All of the Magical Reasons to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel (2023)

All of the Magical Reasons to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel (1)Part 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:

  • Disneyland Hotel
  • Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel (being rethemed to Pixar Place Hotel)

There are quite a few differences between these three hotels!

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Disney'sGrand 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.

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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 character dining. Tadpoles looking for adventures with their favorite mouse can enjoy Mickey's Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet next door at Storytellers Cafe.

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The Tenaya Stone Spa is a gorgeous and special retreat. You can get massages, foot treatments and salon services here.

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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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 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.

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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’. Currently, the pool area is under refurbishment (fireworks viewing not available), and 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

All of the Magical Reasons to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel (9)There 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, including 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!).

All of the Magical Reasons to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel (10)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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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 (16)Disney 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

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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, as some are seasonal or aren't available right now):

  • 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. (Note: not currently available as the pool area is under refurbishment.)

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.

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Disneyland Resort hotel guests get preferred access to a limited number of reservations for dining. Guests can make Disneyland dining reservations for restaurants in hotels, theme parks and most of Downtown Disney in the Disneyland app and online.

We hope you've found this overview of Disneyland Resort hotels and benefits hopful as youplan your visit to Los Angeles. You'll find more resources and tips inside ourLos 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!

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