Disneyland Hotels worth the price?

BrokeMack

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 16, 2013
My opinion is if GCH is in your budget then do it. We've done one stay at DLH and one at GCH and I think the GCH is worth it if it is in your budget. Granted I get the military discount its usually like 40% off, so my opinion is heavily skewed. DLH on the other hand didn't offer enough value for the price. I'd rather spend more for GCH or spend less and stay at the Courtyard or Fairfield or something similar.
 

StarWarsNerd24

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Everything is relative when it comes to Disneyland accommodations. We only stay at onsite Disney properties when we go to WDW for many reasons, one of which is that WDW resorts are a big part of the experience (almost like an extension of the parks). For our Disneyland trips we have stayed 2x onsite and 2x on harbor. The difference is subtle but there for Disneyland accommodations, the Disneyland properties are extremely nice but in the end the are extremely nice places to sleep for 8 hours, they really don't off the same wow experience factor like WDW.

DO we love the GCH and PP, heck ya, and if we get killer deals we would stay onsite again in a heart beat but really the harbor side motels/hotels do the trick just fine, and the money saved can be used on a great meal or building 3 lightsabers lol.

If the money would be of no concern I would say do one of the onsite but as your post suggests if you are hesitant about spending the money then you can not go wrong staying off site. Tonnes of options await.

Now if admission to the parks is tied to staying on site then that's a whole new ball game but only time will tell on that front.
 

goooof1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 23, 2013

This thread has lots of really good information to help you decide.
We have stayed many times on Harbor Blvd. (close walking distance) and that has been fine ....... especially if spending all your time in the parks. Now, we LOVE staying on site ...... (GCH for proximity !) Our "touring" is different now..... we like to relax at the pools, in the lobby, etc. soaking up the Disney atmosphere along with spending time in the parks.
 
  • SeaDis

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 15, 2012
    Same answer here as many: It depends.
    If you use Extra Magic Hours almost every day, take midday breaks, use the pools, and enjoy some magic touches... you may see more "value" versus all-day park goers who want a bed and a shower, and/or who like to focus the budget elsewhere.

    Random thoughts:
    1) Sun-Thurs night stays are usually lower rates, and many room specials in recent years have been limited to these nights.
    2) Plan on booking room-only (not package). If the room rate drops or new special announced, you can more easily cancel and re-book (or call and have them re-book lower rate)
    3) You can hedge your bet and do a split-stay to save a few hundred. I would end at the GCH to have that to look forward to. And you may want to take longer day breaks later in the trip to enjoy the hotel. The morning of change, take an Uber around the park to GCH (or get security escort to walk through Esplanade without searching bags), leave your bags with Bell Services and check into room. If you do it early enough, you can use Extra Magic Hour that morning. And you can use the pools if your room is not ready early afternoon. When room is ready, they will text you room number and your keys are activated. Swing by Bell Services to give then room number and they will be up, usually around 15- 20 minutes unless a busy check-in period.

    Example: Arrive Friday, use Magic Morning (if available on your tickets) Saturday at Disneyland (only). Sunday or Monday move to GCH and use Extra Magic Hour at DCA one or both days. Then you have EMH at DL Tuesday, and DCA again Wednesday, if you want. It gets harder as the trip goes on.

    Good luck & happy planning
     

    Sun_soakin

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 7, 2016
    We enjoy all 3 Disney hotels, and rotate through them depending on a variety of factors including promos and availability. We also stay off site sometimes, more in the winter when we won’t be using the pools. It’s all good. We most often stay at GCH and I just try to ignore the price. It’s so nice to go back and forth, hang by the pool (something we never do off-site). I’ll usually bring food with us when we stay this close, so that actually saves us money and provides more healthy options. As someone else mentioned, the security lines can be much longer on Harbor.
     

    Sun_soakin

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 7, 2016
    Same answer here as many: It depends.
    If you use Extra Magic Hours almost every day, take midday breaks, use the pools, and enjoy some magic touches... you may see more "value" versus all-day park goers who want a bed and a shower, and/or who like to focus the budget elsewhere.

