Personal Reviews of Disneyland Area Hotels


#1

Hi everyone,

There has been lots of discussions about hotels around DLR both here and on the chat, so I thought I would give quick review for the 5 I have stayed at in the last few years. They all advantages and disadvantages, but I invite everyone to add their own reviews!


#2

First trip to Disneyland: Candy Cane Inn

About 5 years ago, I traveled with my parents for our first trip to DLR. I bought my first Unofficial Guide and look at the hotels they recommended. Because we were three adults, I wanted to get a room that did not charge too much extra for the extra adult. I also wanted free parking, free breakfast, a free shuttle and not too far.

Well, in my budget (around $150 a night), only Candy Cane Inn had all of that:

Plus:
-Super close to DLR. On the same side as DLR and on the same block! No big street to cross.
-Parking was super convenient (close to our room) and free
-Free shuttle on the half hour
-Free breakfast
-Nice and cute swimming pool
-Owners were super nice and more flexible than big chains
-Room was clean
-Fireworks view

Minuses:
-Motel style,so could be loud
-Room is small, one sink, one bathroom
-Continental breakfast, so pastries, fruits, coffee, yogurt, nothing else
-Small swimming pool
-Not the cheapest

However, I think that once you had the fact it had no additional fee (free wifi too!) and it was so close, I think this would be a great hotel for adults only that want to only enjoy the parks and do RD to closing and that needed a place to sleep. If you need a place to go back and nap, this would work also.


#3

2nd trip: Hilton Resort at Anaheim conference center

It was our 2-year anniversary, so we wanted to have a nice dinner and picked Napa Rose. We also wanted to do the Halloween party on a Monday night. So we booked two nights (Sunday, Monday) to enjoy both dinner, sleep-in and then the Halloween party. I have Diamond status at Hilton, so I could actually get the room for free and I got ugraded. If you have status, it is actually a nice place to stay, because most people staying there do not have status!

Plus:
-Nice Hilton, walking distance from Disneyland, but it is a long walk. It is JUST across the street from the Toy Story Parking lot though, so when we did not want to walk, we just cross the street and grabbed a shuttle. We also took Uber (less than $10) to the Grand Californian for dinner.
-Great swimming pool, hot tub and wonderful water area for kids (and adults). Pirat themed splash pad.
-Food court with three restaurants and a couple of bars and sit-down restaurants
-Starbucks with priority lane for Diamong and Gold Hilton status (great for us! Lines were so long otherwise)
-Nice possibility for upgrades. We ended up getting a huge suite, they upgraded us to free romantic breakfast in our room, free coffee vouchers, ect

Minuses
-Fees, on top of fees, on top of more fees.
-Parking was so far I gave up and valet. It was $30 a night, at least.
-Very big resort, can be very crowded, especially if a conference is going on.
-Restaurants are very crowded.
-Kind of too far for a convenient walk back and forth.
-No Disney theming or no special theming AT ALL. It just looks like a big Hilton.

It was a great stay for us because we wanted a cheap romantic getaway during which we could go to Disneyland. My status and my miles made this trip really cheap. If I were staying with a big family not on points, I probably would not picked this hotel. But, kids did love that splash pad.


#4

I think I stayed at this hotel almost 30 years ago. I remember it being pretty upscale at the time. I presume it’s been kept up well.


#5

As far as full service Hilton goes, this one is a pretty good one! It is still very fancy and upscale.


