We’ve said it before, so we will say it again. If you are traveling to Disneyland, the number one thing that will make or break your budget is where you decide to stay. Staying off property at Disneyland will save you more money than bringing your own food, and not buying the MaxPass or Park Hopper combined. That said, there is magic to be had everywhere…but of course, it varies. How do you know which off-property hotel to stay at? Should you just stay on property at Disneyland even if it means cashing in your retirement plan? Here’s our take on Disneyland Area Hotels. Should You Stay at a Disneyland Hotel? Or Get a Hotel Off-Site instead?
Staying On Property at Disneyland
Disneyland Hotels On Property
So let’s start with the basics. If you plan to stay on Disneyland Property, you can choose from 3 hotels.
Paradise Pier is going to be your least expensive option, while the Grand Californian will make you want to cry when you check out room rates. It’s the fanciest and also has an entrance into the back of California Adventure. The Disneyland Hotel is slated as the most “magical” and by that I mean, it’s the most Disney hotel you’ll find there. Its price point is usually somewhere between the other two. We recommend checking a third-party site like hotels.com to find the best deal.
Staying Off Property at Disneyland
Ok now if you staying off property, the Disneyland Area Hotels give you A LOT to choose from. While we’ve stayed at a few below, we really love this post that breaks down most of the hotels in the Disneyland area, and found it extremely helpful when planning our own Disneyland trip. Here are the ones that earned our business after tons of research and that we’ve stayed at so far. Be sure to check out our full reviews.
- Hotel Indigo, Anaheim
- Anaheim Hotel
- Tropicana Inn and Suites
- Grand Legacy at The Park, Anaheim
- Desert Palms Hotel
Pros and Cons
The first thing you need to realize about staying on-property vs. off-property at Disneyland is that it has nothing to do with how close you are to the Parks. There are actually some off-property hotels at Disneyland that are closer to Disneyland than Disney hotels. And while this isn’t a foolproof method of determining how close you’ll be to Disneyland or how walkable the area is, we found that pretty much any hotel within .8 miles of the Disneyland entrance was pretty doable in terms of walking distance. If the hotel you’re staying at doesn’t offer a shuttle, you can always choose to ride the ART to get home if you’re just too tired to walk after spending all day playing at the Parks.
Perks of staying on property at Disneyland
Aside from the theming and customer service that we’ve come to expect from Disney, the biggest difference you will find is that guests staying at Disneyland hotels will get Extra Magic Hour, which is only available to guests of Disneyland hotels. You can find our breakdown of Extra Magic Hour and Magic Mornings here, so you can understand the difference and why you may or may not care if you get access to Extra Magic Hour.
Other than that, you don’t really get anything else for staying on property at Disneyland. I’m sure there will be people who read this that disagree or say that the value of a Disneyland hotel is worth emptying out your 401k for, but we can’t honestly say that the perks justify the cost. Basically, you are just paying for the name.
While we don’t generally feel this way about staying on property at Walt Disney World, Disneyland doesn’t have the options and perks that Walt Disney World does when it comes to resorts. Since we didn’t really have a lot of time to spend at our hotel during our stay, staying off-property was a great way for us to keep costs down. You can find Disneyland’s list of good neighbor hotels here and you can sometimes find a great deal on both on and off-property hotels at Disneyland as well as tickets at Get Away Today. Have you stayed on or off property at Disneyland? We’d love to hear about your experiences with it!
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .