Good morning, friends!
We’re so excited to share about our staycation at the Disneyland Hotel. It was nothing short of magical. Is that cliche to say? Absolutely. But, is it true? Absolutely. It is more expensive than hotels in the surrounding area, but since we were searching for that quintessential Disney “experience,” we found that it was worth the price. The convenient location (close enough to the parks for naps and rest), intentional (and adorable) decor themes, and even Disneyland-inspired ambiance music at every turn were some of our favorite aspects of our time!
If you’re on the fence about booking at the Disneyland Hotel, we hope this post will help you make a decision (be warned, we are completely and unabashedly biased in its favor!). Also, prepare yourself for an onslaught of photos, because there are just so many beautiful things to share.
Alright, are you ready? Read on (its long!) if you’re interested in all the details about our stay!
Self-parking is $20.00 per night, PER vehicle and valet is $30 per night, per vehicle.
If you’re just visiting a table-service restaurant at the hotel (not staying), you will get 3 hours of free parking with validation.
If you’re visiting the Mandara Spa, you’ll get to enjoy 5 hours of free parking with validation.
Once you’ve parked, it’s just a quick walk to the Main Lobby of the hotel.
Have to stop for a photo with Mickey and Minnie statues before you head into the Main Lobby!
Checking In and Out
We were lucky enough to be able to go to our room right when we checked in at 8:00 AM (room just happened to be ready), but if you check-in at any time during the day and your room isn’t ready, you can leave your bags at the Bell Service desk! Then you are free to head into the parks, wander Downtown Disney, enjoy the pool, or explore the property until your room is ready.
When you check OUT at noon, just ask for an all-day pool access key if you’d like to enjoy the pool and resort a little longer! The key gives you access to the pool the ENTIRE day, after you’ve already checked out…if your kids are like ours they’ll revel at the opportunity to go down the Monorail Water Slides 85,2098 more times before officially leaving!
The pool key we received for all-day pool access after checking out! Also…a child definitely chewed on it.
We stayed in the Frontier Tower in a Deluxe View room. The Deluxe rooms have a view of the pools and trees, but we could also see the Matterhorn! Fireworks weren’t happening on the night we stayed, otherwise it would have been reaaallllly fun to watch from our room! Our room had two queen beds, a pull out couch, a microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, and pack ‘n play!
You can view all the room options are here. Be sure to check Disneyland’s website for special offers and discounts before you book! Different promotions run throughout the year, and you might just get lucky enough to take advantage of one of the many great deals offered!
If you’re interested in booking a vacation package, click here.
The kids loved looking out our window!
Matterhorn in the distance from our room window.
Another photo from our room.
ALL the carpet around the resort is seriously photo worthy. You might also have trouble peeling your children off of it because its so enchanting – haha! This “Disneyland Hotel” carpet is on every floor when you exit the escalators.
Even the room numbers are themed!
The kids were obsessed (OBSESSED) with the headboard. Just flip the switch on the lamp and the headboard plays music and lights up! MAGIC.
The most magical bed of all time AND the kids were asleep AT THE SAME TIME. IN THE SAME ROOM. It was a Christmas, Disney, Neverland, Hundred Acre Wood MIRACLE!
Mickeys on the sheets!
Carpet inside our hotel room. Hidden Mickeys!
Faucet details in the bathroom! Had to capture ALL the Mickeys!
Wall lamps in the room bathrooms.
The cutest soap packaging! You can actually buy these and the other hotel toiletries at the Fantasia Gift Shop in the Main Lobby.
H O T E L T O W E R S
The Fantasy Tower is inspired by none other than the magical Fantasyland. All the details inside this tower will make you want to weep because of overwhelming nostalgia. No? Just is that just us? Haha, we just can’t get over all the Fantasyland touches that make it so special!
Amazing Sleeping Beauty Castle carpet near Steakhouse 55 in the Main Lobby.
Little Mickeys within the carpet in the Main Lobby.
Mary Blair-inspired carpet.
While you check-in at the Main Lobby of the hotel, you can let your kiddos play in these adorable teacup chairs!
You can also set your kids up in these chairs in the Main Lobby for some cartoons while you check-in or out! Notice the ottomans placed in the shape of Mickey! Again, EVERY DETAIL IS INTENTIONAL. We can’t even handle it.