#6

Hotel #3 : Grand Californian Hotel

Grand Californian hotel was a splurge for my birthday. I had always wanted to stay there, so my boyfriend semi-surprised me by booking a night there.
Staying onsite at the Grand Californian was great. Our room had a king size bed, a nice-sized balcony and decent space. I feel the decoration is really dark in the room; it it to go with the lodge theme, but it made it a little weird.
The hotel itself was fabulous. This was about one month before Christmas, so they had carolers in the foyer and the gigantic gingerbread house. We also had hot chocolate and cookies will listening to the carolers. I love Christmas, so that was a great way to celebrate my birthday. Roughly, we went to the parks, moved our car at 3pm to check-in, used the swimming pool, dressed-up, went to Napa Rose and ate and drank a lot, then went back to our room. The next day, we rode a few rides in DCA and then left for home.
Staying onsites also had some perks. We have AP and when we booked, we got: 2 anytime FPP, $20 off any TS meal and early entry. We ended up using the FPP on Soarin and $20 off at Napa Rose.
Plus:
-Amazing access to DCA. The security through the hotel was so quick! In the morning, you needed to show your hotel card to be allowed through that security.
-Early entry every morning: really adds up!
-Room was actually the same size or even bigger than Candy Cane Inn and Fairfield by Marriott.
-Loved the double sinks
-Food at Grand Californian is so good! Napa Rose is one my favorites restaurants, but the bar (where you don’t need reservations) is also very good. (except breakfast)
-Nice big swimming pool with lifeguards. It was less crowded than the one at the Hilton and Candy Cane Inn, but nicer!
-Great access to Downtown Disney and all the food and the shopping.
-Amazing atmosphere. It is a gorgeous hotel and so far away from all the cheap motels.
Minus:
-Expensive. Add that you have to pay for breakfast and parking, its becomes pretty pricey.
-Rooms are not as big as some of the suites in other hotels.
-Parking is FAR from many rooms and parts of the hotels. We valet.
-Finding quick breakfast at Grand Californian is not that easy. (As a note: I don’t enjoy breakfast at Disneyland. Expensive, slow and really, I don’t like the food all that much).
-Swimming pool is nice and big, but you kind of need to walk in front of everybody to get there, depending on where is your room. No special slides or anything.
I loved staying at the Grand Californian, but I don’t think I would plan a whole week there, mostly because of budget. However, the access to the parks is spectacular. You can go through your special security line, walk through DCA, exit and cross to Disneyland without having to go through security again! I hope we get to stay again soon, mostly for dinner at Napa Rose and then just stroll slow through the parks!


#7

Hotel #4: Fairfield by Marriott
For our 3rd anniversary, we booked one night at the Marriott for dinner at Napa Rose, then day at the park the next one. I know, this is starting to sound like we go to Disneyland for all our anniversaries! But Napa is really special to us.
I have status and many points Marriott, so my goal this trip was to find a hotel as close to Disneyland as possible for a reasonable amount of points. Fairfield won! It is SO close; almost directly across from the Harbor entrance. It was a really short walk; it is perfect to go back to our room to relax and nap.
The hotel food selection is bad. I am not particularly picky, but nothing in there really tempted me. The redemption: it shares a parking lot with Panera! We placed an online an order for breakfast and grabbed it on our way to the parks. It is a motel, so all the rooms faced outside. It was fairly quiet. There was a parking fee and no free breakfast.
The swimming pool was nothing to write home about. I was actually surprised by the theming of our room! It looked like it had been refurbished recently and was very tastefully decorated with Disney stuff (I am pretty sure it was stuff from Hollywood Studios in WDW, but thanks for trying). Our room had a king size bed and pretty much nothing else. The bathroom was nice, but small. I can see that it would be a tight squeeze with little kids and two queen beds! And everything around that hotel was concrete and the pool area was really small. Not a lot of space for playing.
Plus:
-Super close to Disneyland
-Marriott, so great if you have points or status
-Proximity of Panera
-Nicely refurbished and tastefully decorated
-Parking close to main building
Minus:
-Terrible food selection
-Rooms are small
-Swimming pool looks like your average motel swimming pool. No place for kids to play outside.
That Marriott is perfect for RD to closing and walking to Disneyland. Nicer than many other hotels around.


#8

Hotel #5: Embassy Suites at Garden Grove
I stayed at that Embassy Suites for business, but it happened to be very close to Disneyland. I would not say it is walking distance per say; it is 0.5mile from the Toy Story parking lot, so more than a mile from the main gate. It is in between the Hilton Garden and the Hampton Inn, so a trio of Hilton properties. They all have a Disneyland shuttle which is not free. The Embassy Suites also has a ART (Anaheim Resort Transportation) stop right in front of it, which can be a pretty cheap way to get to Disneyland.
I did not see the swimming pool, but they had one. I think the strongest appeal of this Embassy Suites is the size of the rooms. My room had two sofa beds and a king size bed. It was also the BIGGEST suite I ever had at an Embassy Suites. It was huge! The living room was big, there was also a table with four chairs and plenty of space, a wet-bar area, a huge bedroom and a huge bathroom.
They had a sit-down restaurant, free drinks and snacks from 5pm-7pm and of course, free breakfast! Breakfast starts at 6:30am everyday, so it is early enough to hit RD most days (except when the park opens at 7am).
Plus:
-Huge room
-Hilton property, great if you have points to use or some status (did not get upgraded)
-Cheaper parking than other places
-Free manager reception and free breakfast (as all Embassy Suites have)
-Huge room (Diamond at Hilton, this is the biggest standard room I ever had)
-Restaurant on property, plus some decent choices really close by (Bucca di Beppo shares a parking lot)
-Price was the best amongst all Hilton properties in the area

Minus:
-Too far to walk from Disneyland comfortably
-It looks like an Embassy Suites (almost zero Disney theming)
If you have a car, lots of kids and need lots of space, I think the Embassy Suites can be a really good choice.


