A trip to Disneyland California is special but when you stay at one of its three Disney hotels such as the Disneyland Hotel, your visit becomes even more memorable.
The Disneyland Hotel is the best themed of the three Disney hotels with its monorail water slides, mad tea party teacups in the lobby and the musical headboards in your room (more on that later).
I’m going to share with you 15 reasons why both adults and children will love staying at the Disneyland hotel.
We loved our room at the Adventure Tower, one of three towers in the Disneyland hotel.
Our spacious, modern and luxurious premium view room was perfect for us as a family of four. With two of the most comfortable queen size beds you could sleep in, a TV full of Disney channels plus amazing views over the impressive pool area below.
When you stay at the Disneyland Hotel it’s the little touches that make a difference, including a towel art swan on our bed at turn down and the girl’s favourite Ghirardelli chocolate left on each of our pillows.
The most magical headboard in the world
One of our favourite Disney touches in our room was above our beds, which took us completely by surprise.
When you enter the room you see Sleeping Beauty’s castle beautifully carved into the wooden headboard, but being Disney there is always more magic to come.
As we flicked the switch by the bedside lamp, the headboard lit up to mimic stars in the sky and the iconic Disney fireworks over the castle with the “When You Wish Upon a Star” music playing in the background.
It was such a special moment that you will only get staying at the Disneyland Hotel.
The girls loved this feature so much and repeatedly played it every time we came back into our room – their faces lighting up each time they flicked the switch.
Watching them fall asleep beneath Sleeping Beauty’s Castle after a day of excitement at the parks was worth every penny of the cost of staying at the Disneyland hotel.
Hidden Mickeys in the room
What we loved about our room at the Disneyland hotel was the attention to detail and the numerous hidden and not so hidden Disney design touches throughout the room.
Expect to see Disney inspired wall lamps, bath taps to Disney toiletries and photos of Walt Disney – it was a fun treasure hunt for the girls which they loved – we kept noticing different ones each day.
Extra Magic Hour
This was one of the main reasons for us deciding to stay onsite and one of the most important benefits of staying at a Disneyland hotel.
As we were visiting at a peak period and the parks were very busy, having the extra magic hour allowed us to enter one hour before the parks opened to the general public.
Each park has a select day where Extra Magic Hours are valid – On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays it’s Disneyland, and Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, it’s Disney California Adventure.
This meant that we were able to visit areas of the parks such as Cars Land in Disney California Adventure which were virtually deserted during this magic hour.
We could ride on some of the most popular rides such as Radiator Springs Racers twice then Luigi’s Flying Tires followed by Toy Story Midway Mania all before the park opened. When else would you see Cars Land this quiet, which provided us with so many photo opportunities?
We had the same benefits at the Disneyland Park riding some of the busiest attractions such as the Matterhorn Bobsleighs, Alice in Wonderland, Star Tours, Astro Orbiter, Hyperspace Mountain and Peter Pan’s Flight – it really was amazing how much we managed to do in this first hour.
Get a wake up from Mickey
It can be difficult to get the kids up early in the morning especially after late nights watching the amazing shows to take advantage of early magic hours.
However at the Disneyland hotel you can arrange a Disney character call from Mickey to help waking up early that little bit more fun.
Key to the Magic Cards
Your key to the magic card is not only your room key but a way to charge meals, drinks and any Disney gifts bought throughout Disney to your room. We used this feature to have purchases bought at the park safely delivered to our room.
Pools and Waterslides
The pool complex at the Disneyland hotel is amazing and the best of the three onsite hotels especially if you have kids.
In fact along with the pool at the Grand Californian these are the best two pool areas you will find in Anaheim.
With two large freeform pools called the E-Ticket pool and D-Ticket pool and Mickey and Minnie mouse shaped hot tubs the star attraction especially for the girls was its two large Mark1 monorail themed waterslides.
We have been to some great swimming pools but being able to hurtle down a Disney monorail track into the water was such a unique experience.
With the hotel so close to both Disney parks we used this to our advantage to cool down with a midday swim before returning to the parks refreshed later in the evening.
Unlike Walt Disney World in Florida, Disneyland is right in the middle of a city – Anaheim.
