Disneyland Planning – Hotels 

Happy Friday- Part two in our Disneyland Planning Series is how to choose a Hotel/Motel.  If you’d like to read part one click Here.

In our early Disney days we were definitely planning on a budget, Driving 8 hours in our car, staying at a motel close to the park but not on property; finding places that had continental breakfast, and free parking were key.  And honestly as far as Disney trips go we don’t spend a lot of time in our hotel room in comparison to other times we travel. Or at least we didn’t used to :).  Now a days we’re making a little more money, we like the convenience of a hotel that’s on property and we like the little extras that are put in when you stay at a Disney resort hotel.  But how do you chose? Here’s a little bit of info from some of the places we’ve stayed over the years.

Let’s start with the Hotel’s nearby

There are a number of hotels surrounding the Disneyland Resort, each have their pros and cons.  For us, along with information listed above, the distance to the park entrance was key.  That meant we stayed mainly on South Harbor Way and within a one block radius.  

The Tropicana Inn and Suites was one of the first places we stayed, it had a great little pool for the kids, a continental breakfast (bagels, oats, juice and coffee) and free parking, and it’s pleasantly located a few hundred feed from the crosswalk to head to the parks.  Rooms start about $140 mid-week.

The Ramada Inn Maingate (now the Grand Legacy at the park) was a pleasant surprise for us as well, it’s a little farther down but priced well, on top of breakfast and parking, the room was clean and the bathroom was larger than any other we’ve been in.  (Upon writing this post I have since found the hotel has been bought out by an independent owner, I do not know the current standard of the hotel) – Update – I was contacted by the hotel to let me know that they were not bought out by another owner but have become independent from the Ramada company “We have recently renovated all existing guest rooms and created a whole new tower which houses our new lobby and soon our new Two and Three Room Legacy Suites. We will also be opening our new rooftop lounge, The FIFTH, in May”  – rates start at $110 mid-week.

The Best Western has two hotels on South Harbor, We’ve stayed at the park place, one very rainy trip in December.  We actually had two adjoining rooms, with two double beds (that was a little interesting) I don’t believe they served breakfast there, but there was a microwave and mini-fridge for cereal and drinks.  Out of the three it was the the closest to the cross walk and pricing isn’t that bad for the area starting at $155 mid-week.

While not a full comparirison of all the hotels in the area these were the places we’ve stayed off park, while visiting.

Resort Hotels:

I have to say, I have a little bit of bias when it comes to the resort hotels.  I absolutely love staying on property, it’s close to the monorail and Downtown Disney, the level of service you receive at a Disney hotel is leaps and bounds above others. And of course it’s Disney! I’m going to preface we’ve never stayed at the Grand – it’s on our list of things to do but quite honestly I just don’t want to spend the money yet to stay there and even on our next trip which celebrates our 10 year anniversary, we’re choosing to stay Club level at the Paradise Pier instead of garden view at the grand. 

Disneyland Hotel – The original – the one that started it all!  I have stayed in the Main Towe and the Fantasy tower of the hotel and love the ambience of both. The rooms are nice a large, the bathrooms are well appointed, the grounds are immaculate and there are creatures that live on the property as well, we’ve seen opossum, cats, and storks wandering at different times of the day. There are a number of places to eat, including Goofy’s Kitchen and Steakhouse 55 (we will be discussing in a later post). Now the one downside of staying at the Disneyland hotel is, it is the Orignal, I have stayed in a room where I did not have hot water to shower on a trip, and you will wait a few minutes or more for an elevator in the mornings and afternoons but if you’re looking for nostalgia this is your place.  Rooms start from $330 a night mid-week.

Grand California Resort – I have no idea what the rooms look like but I can imagine they’re awesome.  We’ve wandered around the lobby, snuck peeks at the pool and spa, and we’ve eaten at the Storytellers cafe.  It is totally on our bucket list and I hope one day soon we’ll be able to talk about the resort with knowledge of  staying instead of passing through. Rooms start around $450 mid-week.

Paradise Pier Hotel – I had the pleasure of staying here when the hotel first opened, I believe the’ve, revamped since but it was such a cool kitschy place to stay I knew I wanted to go back sometime.   The rooms are decorated in an old beach theme, full of vibrant primary colors, the grounds are set up like an eastern beach resort from ages past and it’s nicely placed just next door to the Disneyland hotel and across the street from the Grand.  We did eat at the PCH grill last time we were down, they were just flipping it over to a buffet and while the food was excellent the night we were ther I’m certain it will be even better now they’ve had a few months got smooth out the kinks.  Rooms start around $275 a night mid-week.

As mentioned above we have reservations at the Paradise Pier for our anniversary, I did opt for Club level this trip and am very excited to see what extra care we get this go round.

Happy Disney Planning

XOXO – Sarah



  1. Alexis says:

    Hello Sarah,
    Thank you for mentioning our hotel in your blog post. Grand Legacy At The Park, formerly known as Ramada Maingate at the Park, is actually still owned by the same family, we just became independent from the Ramada company. We have recently renovated all existing guest rooms and created a whole new tower which houses our new lobby and soon our new Two and Three Room Legacy Suites. We will also be opening our new rooftop lounge, The FIFTH, in May. If you would like any more information on the hotel, please contact me at alexis@grandlegacyhotel.com.


    • Thank you so much for the information, I am happy to know it is still owned by the same family, we had a lovely stay down there a number of years ago. I have updated my blog with the information you provided and will be emailing you shortly :). thank you.


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