#9

I did not care for this embassy!! I have stayed at the one in Orange and its super nice, but this one was not that great. the food was awful!!


#10

I stay at alot of the hiltons cus I have the discount and the Hilton convention is one of my faves!!


#11

It is definitely NOT the best Embassy Suites I have ever stayed. I did not try the restaurant, but the breakfast tasted exactly like all the other Embassy Suites breakfast I ever had… I am super happy to know the one in Orange is better. I might try that one next time I have to work in the area.


#12

Awesome thread to start! You’ve stayed at a lot of different ones than me, so once I get to adding the ones I’ve been at, this will be a pretty comprehensive list! Also love format you have for them. Thanks for starting :slight_smile:


#13

I was thinking of you when I started it! I felt we talked about it often in the chat, that it would be great to have an easier record to track those reviews.


#14

Our answer to your breakfast dilemma was White Water Snacks.


#15

I still have never checked that out. I will have to as everyone keeps talking about it!


#16

We eat there at least once every trip.


#17

Hotel #6 (reviewed by Lolabear_la with family input): Tropicana Inn & Suites
This was the very first hotel we stayed at in our travels to Disneyland & was introduced to us by our travelling companions on our first trip (husband’s siblings & their families) who had researched a cheap, clean, close place to stay near Disneyland. We haven’t stayed here in awhile (they have since refurbished so my info on the rooms is outdated), but it was our go-to for at least 2 yrs & we stayed here at least 8-9 times before branching out to other hotels and returned to it at least another 3-4 times when the price was cheapest out of our off-site options.
It is located on Harbor two doors north of the pedestrian walkway that goes straight into Disneyland on and so the walk is 5-7 min from your room to security. The location is definitely the biggest appeal and why we chose to stay here (combined with price) as on our first trip our kids were 23 & 3 months old. We wanted a place where we could easily come back for naps/breaks as we weren’t sure how much stamina we would all have. This fit the bill for us perfectly.
The hotel is setup with motel corridors & the hotel squashes a lot of guests into one place. The self-parking can be very difficult to find (not impossible) but there is free valet parking available & the guys are always very nice (the friendliest of all the staff). The rooms themselves are small, but were always clean on our stays. They have since been refurbished so I don’t know what the new rooms look & feel like, but looking at the pictures on their website, they are freshened up, brightened which may make them feel less small.
The swimming pool is nothing notable, being small & in the middle of the parking lot lacking any character/decor that might make it more than meh. But it is there & was always well maintained-clean so fit the bill when we had time to swim & the kids just wanted to be in the water.
There is a marketplace in the ground floor of the hotel that sells convenience & gift items both as well as offering coffee in the mornings. We usually avoid the marketplace as the prices are steep preferring to drive to Target down the road, walk to CVS/Walgreens 2 (long) blocks down (can be veeeeery long walk at the end of the day though) or just bring grocery items from home, but is good in a pinch.
The hotel’s location also gives you lots of affordable food options, IHOP is on the way back from your hotel. To the north, McDonald’s, Panera & Mimi’s Cafe are a short walk away and to the south in similar distances you have Denny’s, Jimboy’s Tacos and Pizza Press Cafe. There are also nearby ice cream options at either Coldstone or Creamistry. There is an alternative pizza option that’s closer at the Pizzaterian but keep going to Pizza Press (it’s just across the street in The Anaheim Hotel & worth crossing the street).

Plus:
-Location, short walk into Disneyland
-Location, short walk back/forth for midday break
-Location, short walk back at the end of the day to crash in the room
-Conveniently placed (oh location again!) admist many affordable food options
-Clean rooms at a decent price (used to be super affordable but since refurb have increased prices otherwise this would be higher up on the list)

Minuses:
-Small rooms
-Cramped motel feel
-Staff (with the exception of valet guys, they are always so chipper & nice) can be a little unconcerned with guest requests as they are usually always full because of their location/price
-Parking can be hard to find a spot & then you’re forced to valet (we like the convenience of just going out to our car if we need to as opposed to asking for the keys to take it somewhere or get something from it)
-Increased prices on rates & fees( i.e. parking is $15/day currently, used to be $9/day when we started going 4 years ago, also rates are about $130 on a good day, used to see them at $99/109 with $89/night as a deal)

All in all, if you can get a good rate here, it’s a fine place to crash at the end of the day/for midday naps if you’ll be spending the majority of your trip in the parks. Also, we’ve been eager to stay again since the refurb but every time we have booked the Tropicana, a great rate comes up for another hotel so we cancel & follow the great rate.


