In my most recent post, I unpacked everything there is to know about park tickets: where to buy them, which type of ticket is right for you, and different add-on’s you can choose! Now that you’ve figured out how long you intend to visit the Happiest Place on Earth and the type of tickets you plan to buy, you need to figure out where to stay! The biggest factor in your hotel choice will be how close you want to stay to the parks and the Downtown Disney District. I’ll break it down by shuttle options, walking distance and on-property hotels.
Where you stay ultimately depends on the length of your vacation. Let’s say you’re planning on hanging out at Disneyland for 4-7 days—if that’s the case, I would recommend staying at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels to add more magic to your stay. If you’ll be at the parks for 1-3 days, staying at one of the nearby hotels that are not on Disneyland property is the best option. Since you’ll likely be spending all day at the parks to get the most out of your trip, you really won’t be spending that much time at the hotel (except to get your beauty sleep!) and therefore it doesn’t make sense to spend the money on extra amenities that you won’t be utilizing.
Hotels With Shuttle Service to Disneyland and California Adventure
Last year Freddy and I stayed at the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel for the first time and had such a wonderful experience! It’s themed somewhat like a castle out of a storybook and is also incredibly close to the parks. The hotel provides a free shuttle service to and from the parks which is so nice at the end of a long day being on your feet! When we stayed here we also loved how quiet the hotel was. If there’s one thing we’ve learned after spending 12-14 hour days at the parks, we definitely put a good night’s sleep high on our priority list. The nice thing about the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel is that there are some buildings that are separated from the main building with the lobby. We were fortunate enough to stay in one of those buildings and the halls were definitely very quiet through the night. You can also catch a glimpse of the Disneyland fireworks right outside the lobby if you head home from the parks early! We witnessed this last year when we stayed at the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel and it was such a nice surprise!
The Candy Cane Inn is another hotel in very close proximity to both parks that provides a free shuttle service. While we have never personally stayed here, we usually walk by it on our way to Disneyland and it looks adorable! It gets great reviews online and it’s also a Disney Good Neighbor Hotel, so it meets Disney’s high quality and service standards. The Anaheim Marriott is another Good Neighbor Hotel which I’ve stayed at once with a friend. The room was so nice and spacious, and the lobby has 3 restaurants as well as a Starbucks, so you can grab coffee before you head to the parks. This hotel also provides a shuttle service for an additional fee (contact hotel directly for more information), but it’s also only a couple blocks from the parks, so if you want to save some money, the walk is only about 10-15 minutes!
Hotels Within Walking Distance to Disneyland and California Adventure
Freddy and I have stayed at several different hotels that are within walking distance to the parks and we have enjoyed each one! The Clarion and The Holiday Inn are two of our favorite options, both about a block and a half away from the parks (about a 15-20 min walk) and reasonable room rates between $85-$115 a night depending on the type of room. The Holiday Inn is positioned near a neighborhood and has nice, quiet streets to walk on as you make your way to the parks. It makes for a very peaceful start to the morning with a cup of coffee in hand! If you’d rather save the walking until you’ve arrived at the parks, you can certainly stay at a hotel that provides shuttle service or get a quick Uber or Lyft ride. I genuinely prefer the 15-20 minute walk in the morning because it gets my legs warmed up and I love walking through Downtown Disney when it’s a bit more quiet before the stores have opened—it’s my favorite way to begin a magical day!
This year we will be staying at the Hilton near the Anaheim Convention Center, which is right across from the backside of California Adventure (you’ll get a great view of the Incredicoaster!) and we’re so excited! We scored an awesome deal on Hotwire for $70/night which is the cheapest rate we’ve ever gotten on a hotel over the past 7 years! Looking at the photos online, we can also say this is probably going to be the nicest hotel that we’ve stayed at in the area, so we’ll let you know about our experience after the trip.
Disneyland Resort Hotels
There are 3 hotels on Disneyland property all within walking distance to the parks (some also provide free transportation either via Monorail or bus): the Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. I have personally stayed at the Disneyland Hotel and the Paradise Pier Hotel and both offer beautiful, spacious, themed rooms and impeccable service—what else would you expect from Disney? If you’ll be visiting the parks for 4 or more days, I would definitely recommend staying at one of the Disney hotels on property, and here’s why:
You can enjoy early admission to either California Adventure or Disneyland with a valid theme park ticket. This means that you’ll get to enter the park an hour before it opens to the public, which makes it a perfect time to get some amazing photos with less crowds or hit up your favorite rides with no lines!
Each hotel has exceptional dining options right on-site as well as fun, character-themed meals the whole family can enjoy, such as Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel and Storytellers Café at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa (our personal favorite!)
If you’ll be enjoying the parks for 4+ days, you may not feel the need to “go big or go home” every single day. When you stay at one of the hotels on property, it’s so easy to head back to your room during the day to lounge by the pool or take a nap to get re-energized for nighttime fun.
Even if you don’t stay at one the on-property hotels, I highly recommend taking a stroll through the lobby of the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. You can easily access the hotel directly from California Adventure near the Grizzly River Run ride entrance—it’s a fun way to escape the crowds if you’re in need of a short break. During the holidays they have multiple fire places running where you can relax, pull up a chair and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa. You can also browse through the hotel’s gift shop to find some unique merchandise and check out the menus of the Storytellers Café and Napa Rose.
All this talk of food is making me hungry! Be sure to hop on over tomorrow for all of my food recommendations and the best places to dine at the parks. TTFN, ta ta for now!