From the Disneyland Hotel to Motel 6, Disneyland has no shortage of places to stay around the parks. Before booking any hotel, I definitely suggest considering location, cost, and amenities. If you don’t think about these aspects ahead of time, you can end up regretting your hasty decision while you walk thirty minutes in the heat of the day, blisters rubbing against your sticky shoes, to get back to the hotel.
Location: When we first started to travel to Disneyland on a more frequent basis, we used location as one of the most important qualities for a hotel. We wanted something that would be extremely close to the parks, so that we could go to and from the hotel in a matter of minutes. If you are traveling with children, this is definitely useful, because you may want to head back to the hotel during the heat of the day to swim or nap. Even without children, if your main focus is to just be at the parks, I definitely recommend staying close enough to walk.
There are shuttle busses that go to a number of off-property hotels. These shuttles are not free and they often stop at a lot of hotels along the way, so it takes a while to get to the parks. It is much easier to either stay on-property (in a Disney Hotel) or at an off-property (Good Neighbor) hotel that is only a short walk away.
Cost: Now, even though we like to stay close, we also don’t like to spend a lot of money staying at a Disney Hotel. Don’t get me wrong, I would jump at the chance to get to stay at one, but there are much, MUCH cheaper hotels that are just across the street from the parks.
My favorite is the Tropicana Inn and Suites. When we first started staying there, the rooms were about $89 a night. Now, with a AAA discount, we usually pay around $100 dollars a night. The hotel is just across the street from the parks and has a nice pool area. There are tons of hotels around that area that are a similar price, but I have had some great interactions with the staff at this hotel, and wouldn’t think of staying anywhere else…that is unless someone were to get me a room at the Disneyland Hotel.
If you can afford to spend more, by all means stay at the Disney hotels then!! They are amazing and carry with them a TON of amenities.
Amenities: If you are looking for more than just going to the parks, and price isn’t always an issue, you could stay at a Disneyland resort hotel (The Grand Californian, Paradise Pier, or the Disneyland Hotel). Paradise Pier is little better than an off-property hotel, but the other two bring quite a bit of amazing things to the table. Both the Grand CAlifornian and the Disneyland Hotel have amazing themed pool areas. They also each have an upscale restaurant, a character breakfast/brunch opportunity, and beautiful themed bars.
Plus, they do seem to add just a bit more Disney magic… If you are interested in staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel, but can’t stomach the price, you can check out renting Disney Vacation Club points from DVC owners. There are lots of websites that can facilitate that, which can drop the price of these rooms from $600/night to about $350-400/night depending on the time of year.
Overall: If you base your hotel decision on these areas, you really can’t go wrong. There are so many options, and some that can cost less than even $80/night if you look around for extra discounts and deals. If you, like us, can’t afford to stay at the nicest Disney hotels, don’t feel too bad. Most of the amenities can be accessed by people who don’t stay there (with the exception of the pools), and most people spend the whole day in the parks, so who needs an ultra fancy hotel?