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Which is the Best Disneyland Resort Hotel: Honest Look at the 3 On-Property Hotels

Which is the Best Disneyland Resort Hotel: Honest Look at the 3 On-Property Hotels

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Planning a trip to Disneyland and want to stay on property? Here are our top picks for the best Disneyland Resort hotel!
This list of the best Disneyland Resort hotels was written by Disneyland travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

My family LOVES Disneyland! We go multiple times a year and we love staying in hotels near the parks.

As of today, we have officially stayed at all three Disneyland Resort hotels so I can give an honest comparison of all of them to help you figure out which one might be best for your family.

We booked all these hotels through Get Away Today. They have the best Disneyland package deals with hotels and tickets.

Keep scrolling for my brief reviews of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the Disneyland Hotel, and Pixar Place Hotel (formerly Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel).

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

This is the most expensive hotel at Disneyland and a lot of people assume that means it’s the best. I’m not sure I agree with that. Check the latest rates and availablity.

Image of a room at the Disney Grand Californian and Disneyland
This was our room at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

The hotel itself is inspired by California’s natural beauty and the Arts & Crafts movement. It sort of looks like it belongs at Yosemite National Park. It’s sort of dark and everything is covered in wood. And there’s a rustic vibe going on.

Here are a Few of My Favorite Things about Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa:

Direct Park Access

The biggest perk of staying at the Grand Californian (in my humble opinion) is that you can use a special entrance into Disney California Adventure Park. It’s the only Disneyland resort hotel with direct access into a theme park.

Image of the DCA entrance from the Disney Grand Californian Hotel
The Grand Californian has it’s own entrance into DCA. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Of course, you’ll still need to have valid theme park tickets but the security line and entrance lines are usually pretty short compared to the main entrance.

We stayed here when we went to the Oogie Boogie Bash and it was SO nice to be able to cut through the park and head directly to our room at night when we were all wiped.

Direct Downtown Disney Access

Another cool thing is that there’s an entrance right into Downtown Disney (it’s by the Disney Dress Shop). This makes it super easy to run to Starbucks or any of the breakfast spots first thing in the morning.

Plus, it’s fun to walk around Downtown Disney on your departure day before heading to the airport.

Amazing On-Site Restaurants

I’m obsessed with the Disney Princess Breakfast Adventure that’s located at Napa Rose. It’s by far my favorite Disney character meal, but it’s also the priciest.

The Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures is my favorite Disney character meal. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

If you’re already staying at this hotel, it’s really easy to walk over and do this Disney character breakfast on a non-park day.

And Napa Rose restaurant is really tasty for dinner on your arrival night or if you go back to the hotel in the afternoon before heading into the parks in the evening.

I also love that they have a stand in the lobby that usually has the sought-after Disney treats (like Mickey gingerbread men cookies) so you don’t have to trek all over to find them.

Tenaya Stone Spa

While I haven’t personally used this (totally on my bucket list), I love that there’s a full service spa at the Grand Californian. It’s a great place to get a massage or facial on your Disneyland vacation.

What I DON’T Like

Honestly, it just feels overpriced in my opinion. While the rooms and facilities are nice, the rustic theme makes me think there should be a lower price point.

We stayed in the main part of the hotel next to the lobby and it was SO loud until 10:00 p.m. at night, which was really annoying.

The pool area wasn’t as magical as the other hotels. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

And while the pool area was really nice, the ambiance was that of a rustic/vintage lodge and it didn’t seem super focused on families.

You can read my full Disney Grand Californian Hotel Review HERE.

Disneyland Hotel

This is the original hotel at Disneyland Resort and it’s pretty iconic. Each of the themed towers celebrates a different aspect of Disneyland’s history. Check the latest rates and availability.

Disneyland Hotel Room
We loved the firework carpet design! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

We stayed here last year and had a blast!

They also recently added the Villas at Disneyland Hotel. I’ve had friends who have stayed there and they like the Murphy bed and the room theming.

Here are a Few of My Favorite Things about the Disneyland Hotel:

Monorail Pool and Waterslides

My kids LOVE the entire Disneyland Hotel pool area. They have these cool Monorail waterslides in addition to several pools.

Image of the monorail slides at the Disneyland Hotel
Your family will LOVE the monorail slides at the Disneyland Hotel. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

It’s super kid-friendly and it’s easy to spend a full day here. This is by far our favorite Disneyland Resort pool.

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar

To eat at the actual restaurant, you’ll need to try your luck at getting reservations since it’s pretty small. But they have live entertainment and it’s worth trying to get in.

Thankfully they have another location right next to it where you can enjoy a lot of the same menu items.

