If getting the full Disneyland experience is crucial to your vacation enjoyment, then booking a stay at one of the three Disneyland Resort Hotels is the key to the magic! From receiving full Disney immersion, experiencing extended Park hours and enjoying exclusive family activities, there are a variety of special touches that the Disneyland Resort Hotels offer their guests. The Day Trips TravelingMom shares her reasons for why visitors headed for the Disneyland Resort should choose a Disneyland Resort Hotel for their vacation.
Why Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel?
The Disneyland Resort is located in the middle of a bustling city and is surrounded by local hotels and motels. There are valid reasons why some vacationers decide to stay off-site (cost, variety, availability). For those familiar with Walt Disney World Resort hotels, each of the three Disneyland Resort Hotels would be considered in a “deluxe” category which means they are costlier than the average hotels in the area. However I think that the benefits outweigh the cost differences in many cases. These are my top 18 reasons that visitors should stay on-site at one of the three Disneyland Resort Hotels.
Full Disney Immersion
You’ll be immersed in all things Disney from the moment you step onto the property. The shampoo and hand lotion in the bathroom may have Mouse Ears. Little details like the bedding, shower curtain, wallpaper or the pictures on the walls may be Disney themed. And if you book a Park view room, what you see out the window will be Disney-themed because it will overlook the Parks!
The Disneyland Hotel in particular has Hidden Mickeys to find from floor to ceiling and the amazing double headboard houses a magical surprise! Along the pathway from the hotel to the Downtown Disney District is Mickey’s huge sorcerer’s hat that Tinker Bell illuminates with twinkling lights at night. There are Disney touches everywhere you look.If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the “Disney bubble”, staying at an on-site resort hotel is the only way to go.
An Extra Hour of Magic
One of the leading benefits of staying at a Disney resort hotel is the Extra Magic Hour. For each day of your resort stay, you are able to enter the Parks (with valid ticket) one hour earlier than the general public. If you aren’t purchasing your tickets through a Disney Resort package, I’d recommend purchasing from ParkSavers. You’ll save a few dollars on the tickets, which is always a benefit. TravelingMom readers can use code TM2 for an extra $2 off, exclusive to TMOM.
Please note that during Extra Magic Hour, only select attractions and shops are open, but it’s a great way to hit Fantasyland in Disneyland or Cars Land at Disney California Adventure before the lines are a mile long. You’ll be surprised at what can be accomplished in one early morning hour! Each Park has separate gate entrances for the Extra Magic Hour guests.
A Night Out, Without the Kids
Disneyland Resort Hotel guests can book their kids into Pinocchio’s Workshop, a child care facility on the grounds of The Grand Californian Resort & Spa for ages 5-12 (additional fee). Kids will do a craft, play games and have a snack while parents can enjoy a child-free evening in Downtown Disney or perhaps have a romantic dinner at Napa Rose!
Easy Souvenir Shopping
Want to buy souvenirs but don’t want to carry the bags with you around the Parks? Package Express will deliver any purchases made in the park directly to your Disneyland Resort hotel.
Good Morning, from Mickey!
Schedule a free Character Wake Up Call during your visit. On our last trip I had Mickey call to wake up the kids so we could get into the parks early!
At the Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, there is a private entrance for all Disneyland resort guests that will allow admission into Disney California Adventure park. You will be required to show your valid room key to use this entrance. You will also need your valid park admission ticket. We used this entrance and exit several times during our most recent trip, which allowed us to quickly leave the park for lunch at Storyteller’s Cafe and to take a mid-day swim.
Experience the Park without Leaving the Resort
Book a Park View room at the Disneyland Resort and you’ll receive an exceptional view of one of the Parks, including the opportunity to watch a parade or show from your window.
