Deciding where to stay when you head to Disneyland is probably one of the biggest decisions you will have to make. There are so many different factors when it comes to deciding which hotel to choose. Some of those factors are:
- Do you want a hotel that is walking distance?
- Do you need a bigger room, because you have a larger family?
- Do you want to stay at a Disney Hotel?
- Does the hotel serve FREE breakfast?
- Is there a nice pool area?
- Does the hotel have transportation to the Park?
- Do you want a nicer upscale hotel as compared to a motel?
- How much do you have to spend?
- Do you want a hotel with a good rating?
Before you research each of the hotels, it’s important to note that some places offer an additional discount on hotels, so you may want to check these out first:
One more important thing to mention, is that some places offer package deals.
Once I decide on a hotel, I figure out the cost of the hotel and the cost of the tickets for admission and then I see if the following places can beat the combined price.
Get Away Today: They have had specials before where their price does in fact beat the individual prices. They offer extras like, a Disney sling back packwith each child ticket (ages 3-9).
Costco Travel: Costco packages also include extras like one character meal and a $20 Disney gift card, so you will need to factor those into the costs. If you don’t have a character meal planned, then you may be paying a little extra for the package. We have compared Costco package deals to the hotel we had planned to stay at on a previous visit and the price was the same, so it’s as if we were getting the character meal and the $20 Disney gift card for FREE. Costco also sends along, luggage tags and coupons for a free lanyard and Disney pin, which came in handy to get us started on our pin trading.
Here are some options based on what is important to you:
STAYING AT A DISNEY HOTEL
Some people feel that in order to be totally immersed in the Disney Parks, it necessary to stay at a Disney Hotel. While the Disney Hotels are neat and have great pools and themeing, you will pay much more to stay at the Disney Hotels. Sometimes even double or triple what it would cost you to stay at a different hotel. Here are your options when it comes to the Disney Hotels.
Grand Californian Hotel & Spa: This hotel has a private entrance into the California Adventure theme park. It is the closest hotel out of all three Disney hotels. Having said this, the hotel is HUGE, if you are in a room that is at the far end of the hotel, you may still have to do some major walking to get to the parks.
We have actually stayed at this hotel on our last trip (don’t pass out from surprise!!) We got an amazing rate and thought we would give it a try. We LOVED being so close to the parks, it was amazing. Honestly, though the rooms seemed a little on the smaller side. You are paying for the location.
Disneyland Hotel: This hotel has gone through a major renovation. The Disneyland hotel is the one that best carries the Disney theme throughout the entire property. They also have a brand new pool area. The walk from the Disneyland hotel is not super close, you will find other hotels that are closer.
Disney Paradise Pier Hotel: This is the cheapest of all three Disneyland hotels. The walking distance from here isn’t too bad if you cut through the Grand Californian Hotel.
HOTELS WITH THE SHORTEST WALKING DISTANCE
If you are looking for a hotel with a short walking distance, these are some of the closest to choose from. You will probably have to pay for parking at these hotels, and they are considered more of a motel than a hotel. Some of these also offer FREE breakfast. You will find these are between 5-7 minutes walking distance to the parks.
THE TOP 5 HOTELS ACCORDING TO TRIPADVISOR
I am all about checking ratings before I make any big purchases and a hotel room is no exception. These are the top 5 hotels rated on TripAdvisor.com
NON-DISNEY HOTELS WITH THE BEST POOLS
Sometimes you know you are going to want to head back to your room to take a break, and this includes taking a dip in the pool on a daily basis. Some of the hotels around the park really have dinky pools. If you are looking for a non-Disney hotel with a great pool for kids, you should be happy with either of these choices.
GREAT CHOICES FOR LARGER FAMILIES
We have a family of 7, so we don’t fit into your average hotel. There are lots of options for “Suite” type hotels that fit larger families and often have a kitchen area too. Here are a few different “Suite” options you can choose from. Please note, several of the closer hotels also have family suites, but they have fewer of them than these hotels and they usually fill up fast. These hotels are not really considered within walking distance, you will need a car or to take public transportaion.
To give you an example of what each of these rooms would cost, I checked on the prices for a family of 4 to stay May 21-26, 2013, here are the results:
- Grand California Hotel & Spa = $2227
- Disneyland Hotel = $1841
- Disney Paradise Pier = $1401
- Best Western Park Place Inn = $755
- Howard Johnson = $715
As you can see, you can save some serious money by staying off-site. Think of all the fun stuff you could do with the extra money, like buy Chocolate Covered Mickey Ice Cream bars!
FEW OTHER OPTIONS
Rent a Home: You can also rent a home or condo in the area, which gives you more space and a kitchen to use as well. We always use www.vrbo.com, which is Vacation Rental by Owner, which means there is no middle man, so you are renting the home directly from the owner.
Rent Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Points: You can rent DVC points, which will allow you to stay in one of the Villas at the Grand California Hotel and Spa at a reduce rate over what it would cost if you booked directly through Disney. You can use David Vacation Club Rentals. If you want to go this route, you will probably have to buy and book your room at least 8 months in advance. Just use the points calculator to find out how many points you will need to purchase.
So lets hear it, where is your favorite place to stay when you go to Disneyland?