Image of a Dole Whip float at the Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel
You can also get Dole Whip near the pool area! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

If you love Dole Whip, you’ll be pleased to know that you can get it at the Rangaroa Terrace quick-service window. They even have a boozy version that’s delightful!

Gift Shops

I know that all the Disneyland Resort hotels have gift shops, but my favorite ones are at the Disneyland Hotel. They always seem to have Minnie Ears that I can’t find anywhere else.

Goofy’s Kitchen

The really cool thing about Goofy’s Kitchen is that they are the only place to offer a Disneyland character dinner. So, it’s perfect for your arrival day.

Image of Marcie Cheung of Marcie in Mommyland and her son with Pluto at a Disneyland character breakfast
It super fun to hang out with the characters! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

But, they also do character breakfasts and lunches and you’ll get to see several classic Disney characters. The food is decent and there are tons of opportunities to get photos with the characters.

Disneyland Monorail

It’s close to the Disneyland monorail station that will take you directly into Tomorrowland at Disneyland. It’s the fastest way to get into the park, especially during the early entry times.

What I DON’T Like

It’s at the far end of Downtown Disney, so it can feel like a drag if you want to eat at a restaurant close to the park entrance.

You can read my full Disneyland Hotel Review HERE.

Pixar Place Hotel (formerly Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel)

We stayed here twice when it was the Paradise Pier Hotel and then once when it was the Pixar Place Hotel. Check the latest rates and availability.

In early 2024, the hotel completely rebranded to feature Pixar characters and stories. One of the coolest features is the famous Pixar lamp in the lobby.

Check out this honest Pixar Place Hotel Review by top family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. Image of a woman in front of the Pixar lamp in the lobby of the Pixar Place Hotel at Disneyland.
Pixar Place Hotel just opened in 2024. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

This hotel has a great family-friendly vibe and it’s the most affordable Disney-branded hotel at Disneyland.

There are 3 on-site dining options. The Sketch Cafe is where you can get coffee, tea, and pastries in the morning. Great Maple is the sit-down restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And there’s Small Bytes, which is their poolside dining (which opens later in 2024).

Here are a Few of My Favorite Things about the Pixar Place Hotel:

Bing Bong Character Meet and Greet

I’m also excited to meet “rare” characters and I’ve never seen Bing Bong in the parks. Pixar Place Hotel has Bing Bong meet and greets throughout the day up on the pool area as well as in the lobby.

Image of Marcie Cheung with Bing Bong at the Pixar Place Hotel at Disneyland.
This was one of my favorite character interactions! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Because it’s inside the hotel, the lines are super short compared to lines inside the park. I think I waited about 7 minutes for a photo with Bing Bong and my husband got one without any wait at all.

Private Entrance to Disney California Adventure Park

This was an unexpected feature of the Pixar Place Hotel. I don’t recall Paradise Pier Hotel having a special entrance so I didn’t realize there was one until a friend mentioned it to me before I went.

Image of a dad and two boys using the private DCA entrance from Pixar Place Hotel.
Here is the private entrance to DCA for Pixar Place Hotel guests. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

There’s a special gate right next to the Grand Californian where Pixar Place guests can scan their hotel key and walk along a path to a separate security and ticket area. The lines were short or non-existant each time we used the path.

This path puts guests next to Corn Dog Castle near the Pixar Pier.

Rooftop Pool Area

Pixar Place Hotel has a rooftop pool area featuring the Pixel Pool and Crush’s Surfin’ Slide. There’s also a splash pad, fun lawn games, and a hot tub. Plus, there are an array of cabanas available for rent.

Image of the pool area at the Pixar Place Hotel at Disneyland. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung
The rooftop waterslide and splash pad looked awesome! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

This is also where you can have excellent views of the nightly fireworks set to music.

My kids were obsessed with the lawn games. They have shuffleboard as well as outdoor chess, a bao bean bag toss game, and others.

There’s also the poolside bar Small Bytes, so it’s a great area to hang out after being in the parks.

What I DON’T Like

There isn’t a Disneyland character meal option here. I asked and cast members said there is no plan to have character dining here because the restaurant is run by an outside organization instead of Disney.

We also found the interior walls to be thin. We could hear our neighbors talking (and their child shrieking) clear as day, so the insulation might not be great.

It’s also a bit of a trek to Downtown Disney compared to the other two Disney hotels.

You can read my full Pixar Place Hotel Review HERE.

Disneyland Resort Hotel Comparison and Considerations

Proximity and Access to the Parks

Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

This hotel offers the best access with a private entrance to Disney California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney, making park hopping incredibly convenient.

The Disneyland Hotel

While it lacks a private park entrance, it offers a quick monorail ride into Tomorrowland at Disneyland Park, plus it’s only a 10-minute walk to both park gates.

