ISo glad you are coming back to see DLR a second time! That’s a great reason to come
Couple of things about the early entry deal:
- It can’t be used at DCA, only at DL on a day when DL has early entry hours (usually Tue, Thur, Sat but can vary around holidays/special events so double check the operating calendar).
- It’s not exclusive to good neighbor hotel packages but is for anyone who purchases 3 day or longer tickets in advance (from nearly everywhere, but double check it you go through a travel agent or one of the reputed agencies like Getaway Today or Ares Tickets). So just know you can do a room only reservation & tickets separately & get this perk. Disney’s prices for the Good Neighbor hotel packages are almost never the cheapest. We always book directly through the Good Neighbor Hotels & have always gotten the best rates this way.
That being said, would I do onsite? If it were only my 2nd time ever at DL and I would be unlikely to be back again to try onsite, probably yes, but it would really depend on the price. Summertime is not a cheap time to go, especially mid-June thru mid-August so that would be a big deciding factor. But my recommendation is that you need to try onsite at least once because it is a very worthwhile experience. The service, the bubble, the little touches around the hotel & the early morning access every day are all a part of it. Although, for Paradise Pier the reason we had such a magical time was because we could watch World of Color from the room in our pjs & had a view of the pier. From the ‘light’ Disney theming of the room & hotel overall, I don’t know that we would have felt the same way in the hote in a standardroom. So that’s another price factor you have to consider as well since a park view room would be an upgrade.
For the record we stay offsite for the vast majority of our trips (right now it’s at less than 5% of trips), but the reason we have gone as many times as we do is I can pay for 3-4 offsite nights for every 1 onsite night which means more days at Disneyland. And even the 2 times we have stayed onsite I have waited until some type of discount was available to us so we could feel better about paying (even still with a discount) double or more of what we pay to stay elsewhere. We also don’t say in our room or enjoy any hotel ammeneties very often, even staying onsite, since we like to maximize park time so that adds to our staying offsite factor. If you would take the time or have non-park days to enjoy onsite & Downtown Disney then you would have another reason to stay onsite. And finally the best reason I can think of to stay onsite at the Disneyland Hotel in particular is the firework headboards. I didnt think they would be that big of a deal but on our stay there I absolutely adored it & it was my favorite thing about the room. But I definitely appreciate the cost so know that if you aren’t going to be in the room much you won’t miss too much by booking offsite.