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All of the Magical Reasons to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel

Benefits of Staying at a Disneyland Hotel - PinterestPart of the fun of a Disneyland vacation is staying on property at a Disneyland Resort hotel. From check-in to checkout, you are immersed in Disney magic and family fun. Plus, it's so much more relaxing not to deal with parking or traffic in the morning and maybe even taking the Monorail into Disneyland Park! Guests of Disney's Grand Californian have an entrance right into Disney California Adventure Park. And Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel now has its own entrance into Disney California Adventure Park, as well! If you are deciding where to stay, read on as we go over the benefits of staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel. More magic is returning every day (including theme park early entry and package delivery for hotel guests).

Overview of Disneyland Resort Hotels

Disneyland has three four-star hotels on property:

There are quite a few differences between these three hotels!

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

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! But it's also the most expensive, so the other two hotels might fit your budget better. Find out more in our guide to Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.

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. (It's a gentle slide, plus there is a shorter slide for smaller tadpoles). Not surprisingly, the Grand Californian comes with the grandest price, but it’s the ideal location if you can afford it.

The Grand Californian is home to the spectacular fine dining at Napa Rose, which has won numerous awards and accolades from Wine Spectator, Zagat and more. It's where you'll find the three-course Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures. Tadpoles looking for adventures with their favorite mouse can enjoy Mickey's Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet next door at Storytellers Cafe.

Why Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Spa Room

The Tenaya Stone Spa is a gorgeous and special retreat. You can get massages, foot treatments and salon services here. It features the Tenaya Stone, which was gifted from the descendants of Chief Tenaya in Yosemite.

When you enter the spa from the gift shop, you’ll enter a forest of trees surrounding the Tenaya stone. Just past the stone is a relaxation lounge with running water, snacks, beverages and comfortable seats. You can choose to wear a robe if you want to get comfier. You can enjoy this area before your treatments and unwind from the outside world. Guests who have booked a spa treatment may arrive 30 minutes early to enjoy the peaceful relaxation lounge (and the eucalyptus-infused steam room when it returns). People who have hair, nail or wax services in the salon may arrive 10 minutes early. You do not have to be a guest of the Grand Californian to use the spa.

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. Lily's favorite touch? A headboard with built-in fireworks lighting effects and a little tune. It is a short walk to the Monorail station and Downtown Disney and about five minutes to Disneyland Park.

Why Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Monorail Pool Slide

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 and most rooms sleep up to five people.

Why Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Disneyland Hotel Room

During the closure, the upholstery and fabrics throughout the guest rooms, lobbies and meeting rooms were refreshed and updated. Guest rooms now feature a fun new fireworks pattern in the carpet and upgraded platform beds to help maximize storage. The corridor flooring features new patterns inspired by the art of Mary Blair with graphic elements recalling the lands each of the towers are named for.

Enjoy casual options at Tangaroa Terrace and tropical libations at Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar. Tadpoles can enjoy all-you-can-eat options inside Goofy's Kitchen, which offers breakfast and dinner character dining.

Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel (soon to be Disney's Pixar Place Hotel)

Why Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Paradise Pier Retheming

Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel is undergoing a name and theme change to the Pixar Place Hotel, complete with a new Finding Nemo splash pad and Pixar art. It overlooks the Paradise Pier area of Disney California Adventure. The Pixar theme will carry throughout the hotel with new interpretations of the characters and showcasing the art of Pixar animation.

This hotel is the farthest of all the Disney properties from Disneyland Park, about a 15-minute walk away (or five to 10 minutes to the monorail). This hotel just got more convenient to Disney's California Adventure with about a five-minute walk to the theme park. There is a dedicated walkway just for Paradise Pier guests that takes them straight into the theme park, entering across from The Golden Zephyr in Paradise Gardens Park. All on-site Disneyland Resort hotel guests can access this walkway.

Why Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Disney's Paradise Pier 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 the former California Screamin’. A new splash pad is in the works.

