Updated: May 21, 2015
Staying at Disneyland - Best Disneyland HotelsWhen you are planning a Disneyland vacation trip, one of your concerns will be what are the best hotels at Disneyland? Where should I stay at Disneyland? Lodging and accomodations will likely eat up a large part of your budget, but if you plan wisely, you can stay close to Disneyland and save some real money. Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California. Since it is such a busy tourist destination, it is literally surrounded by hotels and motels. Let's start with the Disney properties: The Grand Californian Hotel, The Disneyland Hotel, and The Paradise Pier Hotel.
Disney Hotels - Grand CalifornianThe Grand Californian is located in Downtown Disney, wedged between California Adventure Park, Disneyland, and the old Disneyland Hotel complex at the far end of Downtown Disney. Unfortunately, it doesn't offer Monorail or any other service for getting back and forth to Disneyland - you have to walk to the front gate, or backtrack through Downtown Disney to catch the monorail going into Disneyland. However, it is only about a 90 second walk to the front gate of Disneyland, or about a 3 minute walk back to the monorail station, so it is bearable, but not super easy with small children. If money is no object, then staying at the Grand Californian should be your first choice, no question about it. The hotel is designed in the grand national park lodge style seen at Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon, with exposed wooden beams everywhere and soaring great rooms. The Great Hall in the middle of the hotel is something straight out of Lord of the Rings - 6 stories tall, massive spaces, huge stone fireplaces, plenty of comfortable seeting areas for relaxing, and even a nightly piano player to create a little background music. Even if you do not stay at the Grand Californian Hotel, make a point of stopping in and sitting by the fire (a nightly storyteller wanders around and entertains kids), have a drink, and relax - it is an amazing experience, and it is FREE (hmmm.. maybe the only really good FREE experience at Disneyland!). The rooms at the Grand Californian are comfortable but not super spacious - you'll be hard pressed to fit an extra rollaway in the room if you need one. One benefit of staying at the Grand Californian is that guests get a private "back" entrance into the Disney California Adventure Park (DCA - which abuts the rear of the hotel). To be honest, this doesn't save you a lot of time or frustration, as the lines at DCA are usually minimal compared to Disneyland lines. How much do rooms cost at the Grand Californian? Off season rates start at just under $300, while summer rates start at $365. Valet parking is $12 per day if you have your own car, and there is also a $11.75 daily resort fee tacked onto your bill.
If you are looking for monorail access convenience for small children and nap times, the older Disney Hotel towers are closer to the monorail station, making it easier to get into and out of the park with minimal walking. The Disneyland Hotel tower complex are the same old Disney hotels that have been there for decades. They are the furthest from the parks out of the Disney Hotels, at the far end of Downtown Disney, but still provide easy park access. Room rates average about $250 per night. There is a large pool area in the central courtyard, which comes in handy on those long hot summer days in California when your feet are weary of pounding the Disney pavement. You also have close access to some of the restaurants like Goofy's Kitchen, where you can dine with a number of Disney characters roaming around - not cheap, but a fun one-night adventure for the kids. The 3rd Disney Hotel property is the Paradise Pier (the newest), located at the far end of DCA park. Room rates here average about $210 per night (off season, $250 in summer), and most visitors give the hotel good reviews. You can walk from the Paradise Pier to the monorail in Downtown Disney to get into the park, or walk all the way to the main ticket gates if you choose. They also have a nice pool and waterslide for the kids to enjoy (and adults!). For a map of the overall layout of the parks and Disney hotels, click here.
Disneyland Hotel MapIs there a map that shows hotels around Disneyland? You bet! The map below shows the layout of the hotels and motels near Disneyland. Harbor Blvd. is on the right side of the picture, right where the green strip begins next to the photo. The hotels there are all just across Harbor Blvd. from the park, and the pedestrian entrance is right across from the Best Western Park Place Inn.
Here is a better Google Map - you can zoom in and scroll around and see what the motel/hotel layouts look like.
Top Disneyland Motels in Anaheim - Saving Money on Disneyland LodgingDisneyland is quite literally surrounded by hotels and motels. The good news is that many of these properties are EXACTLY the same walking distance to the front gate as is the Grand Californian, and they will cost you only half as much (or even less). The Candy Cane Inn (1747 South Harbor Blvd) is consistently rated as a family favorite, clean and comfortable, coming in at under $120 per night on average. It's about a 7-10 minute walk to the front gates of Disneyland, and there is also a shuttle available. Another popular hotel about the same distance in the opposite direction is the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel. Average price of about $110 per night, and also a 7-10 minute walk to the Disneyland entrance. Just this last summer we stayed at the Best Western Park Place Inn-Mini Suites, which is right across the street from the pedestrian entrance into Disneyland parking lot. They have nice rooms with pull-out couches that can easily accomodate a family, and a family's budget, with rooms from $145/night. Believe it or not, I think the walk from this hotel is almost exactly the same as the walk from the Grand Californian to the main Disney ticket gates. It's a great place to stay, nothing fancy, with plenty of free parking and free continental breakfast. Some others right across from the pedestrian entrance to Disneyland include the Tropicana Inn and Suites, the Carousel Inn, Park Vue Inn (see detailed review), and Anaheim Desert Inn. The truth is, like most families at Disneyland, you will be at the park pretty much all day from morning til night, so the money you save on a lower cost hotel/motel room will come in handy when buying food and souvenirs at the park. Better yet, bring along a few breakfast or lunch snacks in a backpack and treat yourself to a nice dinner in the park without worrying about the (yes) high Disney prices.
Wherever you stay, have a great trip and don't forget, it's for the kids! Enjoy it!