is the place to eat on a date night.
Goofy’s Kitchen has buffet-style character meals at breakfast and dinner.
Downtown Disney is an easy walk with more dining and shopping options.
Nighttime fun includes movies and live music at the Tiki Bar on certain nights.
Should you want to try some of the more elegant dining option without the kids along, Pinocchio’s Workshop at the nearby Grand California Hotel offers for-fee evening activities for kids ages 5 to 12.
There is onsite valet and self-parking, both for a fee.
The Disney Extras:
The hotel extras are not as extensive as at Disney World.
One handy thing is that your room key serves as your parking pass and your charge card at the hotel, Downtown Disney and the parks (it doesn’t work everywhere, but will work at most places).
This is nice if you prefer a single bill to a bunch of charges. It’s also handy if say, you arrive at the pool, realize you didn’t pack your child’s goggles, want to buy a set at the hotel gift shop and don’t have your wallet with you; just your room key.
Guests at the hotels can take advantage of Magic Hours and Magic Mornings, which grant you admission to the parks an hour before they open to the public.
The former alternates mornings between the two parks. And the latter is only for Disney Land, not California Adventure.
The Bottom Line:
The rack rates for the Disneyland Hotel are in line with comparable Disney World hotels, which is to say, high. Without the numerous perks of the Orlando hotels you get less value for your money.
However, none of the nearby “off-property” hotels approach the quality of the onsite ones (the more upscale non-Disney options are further away).
If you can find a deal online, the cool pools, restaurant options, magic hours and proximity to Downtown Disney make the hotel worth booking, especially if you know family will enjoy the all-Disney theme as much as we did.
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* We were guests of *CityPass at the Disneyland Hotel. We did not agree to provide any particular coverage in exchange for the stay. Our opinions are always our own.
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