#18

Thank you for this review! It’s great! And like you said, we stayed at totally different ones so it will bring quite a variety to the forum!


#19

Yes, I am excited to get all of the ones we have been to added! It will be a fantastic place to direct people towards!


#20

Hotel #7 (reviewed by Lolabear_la with family input): Camelot Inn & Suites

After 8 stays at the Tropicana Inn & Suites, we branched out to our first different hotel on a Disneyland trip. It wasn’t that big a stretch out of our comfort zone as the hotel was just 2 doors down & is also the sister-hotel of the Tropicana, both of them having the same ownership.

I can’t remember why we booked it, but I do remember at the time, the Camelot was consistently more expensive (like upwards of $60/night more) than the Tropicana so for the price it felt like the “fancier” one and I believe that when we booked it for the first time it was only slightly more a night (like <$20 night more).

The hotel setup & location are very similar to the sister property (outdoor corridors, cramped parking lot that is usually full & then some requiring to to valet, but does have the same friendly valet team from the Tropicana that manages both valet parking desks).
With the location being very similar, there are a lot of the same food options as Tropicana. However, our favorite feature to the Camelot is that the McDonald’s is just next door (their both very small parking lots touch) so it’s a quick jaunt to grab fast bfast in the morning or what we usually did was stop by after leaving the parks at night to get late-night snack to supplement whatever we shared for dinner in the parks & usually get enough to have extra nuggets in the morning that we could eat as an on-the-go bfast to rope drop the next morning. Panera is also just beyond the McDonald’s so a very quick walk as well.
There are also a number of differences starting with the exterior. Camelot is lightly themed on the outside only as a Swiss chalet & there is the possibility of a really good view of Matterhorn. In fact, on our first stay we could clearly see the Matterhorn from our window & every morning my son (then 3) would run to the window & exclaim how he could see the Matterhorn. And from that trip we have a picture of him “holding” the Mattehorn from the outdoor corridor just outside our room (the lighting from inside just didn’t give it justice to how good we could see the Matterhorn so we did it outside).
Also, the pool while still small is a slight improvement over Tropicana being on the 4th floor with a view of the Matterhorn & a really good view of fireworks if you weren’t wanting to be in the parks or had a non-park arrival day. We’ve never used the Camelot’s pool so I can’t comment on actually swimming in it, but I’m sure it would fit the bill if you had kids that simply like being in the pool on vacation.
Lastly on the exterior, there’s no marketplace like at Tropicana (but you pass the Tropicana on your way to the parks so it’s an easy stop if you are in dire need of anything). Also on the Camelot’s property there is a small gift shop (like teensy tinsy small that I don’t think more than 4 people could move around in there!)
Then moving on to the interior, the rooms at Camelot (at the time) were noticeably better furnished with much better storage (that may be the opposite now that Tropicana has completed a refurb) and the biggest selling point for me was that the rooms were so much bigger than at the Tropicana so we didn’t feel as “cramped in” in the little time that we were in the room. The only other hotel that had rooms as large as Camelot is The Anaheim Hotel so if you like space, this is a good, close option.
Then the last difference worth mentioning is that the staff at Camelot seemed ever so slightly more customer service oriented in that they recognized we were repeat customers after a handful of stays but more in a “oh you know the drill” kind of way than a “Welcome back! Thank you so much for returning to stay with us!” kind of way. But it was a slight improvement upon the bare bones minimum of the Tropicana hotel staff- that for the record we never had a problem with, just their attitude was very cool towards us even after many repeat visits which is not the norm in the hospitality industry (except for on Harbor Blvd bordering Disneyland).

In shorter words
The pluses:
-Location to Disneyland, with the possibility of getting a Matterhorn view from your room!)
-Very conveniently placed to affordable food options
-Spacious, clean rooms that at times are decent prices (like the Tropicana these used to be better but their prices as of late haven’t made them a good option price-wise compared to further down the way on Harbor)
-Able to get a great view of fireworks from the pool area if you have a non-park day or just like being back to the room earlier

And the Minuses:
-It seems that we have always been able to hear our neighbors above us, even just when they walk so if you are a light sleeper this could be problematic, we never heard a ton of noise in our many stays so it’s not as bad as some other hotels in the area, but worth noting if you’re a light sleeper
-Parking can be hard to find & then you’re forced to valet (for free, but still the inconvenience of not having your car on hand to you is annoying to us, especially since the walk from anywhere in the parking lot to your car is not long at all since it’s a small parking lot).
-Increased prices on rates & fees (same story as the Tropicana above as their parking & nightly rates have increased at the same rate).

All in all, it’s still a great option if you find a great rate & I wouldn’t hesitate to book again if it came up as our cheapest option.