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Exploring the Benefits of Staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel

by Mommy Frog on June 20, 2018 24 Los Angeles

Hoppin’ Good News: We’re selling tickets to the Disneyland Resort! Take a look at our discounts on Disneyland tickets, including Park Hoppers for Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. Ribbit!

One of the reasons we love visiting Disneyland is there are an abundance of nearby hotel options at every price point. Even better, most are frog — er, family — friendly. While there are fewer reasons to stay off site at Disneyland than at Walt Disney World, there are some hoppin' good reasons to stay at the Disneyland Resort hotels. One is to fully immerse yourself in the "Disney magic." Try as you may, you really can't get that Disney magic if you're not staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel.

If you want the full-on Disney experience, staying at Disneyland Resort hotel is a must.

Now we've got another good reason to stay on site. We're offering discounts on all Disneyland Resort hotels (plus other Los Angeles hotels too)! If you're weighing whether to stay on off site for your next vacation, you'll want to learn all of the benefits of staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel.

Benefit of staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel

As we mentioned, if you want the full-on Disney experience, staying at Disneyland Resort hotel is a must. Disneyland resort guests can also use their room key for charging privileges in the park and park package delivery, a nice benefit if you don't want to lug around all of your in-park purchases. The other chief reason for staying on property, and this can be highly beneficial from a touring perspective, is the Extra Magic Hour. This benefit allows resort guests one hour early access to either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park depending on the day.

Typical EMH Schedule

  • Disneyland Park: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
  • Disney California Adventure Park (including access to Cars Land): Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays

Benefit of staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Radiator Springs Racers

If you want to experience Cars Land with the lowest waits, taking advantage of the early hour is a definite benefit! You should still plan on arriving early enough to be ahead of the opening and then head straight for Radiator Springs Racers. With the majority of the early guests also headed that way, you'll still find a wait, but it will be the shortest wait this attraction will see all day. Alternately, you could skip Radiator Springs Racers during the Extra Magic Hour, ride the park's other popular attractions such as Soarin' Around the World, Toy Story Midway Mania and the coming Incredicoaster with no waits and then get in line for a Radiator Springs FastPass 10 to 15 minutes ahead of park opening (FastPass doesn't begin operations until regular park opening). For more tips, check out our Disney California Adventure Park Plan.

Disneyland Resort Hotels Overview

Disneyland has three hotels on property, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. A fourth Disneyland hotel has been announced. It is expected to open in 2021.

Benefits of staying at Disneyland

Disney's Grand Californian is the grande dame of the three properties with its California Craftsman style that harkens to the stone-and-timber national park lodges of yesteryear. It’s also the newest of the properties, the best themed and has the distinct advantage of being the most convenient of the hotels to the parks with its own dedicated entrance to Disney California Adventure and pedestrian access to the Downtown Disney District. It's our top pick for your Disneyland Resort hotel stay!

Benefit of staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Grand Californian

Your tadpoles will love the pool complex, lushly landscaped with boulders and conifers. It boasts a quiet lap pool, a Mickey Mouse-shaped kids pool and a large pool with a 100-foot redwood slide.  Not surprisingly, the Grand Californian comes with the grandest price, but it’s the ideal location if you can afford it.

Benefit of staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Disneyland Hotel

The Disneyland Hotel is the original hotel on the property, and it's a favorite among the Disney faithful. It has been recently renovated. The theme is classic Disney, with 1950s-style signage and touches of whimsy throughout. It is a short walk to the Monorail station, about 5 minutes to Disneyland Park.

Benefit of staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Disneyland Hotel pool

As part of the hotel’s renovations, the pool area has been expanded with a pair of Monorail waterslides, a kiddie slide and a water play area, which are a big hit with the little ones. The Disneyland Hotel is the mid-priced hotel at the resort.

Benefit of staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Paradise Pier

Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel overlooks the Paradise Pier area of Disney California Adventure and carries on the beachfront boardwalk theme to the hotel, with Mickey Mouse accents in the guest rooms. This hotel is the furthest of all the Disney properties from Disneyland Park, about a 15-minute walk away (or 5-10 minutes to the monorail).

Benefit of staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Paradise Pier Hotel pool

The pool sits rooftop, and from the deck guests can watch the Disneyland Park fireworks on select nights.  The young ones will love the California Streamin’ waterslide, a tribute to classic boardwalk coasters, including nearby California Screamin’.

Each of the Disneyland hotels offers character dining. Standard rooms accommodate up to five guests, making them suitable for families of five. Guests at any of the hotels can use the child activity center, Pinocchio’s Workshop, located in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

We hope you've found this overview of the benefits of staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel helpful as you consider a visit to Los Angeles. You'll find more resources and tips inside our Los Angeles Planning Guide. Ready to book your Disneyland Resort hotel? Hop to it with Undercover Tourist for a discount!