The rooftop Sand Bar (temporarily closed) serves up relaxing eats for those lounging poolside or catching the fireworks after dark. (Note that Paradise Pier's in-hotel dining is temporarily unavailable during the refurb.)

Top Benefits of Staying at Disneyland Resort Hotels

Why Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Character DiningThere are some hoppin' good reasons to stay at the Disneyland Resort hotels in Anaheim. We especially love that they are all frog — er, family-friendly. If you want the full-on Disney experience, staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel is a must! We love the family activities schedule for all the activities that week, from movie nights, holiday events, early morning workouts in the theme park, classes, art lessons, crafts, power walks and more! And even more benefits have just returned!

Two of the hotels offer on-site character dining, including a high-end character dining experience, the Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Buffets and character dining have returned, and character meet and greets (and hugs!) are back too!

Location, Location, Location

We cannot tell you enough how much easier it is to stay on property. All Disneyland Resort hotels are within walking distance of the theme parks, Downtown Disney and each other. You have short waits to get through security, and you have no stress about parking each day. It's easy to hop back to the hotel for pool time, dining or a nap. It's also really convenient. You can set up to pay for items with your room key or arrange to have your packages sent to your room, so you don't have to carry them around the parks (now available!).

Better Theme Park Reservation Availability

All Disneyland visitors must have a valid park ticket and theme park reservation to enter a theme park — that includes hotel guests. Many days do sell out in advance. Ticket buyers may book as early as 120 days in advance. Magic Key holders can reserve up to 90 days in advance. Here’s a hop tip: If you plan to visit the theme parks, you should check for theme park reservation availability first before booking your hotel room, as a resort hotel room reservation does not guarantee theme park access.

That being said, one of the greatest benefits of staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel is the fantastic theme park availability. Even if it looks like there are no reservations for the day you want to visit, if you have a hotel reservation linked to your Disneyland account, when you search for theme park reservations, you'll likely see better availability. That goes for discount theme park tickets purchased through Undercover Tourist!

Follow this link to see the theme park availability for Disneyland hotel guests compared to other guests.

Early Theme Park Entry

All of the Magical Reasons to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel-Girls are in Disneyland park before park opening

The Early Entry benefit returned Aug. 8, 2022. With early entry, hotel guests can enter either theme park (with a theme park reservation, of course) 30 minutes before park opening. Guests with early entry can access select attractions, dining and shopping locations during that time.

Other park guests (non-Disney hotel guests) can also enter the theme parks up to 30 minutes early, but they are held back from entering lands by ropes until the official park opening. Then the ropes are dropped and everyone can head to attractions when the park opens.

Even when we don't have early entry, we always strive to enter the theme park before the park opens at rope drop. During that first hour of park opening, wait times are the shortest they will be all day.

All of the Magical Reasons to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel-Early entry sign

Staying on-site makes it much easier to make early entry and rope drop (no traffic, parking and trams or buses to worry about). Our early entry post has all of the updates! For more tips on how to start your day, check out our Disney California Adventure Park Plan and Disneyland Park Plan.

All of the Magical Reasons to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel-Hotel room key during early entry at Space Mountain

Guests can start making Lightning Lane selections as soon as they enter a theme park, even if it has not opened yet. The Lightning Lane windows are for once the park is officially open. While there are no specific hotel guest benefits for using Genie+ at Disneyland, Disneyland hotel guests can more easily access the theme parks in the morning. Since all guests have to enter a theme park in order to purchase Genie+ for a ticket (that doesn't already have it included as an add-on) or start making Lightning Lane selections, it's much easier for hotel guests to hop into the park and even hop back out to go to breakfast. Once a park has been entered, guests can make Lightning Lane reservations from anywhere.

Package Delivery

All of the Magical Reasons to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel-Guest with bulky droid box

As of Aug. 8, 2022, hotel guests can send theme park purchases to be delivered to their Disneyland Resort Hotel for next-day delivery. Guests can charge select Disneyland Resort shopping and dining purchases right to their room through the Disneyland app.

