Welcome to the second blog in our series, "Disneyland Guide For Walt Disney World Lovers." For those of you who have only visited Walt Disney World, planning a visit to Disneyland may seem like a piece of cake. It isn't. While it seems like things should be the same on both coasts, they aren't, and planning a Disneyland vacation is a very different experience from planning a trip to Walt Disney World. Our guide is here to help! Today, we will chat about where to stay when you visit Disneyland.
Walt Disney World aficionados are probably thinking, "We simply must stay on-site!" At Walt Disney World, I agree 100%. Due to the size of the Walt Disney World Resort (47 square miles – as big as the city of San Francisco!) and the extra perks afforded to on-site guests (Magical Express, access to the dining plan, Extra Magic Hours), staying on-site at Walt Disney World just makes sense. When you consider that staying just 3 miles off-site can add more than two hours per day in transport (between driving, parking and riding the tram), staying on-site is the only logical choice. That’s Walt Disney World. At Disneyland, things are just a bit different.
The Disneyland Resort offers three on-site hotels: Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, The Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. Staying at one of these properties offers some great perks: Morning Magic Hour, exclusive park access through Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and, of course, an extra dose of Disney magic! However, the hotels at Disneyland can be pricey. The trick to know is that some of the Good Neighbor hotels are as close to the theme parks, or closer, at a more budget-friendly price.
Yup, you read that right. Unlike Walt Disney World which is cloistered away in its own little universe, the Disneyland Resort is plopped right in the middle of Anaheim. Surrounding the resort a tons of Disney Good Neighbor hotels, many of which are right across the street from Disneyland! You can actually be as close, or closer, to the theme parks than you are at some of the Disneyland resort hotels and you will find a wide variety of price points. There is really something to suit every budget.
Now, there is a trade-off. I have to admit that there is some magic lost when you have to walk through the crowded streets of Anaheim passing strip malls, hotels and restaurants to get to the Disney magic. Also, having that Morning Magic Hour can make it much easier to ride the most popular attractions (although there's an off-property trick to getting this benefit). Staying on property definitely gives you more Disney magic! However, when budget is an issue, staying off-property can make a lot of sense.
The trick is choosing the best Disney Good Neighbor hotel for your family. There are so many choices it's dizzying. Most of the surrounding hotels are Disney Good Neighbor hotels which means that they must meet certain quality and service standards. That said, quality and price can vary widely. It's important to be sure that you are getting the best hotel for your vacation budget. Give me a shout and I am happy to help!
See ya real soon!
Christine Hardenberger is the owner of Modern Travel Professionals and a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World and Disneyland. When you are ready to book your Disney experience, let our team of experts craft the perfect Disney vacation for you!