The Disneyland Hotel

by Julie Cohn

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There are many hotels in the Anaheim area to choose from when going to Disneyland, but if you get the opportunity, stay at one of the three Disney hotel properties:  the elegant craftsman style Grand Californian, the fun, beachy Paradise Pier, and the classic Disneyland Hotel.  The Disneyland Hotel is one of our favorite places to stay.

The Disneyland Hotel

Disneyland Hotel 3We’ve had so many great memories at this hotel. The first time we ever went to Disneyland, we stayed at The Disneyland Hotel. My then four-year old got a chance to experience the magic of the room, with its whimsical pixie dust, glow-in-the-dark wallpaper. We spent my 40th birthday here. When my son was ten, we had a sleepover party at the hotel – girls in one room, boys in the other,  We shared pranks and laughs well into the night.

Disneyland Hotel 5The Disneyland Hotel,  an original disney property, opened in 1955 as a motor inn.  In 1999, the original buildings were demolished to make way for downtown Disney, and new hotel towers were built.  Although none of the original buildings from 1955 remain, the hotel has retained the nostalgic air of the original motor inn.  From the glittery sidewalks to the sentimental photos of movie stars and dignitaries who have stayed there, the hotel is magical.  It is currently in the midst of another renovation, to be completed in 2012, which will make the hotel even more grand.

Disneyland Hotel 2The hotel epitomizes the enchantment that is Disney, but is also family-practical.  Each room includes a refrigerator, table for meals, desk, and two queen beds.  Rooms in the three towers overlook Downtown Disney, the parking lots, or the Neverland pool.  (See my tips on which tower to stay in!)

Disneyland Hotel 6The hotel is a short walk to the many shops and restaurants in downtown Disney.  In addition, several restaurants are located on hotel property.  Goofy’s Kitchen has a character breakfast.  Hook’s Pointe is a Surf and Turf restaurant, and the Wine Cellar is a great place to grab a glass of merlot.  Steakhouse 55 has upscale dining, and Croc’s Bits and Bites is a fast food option for finicky eaters-chicken strips and hamburgers is as fancy as it gets.

Disneyland Hotel 1


Disneyland Hotel 7

  • The hotel is magical and nostalgic.
  • Your kids will love the pool area and Monorail slide.
  • There are two gift shops in the lobby area.  One carries travel essentials you may have forgotten, the other has Disney Wear and novelties.
  • There is a laundry on property, located right next to the pool.
  • The rooms are “roomy” for a family of four or less.  For more than four people, I suggest getting another room or the suite option.
  • There are safes in the room for valuables.
  • The hotel has free wireless or wired internet.
  • The monorail into Disneyland is a short walk.  If you stay at any of the Disney properties, you are able to show your room key and enter the park before opening, on certain days.
  • The hotel will let you check in early, even if they do not have a room ready.  They will give you keys and then text you later in the day to let you know that your room is ready, and what your room number is.
  • Your room key doubles as a park “charge card”.  You can show the card at restaurants and gift shops within Disneyland and California Adventure, and have all charges sent to your room bill.

Things to Know

  • The on-property restaurants close early.  The park does not close until midnight, but the restaurants close at 9 pm? On the upside-Downtown Disney is a hop, skip, and jump away!
  • Room service ends at 10 p.m, and the food prices are expensive.  At a hotel that caters to traveling families, this is a little crazy!
  • In the towers that have not been renovated, the plumbing is old and temperamental.  During our most recent stay, the shower went from hot to cold to hot again each time we used it. I heard the renovations will correct this.
  • Parking at the hotel is expensive, even for self-parking, but it beats parking a mile away!


  • Ask for a room on an upper floor, on the parking lot side of the Magic Tower.  Your tired kids can sit in bed and watch the fireworks from your room.  They even have a Fireworks channel on the tv, so you can listen to the music while you watch.  The Dreams Tower also has some rooms with fireworks view.
  • If you are staying at the hotel during Magical Mornings early entry days, take advantage of them!  You can get into the park by 7 a..m, hop on the Finding Nemo ride in 5 minutes (usually a minimum 50 minute wait), as well as Buzz Light Year and Fantasyland rides.  You can even be at the front of the fast-pass line for Space Mountain the minute it opens, and get a decent fast-pass time.  It is worth the early wake-up call!
  • Because you are on Disney property, it is so much easier to go back and forth between the park and hotel, using the Monorail.  So….if you want to bring the kids back for a quick nap or afternoon swim at the Neverland pool, it is easy and convenient.  We usually do this on early entry days.
  • Save money by bringing your own bottles of water, soda, juice etc, using the refrigerator in the room to keep them cold.  Soda and water in the vending machines is $2.75 a piece.
  • Don’t valet park.  Instead, self-park your car.  The hotel has a nice upper level parking area that is relatively empty most of the time, and has an escalator into the hotel.  I like to park my car up there because the spaces are bigger, and I can keep an eye on my car from the hotel balcony.
  • The pool is open until 10 p.m.  Most of the crowds are in the afternoon, so if you go around 8 p.m, it will be less crowded, and your kids may even get the slides to themselves.

{Disclosure: I received no monetary or product compensation for this review. My opinions are 100% my own.}

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