Disneyland: Resort Hotel or Good Neighbor (part 1) 3

Hello, Disney friends!  Sorry it has taken a little while in between posts but my life over the past month has looked largely like this:

. . . I promise my daughter’s face isn’t really blurry like that in real life.  Just on the internet!  😉

So, now that Girl Scout Cookie season has passed us by and I am free from that sugar stranglehold for another year, I am free to blog again!
When last we met, I mentioned that the next step to take after deciding on a time of year to travel was to decide where you’d prefer to stay! So, let’s do!

The decision of where to stay at the Disneyland Resort can be either very easy to make . . . or very difficult, depending on your wants/needs/desires from a hotel.  Disneyland offers two different “groups” of hotel choices:  Disneyland Resort Hotels (aka: “on property”) and Good Neighbor Hotels.  “What’s the difference?” you may ask?  Well, in this installment, let’s take a look at the options in the “easy” group: the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort.  (disclaimer:  I only call it the “easy’ group because it contains just three options.  (That’s easy, right?) ) These hotels aren’t technically broken down into categories like Walt Disney World’s, however they do have slightly different price points.


Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel

Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel is considered the “least expensive” resort hotel option as its room rates run between around $250-315 per night, depending on the season.  The Paradise Pier offers 460 guest rooms (approximately 364 sq. ft. in size) and nearly 30 suites (ranging in size from 792-1,245 sq. ft.).  The resort is decorated in a “seashore” theme with Surfer Goofy greeting you upon your entry to the hotel’s lobby.  Continuing the beachy theme, the kiddie “movie” area features a TV framed by a sand castle, the room numbers are printed on surfboards, there are beach ball pillows on the beds, lamps that look like lighthouses (with Mickey Mouse in a beach chair of course!), there is a rooftop pool with a slide that is supposed to resemble a wooden roller coaster and the Paradise Pier Hotel is home to the Surf’s Up with Mickey & Friends character breakfast!



Disneyland Hotel

The “mid-range” resort is the Disneyland Hotel where room rates average around $325-400 per night.  The Disneyland Hotel is the ORIGINAL hotel “on property” (even though none of the current buildings are the same that existed there in the 1950s).  It was opened as a smallish motel in October 1955 and at the time, the room rates were just $15 per night!  The Disneyland Hotel has been expanded and had buildings demolished, renamed and rethemed many times throughout the years but it remains the largest resort on property at 990 guest rooms and suites.  The rooms have all recently been refurbished and new eateries have been opened.  Another great Improvement is the complete retheming of the Never Land Pool area with the addition of monorail-themed slides which are topped with classic 1950’s/1960’s Disneyland signage!  Disneyland Hotel is home to Goofy’s Kitchen, which offers both a character breakfast and character dinner.  If you are hungry for a really good steak, you can make your way to Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel or if you’d rather have something a little Polynesian inspired, try the new Tangaroa Terrace!



Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa

The “high end” resort at Disneyland is Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.  The rates for one of the nearly 750 guest rooms at this gorgeous “Arts & Crafts movement” inspired resort start right around $395 per night.  The Grand Californian also includes an additional 50 villas belonging to the Disney Vacation Club (Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa).  Like the other “on property” resort hotels, “the Grand” hosts a character breakfast.  Folks can have a hearty breakfast with favorite Disney woodland creatures at Storyteller’s Café (which is open for lunch and dinner as well, without characters).  You can also grab a quick bite at White Water Snacks (located near the “resort guests only” entrance into Disney California Adventure park).  However, if you feel more in need of an absolutely indulgent meal, get thee to Napa Rose.  Napa Rose is “Napa wine country” themed and offers a range of award-winning “California cuisine” dishes.  The place is pricey but totally worth it for you foodies out there!  For the ultimate, relaxing date night, try an early dinner at Napa Rose and follow up with a Couples’ Massage at the Mandara Spa (they’re open until 8pm! *winkwink*)


Which of the three resort hotels would *I* choose?  Personally, even though I like the beachy theme of Paradise Pier and sure wouldn’t mind the luxury of the Grand Californian, my vote always goes to the Disneyland Hotel.  Even with the extensive changes, it always feels “classic” to me.  Well, that and I have very fond memories of pulling into the Disneyland parking lot in 1983 and parking directly under the monorail track with the nose of our car pointing directly at the Disneyland Hotel and saying, “You know what?  I’m going to stay there sometime when I’m older!”

Next post, we’ll take a look at the oodles of Good Neighbor choices!


Until next time, have a magical day!


About Sarah Mudd

I like to think of myself as a multi-hyphenate. I am a busy stay-at-home mom of two, "pet mom" to two cats named after mice (Mickey and Minnie) and a puppy named after a duck (Daisy), a Travel Consultant with Ears to You Travel AND a PassPorter Message Board Guide. *phew!* I am a born Californian and transplanted Oregonian. My family has been up and down the east coast (Florida, Maine, Florida again and Virginia) with the US Navy and we recently ended our Naval career stationed in Washington state. We've added another state to our list as we are now civilians living in Texas! I have made more trips to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland than I can possibly count and I always have a "next" trip in the planning stages. I can't wait to head out on my next Disney adventure, whichever Disney property it takes me to!

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What Do You Think?

3 thoughts on “Disneyland: Resort Hotel or Good Neighbor (part 1)

  • Charlotte

    As much as I would love to stay at the resorts; we have always stayed with the good neighbors. The cost difference is so extreme that it is very impractical to stay at the resort. Most neighbor hotels are within walking distance, have their own free transportation or you can take the Anaheim bus transportation. The quality of the rooms cover a large scale and price. If there were more fringe benefits for staying at the resort, like entrance to park included in room price, I would consider it.

    • Carrie

      Hi Charlotte,

      I felt just like you until my family tried the Paradise Pier last July. It was really roomy and it fits 5 very comfortably because of the pullout sofa bed – extremely comfortable!! The shower is great too with a rotating showerhead with not too much water splashing at you. Coffee is complimentary. They offer mickey head shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. My regret is that we only stayed two nights. With so much to do on site, one more day could have been spent just at the grounds. Gotta try it at least once. We paid $229 but if you go off season, it’s $159 – not bad. And the distance is about the same if not farther than the good neighbor hotels on Harbor.

    • Donovan

      I think the biggest attraction of staying on property is the feeling that you never really leave Disneyland. When I’ve stayed off property – and I’ve done it quite a bit as the cost arguments are totally valid – it really feels like I’ve left the happiest place on earth and are returning somewhat to reality. It might not even be tangible, but staying on property keeps you in that Disney state of mind, and it’s reinforced by all the little touches that Disney incorporates into its hotel theming. And being able to walk right into the park from Grand Californian is flat-out cool. As is returning to my room for a breather and being able to watch the parkgoers walk by from my balcony.