Disneyland Hotel: A Mini Review
A Review of the Disneyland Hotel at Disneyland Resort
Recently I had an opportunity to stay at the Disneyland Hotel while visiting Disneyland Resort. As a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) member, I usually stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort when visiting the Happiest Place on Earth, so it was treat to be able to spend some time at the Disneyland Hotel for a change of pace.
With that as a backdrop, here is my mini review of the Disneyland Hotel.
The current iteration of the Disneyland Hotel was most recently renovated in 2012. While it is not on the same site as the original 1950s version, it remains a key piece of Disneyland’s heritage.
Disneyland Hotel is located at the end of Downtown Disney — at the opposite end from the park entrances. To get to Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure from Disneyland Hotel, you simply take a leisurely stroll through Downtown Disney to the park entrances. If I am alone and walking at a quick pace, it takes me five minutes to get to the park gates. With kids in tow, it may take you 15 minutes or so. Contrary to other reviews I had read, I don’t find the distance to be too far by any means — especially if your young ones are in strollers. It is a nice walk past the shops and restaurants of Downtown Disney.
Disneyland Resort would benefit from a “Guests Without Bags” Policy
As an aside to my review for a moment, one of my biggest complaints about the park experience at Disneyland is that the bag check area (followed by the metal detectors) does not have a line for “Guests Without Bags.” Disneyland Resort would do well to follow the lead of Walt Disney World in Florida where guests without bags do not need to stand in a long line where the sole purpose is to check bags. You should be able to bypass the line and go straight to the metal detectors. It makes for a much more efficient and quicker experience for all involved.
If you are heading to Disneyland Park from Disneyland Hotel, you also have the option to hop aboard the Disneyland Monorail to save yourself some walking. There are two monorail stations: one is located in Downtown Disney and the other is located in Tomorrowland, right inside Disneyland Park. The Downtown Disney monorail station is located where the Disneyland Hotel used to be and it is only a very short walk from Disneyland Hotel. So this is a great option if you want to take a monorail ride and save yourself a bit of walking.
Disneyland Hotel is comprised of three towers: the Adventure Tower, the Frontier Tower and the Fantasy Tower. The main lobby and check-in area is located in the Fantasy Tower. My favorite — and recommended — tower is the Adventure Tower. I like it because it is the closest tower to Downtown Disney (it backs on to it) and it doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of the main lobby. The Frontier Tower is the furthest away from the entrance to Downtown Disney.
The three towers form a horseshoe surrounding a very well designed and lushly landscaped pool and restaurant area. While the glass towers themselves are non-descript and don’t have balconies (with a minor exception), the grounds of Disneyland Hotel are very nice and are in sharp contrast to the rather plain glass towers.
Inside the towers, however, the experience is pure Disney magic. The lobby areas are filled with Disney art and artifacts and the hallways and common areas are neat and tidy and well designed. The rooms themselves are quite nice and have all of the small appointments that you expect when staying in a Disney resort.
I stayed in a studio with one king bed in the Adventure Tower. I was on the fifth floor facing inward towards the pool area (although I couldn’t see much because of tall palm trees, but that was okay). Rooms on the other side of the hotel look out over Downtown Disney.
One of the most favorite appointments of the rooms in the Disneyland Hotel are the interactive headboards. The large headboards feature an embossed Sleeping Beauty Castle with fireworks exploding overhead. The magic happens when you flip a switch on one of bedside table lamps and the fireworks light up and play “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.” It’s easy to see why kids and adult alike really love this bit of Disney magic! When the music stops playing (it doesn’t loop indefinitely) the fireworks lights stay lit, to act as a nightlight. Very nice.
The room itself was just the right size and includes a mini fridge and in-room coffee maker. I did miss having a balcony, but I was happy with the design and layout of the room itself.
Walking the grounds of the Disneyland Hotel is a lot of fun. There are pools everywhere, highlighted by the Monorail water slide featuring the original Disneyland Hotel logo. For food and drink, the Tangaroa Terrace is a good option for quick service dining, while Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar next door is the place to go for tropical liquid treats (kids welcome). Right outside of the Tiki Bar is a large and cozy outdoor fireplace area.
When it comes to table service dining, Disneyland Hotel offers a couple of good choices. Goofy’s Kitchen offers onsite character dining while Steakhouse 55 is a highly regarded establishment for steaks and other fine fare.
All in all, I enjoyed my stay at Disneyland Hotel more than I thought I would. Yes, the towers are bland from the outside by Disney standards and they lack any sort of creative inspiration, but inside and around the grounds it is quite another story. Recommended.
Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Travel Advisor Specializing in Luxury Disney Vacations