Gigantic map of Disneyland when you enter the Main Lobby – parts of it light-up and move!
This has GOT to be one of our all-time favorite things EVER at the Hotel – the Disney/Disneyland memorabilia display! You can find this massive display in the Main Lobby, if you walk toward the Conference Center. We wander into the hotel often (even if we aren’t staying) just to check all the fun things out. We find something new every time we look at it. Why is the vintage/classic Disneyland merchandise so much better?!
All the celebrity photos in the Fantasy Tower are awesome! Samson is basically Macauley Culkin in Home Alone (if you knew Sam, you’d understand…haha)!
Shopping at the Fantasy Tower
The Fantasia Shop carries a lot of the same merchandise that the parks do! If you’re looking for a less crowded option for your Disney shopping adventure, head into this store! You don’t have to be a hotel guest to purchase items here.
Just an FYI – Disneyland sells these Kolcraft umbrella strollers for $54.95 at the souvenir stand located just inside the Main Gate, but you can also purchase them at the Fantasia Shop!
Small World Gifts & Sundries is where you’ll find all your vacation essentials – snacks, treats, some over-the-counter medicines, bandaids, sunscreen, toiletries, etc. You can also purchase bathing suits, sandals, towels and pool/water play items!
The snack display at Small World Gifts & Sundries – YES, YES and more YES.
Some of the bathing suits/pool items offered at Small World Gifts & Sundries.
The coolest carpet located on the second floor of the Fantasy Tower, right above Steakhouse 55.
More awesome carpet on the 2nd floor of the Fantasy Tower.
The kiddos could play in this old Autopia car for hours! You can find this in the Fantasy Tower, in front of Steakhouse 55 and Goofy’s Kitchen.
When you’re walking up the stairs to the second floor of the Fantasy Tower, be sure to look up to see this gigantic Mickey on the ceiling!
The ceiling full of magical Mickey umbrellas in the Fantasy Tower, next to Steakhouse 55.
We stayed in the Frontier Tower and it was just SO amazing. Frontierland is one of our favorite lands at Disneyland, so walking into the lobby to hear the old timey Western music was a dream! The lobby of the tower was our favorite part – see below for some photos!
A miniature display of Frontierland in the lobby – our kids LOVED this! There’s a hidden Mickey made out of wagon wheels on the other side of where they’re standing – the same hidden Mickey is on the ride, too!
The artwork was one of our favorite aspects of this tower! Also, can our living rooms just like this, please. Ottomans made into the shape of Mickey and all!
Big Thunder Mountain carpet – perfection.
LOVE this “Disneyland Frontier Country” art!
Landscape art Mickey wearing a coon skin hat out front of the Frontier Tower entrance.
Hidden Mickey in one of the Frontier Tower elevators!
The Adventure Tower is designed after Adventureland! The foyer of this tower is so awesome. All the Jungle Cruise details are worth checking out, even if you’re not staying at the hotel! If you’re room happens to be facing Downtown Disney, you will have a great view of the fireworks if they’re scheduled on the night(s) of your stay!
Give us all the Disneyland Hotel carpet!
Jungle Cruise artwork.
Hotel Pool and Water Play Area
The Disneyland Hotel is most definitely geared toward kids. There is something for everyone at the pool and water play area, but the Monorail slides make it a kiddo’s dream come true! Our kids went down the slides well over 100 times everyday (that is not an exaggeration, people) …no wonder they napped so well! Ha!
There are also two swimming pools to choose from – a smaller pool that sits in the middle of the bigger pool and water slide area and a really big pool closest to the Fantasy Tower.
There are lifeguards stationed EVERYWHERE, so we felt totally comfortable being there with our young kids! Extra sets of eyes are always a nice stress reliever when trying to manage four kids by the water!
Monorail slides for the win! The red slide is the tallest, longest ride down and the yellow one is medium size (our two years olds LOVED the yellow slide). There is no height requirement for the slides, your kids just need to be able to get in and out of the slides/landing pools on their own.
This little pool area is perfect for babies/kiddos who can’t swim, but want to play in the water! This spot was also nice for us so we could sit down in the water and lounge in the sun while we watched our kids go down the slides.
Complimentary Life Vests!
Complimentary swim diapers for all babes and kiddos who need one (and we forgot to bring them so this was such a pleasant surprise)!
See Lucie up there on the bridge? Ha, she was the queen of the Monorail slides since it was actually pretty empty at the pools during our stay!
The boys went down these little slides what felt like 5,000 times, then moved up to the yellow Monorail slide when they were feeling a bit more brave!
Happiness is – watching your kids go down the water slide over and over with huge smiles on their faces!
Lucie can swim, she just insisted on wearing a life vest because they were free to use, and the boys got to wear one. HA!
Living the life!
You can’t really see it in this photo, but the tile around the pool is “D Tickets” – one of the original ticket options when Disneyland first opened! Loved all the classic Disney touches!
Minnie Mouse hot tub! Yes, please!
The cutest poolside snack/beverage cart in all the land – it’s an “E” ticket! SO GOOD! You can find this cart at the big pool located closest to the Fantasy Tower.
D I N I N G
Lava Smoothie with flavors of Raspberry and Pina Colada (non-alcoholic)!
From the poolside menu – on the left is the Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin Ginger Sauce and on the right is the Big Island Flat Bread topped with Ham, Carmelized Pineapple, Marinara Sauce, Red Onion, Cilantro and Mozzarella Cheese. Both were DELISH.
From the poolside menu – on the left is the Asian Chicken Salad made with fresh Lettuces, Cabbage, Carrots, Red and Gold Bell Peppers with Cashews, Cucumbers, Enoki Mushrooms and Rice Noodles tossed in a Sesame Vinaigrette and on the right – the Tangaroa Terrace Salad made with a blend of fresh Lettuces, Cabbage, Black Kale, Caramelized Pineapple, Grape Tomatoes and Crispy Marinated Tofu lightly tossed in a Tropical Vinaigrette and topped with Toasted Macadamia Nuts! SO GOOD.
Kids’ Meals – salmon with rice and fruit, cheeseburger with fruit and a veggie skewer, and chicken nuggets with fruit and a veggie skewer – all kids’ meals were $7.50.
Dole Whip Float with Coconut Rum and a classic Dole Whip with a cherry Mickey from The Coffee House! YUM. You can get your Dole Whip Float plain or with Coconut Rum or Dark Rum. They start serving these treats at 6:00 AM! Say whaaaat?!
Prices for the Dole Whip, Dole Whip Floats and Souvenir Sipper!
The boys happily sharing (rare occurance… haha) their Dole Whip.
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar
We had such a lovely evening at Trader Sam’s! The nightly island music is amazing and the atmosphere is so relaxing. The drinks and food were also SO, SO GOOD. If you have littles with you, they can stay at the restaurant until 8:00 PM!
The bar/inside of Trader Sam’s
Check out this drink menu!!!
From left to right – Piranha Pool made with Strawberry Vodka blended with Pineapple Juice, Cream of Coconut, Strawberry Purée and Blue Curaçao, the Mosquito Mojito made with Strawberry Rum, Organic Agave Nectar, Falernum, Mint and fresh Lime Juice topped with Soda Water and the non-alcoholic Schweitzer Falls made with Tropical Juices and Sam’s Gorilla Grog topped with Sprite – ALL WERE SO GOOD and the alcohol wasn’t too overpowering.
Our appetizers from Trader Sam’s – Panko-crusted Chinese Long Beans served with Sriracha Aïoli and the Kālua-style Pork Flatbread topped with Pulled Pork, Barbecue Sauce, Red Onion, Cilantro and Mozzarella Cheese.
The Coffee House
The Coffee House is a great stop for your morning goodies – coffee, coffee cake (this one pictured is filled with chocolate!), fruit, bagels, cereal, milk, orange juice, etc.
Tangaroa Terrace is a delicious quick service restaurant at the Disneyland Hotel! The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers a nice indoor and outdoor patio seating area. We enjoyed breakfast here the first day of our stay!
Can’t go to breakfast at a Disney resort without getting Mickey waffles!
Loco Moco with a Mickey-shaped egg!
Goofy’s Kitchen is one of the five character dining options at the Disneyland Resort. There is one character dining option at each park, and one at each Disney Hotel. Goofy’s Kitchen is definitely one of our top picks!
Goofy’s Kitchen is open for breakfast and dinner. There are FIVE all-you-can-eat food stations to choose from during breakfast with made-to-order omelets, Mickey waffles & pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs, eggs Benedict, and lots more!
