What are the benefits of staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel? The Disneyland Resort is smack-dab in the middle of the city of Anaheim. Unlike Walt Disney World, where the resort is spread out by miles and miles, Disneyland is quite compact and very walk-able. This means you have tons of choices when it comes to choosing a hotel in the Disneyland area. What are the benefits of staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel (on-site) and why should you choose Disney when booking? I’ll break it down for you…
I had a momentary lapse into insanity when I booked us for two nights in the recently-renovated Disneyland Hotel for a trip in 2012.
“This hotel is connected to the park?”, says my husband.
Nope, that’s the Grand Californian and that would have been at least another $75 extra per night.
“Is it a suite?”
No, just a standard room. But I will definitely ask for an upgrade. I’ve always at least received a park-view room for the standard price when I ask for an upgrade.
“But for that price, it includes breakfast, right?”
Uh, no…if you want a breakfast you buy the $40 a person buffet at Goofy’s Kitchen.
“Do we at least get a foot massage at the end of the day?”, he asks with a wink.
He’s joking at this point, of course.
- There are three choices of Disneyland Resort Hotels in the Anaheim area…The Paradise Pier, The Disneyland Hotel and The Grand Californian Resort & Spa.
- Yes, you are close to the Park entrances but truly there are hotels on the other side of the street that are also within walking distance and could be considered closer. The Grand Californian Resort & Spa has its own entrance to Disney’s California Adventure that any Disney Resort Guest can access by walking through the lobby. And access to the Monorail is close to the Disneyland Hotel as well. Otherwise it’s a brisk walk through Downtown Disney to get to the front gates.
- The Disney touch for sure is a major selling point. The hotels, like the Parks, are well-cared for and maintained and I’ve never met any Cast Member (aka: Disney employee) that didn’t embody that spirit. I’ve heard otherwise online, but that’s the honest truth from me; I’ve experienced nothing but warmth and exceptional courtesy from all Disney Cast Members.
- Probably one of the top benefits of staying at a resort hotel is the Extra Magic Hour. For each day of your resort stay, you are able to enter the parks (with valid ticket) one hour earlier than the general public. If you aren’t purchasing your tickets through a Disney Resort package, I’d recommend purchasing from Park Savers. You’ll save a few dollars on the tickets and save time at the gates on the first day. (affiliate link) Please note that during Extra Magic Hour, only select attractions and shops are open, but it’s a great way to hit Fantasyland in Disneyland or CarsLand at Disney’s California Adventure before the lines are a mile long. You would be surprised at what could be accomplished in one line-free hour! Each Park has separate gate entrances for the Extra Magic Hour guests.
Extra Magic Hour Schedule
- Disneyland Park: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
- Disney California Adventure Park: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
- Using your Key to the Magic (room key) you can charge some Disney purchases onto your room account. I used it to purchase a yummy drink by the pool!
- And about those pools…we have actually booked an extra day at the resort to just stay and swim, we love these pools so much! All three resorts have great water slides, several pools to choose from as well as hot tubs. With the resorts so close, we usually take a mid-day swim break and return to the parks refreshed in the late afternoon. Read more in my post Disneyland Resort Hotel Swimming Pools – What to Expect of Your Fun in the Sun!
- Don’t want to schlep that big bag of souvenirs through the park? Package Express will deliver any purchases made in the park directly to your room.
- Schedule a free Character Wake Up Call. On our last trip I had Mickey call to wake up the kids so we could get into the parks early!
- If you have a special occasion during your trip, as a hotel guest you may contact Disney Vacation Planning for Disney Dream Makers to bring a cake, balloons or a gift basket to your room. Costs for these are naturally, pricey.
- Hotel guests can book their kids into Pinocchio’s Workshop, a child care facility on the grounds of The Grand Californian Resort & Spa for ages 5-12. For a fee, parents can enjoy a child-free evening in Downtown Disney.
- There is an exclusive entrance at the Grand Californian Resort & Spa to enter the Disney’s California Adventure Park for Disneyland Resort guests only. Anyone (guest or not) can also hop on board the Monorail in Downtown Disney to get inside the Disneyland Resort (so long as you already have your paid ticket). We use this entrance frequently when we want to take a swim break mid-day.
Please check out Disneyland’s hotel overview online for comparisons and other benefits to staying at a resort.
And if you’re interested in staying off-site, please see my post Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels.