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Ten Reasons to Stay in a Disneyland Resort Hotel

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

A Disneyland Resort vacation goes way beyond the theme parks. A stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel is as much a part of the experience as a ride on Space Mountain! Between Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, there are many options for staying in the magic. But why choose a Disneyland Resort hotel for your vacation? I’ve got ten reasons!

1. More time to play
All Disneyland Resort hotel guests enjoy admission to select attractions, stores, entertainment and dining locations in Disneyland or Disney California Adventure parks for one full hour before the parks open to the general public on select days!

2. A warm welcome
Everyone knows that a stay in a Disneyland Resort hotel begins with a warm “Welcome!” from the cast members at the front desk. At Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, more than 50 of these cast members have learned to say “welcome” in 10 different languages to make all guests feel at home.

“Guests visit the Disneyland Resort Hotels from all over the world,” says Guest Services Manager Brian Elling. “When a cast member says ‘welcome’ in a guest’s own language, it creates an instant connection with the guest and puts them at ease.”

3. Surf’s Up!

Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey & Friends, Disney’s PCH Grill

Did you know that the PCH Grill at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel is the only dining location at the Disneyland Resort where you can enjoy a meal with Mickey Mouse? The Surf’s Up! Mickey and Friends Breakfast is an all-you-care-to-eat breakfast experience, and seeing Mickey Mouse himself dressed in his beachy best is a perfect way to start surfing your way through a fantastic day at the Disneyland Resort.

“You definitely get to have a full experience with our characters during the breakfast,” says PCH Grill Area Manager Stacey Edwards. “Every guest gets to see Mickey in our photo location when they come in, and while they’re eating, guests can even get up and dance with the characters!”

4. Closer to the magic


Staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel puts you just steps away from all there is to do at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks and the Downtown Disney District. Plus, you’re surrounded by all the special Disney details that make the Disneyland Resort such a magical place to be – you never have to leave the Happiest Place on Earth until it’s time to go home!

5. Get shipwrecked at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar

Thirsty travelers over 21 years of age can order a Shipwreck on the Rocks or Krakatoa Punch at this tropical oasis at the Disneyland Hotel. But be careful, because the tiki gods might just create a fearsome lightning storm (complete with thunder and a sinking ship in a bottle) or cause a volcano eruption.

“We’re ex-skipper captains from the Jungle Cruise,” explains Bartender Roy Hanzal. “We kept wrecking the boats, so Trader Sam sent us over here to serve drinks to the guests instead.”

6. Kids have a getaway of their own


Pinocchio’s Workshop offers supervised play and themed activities each evening for children (ages 5 – 12) of hotel guests, providing parents an opportunity to have their own adventures. This fun-filled child activity center is located at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa but is open to guests staying at any of the three hotels of the Disneyland Resort.

7. A ‘Signature’ experience

Fairy Tale Suite at the Disneyland Hotel

While every guest room at a Disneyland Resort hotel includes special Disney touches, the six themed Signature Suites at the Disneyland Hotel fully immerse guests in the magic of Disneyland. From the replica of Davy Jones’ Dead Man’s Chest in the Pirates of the Caribbean Suite to a twinkling Tinker Bell turning on the lights of the Sleeping Beauty Castle model in the Fairy Tale Suite, it would take much longer than one night to see all the details in these extraordinary suites.

8. Something special for fitness fanatics

While a walk in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks is a great way to stay in shape during a vacation, a power walk before a park opens to the public is a special treat. The early-morning Get Up and Go Power Walk through Disney California Adventure Park and Fitness Fusion class at the outdoor fireplace at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa are open to guests at all three hotels.

9. See more with a tour
The Happiest Hotel on Earth tour at the Disneyland Hotel teaches guests about the history and heritage of the hotel, while the Art of the Craft tour at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa shows the influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement on the hotel. These tours are complimentary and available on select days to all guests, including those not staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel, though reservations are encouraged.

10. Time for a bedtime story
Everyone loves a good story — and there’s nothing quite like having your own personal storyteller at bedtime. Guests cuddle up with blankets and gather in the rocking chairs around the stone fireplace in the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa to hear Tales from the Hearth. It’s a great way for the whole family to wind down after a day at the parks. But if you miss it, no fear: just turn to the designated channel on your TV at any of the three Disneyland Resort hotels to hear Disney’s Princess Story Time. What better way to have sweet dreams?

Special thanks to my fellow cast member, Madeline Des Jardins, for providing these great tips!


  • Amazing. The Disney Hotels never disappoint me. When I was little, my sister and I were watching cartoons on the TV in the corner of the lobby at the Disneyland Hotel, and Goofy comes in, sits down right next to us, and starts watching the cartoons with us. I remember he got all giddy when he saw himself on the TV. All the Cast Members gathered around behind the desk watching us, and my mom took a picture of the moment. They loved the scene. I still have the photo today, and that magic still can be felt. It was truly amazing. The little things the hotels do are so worth it ^_^ If you can, go!

  • How old do you have to be for the power walk? Traveling with a 12 year old and we would love this!!

  • #9
    This sounds really fun! I’d love to do both tours. I am going to be there in December… would you post the schedule for the tours please? Thanks!

  • What is this new ” Fitness Fusion class at the outdoor fireplace at Disney’s Grand Californian” ???

  • Of course, it’s different out West, since unlike the fifteen resorts of WDW, Disneyland only has three of their own hotels, all Deluxe–
    Those who want the Value or Moderate experience have to go with the third-party Good Neighbor hotels, which are mostly good but can be a mixed bag. It’s better on property, of course, but fewer options for budget travelers.

  • #11. Feel less stressed about having to drive home. A room at the Disneyland Resort’s hotels provides you with the benefit that not only can be used back and forth to drop off souvenirs and extras but also a nice welcoming bed for after trip relaxation.

    • Great tip!

  • A stay at the Grand Californian is on our agenda for 2016….after our Disney cruise in 2015 and many, many WDW trips over the last 30 years!

  • What a great list of ideas, Erin! A couple of years ago, we stayed at the Grand Californian. One of the perks we loved was taking part in the trivia challenges available from the staff there. We’d find the answers out in the parks, then bring them back for little prizes. Do they still offer them?

    • They do! Guests can pick up a trivia kit at Guest Services in the main lobby of their Disneyland Resort hotel.

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