Ashley’s Answers: Disneyland Resorts

November 7, 2016

This Week’s Ask Ashley Question

One of the questions this week came from Diane from Columbia, Missouri. Diane asked:

My family and I are interested in visiting Disneyland in 2017. We’ve been to Walt Disney World, but never Disneyland. I know it’s considerably smaller; but, I also noticed there are Disney hotels and Good Neighbor hotels. Can you explain the difference?

Ashley’s Answers:  Disneyland Resorts 101

Thank you so much for your question Diane! I would be more than happy to help differentiate the hotels at the Disneyland Resort for you. For me, somehow with only 3 Disney resorts and a plethora of Good Neighbor Hotels, it can be more overwhelming than choosing from the resorts offered at Walt Disney World! I think the confusion comes from the inner dialogue from having been to Walt Disney World where we’re trained to know that it’s best to stay on property. However, in Disneyland, most resorts are within walking distance or even offer a shuttle so you really can stay at any hotel!

Disney’s Reasons for Staying “On Property”

Extra Magic Hour

At Walt Disney World, it’s known as Extra Magic Hours. At Disneyland, it is known as the Extra Magic Hour and it’s only prior to park opening/rope drop; it is one additional hour at either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure for select attractions.

Next Door Magic

By staying at any of the 3 Disney hotels, there is quick and easy access to Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park and the Downtown Disney District, giving your family that extra time to enjoy everything the Disneyland Resort has to offer!

Preferred Access for Limited Reservations

By being a hotel guest at one of the 3 Disney hotels, you will be given preferred access to world-class restaurants and even appointments for the little ones at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or Anna and Elsa’s Boutique!

Key to the Magic Card

Walt Disney World used to offer the Key to the World Card, prior to the roll out and implementation of the MagicBands. At Disneyland, you can use your Key to the Magic card to charge meals and merchandise directly to your room and just like you used to be able to at Walt Disney World. You can even have your purchases delivered directly to your hotel with their Merchandise Delivery service.

Other Extras

By staying at one of the 3 Disneyland hotels, you are able to receive special perks, including special souvenir tickets and collectible pins.

Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel – From $259 per night

The rooms at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel are a reflection of the 1920s beachfront pavilion hotels. Expect furniture and design to be park-influenced and beach-themed. Select rooms even offer a view of World of Color! Otherwise, on select nights, from the 3rd floor pool deck, you can watch the fireworks at Disneyland and hear the synchronized broadcast!

Speaking of pool decks, Paradise Pier offers a panoramic rooftop pool deck fully-equipped with a pool for the whole family, Children’s Pool, California Streamin’ waterslide and even the Paradise Spa whirlpool.

Restaurants include:

  • PCH Grill – Character Dining
  • Surfside Lounge
  • The Sand Bar

 Disneyland Hotel – From $329 per night

Disneyland Hotel offers 3 towers:  Adventure, Fantasy, and Frontier; quite similar to the lands in Disneyland Park. The design is ultra-modern, but does ultimately surround guests with the ambiance of Disneyland’s past and present.

At the pools, experience the whimsy of the 2 monorail-themed waterslides. If you want something a little calmer, Disneyland Hotel does offer the E-Ticket and D-Ticket Pools as well as Mickey and Minnie Spa whirlpools.

Something a little different at Disneyland Hotel is the Signature Suite option. Here, there are 5 suite options with special Disneyland theming and décor, including:  pirates, princesses, miners, or explorers. If a VIP vacation experience is something you’re looking for, ask about the Mickey Mouse Penthouse when booking!

Restaurants include:

  • Steakhouse 55
  • Tangaroa Terrace
  • Goofy’s Kitchen – Character Dining
  • Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar
  • The Coffee House

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa – From $379 per night

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is a Craftsman-style hotel that offers it’s own private entrance to Disney California Adventure and offers a considerable amount of amenities including superb dining experiences and even a world-class spa!

A unique feature to the Grand Californian Hotel is the giant redwood tree stump that is wrapped by the waterslide that empties into Redwood Pool. However, if you prefer something a little more rustic and tranquil, there are also the Fountain Pool, Mariposa Pool with whirlpool, and the Children’s Pool.

Restaurants include:

  • Napa Rose – California-region wines
  • Storytellers Café – Character Dining
  • Napa Rose Lounge
  • Hearthstone Lounge
  • White Water Snacks

Good Neighbor Hotels


Given the above map, there are a plethora of Good Neighbor Hotel options ranging from Economy to Moderate to Superior to Suites. My biggest piece of advice here, decide what is important to your experience and budget:

  • Is the proximity to the parks most important?
  • Is your time most important (consider travel time including the shuttle and/or walking)?
  • Is the cost of the hotel most important?
  • How do you value the theming or design of the hotel?

My suggestion if you’re still on the fence is to focus on the resorts just South of Katella Ave. because the location is within a 10-15 minute walk and the resorts are familiar to most people (Think:  Sheraton Park, Hilton, Marriott, and Courtyard by Marriott).

Always remember, when you’re ready to book your next Disney vacation (to Disneyland or Walt Disney World as well as everything in between), just head over to Magical Vacations and Beyond page to get started! I will be more than happy to help you plan the stress-free vacation of your dreams!!


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