Deciding on the right hotel for your upcoming trip to Disneyland California can be a little overwhelming and the wrong choice could ruin your trip or cost you more than you were expecting to spend. There are a number of Disneyland hotel deals and if you’re lucky you’ll find the perfect one for you.
Having been myself and having learnt a few things, I decided to write this post to help people choose which is right for them, as choosing the best hotels near Disneyland California is imperative especially if you are travelling with young kids.
There are so many considerations when choosing a hotel that goes above and beyond just the cost. A once in a lifetime Disneyland experience is likely something you’ll do once in your life, particularly for us Australians who have likely dreamed of this visit since we were kids. But this post isn’t just for Aussies, it’s for anyone visiting Disneyland California. We had a wonderful visit to Disneyland California and utilised the new Disney MaxPasses which was fantastic.
We also visited Knott’s Berry Farm, Warner Brothers Studios and Universal Studios Hollywood. You could easily base yourself in Anaheim and commute to these theme parks and it will save you moving around.
What do you need to consider when deciding on hotels near Disneyland California?
Obviously there are many things to consider, cost of course will be a significant factor but here are a few other things you might not have considered.
This will play a part in your choice of hotel, particularly if you are looking for somewhere within walking distance of the main gates of Disneyland. This for us was a significant deciding factor as I was determined to not have to pay for a shuttle bus or worse still, two taxis as we are a family of 5 and wouldn’t all fit in one.
Keep in mind that if you are visiting in the summer that you could be spending 10-12 hours walking a round the park in the heat and then have to walk a kilometre or two back to your hotel, you’re pretty much going to have tired, cranky kids after a day or two of back to back Disneyland action.
We visited in December and California was experiencing a bit of a winter heatwave. The days were reaching up to 29-30 degrees (84-86F), although once the sun went down some of us did need a jumper as it got quite cool quickly. Craig and Alannah were fine with it but myself and the little ones needed another layer to keep warm. The walk back to the hotel at night was swift as it wasn’t cool but I would say it was fresh!
Your Children’s Age
Now this is the big one. I think this is the biggest deciding factor when considering hotels near Disneyland California for most families. If you have little kids and have a stroller that you are taking with you, that gives you a bit more flexibility. Do keep in mind that getting through the security at the entrance takes longer with a stroller and they will request you remove the child from the stroller so they can complete the security check as well as checking all bags in your possession.
If you are planning on hiring a stroller inside Disneyland, your child will still need to walk to and from the park. This is fine in the morning when your child is fresh and excited but not so fun at night when exhausted and wanting you to carry them! This is when you’ll be thinking, maybe I should have spent that extra $100 to be at the hotel you’re now walking past, on your way to the cheaper hotel another 500m down the road!
This is a particular consideration if you child is young enough to still require a day sleep. If this is the case you are better off staying in or as close as possible otherwise you will be spending most of you day walking between the hotel and park. Obviously the closer you are to the park or even in the Disneyland California park you will be paying more.
If your kids are a little older like mine, this might not be such an issue. I had mine walk 1.4 kms (1.1 miles) each way on our visit and even though they were 13, 10 and 8 years old, they were pretty exhausted by the third day of it.
Your Families Fitness Level
If your family isn’t used to walking a lot, you will need to keep this in mind when choosing your hotel as well. Firstly, you will be walking between 5-10kms per day just in the park so if your fitness level will struggle with this, you will need to stay closer to the park.
Most of the hotels that are a bit further away provide a shuttle bus to and from the park, although I felt they were pretty expensive at $5 per person each way. For us, a family of 5, that’s an extra $50USD per day, over 3 days it’s $150USD which works out to over $200AUD. That, for me, is expensive and would have been money better spent on choosing a hotel closer that you could walk from.
Also if your a family that likes to sleep in, I suggest you choose a hotel closer to Disneyland as if you are not there early, you will be queuing particularly in the busy times which is most of the year these days.
Best hotels near Disneyland California
Below I have provided some recommendations from hotels that are inside Disneyland California, only a short walk from Disneyland and hotels that are about a 1km or so from Disneyland. Clicking on the links will take you to the booking page for each hotel, having read the above consideration and then working out which distance is best for you, you’ll have a good idea which type of hotel will be suitable for your needs.
Disney owned hotels
There are three Disney owned hotels just outside the Disneyland California Park. They are generally more expensive as they are located on site and are definitely the closest hotels to Disneyland. The hotels are Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. There are a number of benefits to staying at these hotels including:
- access to the magic hour for each day of your stay, very beneficial during the peak season;
- themed Disney pools where you can go back to your hotel for quick mid afternoon dip during the summer hot weather;
- only footsteps away from the main entrance of both parks;
- wake up calls – with an early morning greeting from one of your favourite Disney characters;
- hotel guests receive preferred access for character dining restaurants, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Anna and Elsa’s Boutique;
- access to the Disney Resort Monorail to get you around the park quicker;
- send purchases directly to your Disneyland Hotel instead of carrying them around;
- in-room celebrations for anyone in your party that is having a birthday throughout your stay.