    Random thoughts:
    1) Sun-Thurs night stays are usually lower rates, and many room specials in recent years have been limited to these nights.
    2) Plan on booking room-only (not package). If the room rate drops or new special announced, you can more easily cancel and re-book (or call and have them re-book lower rate)
    3) You can hedge your bet and do a split-stay to save a few hundred. I would end at the GCH to have that to look forward to. And you may want to take longer day breaks later in the trip to enjoy the hotel. The morning of change, take an Uber around the park to GCH (or get security escort to walk through Esplanade without searching bags), leave your bags with Bell Services and check into room. If you do it early enough, you can use Extra Magic Hour that morning. And you can use the pools if your room is not ready early afternoon. When room is ready, they will text you room number and your keys are activated. Swing by Bell Services to give then room number and they will be up, usually around 15- 20 minutes unless a busy check-in period.

    Example: Arrive Friday, use Magic Morning (if available on your tickets) Saturday at Disneyland (only). Sunday or Monday move to GCH and use Extra Magic Hour at DCA one or both days. Then you have EMH at DL Tuesday, and DCA again Wednesday, if you want. It gets harder as the trip goes on.

    Good luck & happy planning
    This is solid advice. We sometimes do a split stay too. Usually this happens when I decide we should leave a day earlier and drive down late at night. We’ll stay somewhere close (doesn’t need to be walking distance), eat the free breakfast, drive to GCH, drop bags w/ bellman and scoot in for early hour
     

    avalon451

    Errrr... what?
    Joined
    Mar 1, 2008
    We've done GCH and DLH, and we've also done Harbor hotels (Desert Inn and HoJo). Were the onsite hotels lovely and convenient? Yes. Were they ridiculously overpriced? Yes. We splurged on our very first trip (GCH) and on our last trip for my birthday, last September, DLH. What struck me is how far the walk is to the onsite hotels. It's really just as far as the crosswalk hotels on Harbor (esp. DLH), but at 3-4x the price.

    I'm glad we had the onsite experience, and the EE perk is great. But I'm going to stick with Harbor from here on out. I will still enjoy meals at the onsite hotels.
     


  • mentos

    Minty fresh happy haunts
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2017
    We've done GCH and DLH, and we've also done Harbor hotels (Desert Inn and HoJo). Were the onsite hotels lovely and convenient? Yes. Were they ridiculously overpriced? Yes. We splurged on our very first trip (GCH) and on our last trip for my birthday, last September, DLH. What struck me is how far the walk is to the onsite hotels. It's really just as far as the crosswalk hotels on Harbor (esp. DLH), but at 3-4x the price.

    I'm glad we had the onsite experience, and the EE perk is great. But I'm going to stick with Harbor from here on out. I will still enjoy meals at the onsite hotels.
    Distance is similar (especially PPH and DLH), but what gets me about Harbor is the number of active driveways one has to navigate, especially coming from HoJo (including one active McDonald’s drive-through) on the east side of the street.

    If you cross and walk on the west side, the sidewalk isn’t particularly wide, either. Given the speeds of cars on Harbor, I just don’t feel good being on that strip of concrete.

    To be fair, I’m cautious and we have never had issues with traffic, the 3-4 homeless folks camped out at the bus shelter, or homeless at the former hotel property turned Disney-owned parking lot.

    That just gets factored into my risk-benefit analysis (and why Tropicana Inn is best balance IMO).

    I also can’t emphasize enough how long the Harbor entrance security line gets in the morning (pre-COVID) vs the DtD/DCA entrances.

    I’m still a fan of staying on-site once/a few times depending on your travel habits. It’s like upgrading to F on a flight...I don’t do it all the time, and the cost tends to be high, but I do it when it counts (when I have to get work done, when I have to be rested and ready to go when I land, or when I can use miles to upgrade/theres a killer cash deal at check-in).
     

    disneycat321

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 13, 2013
    I also can’t emphasize enough how long the Harbor entrance security line gets in the morning (pre-COVID) vs the DtD/DCA entrances.
    I know that used to be true, but we had zero issues with the Harbor entrance when we stayed at BWPPI in October. They have opened more bag check lanes recently-ish, I think. We went through at 7:15-7:30 for an 8:00 opening both days (an October weekend, also Gay Days, so it was crowded) and didn't wait at all. Just walked right in.
     

    mentos

    Minty fresh happy haunts
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2017
    I know that used to be true, but we had zero issues with the Harbor entrance when we stayed at BWPPI in October. They have opened more bag check lanes recently-ish, I think. We went through at 7:15-7:30 for an 8:00 opening both days (an October weekend, also Gay Days, so it was crowded) and didn't wait at all. Just walked right in.
    it was waves of people for us, so about half the time it wasn’t bad, the other half took too long.

    Man, it’s going to be a weird year with crowd control. All of our advice just isn’t going to be valid for the next year or two.
     

    disneycat321

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 13, 2013
    it was waves of people for us, so about half the time it wasn’t bad, the other half took too long.

    Man, it’s going to be a weird year with crowd control. All of our advice just isn’t going to be valid for the next year or two.
    That is super true! Who knows! Just a big question mark over everything!
     
  • McNs

    NZ
    Joined
    Aug 8, 2014
    If you use Extra Magic Hours almost every day, take midday breaks, use the pools, and enjoy some magic touches... you may see more "value" versus all-day park goers who want a bed and a shower, and/or who like to focus the budget elsewhere.
    This is how we tour when visiting DLR. Coming from New Zealand we like to have both the parks experience and the hotel/resort experience, so happily pay the (still painful) premium for on site, as we feel we get the value from it. We have also visited WDW and stayed at POR and Beach Club - GCH is still our favourite in terms of the overall experience. We've stayed at GCH twice (as well as DLH and PPH) and there is something extra special checking in to GCH that I haven't felt at any other Disney hotel. It may be just a sub conscious justification for the price, but still felt really special. And to have a room ~150 steps from a theme park entrance is just amazing.

    If you think you might use the hotel amenities, and spending that much on a hotel isn't going to cause financial issues for the rest of your vacation, it really is worth considering. If you are touring commando style and just sleeping at the hotel, then stick to Harbor.
     

    shaynakeegan

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 27, 2020
    The benefit to staying at one of the Disneyland hotels is that you get the seamless experience, access to magic morning/early morning (Disneyland opens an hour early for hotel guests and those w/ 3+ day tickets while California Adventure opens up an hour early for only hotel guests). We find this important because it usually gives us a jump start on fast passes and getting a secured spot to get a boarding group for ROTR.

    We have stayed at all three resorts on site at Disneyland California. The Paradise Pier is definitely a lower tier hotel compared to the other two. I would equate this to the Value resorts in WDW, although some may disagree and put it just one step above. Both times we have stayed there, we were underwhelmed by the ambiance and service. I would much rather take the money and stay across the street if the magic morning/early morning wasn't important.

    We stayed at the Grand Californian with my father-in-law two years ago in March. A few things make this resort nice; a) you get to skip the walk through downtown Disney b) there is a gate to enter into California Adventure c) the ambiance of the resort is magnificent. What I don't like about this resort is that the rooms are subpar when I compare to the Disneyland Hotel. Some of the rooms do have a balcony which can be very pleasant. The pool is meh, our son prefers the pool at the Disneyland Hotel. Some of the rooms can be a bit of a walk, which after a day at the park can be exhausting. The line to get into California Adventure in the mornings on Early Magic Morning can be quite long. We found that going and waiting at the main gate we wasted less time. One other thing, we did find that Grand Californian was especially nice after we got soaked on River Rapids and needed to change. it was

    We stay at the Disneyland hotel 4-5 times a year and we love it. I've only had ONE bad experience there and I am understanding because that was the weekend that the ROTR opened. The rooms are comfortable, well sized and there isn't a very long walk to get to your room. I suggest you ask for the Fantasy land Tower if you are not paying for a view (pool or park) as it is where the lobby is located and you can see the fireworks at night.
     

    mentos

    Minty fresh happy haunts
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2017
    And to have a room ~150 steps from a theme park entrance is just amazing.
    I didn't count, but I think the GCH is about the same-ish distance from the park entrance as the Hotel MiraCosta is from Tokyo DisneySea. Like GCH, the MiraCosta forms the border of the northeast edge of the park.

    Those rooms are $600-700/night depending on season and currency exchange rates.
     

    mentos

    Minty fresh happy haunts
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2017
    One other thing, we did find that Grand Californian was especially nice after we got soaked on River Rapids and needed to change.
    Expanding on this... it's an absolute pleasure to just roll out of your hotel room with no items other than your wallet and be able to stay on that side of DCA knowing your room is a quick 5-10min walk away if you need something.

    On checkout days, this is a huge time saver because you can leave all of your items with the bell hop (or even in your room) and it's much easier to do things vs. having to hike from DLH, PPH, or Harbor hotels... that can easily eat up 30+ minutes, which is an extra ride or two if you've got MP.

    If you've got a flight to catch later, every minute counts!
     

    beachdreamr1229

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 12, 2013
    It's only worth it if you won't have to cut back on other things to make it happen. If you're looking for convenience, there are several off-site hotels that are a closer walking distance. But, they don't give you the full Disney bubble experience. So if the bubble is important to you, it's worth it. Otherwise, I recommend HOJO if you have smaller kids and the Courtyard next door to HOJO for older kids. Both have great water play areas. Honestly, any of the motels on Harbor north of Katella are decent, but the quality differs at each.
     

    Malcon10t

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2006
    The only real perks are early morning hours every day and being able to send packages back to your room.

    We enjoy staying onsite. But offsite is fine too. We like the Hilton, Candy Cane Inn, or Residence Inn when off site.
     

    emerald3582

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2011
    GCH is an amazing hotel. I was able to stay there once for 4 days because of a deep discount for my daughter's dance group. All of my other trips I've stayed on the Harbor side. If you're coming in from the east coast, I'm assuming you'll be staying for approx. a week. Why not do both? Spend the first half of your stay on the Harbor side and the last few days of your trip at GCH for as many days as you can afford to splurge. IMO, the cheapest and most convenient place to stay is Anaheim Desert Inn. I've stayed there 3 times and it's just 2 hotels down from BWPPI (which is twice as expensive as Desert Inn). It's always been clean, relatively quiet and serves its purpose for a place to basically sleep. It has a small, cold, continental breakfast which sustains us until lunch. You can use the money you save to stay at GCH for a few nights.
     

    AndrewC

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 6, 2019
    As a solo adult (or traveling with a friend), I just love the Disneyland Hotel. The old pictures and classic style are just things I love. I love Trader Sams (even though it’s usually hard to get into the three or four times I’ve stayed at DLH). I like the layout of the property and the tropical feel. I enjoy the music which doesn’t seem to be loud enough to drive you insane but also is noticeably all around you. I love how safe the grounds feel. Returning at 12:30 or 1am sometimes I’ll take a couple slow laps around the property to just soak in the stillness of the place and think about how my day was. There’s no traffic sounds near me or harsh lights of surrounding businesses, just Disney. I like that there is always activities going on at all hours. You’ll always see someone cleaning the floor in the lobby at midnight or something so it never feels like you could have anyone there that shouldn’t be on the grounds, etc. Check in is always fairly quick, less than 10 minutes for me, and they are genuinely happy and polite, not corporate tells us to ask about your day “friendly”. Finally I love the proximity to the parks. The Grand is closer, but I actually like walking through DTD and even on my longest days (10+ hours in the park) the walk doesn’t bug me. I also will often return to my room once or twice a day (swap out a battery or change clothes from being sweaty during the day to something a little nicer as the night cools off [October] and for a nice dinner at Napa Rose or Blue Bayou, etc) and love that I never leave the bubble. I don’t cross streets, I don’t see homeless, I don’t think about “leaving the park” or “returning to the park”, just “I’m going to go grab something before dinner real fast” etc.

    I might try the Grand if a discount code gets it down to $450 or so for a night, but DLH will be my pick. PP seemed a little too family/kid focused and the lobby made me feel like it was a compact smaller hotel, even though there’s a lot of rooms.

    I do hate the price a little, I wish discounts could routinely get it down to $350 or so but I think about $400 to $425 after fees and tax is about the best I’ve seen in the last few years. $1,600+ is a lot for four nights...
     

    cruisehopeful

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2015
    If you can afford the Grand and that's where your husband wants to stay - by all mean stay there. It doesn't sound like you will be a frequent Disneyland visitor.

    *Staying on site allows you to enter one of the parks an hour before park opening every day. That is a HUGE benefit, especially for DCA where you can get all most of the headliner rides done easily in the first 2 hours of the day.
    *If you get soaked on Grizzly Rapids - super easy to go back to the room to change your clothes.
    *Craftsman Bar and Grill has some of the best food in the entire property and it's at the Grand. Of course, you could go eat there without staying on property.
    *Have packages sent back to your hotel.
    *Nice area by the pool if you decide to rent a cabana for half a day.
    *If you go to a Halloween party or a WOC dessert party and you are very tired afterward, you are practically at your hotel room when you leave the park.

    Benefits to staying offsite:
    *You save lots of $ and it's fine if you are only going to sleep and shower there.

    I still want to emphasize that if your husband wants to stay at the Grand and you are not planning another visit soon, staying at the Grand is a great choice.

    If you are going the first week in October, you could join GayDays and use their convention rate. You do need to join GayDaysAnaheim and participate in at least one of their scheduled events. It's one of the most crowded times to visit the parks, though. I love to go just for the rainbow stuff in the parks, but can hardly ever get myself to attend because of the crowd level.
     





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