Dinner time station include a carving station, seasonal veggies, salads, Pluto’s hot dogs, a variety of pizzas, lots of desserts and more!
Before you’re seated in the restaurant, you’ll stop in Goofy’s Kitchen to visit and take a photo with Chef Goofy himself!
Don’t forget to try Goofy’s specialty – Peanut Butter & Jelly Pizza!
Other characters at the meal typically include Chip ‘n Dale, Minnie and Pluto.
We didn’t get to enjoy Steakhouse 55 this time around, just because we’d rather go without kids (haha – it’s a great date night spot!), but we have plans to do one of their afternoon teas soon!
Steakhouse 55 has a lounge side where you can enjoy snacks and beverages as well as the restaurant side with full breakfast and dinner menus.
M O R E F U N T H I N G S
Extra Magic Hour
Extra Magic Hour is early entry to the parks for Disney Hotel Guests ONE hour before general admission Guests! Extra Magic Hour is offered at Disneyland on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and at California Adventure on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday – that means EVERYDAY of your stay at one of the Disney Hotels means you get to head into the parks an hour before general admission Guests! So worth it.
We recommend arriving at least 30 minutes PRIOR to the gates opening for early admission, just so you can take advantage of the FULL hour in the parks. The closer you are to the Main Gates while you’re in line, the better, which is why getting there early is best.
All you have to do is give your admission ticket or annual pass AND your hotel key to the Cast Member taking tickets at the Main Gates.
You can read the difference between Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning here.
We actually prefer Extra Magic Hour at California Adventure more because there aren’t as many guests in the park due to Magic Morning (again, click the link above for more info) guests only being allowed into Disneyland for their extra hour in the park! Extra Magic Hour at California Adventure is ONLY for Guests staying at one of the three Disney Hotels, which means there are fewer people.
Keep in mind, Extra Magic Hour only gives Guests access to Main Street, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland in Disneyland and Buena Vista Street, Paradise Pier, Cars Land and Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout when it opens on May 27!
Strolling through an empty Downtown Disney to Extra Magic Hour!
The kids running around the empty esplanade before the gates to Disneyland opened for Extra Magic Hour!
Just a happy photo from our morning!
A Magical Night at the Movies
A Magical Night at the Movies happens EVERY evening of your Disneyland Hotel stay! You’ll find these signs posted in each “tower” of the hotel as well as information in the activities schedule you’ll receive when you check-in to the hotel. The movie seating area opens 30 minutes prior to start time – we recommend arriving early for the best seating. Beach chairs and towels are provided!
If you’re visiting Disneyland during your stay at the Disneyland Hotel, stop by the Guest Services desk in the lobby to pick up a trivia question sheet for FREE! The current 4 trivia sheets to choose from (you’re welcome to take all 4!) are Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage Trivia Challenge, “It’s a Pirate’s Life for Me” Trivia Challenge, “it’s a small world” travel trivia, and the Jungle Cruise Trivia Challenge.
Once you’ve picked up your trivia question sheet(s), head to Disneyland to start your quest for the answers on one of the four attractions (you don’t have to go the day you get the sheet, just anytime during your visit to the park)! Once you have all the answers, head back to Guest Services for your prize (see below for the cutest prizes)!
Trivia Challenge sheets – the Pirates one comes with two glow sticks because the ride is so dark! HA!
Luggage Tag prizes for each Trivia Challenge sheet! Aren’t these SO cute? They’re a sturdy rubber material, not paper.
We really love all the grassy areas around the resort for kiddos to run free! There are so many spots to literally sprint, do cartwheels, collect sticks, etc! We even come to play at the various lawns at the hotel when the crowds at the parks get too much – such a nice way to feel like we can breathe again!
Frollicking in the grass!
Disney Character Wake-up Phone Call
Contact the Concierge Desk of the hotel to discuss starting your day with an early morning call from a Mickey or one of his friends! This is SO fun for kiddos!
Get Up & Go Power Walk
A 2-mile power walk (15-minute mile pace) through California Adventure at 6:00 AM – well before opening to the general public!
Requirements to participate:
- Athletic shoes are required.
- The minimum age to participate is 14 years (17 and under must be accompanied by a guardian).
- Strollers and cameras are not allowed!
