Until last week, my family and I had never stayed on-site at the Disneyland Resort, despite numerous trips to the theme parks. After last week’s stay, I may never visit Disney any other way. Our night at the newly improved Disneyland Hotel granted both tangible and intangible perks I don’t think I could do without!
We arrived at the hotel in the morning before park opening, and the front desk Cast Members had us registered and back out the door in time for California Adventure’s ‘rope drop’. I loved that they were able to store our bags and issue us key cards with an assigned tower (of three: Adventure, Frontier, and Fantasy) so we could skip the registration line later and use the pools at our leisure. We were told we’d receive a text with our precise room number once it was available after 3 pm, and we hit the park!
The walk to California Adventure and Disneyland from the Disneyland Hotel is a short hike through Downtown Disney, but if you’re headed to the latter and already have park passes, the fastest and easiest way (unless you don’t want to break down a stroller) is through the Monorail station located right next to the nearby Rainforest Café, which will take you directly into Tomorrowland.
We stayed in the parks until 2 pm, when we opted to return to the hotel to make use of one of the best perks of staying on-site: an afternoon pool break. The kids loved the ‘D Ticket’ pool and ‘Monorail’ water slides (though they missed having a larger swim area…can’t wait for the construction to finally be complete!). By 4 pm, we were ready to change for dinner and a return to the parks, but hadn’t yet received our text. Upon further investigation, I realized our key card envelope included a phone number we could call to check on the status of our room; when I did so, I learned it was indeed ready! I don’t know what glitch prevented our text, but if you have the same problem, use the number to double-check!
Our room in the newly remodeled Frontier tower was surprisingly spacious, and I love that it accommodated our family of five: an extra day bed is built in for a child. The kids couldn’t get enough of the light-up, twinkling headboards, and I loved the view of the pool area with its retro Disneyland signage. We even got a glimpse of the Disneyland fireworks later that night!
Staying on-site at the Disneyland Resort truly does keep families immersed in the ‘magic’ of the theme parks, from the small touches in the rooms to the character sightings in the hotel (Toby ran right into Goofy in the lobby—literally!). Taking advantage of the close proximity to the parks and the extra magic hour opportunities shaves time off busy vacation schedules, and we were surprised to learn that from now until September 5th, guests at the Disneyland Hotel receive two extra FastPasses per guest per night! Our kids called these ‘magic’ FastPasses, as they’re good for any ride, at any time!
Note: Though it lights up invitingly, the Monorail slides close earlier than the rest of the pool complex (at dusk, for safety reasons); let your kids know!
Date last visited: August 3, 2011
Room rates: Rates are more affordable than you might think! Check the reservations page for current prices; on the night we stayed (in peak season), it was under $200.
Dining options: The hotel houses several restaurants, including the Goofy’s Kitchen character meal (which we enjoyed), Tangaroa Terrace, Steakhouse 55, and the very fun Tiki Room-themed Trader Sam’s, located poolside and offering drinks and appetizers. Spend some time inside soaking up the ambiance and observing what happens when guests order certain drinks! (Children welcome.)
Directions: The Disneyland Hotel is located at 1150 Magic Way. From I-5, exit Disneyland Drive and follow signage to Downtown Disney.
As I disclose whenever applicable, we stayed at the Disneyland Hotel free of charge as part of a two-day Disney bloggers event. Though we’re grateful for Disney’s hospitality, this compensation came with no expectation of a positive review.