A Guide to Booking a Disneyland Resort Vacation

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All the Information You Need Before Booking Your Trip to Disneyland

There’s perhaps no Disney hotel property more iconic than the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. Although it’s gone through many renovations through it’s lifetime, it still embodies all that Walt was, and all that Disney is. Part of the appeal of Disneyland over Disney’s other properties, is its ever-lasting charm. There’s something about the park that Walt built that’s unique from all others.

While there is a lot to see and do on your trip to Disneyland, those who’ve visited Walt Disney World will find Disneyland much more manageable.

Use the following guide when planning your trip to Disneyland.

Courtyard Marriott Anaheim

Booking Your Stay

A trip to the Disneyland Resort isn’t cheap, but there are ways to save. Use booking sites like Kayak to compare prices on hotels. Plan at least 3 months in advance to take advantage of discounted rates. The park resorts fill up quickly, so if you want to take advantage of a discounted rate you need to book early. Set up a price alert so that you can track drops in rates. You can also take advantage of memberships like AAA.

The best way to conquer the resort is to stay at a Disney property. Not only is it the best way to have a full “Disney” experience, but it’s also the most convenient.

There are 3 Disneyland hotel properties to choose from:

If you’re okay with staying at a non-Disney property, there are plenty of neighboring hotels to choose from. Hotel Manage is an affordable hotel near Disneyland, that offers free shuttle rides to the parks. Rooms were recently renovated, and there is a pool on property.  With views of the Matterhorn, perhaps the most family-friendly non-Disney resort is the Courtyard Marriott. Located on Harbor Blvd, this Courtyard Marriott is situated right across from Disneyland. It also houses its own water park complete with two water slides, water play area, pool and jacuzzi.

Disneyland Resort Paradise Pier Hotel

The Paradise Pier Hotel

The most affordable option is the Paradise Pier Hotel. The hotel has a surf/beach theme, but incorporates Disney characters throughout the hotel. Parking is available for guests behind the property. The lobby features an arcade, TV watch room for little ones, banquet rooms and a restaurant. The best part about staying at the Paradise Pier resort is the ability to view into CA Adventure Park. Guests who book this room type will have a view of the World of Color show at night. I suspect the Paradise Pier resort has increased in price per night recently for this reason. If you want this view, you’ll need to book a premium view room. Rates start at $259 for this hotel. The hotel pool area features one enclosed water slide, one small pool, and a jacuzzi. To access the park, guests can walk to Downtown Disney and take the Disneyland Monorail, or walk across the street to the Grand Californian Hotel where they can enter California Adventure park.

Tip: Book a theme park view to get a private show of the World of Color at night from your very own guest room. 

Disneyland Resort Grand Californian Hotel

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa was built as a part of the 2001 expansion. It is the resort’s flagship property, and was designed to celebrate the 20th Century Arts & Crafts movement of Northern California. As such, the resort offers the woodsy cabin appeal of properties you’d see in Yosemite or Mammoth Lakes, California. Located the closest to the park entrances, The Grand Californian is the most convenient place to stay. The pool area at the Grand Californian, offers the most comfortable seating. It’s easy to lay back and fall asleep pool side here. There are three pools for guests to enjoy, one which features an open water slide, and another with spa-like salt water. The lobby area is spectacular, with high ceilings, a cozy fireplace, guest shop and full service bar. Rooms at this hotel start at $379 a night, but can surge to upwards of $700 if not booked early.

Tip: The bar at The Grand Californian serves the best Godiva chocolate martini and other custom cocktails. Grab a drink then relax by the fireplace in a rocking chair. 

Disneyland Resort Big Thunder Mountain Suite

The Disneyland Hotel

My favorite hotel at the Disneyland Resort is the Disneyland Hotel. If you haven’t visited the hotel in recent years, you’ll notice a complete transformation. The hotel, which once featured a marina, is now themed with classic Disney elements and rich Hawaiian culture. The E-Ticket pool area features two pools, two water slides, and two jaccuzi tubs. There are multiple seating areas, and cabanas for rent. Kids can slide down the monorail themed water slides, while you wade in the E-Ticket pool. Circling the pool area are five dining options for guests to get their grub on. For a quick, reasonably inexpensive meal, try Tangaroa Terrace. This Hawaiian themed quick-service restaurant serves everything from Hawaiian pulled pork sandwiches to pepperoni flat bread pizzas. For a fancy dining experience, make a reservation at Steakhouse 55, where it’s fine dining we suggest. For those with deep pockets and big budgets, the Disneyland Hotel also offers signature suites. Guests who can afford rates from $3,000 to $8,000 a night can enjoy elaborate themed rooms including:

  • Adventure Land
  • Big Thunder
  • Fairytale
  • Mickey Mouse Penthouse
  • Pirates of the Caribean
  • And more.

Tip: If visiting with a big family opt for the Concierge service. While this can cost anywhere from an additional $100 to $300 a night, guests enjoy free snacks and drinks throughout the day, and hot appetizers at night. The concierge room offers views of Downtown Disney, and guests can view the fireworks at night.


huntington beach

Planning Your Visit

Unlike Walt Disney World, you only need about 5 days to conquer the Disneyland resort. If planning a longer trip to Los Angeles, you would have time to take in other popular destinations. Located near Anaheim is Huntington Beach. Known as “Surf City” Huntington Beach is rich in California surf culture. There are plenty of shopping and dining experiences to take in, in addition to the beautiful beaches. You could also take a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood to enjoy the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The theme park has gone under a significant renovation, adding a new main street, new attractions, in addition to the new Harry Potter attractions. The park is about a 30 minute drive from Disneyland.



Michelle McKinley is a journalist and digital marketer from Los Angeles, CA. She earned her Journalism degree from Pepperdine University, and has been writing for the web since 2003. She’s a life-long Disney fan who travels and writes about her experiences for fun.

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