Although there are some really good hotels offsite, some literally just across the road from the main entrance of the Disney parks, nothing quite compares to being within the Disney bubble to truly escape from the outside world.
Once you park your car you never have to see a bus, shuttle or busy road again during your stay.
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure was just a pleasant 10 minute stroll through Downtown Disney. We could get to the California Adventure Park even quicker using the exclusive park entrance at the Grand Californian hotel.
Alternatively if you want to take it easy you could catch the monorail to/from Tommorrowland from the entrance of Downtown Disney.
Perfect for Downtown Disney
Downtown Disney was literally just steps away.
Here you are spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants, café’s, entertainment and shops.
Having this so close meant we were able to spend so much time here, from shopping in the Disney and LEGO stores, looking for perfume in Sephora, cakes from the famous Sprinkles Cupcakes, bowling in Splitsville or eating in one of the numerous restaurants and cafes.
Access to a VIP Park Entrance
Another benefit of staying onsite was that we could use the private VIP park entrance to Disney’s California Adventure Park at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel.
This VIP entrance via downtown Disney was just a 5 minute walk from our hotel and allowed us to bypass the major queues at the main entrance to the park by showing our room key.
Having this exclusive shortcut was great for the kids when we needed to go back to our hotel during the day.
It’s also worth using this benefit just to view the stunning interiors of the Grand Californian Hotel.
Additional Benefits for Disney Resort Guests
If you are staying at any of the 3 onsite Disney hotels (Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel) you can use the facilities of the other hotels during your stay.
This could be using the Mandarin Spa or Pinocchio’s workshop at the Grand Californian Hotel or viewing the fireworks from the rooftop pool at Disney’s Paradise Pier hotel.
Character dining is a must when staying onsite and Goofy’s Kitchen Character Dining at the Disneyland hotel was fantastic.
From meeting Chef Mickey on arrival to dining with Goofy, Minnie, Pluto along with Chip and Dale provided so many photo opportunities.
Unlike the character meet & greets in the parks where you often feel rushed because there’s a big queue behind you, at Goofys Kitchen you have plenty of time to interact with the characters.
In fact Holly had Chip and Dale copying her dance moves creating an amazing fun filled atmosphere in the dining area.
This was the first hotel to open in Disneyland over 60 years ago and this history is reflected throughout the hotel including concept art and tributes to the Disneyland Park – our favourite of which was the replica of the original model used in the design of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
The Disneyland hotel has the largest Disney gift shop out of the three onsite hotels and was a favourite stop off point for the girls throughout our stay.
Having the convenience of being able to pick up many of the Disney items that you would find at the parks in your hotel was fantastic.
The Disneyland hotels offers lots of daily fun family activities such as night-time movies by the pool, listening to live music at Trader Sam’s – Enchanted Tiki Bar to testing your Disney knowledge on a trivia challenge.
If you are feeling energetic, guests of the Disneyland hotels can even take a 2 mile power walk at 6am through the Disney California Adventure Park.
You can also take part in an exclusive one-hour walking tour called the Happiest Hotel on Earth Tour which explains how the Disneyland Hotel was a part of Walt Disney’s dream of the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
Is it worth the money?
If you can afford it then yes, it’s worth every penny just for the levels of pixie dust and Disney atmosphere and magic that no other hotel can come close to.
Every aspect of the Disneyland Hotel was so well themed and extends your Disney experience to your hotel after you leave the parks.
The biggest benefit is the extra magic hour entrance, which allowed us to ride some of the busier rides before the park officially opened!
The Disneyland Hotel is expensive especially when compared to the numerous good neighbour hotels, many of which are actually closer to the park entrance.
We had previously stayed offsite in one of the kids suites at the Hyatt Regency Orange County which is one of the top rated offsite hotels, but nothing can come close to the Disney experience of staying onsite.
So there you have it, if you have been thinking of staying onsite at the Disneyland Hotel, then I hope these 15 reasons have helped convince you to stay.
How to find the best deals
It’s well worth shopping around as the prices can vary between websites and your arrival date.. As well as getting a price from the official Disney website, look at some of the major hotel booking sites including Orbitz (they also run frequent discount codes to reduce the cost even further) and in our case was actually cheaper than booking direct with Disney.