Disneyland Hotel Review by a Disney Nerd

DSC00183My family and I headed to Disneyland for a Spring Break vacation the 1st week in April 2013.  We priced out many of the hotels in the area, compared amenities and decided to stay at the Disneyland Hotel.  The main reason we decided to stay there was the ability to walk a short distance to our hotel room for a mid-day break.  I wrote a previous post about the benefits of staying at a Disneyland Resort here – http://iamamommynerd.com/disneyland-resort-hotels-are-they-really-worth-it/Disneyland Hotel Lobby

From the moment we walked into the Disneyland hotel we could feel the magic.  The lobby area is beautiful and clean (of course).  There are oversized tea cups with a circle table inside of them.  Goofy comes out and greets the new guests.  Once you stand in line to wait to check in there is a cast member to greet you and make small talk.   They know that you’ve made a journey to get to Disneyland and they want to make a great first impression.  It sounds corny but it is still nice to be acknowledged upon arriving at the hotel. That is called Disney Magic.

Lily & Abby at The Disneyland Hotel

Once I checked in I was told that I could receive a courtesy call or text message when our room was ready.  I think that is an awesome feature!! We ate lunch at the Tangaroa Terrace and relaxed there until our room was ready, it took about 45 minutes in all.

Our Room

We are Annual Pass Holders and I utilized our Annual Pass Discount on the room.  I had also requested a room in the Fantasy Tower and was granted that wish.  We stayed on the second floor and had a view of the pool area.  Even though we were located on a lower floor it was still great.

The headboard in the room was super cool.  The carving is of Sleeping Beauty’s castle and there is a switch in the lamp to turn on the light show.  It was awesome the first few times the girls pushed the button, then it became annoying after a few days.  But overall I think it is a nice touch of pixie dust.

Disneyland Hotel

Musical & Twinkle Headboard at the Disneyland Hotel

How close to Disneyland?

Disneyland Hotel

The walk to Disneyland

I am not going to lie to you, it’s not a short fun walk BUT it is close and a safe walk without any street traffic.  You can walk to the Monorail station (near The Rainforest Cafe) and get into Disneyland that way but if entering at Tomorrowland is not in your plan then you are stuck walking.  You have to walk through Downtown Disney and that can be a little crowded and overwhelming for the little kiddos in your group.  Abby is 3 and had a hard time walking through Downtown Disney, most times she wanted to be carried because she was scared and overwhelmed at everything going on around her. 

If you were to stay off property you would be able to the A.R.T. and be dropped off near the entrance of Disneyland, I just just understand, why is there NOT a Disneyland Hotel tram stop?  How hard would that be for Disney to have an additional stop for the folks at the Disneyalnd & Paradise Pier Hotel.  I think it would be a REALLY nice amenity for the folks want that extra Pixie Dust in their vacations and choose to stay on property.  After a day of fun at Disneyland the very last thing my kids wanted to do was walk through Downtown Disney.  I thought about hoping on the tram to the Mickey & Friends parking structure and then walking to the hotel from there but I think that would have been farther than walking through Downtown Disney. 

Which Tower is best for you?

There are three towers you can stay at in the Disneyland Hotel.  

  1. Fantasy Tower (Previously the Magic or Marina) – This is the main tower and where you check in, there is also a large and small gift shop.  It is connected to the conference rooms as well.  Your views would be either pool view or parking lot view.
  2. Adventure Tower (Previously the Dreams or Sierra) – This is the tower that is close to Downtown Disney, the views on either side of this tower are good.
  3. Frontier Tower  (Previously the Wonder or Bonita) – is the furthest away from the main tower, but it is near Paradise Pier.

They are all nice towers and each have their own pros so I would request one based upon your needs.  If you want to leave the property and want to have access to your car I suggest staying in the Fantasty Tower.  It is the closest to the parking lot and an easy walk.  By day 3 of our trip we need to head to Target and we left property to eat breakfast.  As a side note, the Target is close by and they have a ton of Disney related merchandise near the checkout and the baby/toddler area is right up front as well.  My guess is this Target posts the highest numbers for selling baby stuff and Mickey related merchandise.  We had to hit Target because we need more snacks, pull ups for Abby and we broke down and bought a stroller….more on that later.

I would suggest staying at the Frontier Tower if you have teenagers or if you want to spend more time in Disney California Adventure.  You can walk across the street and through the Grand Californian and enter DCA that way or cut into Downtown Disney, but you will come out past the Monorial station and need to double back a little bit if you want to jump on the monorail.

The Adventure Tower to me is neutral, in the middle and a nice tower.  It is near the parking lot, near Downtown Disney and close enough to walk to the Grand Californian if you wanted to enter DCA through the hotel entrance.

The Pool Area

We really liked the pool area and the monorail water slides.  Even my 3-year-old was able to go down some of the slides as they have little slides for her age.  They offer towels, life jackets and wonderful life guards.  The only thing I couldn’t get was a chair to sit down and put our stuff at.  It was really crowded and we just needed on chair but it was hard to come by.  I really wanted to park my butt in one of those fancy cabanas but the family budget couldn’t swing it.

I didn’t bring my camera to the pool area because I suck and totally forgot so I have no pictures of my family having fun by the pool.  There is a really nice review of the pool area and cabanas by Babes in Disneyland here – http://www.babesindisneylandblog.com/2013/06/disneyland-hotel-monorail-pool-cabana.html


We absolutely LOVE the Disneyland Hotel and will stay there as many times as we can.  There is something special about being surrounded by Pixie Dust 24/7 while at Disneyland.  When you leave the park and head back to your hotel it should feel like an extension of the park and that is exactly what the Disneyland Hotel does.

The hotel is clean, the staff is friendly, the decor is awesome and being a Disney Nerd I wanted to look at everything on display.  Here is a link to some additional pictures from the Disneyland Hotel – http://disneyland.disney.go.com/disneyland-hotel/gallery/#/overview

So where do you like to stay when you go to Disneyland?

About Dawn

Dawn is a social influencer and has been writing about her nerdy side since 2004. She enjoys writing about Entertainment, Travel, Disney, Star Wars and life with two little girls. Her advice is to keep on dreaming, do what you love and life will lead you a path to your happiness. Dawn also writes for 5 Minutes for Mom.


  1. Thanks for the review!! We’re staying at Grand Cali in a few weeks – my first trip to DLR and I’m so excited to see it all! I love the chairs in the lobby!

    • I LOVE the Grand, such a nice escape. Sometimes if I am near Grizzly River run I like to duck inside the hotel and sit in the lobby for a little bit and cool off and use the restrooms. So excited that you get to stay at the Grand!!


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