At Disneyland, there are only three on-site hotel options, compared to Walt Disney World’s 20+. All three hotels are fairly close in quality and location, so you don’t have the Value, Moderate or Deluxe options like you do in Florida. I would say all three would be considered Deluxe resorts, though Paradise Pier is definitely on the low end of deluxe.
Disneyland Resort Hotel Options:
- Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel – This hotel was built in 1984 and opened as the Emerald Hotel of Anaheim. In 1989, it was renamed the Pan Pacific Hotel, Anaheim. At the time it was owned by Tokyu Group, a Japanese hotel company. Disneyland finally purchased the hotel and surrounding land in 1995, and renamed it the Disneyland Pacific Hotel, and then renamed it in 2000 Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel to match the soon to be opening Disney California Adventure theme park. The area closest to the hotel inside the park is called Paradise Pier. The hotel once even had it’s own entrance into Disney California Adventure near the Corn Dog Castle, but it was closed in 2004.
- Disneyland Hotel – Most people assume that Walt Disney built the Disneyland Hotel, but he didn’t, he couldn’t afford to. Walt knew that he needed a hotel, since Disneyland was in the middle of nowhere, but he had spent all of his money on getting the park completed. Walt sold the rights to Jack Wrather, his friend, who operated the Disneyland Hotel until 1988. At the time of the Disney purchase, the hotel took up a much larger area, much of the land was subsequently used to build parts of Downtown Disney.
- Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa – Disneyland built this hotel in 2001 at the same time as Disney California Adventure, and is considered the only Disney hotel INSIDE a theme park. Technically, it is next to the theme park, but it does have it’s own entrance right into the heart of Disney California Adventure. The Grand Californian is Disneyland’s flagship hotel, and definitely has an incredible lobby and a fantastic location, close to both theme parks.
If you paid attention, you will notice that Disney did not own a hotel at Disneyland until 1988, which is a huge surprise to many, and didn’t own one that they designed and built until 2001!
So, which is my favorite Disneyland Resort hotel?
Without a doubt, the Disneyland Hotel. I am not really a fan of the Paradise Pier. While Disney had done a nice job with it, they are severely limited by the original 1984 design. The Grand Californian is awesome, just a beautiful and fantastic hotel, but the rooms feel very small to me, and a bit plain inside. I do love that you get a balcony, many of which overlook the theme parks, Downtown Disney or even the monorail. However, the Disneyland Hotel is nearly perfect in my book.
- It is just a short walk to either the Downtown Disney monorail station or just a bit further to the entrance of either theme park, it is close enough to be super convenient, but far enough away to feel like a resort.
- The hotel features three towers that form the sides of the resort, with a courtyard formed between the three that is a perfect mixture of pool, landscaping and small buildings. How can you not love the monorail themed water slides?
- The rooms, especially in the Adventure Tower, feel huge compared to other hotels. Disneyland has done a great job with the recent renovations too, the rooms now features a personal fireworks display on each headboard that you can turn on and off, kids absolutely love them.
- I just love the atmosphere of the entire hotel. It is extremely pretty, and I love all the nostalgia from the early Disneyland days around the resort. While the towers were built long after Disneyland actually opened, you get the feeling they were there from the beginning.
Until Disneyland builds another hotel, which will surely come, I don’t see myself staying anywhere else other than the Disneyland Hotel.