Preferred Dine Access (coming soon)

All of the Magical Reasons to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel-Guests dine at GCH Bar

Preferred Dine Access offers Disneyland Resort Hotel guests the opportunity to have preferred access to a limited number of reservations at select hotel table-service restaurants during the dates of the hotel stay.

All of the Magical Reasons to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel-people meet Chip outside Disneyland HotelDisney Magic and Fitness Classes

The hotels are sprinkled with Disney magic from your room decor to hidden Mickeys to even the obvious Mickeys. You can get Mickey ice cream bars at the hotel pools and dine with the characters. You can even order Dole Whip at the Disneyland Hotel's Tangaroa Terrace! Check the hotel activities guide to find Disney movie nights, crafts, Disney Ear Yoga, power walks in the theme park before it opens, paddleboard yoga, paddleboard fitness and more.

One other fun Disneyland hotel perk is a wake-up call from a Disney character. You can arrange the call when you arrive! We have been lucky to have seen some spontaneous character interactions while at the Disneyland Hotel.

Here's a look at some of the available offerings and experiences when staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel:

  • Valet parking
  • Newly renovated Tenaya Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
  • Hotel dining and character dining
  • Hearthstone Lounge
  • GCH Craftsman Bar
  • GCH Craftsman Grill
  • Napa Rose (for character dining and dinner) and Storytellers Cafe (character dining breakfast and brunch, and dinner without characters) will be open to all guests!
  • Character dining at Goofy's Kitchen for breakfast and dinner
  • Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar (now has reservations)
  • Tangaroa Terrace Tropical Bar & Grill (mobile order available)
  • Coffee House  (mobile order available)
  • In-room dining service
  • Children’s lobby entertainment areas
  • Instructor-led fitness classes (in Disney California Adventure!)
  • Acorns Gifts & Goods
  • Eureka Fitness Center
  • Fountain Pool
  • Redwood Pool
  • Mariposa Pool
  • Poolside Cabanas
  • Pool parties (with characters)
  • Paradise Pool
  • Monorail waterslides
  • Mickey and Minnie spa whirlpools
  • Life jackets at pools
  • Special Grand Californian Hotel theme park entrance to Disney California Adventure
  • Poolside cabanas are available for an additional fee
  • Disney Genie+ and individual Lightning Lane

Why Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Chip 'n' Dale

Classes and Pool Parties

Things are quickly returning to normal at Disneyland hotels so this list keeps growing!

The following are some examples of classes and fun events hotel guests can take part in (selection may vary during your visit):

  • Learn to draw Disney characters
  • Ukulele lessons
  • Hula dance lessons
  • Park map origami
  • Pool parties (for 30 minutes a day)
  • Learn about topiary art
  • Beneficial Garden Insects Show & Tell
  • Decorate a reusable cutlery pouch

Special Fireworks Viewing

All resort hotel guests can head to the rooftop of Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel for fireworks viewing with the music piped in. It's on the pool deck level.

Guests with deluxe, club-level accommodations at Disney's Grand California Hotel & Spa or Disneyland Hotel have access to The Veranda or the E-Ticket Lounge. Each offers a continental breakfast, afternoon tea, a wine and cheese reception, cookies and desserts, a personal concierge and fireworks viewing when available.

Temporarily Unavailable Services:

  • Restaurants at Disney's Paradise Pier

Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel temporarily does not have food and beverage offerings, but guests can take advantage of dining opportunities in Downtown Disney and Disney's Grand Californian Hotel or Disneyland Hotel. Select restaurants in the Downtown Disney District also provide delivery services. For added convenience, guests of Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa can scan QR codes right from their in-room TV (and around the hotel) to access the links to those restaurants’ webpages and order food and beverages that can be delivered right to the hotel lobbies.

If you are curious about what will be open or closed at Disneyland Resort and theme parks during your visit, you can find it all in one easy post in what's open at Disneyland.