Related: Tips to Maximize Your Time at Disneyland

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
View Comments
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Jul 17, 2018 at 8:40 p.m. Nicole Says...

We are trying to decide between the Disneyland hotel and Fairfield for a December trip...any advice? Five people and we will spend most of the time in the park. I am worried about the park reaching it better to stay onsite then? What about the weather in December? Will the pools be warm enough to swim if we spend the money to stay on property?

Jul 18, 2018 at 11 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nicole!

The weather is typically in the 60's (Fahrenheit) in December. The pools at both Fairfield Inn and Disneyland Hotel are heated, but it may still be too chilly to enjoy. Both hotels are a similar distance to the parks, so it's truly up to you how much you'd like to invest in your hotel! If you don't plan on spending much time at the hotel to enjoy the amenities, we recommend going with a more cost-friendly option. The parks did reach capacity one day in late December last year, but as long as you arrive early and stay in one park all day, you should be fine!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Dec 14, 2017 at 6:22 a.m. Joenisha Blalock Says...

Does free breakfast at the hotel come with staying at the resort

Oct 27, 2017 at 3:31 p.m. Meghan Says...

Are park entrances included with the hotel?

Oct 27, 2017 at 1:47 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Meghan,

Park admission is not included in posted hotel room rates. You'd need to purchase tickets separately.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Aug 15, 2017 at 3:31 a.m. Sara Says...


Is there a discount on murchandise if you were staying at the Disneyland hotel?

Aug 15, 2017 at 7:17 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sara,

There is no merchandise discount for hotel guests.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

May 15, 2017 at 6:11 p.m. Carol Says...

We were there in February and there were security guards stationed several places near the GC, prohibiting entering unless you were staying there. We had a reservation at Napa Rose and had to show picture ID as the guard checked our names against his reservation list. I suspect it was being overused as a cut through and alternate entrance.

Apr 25, 2017 at 10:51 p.m. Lynda Dale Says...

In the past while staying at the Disneyland Hotel I would use the Grand Californian entrance to California Adventure Park. I've heard rumors this is no longer allowed. Can anyone confirm whether or not this is still an option? Thanks

Apr 11, 2017 at 5:39 p.m. Gayle Says...

How do you get to the Disneyland Park from the Disneyland Hotel? Is it a far walk? What is the monorail?

Apr 11, 2017 at 12:54 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Gayle,

Getting from the Disneyland Hotel to Disneyland is a short walk through Downtown Disney. The Disneyland Monorail will take you from just outside the Disneyland Hotel to Tomorrowland inside the park.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Apr 8, 2017 at 5:25 p.m. Tanya Says...

If you are staying at one of the three hotels on-site, can guests have access to the pools at the other two hotels on-site? If so, is it the room key that provides access?

Apr 9, 2017 at 7:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tanya,

You just need your room key.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Dec 16, 2016 at 9:19 p.m. Julie Says...

Do the Disney resort hotel room rates include tickets to the parks everyday?

Dec 20, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Julie,

Wouldn't it be great if they did?! Unfortunately, they do not.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 30, 2015 at 7:25 p.m. Yomari DeWeese Says...

It is incorrect that you can use all the pools. You can only use the pool at the hotel you are staying at. I am here currently and have asked!

Oct 6, 2015 at 4:13 a.m. Angie Says...

Anyone know why it is slated to be busy through Jan 5? ( a tuesday, it seems like it would be only through the 3rd (sunday)

Oct 14, 2015 at 9:57 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Angie,

While crowds will start dying down on that Monday, most local school districts have children back in school on the 5th. Here is our guide to the best time to visit Disneyland.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Sep 21, 2015 at 2:24 a.m. Karen Says...

Great info and website! I've ben in SoCal my whole life and thought I was an expert, but your advice rocks! thank you so much! Karen happy frogging!

Sep 23, 2015 at 1:58 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Karen,

You've made our day! Thank you!

Mommy Frog

Jan 11, 2015 at 6:50 p.m. Michiko Says...

Great information! Quick question:

If you are staying onsite, is Magic hour offered on the day you check in?

Jan 30, 2015 at 2:51 a.m. Rae Says...

Yes every night you are registered you yet the magic morning!!

Jan 11, 2015 at 6:01 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michiko,


Mommy Frog

Oct 24, 2014 at 10:55 a.m. Jack Beresford Says...

Paradise Pier is a more affordable choice and many rooms have a great view of World of Color performed nightly. They even have the sound track play on you in-room TV.

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