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Newly refurbished with Californian inspired artwork, this hotel has latest technology and premium amenities in each room. There are three themed pools, one with a waterslide and a convenient entrance to Disney California Adventure Park and Disney Downtown. And for mum, a luxurious spa that will be very rewarding after a few days in Disneyland! Oh yeah!
The original and first Disneyland Hotel, this hotel has had a number of renovations over the years. It has three different pools with waterslides and has 5 dining restaurants to choose from, including character breakfasts and dinners. There are three towers uniquely themed as adventure, fantasy and frontier and the signature suites continue the Disney magic with a choice of pirate, princess or explorer themed rooms to wow any child.
Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel
With a distinct beach theme, rooms offer a retro seaside vibe, think Venice Beach. Hotel offers character dining to keep the kids happy and with a roof top pool with water slide and outdoor cinema, it’s the perfect place to watch a movie under the stars or better still view the nights fireworks show taking place in Main Street, Disneyland without all the crowds.
Hotels across the street and short walking distance to Disneyland California – under half a mile
The hotels listed below are directly across South Harbour Boulevard from Disneyland California and a very short walking distance to the main entrance. We passed many of these on our walk to the entrance gate, they would be only a couple of hundred metres walk.
Anaheim Camelot Inn & Suites – Moderate
An uniquely European-style property distinctly recognisable by the shingled roof, clock tower, turrets and window boxes, its proximity to the Disneyland entrance is one of it’s best features. Moderately priced this hotel has family rooms and suites containing microwaves, mini fridges and free in room wifi. The 4th floor terrace is home to the heated pool and is the perfect place to watch the Disneyland fireworks display each night.
Fairfield Inn by Marriott – Moderate
This hotel has 467 guest rooms and is located across from the Disneyland Resort, you are able to purchase Disneyland tickets from the hotel lobby which will save you standing in the ticketing queue. All rooms have mini refrigerators, in room tea/coffee makers, smart TV and free wifi. Hotel amenities include a heated outdoor pool, gift shop, marketplace featuring a Pizza Hut and guest laundry.
Best Western Plus Anaheim Inn – Moderate
This inn has 88 guest rooms all containing microwaves, refrigerators and tea and coffee makers. Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, gift shop, restaurant and guest laundry. Buffet breakfast is included in the room rate and hotel is less than one block from the gates of Disneyland. Family suites include two queen beds and one king bed in separate areas.
Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance – Moderate
Think the name gives the location away on this one, only a 5 min walk from the Disneyland main entrance! This hotel has 221 extra large guests rooms with twin bunk beds that can accommodate up to 6 guests. Surfside Waterpark has 30 foot waterslides, a 400 gallon drench bucket, swimming pool, kids pool and fantastic views of the Disneyland fireworks display each evening. Located close to various dining options and with a Starbucks onsite what more could you want, oh yeah free high speed wifi, got that too!
Howard Johnson Hotel – Moderate
This hotel features 318 guest rooms in a variety of styles and size, some rooms incorporate kids bunk beds or twin double beds. The hotel states that it is an 8 min walk to the Disneyland main entrance. All rooms have a private balcony, refrigerator, free wifi and tea/coffee makers. On site parking for one vehicle is included in the room rate. Castaway Cove, a private themed water park is very popular with the kids, there’s two other swimming pools as well, a gift shop, kids game room and guest laundry.
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Anaheim – Moderate
This hotel is only a 15 minute walk to Downtown Disney and the park entrance at the only place the Monorail stops outside the park, it’s a full service hotel with 255 guest rooms. Kids are invited to stay free of charge if sharing a room with their parents. Kids aged up to 11 years old are able to eat free of charge provided an adult meal is ordered at the onsite restaurant. The rooms have complimentary wifi, mini refrigerators, microwave and tea/coffee machines. Suites have a kitchenette and separate living area. This hotel recently created a kids Splash zone with spray cannons, ground jets and a helicopter mister. With two other swimming pools, gift shop, restaurant, lounge, fitness centre, kids games room and guest laundry.
Hotels between half mile and 1 mile from the Disneyland’s main entrance
These are still great hotels near Disneyland California but are a bit further away and wouldn’t be suitable for little kids unless you were taking a stroller. It took us about 20-30 mins to walk from our hotel and while the morning walk was great the evening walk was a bit slower with the kids dragging their feet a bit after spending all day walking around Disneyland. My kids at the time were 13, 10 & 8. After 3 days walking there and back we were pretty over it.