Why Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Character Dining with Tiana

During normal times, Disneyland Resort hotel guests get preferred access to a limited number of reservations for dining and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Guests can make Disneyland dining reservations for restaurants in hotels, theme parks and most of Downtown Disney in the Disneyland app and online. There is no priority access at the moment.

We hope you've found this overview of Disneyland Resort hotels and benefits hopful as you plan your 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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Sep 6, 2019 at 7:07 p.m. Melinda Novales Lisso Says...

If I buy tickets here will I be able to put in my app

Reply
Sep 6, 2019 at 2:33 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Melinda,

You sure can!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jul 1, 2019 at 12:06 a.m. Erin Says...

Do you need to buy a park hopper ticket if you are staying at the Grand Californian? If you didn't get the hopper, how would you re-enter the hotel after a day on the other side?

Reply
Jul 1, 2019 at 8:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Erin!

You do not need a park hopper to stay at the Grand Californian. However, you'll only be able to utilize the entrance from California Adventure if you have valid theme park admission. Otherwise, you can use the main hotel entrance from the Downtown Disney area without any theme park admission. The entrance into California Adventure from the resort itself is meant as an additional perk, but there are alternative ways to get into the hotel. Hope this helps!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 10, 2019 at 7:34 p.m. Yvette Lopez Jessop Says...

Are there payment plans for Disneyland vacations? I can't afford otherwise

Reply
May 13, 2019 at 12:03 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Yvette!

No, unfortunately no payment plans are available at this time. If you are booking a Disneyland Resort vacation package (with hotel and tickets included), Disneyland requires a deposit up front, with the remaining balance is due 30 days prior to your arrival.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jun 29, 2022 at 11:47 a.m. Jim Kerr Says...

There might be a workaround in terms of a Disney vacation payment plan. Right now if you purchase your Disney vacation with a Chase Disney Visa card you will receive a promotional APR of 0% for 6 months on Disney vacation packages. This option might not be for everyone but for some having half a year to pay off their family's Disney experience might just do the trick!

Reply
Feb 16, 2019 at 4:07 p.m. Corky Bradley Says...

Disney hotels look very attractive (practical and for the experience), but with 4 adults and a child, it's crazy expensive. Any suggestions on scoring a deal in May? Thanks!

Reply
Feb 21, 2019 at 2:36 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Corky,

These hotels stay pretty well booked all year. For the best rates and availability, book early!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 14, 2018 at 11:18 p.m. Regina Says...

We're staying on property in November. Looking to order tickets but not sure if fast passes or Magic Bands come with the on-property stay? I thought I read that somewhere?? Any advice is appreciated for our first time visit :)

Reply
Oct 15, 2018 at 2:48 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Regina!

Disneyland Resort in California does not utilize MagicBands - you'll simply use your phone. FastPass is included with your park tickets, but we do recommend MaxPass to make the most of your time!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 8, 2018 at 8:57 p.m. Traci Says...

We will be staying at the Disneyland hotel from a Monday to Thursday. Unfortunately, we have one park per day tickets and only one day matches with the Early Magic Morning Hours schedule (Monday- CA Adventure). That will be our first day checking into the DL hotel. How can we utilize the MMH option if check in time is later in the day?

Reply
Oct 12, 2018 at 3:05 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Traci!

If you are able to utilize early check-in at Disneyland Hotel, you will be able to utilize Early Morning Magic. But you must be checked in and have your room key.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
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 capacity...is 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?

Reply
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

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

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

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

Are park entrances included with the hotel?

Reply
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

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

Hi,

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

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

Hi Sara,

There is no merchandise discount for hotel guests.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
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.

Reply
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

Reply
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?

Reply
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

Reply
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?

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

Hi Tanya,

You just need your room key.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

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

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

Reply
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

Reply
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!

Reply
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)

Reply
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

Reply
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!

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

Hi Karen,

You've made our day! Thank you!

Mommy Frog

Reply
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?

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

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

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

Hi Michiko,

Yes!

Mommy Frog

Reply
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.

Reply
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