I’m a Disney Expert – Here’s Why I Never Stay at a Disneyland Hotel

by | May 16, 2024 | Disneyland Parks, Disneyland Resorts

Disneyland’s hotels are magical, but they aren’t always the best option to book for your vacation.

I’m no stranger to the three hotels of the Disneyland Resort. As a passholder (well, Magic Key holder) for over three decades, I love a Disneyland staycation and frequently spend nights at both on- and off-property hotels to weave a little more magic into my visit. But over the years and hundreds of visit to Disneyland, I’ve learned that staying at one of the official Disneyland Resort hotels isn’t always the best choice.

In fact, after experiencing the many different hotel options in Anaheim, I now never stay at one of the three Disneyland Resort hotels. Find out why I opt for offsite – and why you might want to, too – below.

Disneyland is Surrounded by Good Neighbor Hotels

Unlike Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort is uniquely situated right in the heart of a city. While this can pose some unique challenges (like limited space to expand the theme parks), it’s actually a huge perk for those looking for affordable and varied hotel options.

Disneyland Resort is literally surrounded by hotels, which means guests have a ton of choices when booking a stay. Many of the hotels located just across the street or down Harbor Boulevard are also Good Neighbor Hotels, which means they’ve earned a special designation from Disney and offer a variety of “quality accommodations” for parties of all sizes and budgets.

Good Neighbor Hotels are a fantastic option for anyone, and best of all, most offer reasonably priced room rates. With a total of 50 different Good Neighbor Hotels near Disneyland, it’s super easy to find one that’ll offer just the right kind of accommodations for any visit.

Whereas Disney World’s Good Neighbor Hotels are a drive away from the resort’s theme parks, you won’t encounter that issue at Disneyland. And, in my opinion, it kind of negates the need to stay in an official Disneyland Resort hotel.

Most of the Good Neighbor Hotels are a short walk away from Disneyland’s main entrance gate. You can find hotels right across the street, less than a block away, or a short 5- to 10-minute walk away – it’s up to you to decide how close or far away you’d like to be. Either way, you won’t have to worry about transportation (and many hotels offer shuttle service for free, if you are farther away!)

Even the Cheapest Disneyland Resort Hotel is Expensive

Disney’s official hotels at the Disneyland Resort are wonderfully immersive and beautifully themed. However, when you book a stay, you’ll pay a premium for that… a premium that can cost as much as a stay at a luxury hotel. 

Each one of the three on-property hotels at Disneyland Resort falls into a different price range – but even the cheapest option is expensive in comparison to most of the off-property hotels nearby. Here’s a look at the price ranges during the non-peak months of 2024:

  • Pixar Place Hotel: Standard room rates start at $405
  • Disneyland Hotel: Standard room rates start at $512
  • Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa: Standard room rates start at $683

Keep in mind those are per night prices on weekdays, not weekends. Spending just two nights at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels can easily have you spending more than $1,000. And that is an absolute ton of cash to spend on a 2-night vacation.

Need more space? You’ll have to choose a larger room type, which only makes those eye-popping rates increase.

In my experience, you can find much more affordable rates at the hotels around Disneyland. Here’s a look at just a few of the hotels within walking distance, during the same times of the year, for comparison:

Disneyland offsite hotel prices for 2024

Screenshot via Google

 

With rates for the Anaheim Marriott and Hilton Anaheim – two of the biggest hotels nearby, both located right across from Disneyland’s Toy Story Lot – at under $175 per night, that’s a savings of anywhere from 60 to 77 percent compared to the official Disney hotel room rates.

Offsite Hotels Offer Better Perks (and Freebies!)

In addition to offering standard hotel rooms for significantly lower prices, non-Disney hotels around Disneyland Resort also offer more value for your money. Often, you’ll get more space and more perks by staying offsite – including perks that could ultimately help you cut your expenses overall.

While Disneyland Resort’s own hotels come with exclusive perks like extra time in the theme parks before they officially open and preferred access to hotel dining reservations, those don’t necessarily offer a lot of bang for your buck.

Offsite hotels, on the other hand, can offer perks that help you both save money and enjoy your Disney vacation. For example, if you’re a member of any hotel’s loyalty program like Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors, you’ll earn points on every stay. As you accumulate points, you’ll get status – which can come with free hotel room upgrades, freebies, and even free nights.

In fact, many of the Good Neighbor and other non-Disney hotels even offer free breakfast! That’s a perk that can save individuals and families quite a bit over the course of a longer stay. And don’t overlook other benefits like more room types and options (including rooms with full or partial kitchens, if you’re hoping to save money on meals) and overall larger rooms in general.

All of these small perks add up, especially if you’re earning points on top of them to ultimately turn into free vacations later down the line. And that, in my opinion, makes them more valuable than a stay at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels.

So, Should You Ever Stay at Disneyland Resort Hotel?

I know I just ran through all of the drawbacks of booking a stay at one of Disneyland Resort’s three hotels. But there are some pretty good reasons you might want to consider staying on-property instead of at a local off-site hotel.

First and foremost, if you’re looking for a truly magical experience, you really can’t beat Disneyland’s very own hotels. Staying on-property comes with perks that simply aren’t available at Good Neighbor hotels or other nearby resorts. Non-Disney hotels can’t offer additional time in the theme parks or the same kind of theming and special touches in every corner of the hotel. I mean, where else can you sleep in a room with bed headboards that play “When You Wish Upon a Star” and featuring twinkling lights reminiscent of Disneyland’s fireworks?

And if you’re looking to make your trip to Disneyland extra-special, one of the official Disney hotels can be a great way to do so. The theming (and the awesome pools) are loved by kids and adults alike, so the whole family will enjoy their stay. When you’re marking an anniversary, a birthday, a honeymoon, or another special occasion, you’ll find nowhere better to stay. 

But, ultimately, it really comes down to value. If you aren’t on a budget, a Disney hotel is always a great idea. If you’re looking for bang for your buck, I think you’ll find more at non-Disneyland Resort hotels nearby.

Posts by Heather Adams

epcot-clothing_creations-shop_chiu
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.
epcot-clothing_creations-shop_chiu

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.
0
    0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop