On-property hotel perks?

We’ve been to WDW many times and I’m starting to plan our first trip to DLR. At WDW we like to stay on-property. For DLR I’m considering staying off-property within walking distance. Are they any perks for staying on-property?

It depends on where you stay. If you stay at the GC you have a direct entrance, from the hotel, into CA. I think that’s pretty cool!

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Like @ppehap stated, GCH has a private entrance which is amazing! I have stayed a few times and two of those occasions was under 50 steps from the private entrance. The caveat is that GCH is $$$$.

As for other perks, I cannot attest to what they are currently offering, but I have frequently stayed at all three hotels numerous times prior to the pandemic. Some offerings were 1 hour (Extra Magic Hour -EMH) in the parks prior to regular opening. The schedule was Disneyland: Tues, Thurs, & Sat and DCA: Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sun. This perk has been suspended until further notice.

On occasion we would get an anytime fp with our reservation at a DLR hotel and or dining GC. We also go a $100 GC for watching a DVC presentation. You could charge meals and purchases to your room and send your purchases to your room. Like the EMH, these perks are suspended until further notice as well. If you are on a budget, I would recommend an offsite hotel right now. Without the perks, I personally don’t think it is worth it. Even with the perks, many do not think it is worth it.

The one perk that is still there, is the Disney bubble. Many who visit WDW and DLR say that they don’t feel DLR has a “bubble,” however I disagree. I feel the bubble more so in DL than I did in WDW. On Harbor (the street directly across from DL) there are many homeless and as a result I have witnessed some interesting situations that have certainly jerked me out of vacation mode. Nothing that has made me concerned for my safety, but things I would rather have not seen during vacation.

I personally plan on waiting until the rest of the perks return to resume staying on property, but it depends on your budget and how you like to vacation.

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All of this and if you do a package you can pay the $200 deposit and make your park reservations now without putting down the full investment on tickets just in case as these times of covid have taught us and you can make changes to your tickets. Apparently right now you cannot make changes otherwise like adding a day.

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Excellent point!

I wonder if you book a good neighbor hotel with them, do you get the same latitude? I also wonder if you booked a package deal through a place like get away today if it offers a similar level of security?

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I bet so with the good neighbor hotel since it’s still thru Disney.

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Right now I have noticed that the prices for the off-property hotels have gone up quite a bit and there is a promotion for DLH which makes on-property more attractive. We have stayed at both the Marriott & BW, which are easy walking distance.

For us, even though all of the perks of staying on-site have not returned, staying the bubble will be worth it for the family. For us, staying even a little bit closer means we can more easily hop back and forth between the hotel and the parks. Because our family tends to want to go their own direction sometimes and meet up for meals, this makes it all very easy. We prefer the restaurants at the resort compared to what is immediately surrounding the park. I don’t want to drive once we get to the resort, so all of these things are taken into consideration for us.

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Thanks for the thoughtful replies. I’m still waffling. I like to go back to the room in the afternoon for a rest, but I’m good with walking 15 mins or so. Heck, at WDW it was longer than that from the bus stop / boat to our room at the resort. I hadn’t looked at available restaurants yet. That’s a good tip for me to consider.

I have always booked the hotel (resort or good neighbor hotel) separately from the tickets. The cancellation options are much more lenient if you do them separately. And this has always been the case, even pre-pandemic. When you purchase them together, they consider it a vacation package opposed to a room reservation and they are treated differently. A room reservation can be cancelled much closer to the actual date of arrival. And for good neighbor I booked directly because I usually stayed where I already had a frequent stay account.

Now the tickets are another story. We used to have annual passes and when we didn’t I purchased tix much closer to our arrival date. This was the first time I purchased them far in advance, but still separately from the hotel reservations.

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Agree with everyone’s input above and if things eventually return to how they were, @Ms.BarbsWildRide’s recap of the benefits is spot-on (and for a special occasion more rare and/or once-in-a-lifetime trip, definitely worth it!)

And very good point by @jennyturin that it adds a lot of flexibility to make changes to amount of days and such getting a package through Disney. With Getaway today, I’m willing to put down a large betting sum that if you pay their $70 fee to be able to have the option to change anything, you’d absolutely be able to change things up.

We have stayed at Disneyland Hotel (DLH) and Paradise Pier (PPH) once each for special occasion/splurge trips, but never have gotten over the price tag it is for Grand Californian (GCH) to book a stay there (but one day we will do it, it’s definitely on our bucket list!).

With how often we choose to go to Disneyland, we favor offsite for the fact that it gives us the ability to stay for 3-4 nights offsite for every one night offsite. But I am a huge advocate to look at onsite for a first/seldom trip. It sounds like you’re already weighing the factors, but one of the biggest ones for me to consider is how often do I expect to be in your room/at the hotel (because we are only in the room for sleeping it matters little to us as long as it’s clean & safe). Coming from WDW, I would also consider how much does the bubble feel contribute to your Disney trip because Harbor right at the Disneyland pedestrian entrance does have some real-life scenes- anything that I’ve seen has been merely uncomfortable never dangerous, and if you’re out and about within 1-2 hours of park opening & closing most everyone else there is a tourist too heading to the same destination and at most you’ll hear a vocal one or asking for cash - addressed to the general crowd usually and on really busy nights see a few street vendors in there as well peddling candy bars, ice cold waters & light-up toys). None of this has ever put us off staying on Harbor, but if it will jar your Disney experience, maybe it’s worth staying in the bubble. And one last thing I would throw in is will the savings between being on-site or off will mean you can do more in park experiences/dining?

My go-to recommendation is DLH, especially if you are at all sentimental to the history of Walt Disney and his creation of Disneyland (which led to WDW). It captures the essence of that SO well! In comparing it to WDW, it’s not quite a deluxe at deluxe prices so if you’re used to staying deluxe at WDW and not necessarily attached to the history, then it may not be the best choice. But I love the history (and most Disney park fans do! so it can be worth it if you love that). However, be assured that most of what contributes to that charm is actually available in the lobbies/public areas of the hotel so if you stay elsewhere, it’s totally possible to get that flavor walking the grounds on a Downtown Disney/resort day. The one favorite thing of my mine that you do get by choosing to stay here is the in-room touches, mainly the fireworks headboards- for those alone (and if I had a budget for it) I would almost always pick to stay at DLH.

If you can swing the GCH price and enjoy deluxe accommodations then GCH is a fantastic choice. I would wait until they have all of the perks back though (which they gearing towards, but not quite there yet). This is another one that if you can’t stay (and once things are back to normal) you can enjoy the lobby/public areas and eat at some of the places that give you a great flavor of the atmosphere.

Then there’s PPH which I have seen compared to a moderate at WDW, but I feel like it’s maybe even on the lower end of that with the limited amenities/grounds that it has. The rooms themselves are very well done and match the Pixar Pier theme and you’ll feel the theme in the room, but the hotel itself is very bare bones for a Disney hotel and lacks both a cohesive theme and any grounds at all (it’s surrounded by parking lots with it’s pool being rooftop plaza on the 3rd floor, I think) and there’s nothing about its public areas or eateries (like the other 2 hotels) to come check out as a must do on a seldom trip. When we did our one stay here, we splurged for a theme park facing room (was on par with- maybe just slightly more than- the price of standard rooms at the Disneyland Hotel for the trip we did it) and we felt it was worth it. However, if you’re not in the room a whole bunch that upgrade to park view isn’t necessarily a must-do. And if you’re really certain that being outside the Disney bubble will matter for your trip and just need to do the cheapest option, a basic room here will do the trick and give you basic access to the onsite benefits (Extra Magic Hour mostly). And the while it is the furthest of the three, the walk is all through the Disney bubble AND on the way back to the hotel it’s possible (if they are allowing non GCH guests into the lobby) to use the GCH as a short-cut back to the PPH.

Best of luck in your choice & can’t wait to hear what you decide!!! And if you decide to look at off-site, I can write another three novels about that too LOL!

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From what I read you can come back thru GCH but not that way in then AM but this is precovid. Ive never but am about to stay at PPH so I can report in Oct. but I know back in the day it was actually closer than DLH because of that cut thru when they allowed you to do it. I adore GCH but it is outrageously priced. I’ve only ever stayed with a sale and even then it was very expensive. For example I’m staying in a gorgeous 4 star boutique hotel for $181 tonight with robes and a minibar and a gourmet restaurant. GCH is $500/night on sale.

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Yes this is what I meant when I was talking about how to use the GCH as a shortcut, but yes, it’s definitely up in the air if that will be the same once all is said and done.

I totally hear you about not booking unless it’s a deal. I have only booked the two on-site we’ve done on deals too. I think we got the DLH down to $270/night (Jan off season while the pool was closed for refurb and stacking a seasonal discount on top of an Orbitz discount) and when we did PPH it was maybe $300 (for theme park facing and we got some FPs for it bc we booked an AP deal that came with those). I’ve never scored anything even close to those deals with GCH and it seems there are less and less deals to be had. One of the main reasons we’ve never stayed. But one day!!!

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I will make you jealous when I say right after the housing crash I got GCH for $300something a night. But never since.

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So jealous!! But also so amazing that you were able to do that!

DH & I were just graduating college during the housing crash and we didn’t realize that we both still loved Disney travel as much as we do so any travel plans were more the speed of: Let’s go to NYC, see a Broadway show and the Met, or with a quick weekend, let’s drive to Vegas hit up some tables and the Rio buffet, catch a Cirque show if we have time. And when we did head to Cali it was almost always to San Francisco. So someone had to take up those awesome GCH rates while I was getting my young & kid-free travel done!

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I was able to get GCH for $365 a night in 2015 with an AP discount. It was the Sunday-Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Never got a deal anywhere close to that since.

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We were close to that rate w/ a 40% mil discount Dec 2019. I don’t’ remember exactly but it was a sweeeeet deal.

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I started having babies right out of college at 24 so I didn’t really get those kinds of trips outside of college spring breaks. I’m starting to see that light though now with two in high school this year. But I’m getting old so it’ll be river cruises. ;-).

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For price comparison, when we went to WDW in February 2020 we stayed at the Beach Club. I don’t know how much the hotel was per night. I booked through a travel agent and had a room & ticket package. It was just under US$4700 for 7 nights hotel and 8 days of park hopper tickets (without the water parks). So, would that put GCH in the same price range? From the pictures, it looks gorgeous and is certainly convenient. I’m looking at if I can justify the cost. I do pop back to the room at least once for a nap and we usually go back to the room before dinner (in February that was mainly to get warmer clothes for the evening). But at Beach Club we had lots of areas within walking distance to go for food (Epcot, Boardwalk, Boardwalk Inn, Yacht Club, Beach Club, Swan & Dolphin, Hollywood Studios).

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Beach Club is very comparable to GCH on benefits of being close to the parks, restaurants, shopping, etc., except more so since both parks (and about the same number of rides as all of WDW) are within walking distance. The pool is not as epic, but it’s good. The rooms and lobby decor / theming are my favorite of any Disney resort.

If you pay rack rate, you will pay over $600 per night per room these days. But you can get seasonal discounts that are at or under $500/ night. Generally I believe that is more expensive than BC.