Is the Disneyland Hotel Worth It? We’re Breaking Down the Pros and Cons

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Disneyland Parks, Disneyland Resorts

Should you book a stay at the Disneyland Hotel on your next visit to Anaheim? Here’s a look at the best –– and worst –– parts of this Disneyland Resort destination.

The Disneyland Hotel is a piece of history in Anaheim. It’s been around since Disneyland’s earliest days, dating back to October 1955, and was the first-ever hotel to bear the Disney name. Years later, it’s still a highly sought-after hotel for guests both local and from around the world, all of whom want to stay in Disneyland’s original hotel.

Steeped in both history and that classic Disney magic, it’s obvious why this hotel is a must-visit for many. But is it actually worth staying at the Disneyland Hotel? Does the price offer good value for the money, and will you enjoy extra-special perks? As a local who’s personally stayed at the Disneyland Hotel more than 10 times over the last 30 years, I’m breaking down the pros and cons so you can decide whether or not it’s the right place to book for your needs.

Pros of Staying at the Disneyland Hotel

It’s Close to the Theme Parks

Sure, there are plenty of hotels within walking distance of the Disneyland Resort –– including some located right across the street from the resort entrance. But you really can’t get closer than one of the onsite Disney hotels, and that includes the Disneyland Hotel.

You’ll be securely on Disneyland property when you stay at the Disneyland Hotel, which means you’ll be able to walk through Downtown Disney easily and reach the theme parks in mere minutes (no tram or bus ride required!). Plus, if you don’t want to walk, you can take the monorail from Downtown Disney right into Disneyland Park.

You will have to go through security at Downtown Disney each time you want to head to the parks, but it’s a pretty seamless process since you’re just steps away.

You’ll Enjoy Magical Perks

Disneyland Hotel Adventure Tower standard room beds and headboard

Photo by Danny Shuster

It’s undeniable that staying at an onsite hotel comes with perks that other Anaheim hotels simply can’t match. When you stay at the Disneyland Hotel, you’ll get access to magical perks like:

  • Early Theme Park Entry, which gives you an extra 30 minutes in the theme park before rope drop
  • Convenient theme park access
  • Monorail access via Downtown Disney
  • Preferred access to hotel dining reservations

These perks are exclusive to Disneyland Resort hotels, which adds to the value of your resort room’s cost.

The Disneyland Hotel Offers Some Great Dining Options

If you’re looking for variety, standout Disneyland dining destinations, or simply some good food that’s suitable for even the pickiest of eaters, you’ll find it at the Disneyland Hotel. While I’m still mourning the loss of Steakhouse 55, I have to admit that the restaurant options at the hotel are definitely worth dining at.

Hands down, the best dining spot at the Disneyland Hotel is the storied Trader Sam’s. This small bar nestled between the E-Ticket Pool and the hotel’s Rose Court Garden is a total gem, from its entertaining bartenders to its menu of delicious, tropically-inspired cocktails to its tiki vibes. In fact, I love this bar so much my husband and I headed right to Trader Sam’s after our wedding at the Disneyland Hotel ended for some late-night drinks. The wait to get a table inside can be long, but it’s very worthwhile.

If character dining is more your speed, Goofy’s Kitchen is a must-visit at the Disneyland Hotel. One of the original character dining spots at Disneyland, it’s incredibly popular for good reason. Here, you can enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner, plus a parade of popular characters. The food is surprisingly tasty (and warm!) for a buffet, and the character dining changes from season to season, offering something different depending on what time of the year you’re visiting.

Most Rooms Offer a Decent View

Okay, technically you have to pay for a great view when you stay at the Disneyland Hotel. When you book your room, you’ll notice you can choose between a number of views, including a Standard View, Premium View, Deluxe View, and even Premium Downtown Disney View. But in my experience, there really isn’t a bad view in the entire hotel!

If you happen to get a room that faces towards Downtown Disney, you’ll get some pretty impressive views of the rest of Disneyland Resort (including the theme parks!). But even if you don’t spring for this premium perk, I’ve found that the views of the Disneyland Hotel’s own grounds offer a nice bit of scenery during the day and night. Additionally, even if you’re facing away from the resort, you still might get a view of Pixar Place Hotel, or –– worst case –– some trees. Either way, unless you plan on getting a room with a balcony, it’s not likely you’ll be spending a lot of time looking out the window!

There’s just one exception: Some of the rooms in the Frontier Tower are pretty close to the new Villas at Disneyland Hotel tower, which can feel cramped and leave something to be desired. However, you can always try to request a specific tower if you’re feeling like chatting up a Cast Member while booking over the phone or during check-in.

The Pools Are Incredibly Fun (and So Well-Themed!)

Disneyland Hotel pool monorail slides

Photo by Danny Shuster

If you or your kids love a good pool with standout theming, you’ll absolutely love the pools of the Disneyland Hotel. Here, there are two options: the E-Ticket Pool and the D-Ticket Pool.