Anaheim Marriott Hotel – Superior
This is where we stayed! As stated is was a good 20-30 min walk and the kids managed it quite well. This full service hotel features 997 guest rooms and 33 suites. All rooms have refrigerator, coffee/tea machine and safe. Hotel amenities include outdoor swimming pool, restaurants including NFuse Restaurant, Slice Pizzeria and Starbucks and a fitness centre. High speed internet is available for a fee which is disappointing. The NFuse Restaurant offers free child’s meal with each adult meal purchased and I have to say the meal was delicious.
Hilton Anaheim – Superior
This hotel is located directly across from the Anaheim Marriott where we stayed, its also a decent 20-30 minute walk to/from the Disneyland main entrance. It’s also a full service hotel with 1571 guest rooms. Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool with kids splash zone and health club, five gift shops, four restaurants including the Hilton food court for ‘on the go’ snacks. The food court is open daily and has outlets such as Sbarro, Baja Fresh Express, Just Grillin, Submarina and another plus, a Starbucks.
Hyatt House Anaheim Resort – Superior
The newest superior hotel and one of the closest to Disneyland California’s entrance gate in this range. It has a variety of rooms and suites which include free breakfast and free on-site wifi. Family suites contain bunk beds and full kitchens for those looking for longer stays. One outdoor pool, one restaurant and views of the Disneyland fireworks each evening from the roof top.
Hyatt Place at Anaheim Resort – Superior
This hotel has 178 rooms and is stated as two blocks from the Disneyland entrance but probably a 30-40 minute walk. An all suite hotel, room configurations include two queen beds and a sofa bed or family suites which contain one king bed and french doors through to the kids bunk beds with a sofa sleeper which will accommodate 5-6 per suite. All rooms have TV’s in each section of the suite.
Homewood Suites Anaheim Resort – Superior
This hotel has 215 rooms and also stated as two blocks from Disneyland entrance, again about 30-40 minutes away. This hotel has both rooms and suites, spacious suites feature a living area, sleeping area and full kitchen. All rooms include a free buffet breakfast before hitting the Disneyland Parks and free wifi. Hotel amenities include a heated outdoor pool, fitness centre and guest laundry which is handy when the kids clothes get grubby.
Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel – Superior
A castle themed property with 489 guest rooms which are spacious and reportedly the largest hotel rooms in the area. This hotel provides a free Dream Machine shuttle bus to and from the Disneyland main entrance and you can purchase theme park tickets in the hotel lobby. Each room has a mini refrigerator, tea/coffee machine, cable TV channels and free high speed wifi. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool and kids games room.
Anaheim Residence Inn Maingate – Suite
This all suite hotel features 200 suites all with separate living areas containing fully equipped kitchens with microwaves, refrigerators and tea/coffee machines. Enjoy a free hot breakfast buffet to start your day the right way before a fun filled day at the Disneyland theme parks and upload all you best snap shots from your room with free high speed wifi. This hotel comes with complimentary hotel parking and for a small fee there is a shuttle bus to get you to the Disney action.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Anaheim – Suite
This all suite hotel featuring 375 suites all with separate living rooms containing two televisions, microwave, refrigerators and tea/coffee makers. This hotel offers complimentary cooked to order breakfast and complimentry afternoon cocktails and light snacks at the Evening Reception. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool and fitness centre. For a nominal fee you can get a shuttle bus running every 30mins from in front of the hotel.
What’s the verdict?
Any of these hotels are suitable as with all the hotels near Disneyland California because they are designed to be for families. All of them will be good but you will make your decision based on your personal circumstances and budget.
If you are driving the hotels that offer free parking will be attractive to you, our hotel charged $25USD per day to park so we returned the hire car and picked it up again when heading off. If you have 5-6 people to accommodate you’ll be wanting a suite. Depending how long you’re staying you might like to have a guest laundry especially if you are on a long trip like us.
There are so many factors to consider when looking at which hotel will suit your needs. In hindsight I definitely would have chosen a different hotel. For me, breakfast included and bunk beds would have been more appropriate. Water parks and pools were not important as we were there during December. A kitchenette would have been good for us as well. Hindsights a wonderful thing.
Where did you stay or are you currently planning a trip to Disneyland California? Do you have a favourite of all the hotels near Disneyland California? Let me know if this post has been helpful or if you think I have missed a great hotel that deserves to be on here. I would love to hear. Make sure you start researching early and look out for great Disneyland hotel deals, you might be lucky enough to get a bargain.
Sal, Craig & our3kids