- Sign-ups are required at the Guest Services desk in the main lobby of any of the 3 Disney Hotels.
Private Build-A-Bear Workshop
A one-hour Build-A-Bear Workshop experience in Downtown Disney for Disney Hotel Guests! The experience includes special shopping time and a plush toy of choice to create (minimum of $12.00 purchase)! Sign-ups are available at the Guest Services desk in the Main Lobby.
Engineuity presented by RIDEMAKERZ
Enjoy a morning at RIDEMAKERZ in Downtown Disney “building your ride” (for a fee) before the store opens to the general public! So fun for littles!
Learn to Draw Mickey Class
Learn to draw Mickey! See the Guests Services desk to find out exact location and times!
Tap into your creative side while learning to make a magical little creature out of a washcloth! Guest Services in the Main Lobby will be able to direct you on where to meet, start time and registration info.
The Disneyland Hotel sometimes has characters who wander around the grounds! We have only seen Goofy on our trips through the hotel. We actually asked Goofy if he’s the only character who ever shows up HA, and since he can’t talk, he answered us with hand motions basically saying that sometimes other characters do, but he’s there the most! HAHA! A game of Charades!
We spotted him in the Main Lobby!
Then we saw him supervising swimmers at the pool! HA!
THEN, we saw him wandering all by himself over by Goofy’s Kitchen! The kids spent a good 15 minutes playing with him since no one else was in sight!
We even assisted him in tying his gigantic shoe because it came untied while we were all hangin’ out! Haha!
The convenience of staying at the Hotel and being able to walk a couple minutes to get to Downtown Disney or the park’s Main Gates is just the greatest. If you’re not heading to the parks, be sure to stop by Downtown Disney for some good food, live music, shopping and more! Click here to read more information about it!
We especially love the evening live music at the stage located at the very west end of Downtown Disney – such a great spot to let kids get energy out!
80’s cover band – so amazing! Our kids thought the lead singer was a real rock star, so they requested a photo. HA! So cute.
Downtown Disney stage on the west side.
Major bonus – Sprinkles opens in the morning (she was patiently waiting)! We are not above cupcakes for breakfast while on staycation.
The walk back to the Hotel from Downtown Disney! So pretty when the lights twinkle on Sorcerer Mickey’s Hat!
Preferred Access Reservations
One of the many benefits to staying at any of the three Disney Hotels is receiving preferred access to a limited number of reservations at the parks, Downtown Disney and the hotels! These reservations not only include dining, but also the makeover experiences at the resort for kiddos! Reservations can be made by calling (714) 781-3463 up to 60 days in advance. See below for participating restaurants and boutiques.
Participating Restaurants include:
- Blue Bayou at Disneyland
- Plaza Inn at Disneyland
- Ariel’s Grotto in California Adventure
- Carthay Circle Restaurant in California Adventure
- Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel
- Napa Rose at the Grand Californian Hotel
- Catal Restaurant in Downtown Disney
- ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney
- La Brea Bakery Cafe in Downtown Disney
- Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria in Downtown Disney
- Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney
- Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney
- Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney
Participating Boutiques include:
If you purchase something at the parks and just don’t want to carry it around all day, not to worry! You can send packages directly to the hotel for NO EXTRA CHARGE! All you have to do is tell the Cast Member at the checkout counter of the store you’re purchasing from that you’d like to send the packages to your hotel. Purchased items can be picked up at the Bell Services desk after 7:00 AM the following day. EASY PEASY!
Your “Key to the Magic” card (AKA your room key), which you’ll receive upon checking in, is also your charge card and parking permit! You can charge ANY purchases made at the Hotel (including merchandise from the gift shops in the Fantasy Tower), as well as tickets and meals at some locations at BOTH theme parks and Downtown Disney!
If you’re thinking you might need a date night, or some spa time sans kids while you’re staying at the Disneyland Hotel (or any of the Disney hotels), head to the Front Desk for information about private third-party babysitting services! Costs will be determined with the babysitting service.
Well – that’s all we’ve got friends! We know this was an extremely LONG post, but we hope it was helpful! The Disneyland Hotel is such a fun place and we’re so happy that we got to share our experience with you. We’ll be reviewing the Grand Californian in the coming weeks so keep an eye out for that post also!
As always, please feel free to ask if you have any questions!
Emily & Julie