If you’re looking for a little something extra, consider adding concierge to your visit. My family and I did this once and concierge allowed us use of the private lounge. We ate breakfast in the lounge, stocked up with drinks and snacks that we took to the pool in the afternoon, and had appetizers (they also serve wine) in the evening before dinner. When we got back to the room, there was a plate with Mickey-shaped treats and fresh strawberries waiting for us. The Concierge service is something extra special, especially if you take breaks mid-day to enjoy the drinks and snacks in the lounge.
Easy Access to Disneyland Resort Hotel Restaurants
True, you don’t have to stay at the Disneyland Resort Hotels in order to book reservations at the restaurants but it’s nice to know that they’re so close at hand when you stay on-site. Each of the three Disneyland Resort Hotels have their own character dining restaurants as well as upscale dining like Steakhouse 55 and Napa Rose.
Set your watch to island time at the Disneyland Hotel and enjoy the tropical sounds on the tiki-torch lit patio outside Trader Sam’s – Enchanted Tiki Bar. At the Paradise Pier Hotel, resort guests can visit the roof top pool area to watch the Disneyland fireworks show, complete with narration and music piped in over loudspeakers. Each of the Disneyland Resort Hotels host a Magical Night at the Movies. Bring your own snacks and enjoy a Disney movie shown outside. You can find out the time, location and specific film during check-in.
Stay in a Signature Suite
There’s nothing like them anywhere except at the Disneyland Hotel. For the ultimate VIP experience, book one of these five extravagantly themed suites including the Mickey Mouse Penthouse, Pirates of the Caribbean Suite or Cinderella in the Fairy Tale Suite. These swanky rooms are pretty much the thing that Disney dreams are made of!
If you have a special occasion during your trip, as a hotel guest you may contact Disney Vacation Planning for Disney Dream Makers to bring just about anything your heart desires directly to your room! This is a particularly sweet addition for grandparents to surprise grand kids with a treat basket, floral bouquet or even a full-room celebration complete with decorations, balloons and a cake.
Invigorating Walk Through the Park
Didn’t get enough exercise on your Disneyland day? Take a fast paced 2-mile power walk in the wee hours of the morning that takes Disney Resort Hotel guests briskly through the Disney California Adventure Park. This is a complimentary activity and guests can sign up at Guest Services.
Key to the Magic
Adult room keys (your Key to the Magic) will be linked to the credit card that you use during check in so you can charge some Disney purchases onto your room account and not have to mess around with carrying your wallet. This is particularly handy when going to the Resort pool and you want to order food and drinks but don’t want to lug your wallet.
Disney Resort hotels have amazing pools complete with water slides, hot tubs, fresh towels, swim diapers for babies, life vests for toddlers, lots of lounging areas and pool-side dining & drink service. All three resorts have great water slides, several pools to choose from as well as hot tubs. With the resorts so close, we usually take a mid-day swim break and return to the parks refreshed in the late afternoon.
Exclusive Family Activities
From a scavenger hunt inside the hotel, learning how to create adorable washcloth creations or a private session at the Build-a-Bear Workshop, there are many exclusive family activities for guests of the Disneyland Resort Hotels. Sign up for an animator’s class to learn how to draw Mickey, take a trivia challenge or enjoy an exclusive magic experience at the Main Street Magic Shop inside Disneyland. Guests can register for these special activities at Guest Services inside their Disney Resort Hotel.
Take an Informative Tour
Want to learn more about the Disney Resort Hotels? Guests 14+ can take complimentary one-hour walking tours to learn more about these special resorts. Take the Happiest Hotel on Earth Tour and discover how the Disneyland Hotel was a part of Walt Disney’s dream of the “Happiest Place on Earth”. On the Art of the Craft Tour at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa guests will discover more about the architecture and design of this marvelous hotel. (reserve a spot at the Guest Services desk).
All the Disney Details
From the live piano music in the lobby of the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the interactive map in the Disneyland Hotel lobby or the ability to watch World of Color from your room at the Paradise Pier Hotel, these hotels each offer little details that make your vacation extra magical.
What is your favorite reason for staying on-site at Disney hotels? Share with us in the comments!