Where to stay at Disneyland?

Last Updated on January 19, 2022 by disneyparkssnob

When planning your Disneyland vacation, you’re going to have to decide where to stay. Your two options are On Property (Disney Resort) or Off-Property (all other accommodations). I’m sure you have a lot of questions about Where to stay at Disneyland. Like: What are the differences between staying at a Disney Resort or something Off-Property? Or do you need to stay at a Disney Resort? What are the benefits of staying at a Disney Resort? So lets go over all these potential quesitons.


What are the Disneyland Resorts hotels?

There are 3 Disney Resorts hotels at Disneyland.

  • Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
  • Disneyland Hotel
  • Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel

What are the benefits of staying at a Disney Resort hotel?

Pre-Covid, On Property guests would get the Extra Magic Hour benefit. Which is an hour in the park ONLY for On Property guests. This perk is currently suspended to help maintain crowds. So the only real benefit of staying On Property is the convenience factor of being able to enter Disney California Adventure Park through The Grand Californian (only for guests staying there) or the close proximity to the Monorail Station in Downtown Disney.

The Disney Resorts hotels are beautiful and incredibly magical. Staying On Property at a Disney Resort hotel is clearly the dream, however, they do come at a price. Nightly rates at one of these hotels can be two, three, or even four times the cost of other hotels. Which for some families may not be an option. But for others who really want to stay in the “Disney Bubble”, a Disney Resort hotel is the only way to go.

The Disneyland Resort hotels are broken down into three pricing categories.

  • Most expensive
    • Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
  • Moderately expensive
    • Disneyland Hotel
  • Least expensive
    • Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel

Remember to always check the special offers page to see what promotions Disney is running for their resort hotels. If there isn’t a current promotion for your travel dates, keep checking back. If one becomes available after you book your room, be sure to call Disney and have a Cast Member apply the promotion to your reservation.


Do I need to stay at a Disney Resort hotel?

Need being operative word…No. You don’t “need” to stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel. With the close proximity of Off-Property hotels to the front entrances of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, you don’t “need” to stay at a Disney Resort hotel.

Screenshot of Disneyland map

Since Disneyland is in the middle of Anaheim, it’s a very walkable distance from a lot of Disney’s “Good Neighbor” Hotels. But, I would just like to point out that since there are only two parks and it’s easy to assume that you can do everything one park has to offer in one day, you wouldn’t need to book more than a few nights. If this is going to be your only trip to Disneyland, you may want to budget a little more and stay in that Disney Bubble and really embrace the magic of Disney.

All three of the Disney Resort hotels have beautifully themed rooms, have delicious dining options, and super fun pools with water slides. If your kids are anything like mine, the pool is a BIG factor. Having a nice comfortable place to relax and let your kids enjoy the warm California sun is something to consider. Not that you can’t find great Off-Property hotels with similar amenities, the one thing they wont have are the amazing resort Cast Members.


Where to stay Off-Property?

Like I said before since Disneyland is in the middle of Anaheim, there are a LOT of great options that are only a short walk away from the park entrances. Good Neighbor hotels are Off-Property hotels that have been given the Disney seal of approval. On Disneyland’s Good Neighbor webpage, you can filter the options by pricing category, proximity to the parks, hotel features (INCLUDING an option for free transportation to the parks), and room features.

Screenshot from Disneyland Good Neighbor Webpage

Be sure you know where a specific Off-Property hotel is, how far it is from the parks, if there is transportation available, and if that transportation is free or not. Having grown up in California and have been to Disneyland more times than I can count, my preference is to stay directly across the street on S. Harbor Boulevard. Traveling with little kids, we have always gone back to the hotel in the middle of the day to let the little ones sleep and the older ones swim. Even if you stay in the parks all day and never take a break, having a hotel that is nice and close is important to my family. The last thing we want to do after spending an entire day in the parks with tired little ones is wait to get on a shuttle and ride back. Just something to think about when you’re looking at your options.


Loyalty Programs

If you are a member of a hotel chain’s loyalty program, be sure to search and see where that hotel chain’s local hotels are. With dozens upon dozens of hotels within walking distance, I’m sure you will find one that is a part of your loyalty program. That way you can use some of your points or continue to earn points towards a future stay.

One last note

Be aware that none of the Disneyland Resort hotels offer transportation to/from the airport. Doing a quick search it doesn’t appear that Off-Property hotels do not offer shuttles to the airport either. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any but just make sure you know what transportation options the hotel offers if any.

Spreading magic one post at a time


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