Pixar Place Hotel

Features a private walking path directly to Disney California Adventure Park near Pixar Pier and is a short walk or monorail ride to Disneyland.

Thematic Experience and Immersion

Grand Californian Hotel

This hotel immerses guests in a luxurious mountain lodge atmosphere, perfect for those who love nature and elegance.

Disneyland Hotel

The Disneyland Hotel captures the essence of classic Disney with a retro-chic vibe and thematic towers, ideal for die-hard Disney fans.

Pixar Place Hotel

Filled with Pixar charm, from the lobby to the rooms, this hotel is a dream come true for Pixar movie lovers.

Room Types and Pricing

Grand Californian

The priciest option with rooms and suites that cater to various group sizes, offering luxury at a premium.

Standard rooms sleep up to 5 people and start at about $683 per night. Club level rooms sleep up to 5 people and start at about $1,192 per night. 1 Bedroom Suite sleeps up to 6 adults and starts at about $1,547 per night.

Disneyland Hotel

Offers a moderate range of prices with a variety of room and suite options, balancing cost and Disney magic.

Standard rooms sleep up to 5 people and start at about $530 per night. Club level rooms sleep up to 5 people and start at about $812 per night. 1 Bedroom Junior Suite sleeps up to 4 people and starts at about $970 per night.

Pixar Place Hotel

The most budget-friendly of the three, providing comfortable accommodations with a touch of Pixar fun for every guest.

Standard rooms sleep up to 5 people and start at about $405 per night. Club level rooms sleep up to 5 people and start at about $583 per night. 1 Bedroom Suite sleeps up to 6 adults and starts at about $954 per night.

Amenities (such as pools, dining, and additional services)

Grand Californian Hotel

Boasts multiple pools, luxurious dining options including character breakfasts, and exquisite lobby entertainment.

Disneyland Hotel

Features a unique pool with Monorail slides, Goofy’s Kitchen for character dining, and the exclusive Dole Whip.

Pixar Place Hotel

Has a rooftop pool and splashpad, diverse dining options, and special character meet and greets, offering a balance of fun and value.

Each hotel offers unique advantages, from Grand Californian’s unrivaled park access and luxury to Disneyland Hotel’s classic Disney atmosphere and Pixar Place Hotel’s budget-friendly Pixar fun.

Consider what matters most to your family—be it convenience, theme, or cost—to find your perfect Disneyland stay.

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    Disneyland Resort Hotels FAQs

    Which Disneyland hotel has direct access to the park?

    Both the Grand Californian and Pixar Place Hotel have private entrances into Disney California Adventure Park.

    What is the most expensive hotel at Disneyland?

    The Grand Californian is the most expensive Disney hotel.

    Is it worth staying at the Disneyland Hotel?

    It’s our personal favorite hotel because of the on-site character meal and the amazing pool area.

    Which Disneyland hotel does the monorail go through?

    The Disneyland Monorail goes through the Grand Californian Hotel.

    What are the best off-property hotels at Disneyland?

    There are TONS of awesome off-property hotels. Our personal favorites include the Courtyard by Marriott Theme Park Entrance, the Howard Johnson, and the Anaheim Fairfield Marriott.

    Best Disneyland Resort Hotels Wrap-Up

    Each Disneyland hotel has something special to offer, making your stay magical in its own way. The Grand Californian Hotel & Spa gives you luxury and unbeatable park access. It’s perfect if you love feeling like you’re in a cozy mountain retreat right next to the action.

    The Disneyland Hotel brings you close to the classic Disney magic with its nostalgic vibe and fun pool area. And if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option without sacrificing the fun, Pixar Place Hotel is filled with Pixar joy and cool amenities.

    Choosing the right hotel comes down to what you value most. Do you dream of stepping right into Disney California Adventure Park from your hotel? Or maybe you want to swim in a pool with Monorail slides? Or perhaps, meeting Pixar characters is a must-do for your family.

    Think about your theme preference, how much you want to spend, and the amenities that will make your stay unforgettable.

    Staying on-site at a Disneyland Resort hotel isn’t just about convenience; it’s about immersing yourself in the magic day and night.

    No matter which hotel you choose, you’re in for an incredible Disneyland experience that your family will remember forever.

    Looking for more places to stay at Disneyland? Check out Is the Disney Grand Californian Hotel Worth It?, Honest Disneyland Pixar Place Hotel Review, Top 11 Reasons to Stay at the Disneyland Hotel, Discover the 9 Best Disneyland Hotels Within Walking Distance, and 10 Good-Value Hotels Near Disneyland with Free Breakfast!

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