The E-Ticket Pool is the main attraction, located right in the center of the hotel ground. It spans 4,800 square feet and features plenty of space to relax or play –– and its two winding waterslides themed after the original Mark 1 Monorail trains are always a huge hit with guests! In addition to these slides, there’s also a two-lane mini slide for younger kids and a water play area with cool features like pop jets, fountains, and a waterfall.

Over at the D-Ticket Pool, adults can enjoy a more serene atmosphere. This pool is a great spot to swim laps or lounge in the Mickey or Minnie spa whirlpools. As an added perk, guests can also have food and drinks delivered from Trader Sam’s and Tangaroa Terrace at certain times.

Want even more pool variety or water fun? Guests at the Disneyland Hotel can also access and enjoy the Palette Pool over at the Villas at Disneyland Hotel! The Palette Pool is a rainbow-hued spot to lounge, splash, and relax. Plus, kids will love the Steamboat Wille-themed splash pad over at the Villas, which is inspired by the very first Mickey Mouse cartoon. If the two Disneyland Hotel pools are crowded, this is a great spot to get a bit of a respite and still enjoy the water.

Cons of Staying at the Disneyland Hotel

The Pools (and Restaurants) Get Very Crowded

If you’re visiting the Disneyland Hotel during peak seasons like the height of summer or the holiday season, you’ll notice the hotel and its grounds get incredibly crowded. The pools are an especially popular place to hang out, and the lines for their two monorail-themed slides can get quite long when the resort is full.

Additionally, while there are some fantastic restaurants and dining options at the Disneyland Hotel (after all, that’s one of my favorite perks!), keep in mind that these can also get extremely crowded. Because the hotel is within walking distance of the theme parks and allows anyone to book a reservation –– or even simply arrive and walk up to get a table –– those restaurants can get exceptionally crowded. Weekend brunch at Goofy’s Kitchen can result in a serious crowd, for example, and the number of people vying for a spot at Trader Sam’s can crowd the walkways on some days.

If you don’t love crowds, this is one hotel you’ll likely want to skip during the busy season. Instead, you’ll have better luck (and a more enjoyable experience) booking a room elsewhere… or staying at the Disneyland Hotel in the off season.

Room Amenities Are Limited

Inside a room at the Disneyland Hotel's Adventure Tower

Photo by Danny Shuster

One of the details I love the most about the rooms at the Disneyland Hotel are the magical touches, from the light-up bed headboards to the Mickey Mouse patterns in the carpeted floors. But unless you’re booking a special room like a multi-room suite or one of the extra-special Signature Suites like the Adventureland or Big Thunder Suite, you’ll likely find the amenities are pretty slim across the board.

Outside of your hotel room, the Disneyland Hotel has plenty of amenities to offer. But if you’re looking for amenities like partial or full kitchens, a wet bar, or even a microwave, the standard rooms here are pretty slimmed down. And if you’re hoping for extra-spacious accommodations, you’ll have to upgrade to a pricier room to fit your whole family.

Prices Are High for a Mid-Range Hotel

When you stay at an on-property hotel at the Disneyland Resort, you are certainly paying extra for that special (and magical) touch. Rooms at the hotels of the Disneyland Resort do tend to run higher in per-night price and overall cost compared to many of the surrounding Good Neighbor hotels dotting the streets of Anaheim. But for many, the tradeoffs of staying at a Disney hotel are well worth the cost.

However, when it comes to the price of the Disneyland Hotel, the prices are particularly high. While Disneyland doesn’t have the same Value, Moderate, and Deluxe categories as Walt Disney World Resort hotels, the Disneyland Hotel is essentially the mid-range (or Moderate) of the West Coast’s three onsite hotel options. Yet prices can range anywhere from $300 per night to $500 a night –– or more, depending on the room type you choose.

While I always love staying at the Disneyland Hotel and have even shelled out for a one- and two-bedroom suite at times, the prices are definitely on the high end for a mid-range or “moderate” hotel. It’s typically a place I’ll stay for special occasions or when a promotion is running, like the occasional Magic Key discounts that can appear in fall and spring.

Should You Stay at the Disneyland Hotel?

So, is it worth staying at the Disneyland Hotel with this mix of pros and cons? It’s really a matter of personal preference!

In my opinion, if you’ve never stayed here, it’s worth experiencing at least once. After all, it’s a historic spot for any Disneyland fan –– and it really is a magical place. However, because of its higher prices and frequent crowds during busy times of the year, I often suggest looking for a good offer before booking, or waiting until you’re celebrating something special.

However, if you have the space in your budget and want to be right in the heart of that Disney magic, you can’t go wrong with a room of any kind at the Disneyland Hotel!

 

Posts by Heather Adams

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Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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