“Fun in the Sun for Everyone!” – also known as Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel! We had the most wonderful staycation at the Paradise Pier Hotel last week! If you were able to watch some of our Instagram story during our stay, you probably caught a glimpse of how magical and sunny this hotel really is!
Before you read on, we want to start by addressing one of the number one questions we received during our stay – “How long is the walk from the hotel to the park’s Main Gates?” It’s honestly not bad at all! It’s pretty much the same as walking from the Disneyland Hotel through Downtown Disney to the gates. It takes about 10-15 minutes depending on how long the security line is, and the walk is really nice!
FYI – Guests staying at the Paradise Pier Hotel and Disneyland Hotel can NO LONGER use the Grand Californian entrance into California Adventure – it is now exclusively an entrance for Grand Californian guests. You can, however, still exit through the Grand entrance/exit.
Alright, let’s get into all the details about the hotel!
Parking and Check-in
The parking structure for the hotel is located off of Disneyland Drive, right across from the Grand Californian Hotel’s main entrance. Self-parking is $20 per night, per vehicle in the parking garage located at the hotel’s back entrance, and valet is $30 per night, per vehicle. Please note, there is NO ELEVATOR in the Paradise Pier Hotel parking garage (they have stairs), so if you are parked at the top, you’ll have to walk down through the parking lot to get to the bottom like we did with our strollers (we know, kinda weird they don’t have elevators!)!
If you’re not staying at the hotel, but plan to enjoy character breakfast or a meal at PCH Grill in the hotel, you can take advantage of 3 hours of free parking with validation.
If your room is not ready when you arrive, but you’d like to explore Downtown Disney or head into the parks, just leave your bags with the bell service desk! You will receive a text message when your room is ready.
When you check out at 11:00 AM, you don’t have to leave the resort right away! Just take your bags to the bell service desk at any time so you can head into the parks or enjoy the hotel pool until midnight!
Lobby greeting from surfer Goofy!
We have more information about character dining further down in this post, but since we’re on the subject of the lobby, we wanted to share that if you’re nearby the lobby when PCH Grill closes after breakfast at 11:30 AM, you will probably get lucky and see the characters from the restaurant (Mickey and a few of his friends) wander into the lobby to snap photos with guests! So fun!
Just like every Disney Hotel, there is a themed area where littles can watch classic cartoons while waiting for your room, etc.
Room keys! Each guest receives a personalized room key that can be taken home as a souvenir.
Upon check-in, guests will receive a welcome packet including a schedule for the week, a “Boardwalk Buzz” containing information on happenings at the hotel and a map of Disneyland Resort.
All rooms are 1920’s beach theme with a touch of Disney – the details are so cute! We stayed in a premium room with a view of California Adventure – so amazing! If you’re planning on staying at this hotel, we definitely recommend trying to get a room with a view of the park – it’s so worth the extra cost!
- Standard View offering views of Disneyland Drive or the parking lot – sleeps up to 5 adults.
- Premium View offering views of California Adventure (what we stayed in) – sleeps up to 5 adults.
- Standard View – Club Level with views of the parking area – sleeps up to 5 adults.
- Premium View – Club Level with views of California Adventure – sleeps up to 5 adults.
- 1-Bedroom Suite offering views of either Disneyland Drive, the parking lot or California Adventure – sleeps up to 6 adults.
- 2-Bedroom Suite with views of California Adventure or the parking area – sleeps up to 10 adults.
- Signature Suites – sleeps up to 13 adults.
***All rooms include a pack ‘n play (we’ve always had nice, clean pack ‘n plays in all the Disney hotels we’ve stayed in).
Club Level Service at the “Beach Comber Club” for Club Level guests – The Beach Comber Club is open from 6:30 AM – 8 PM everyday on the second floor of the hotel. Complimentary offerings include Continental Breakfast full of pasties, fruit and more from 6:30-10:00, snacks to grab on the go from 10-5 PM, “A Moment in Paradise” featuring appetizers, wine, beer and more from 5-7 PM and “Sweet Endings” from 7-8 PM.
More room details (including pricing) can be found here.
DEALS AND DISCOUNTS – Be sure to keep an eye on Disneyland’s website for special hotel deals offered at various times throughout the year!
Beach-themed rooms – so cute! If you happen to take one of the plush beach balls home with you on accident, it’ll cost you $65…HA – it’s true!
Art on our room wall – remember this cartoon?! Love the classics!
The view from our premium room on the 13th floor was absolutely incredible and one of the best things about our stay. We could see all of California Adventure!
Shower curtain details (we always have to capture all the Mickey things ha!)!
More Hotel Decor and Details
Hallway details! The carpet at the Disney Hotels is always so cute!
Let’s talk about the elevators – they were kinda way more complicated than they needed to be! You push the floor or other destination on the screen OUTSIDE the elevator, then an arrow pops up telling you which elevator to go to (A, B, C or D), but it just seems to take SO long to actually get into an elevator that you can fit in (we always have strollers and a herd of kids, so that doesn’t help! Ha!) or that will actually go to where you want it to go! HAHA! We had a few people message us about this same thing, so we know we’re not the only ones who think the elevators are kinda the worst. 🙂
Despite the interesting elevator experiences, the inside of the elevators are really cute with these themed surfboards!
LOVE this Golden Zephyr (ride at California Adventure) art!
The Paradise Pool located on the 3rd floor deck is so fun for all ages! There is one large pool, one shallow kiddo pool, hot tub and a water slide that our kids went down a million times!
The Paradise Pool doesn’t have a poolside menu like the Disneyland Hotel and Grand Californian Hotel do, but they do have a bar called “The Sandbar” where guests can walk up and order drinks and snacks.
The pool provides complimentary life vests and swim diapers for littles.
Check out some photos below!
The sunshine kiddo pool!
Such a fun slide with a view of California Screamin’ and Mickey’s Fun Wheel in the background! There is no height requirement for the slide, kids just have to be able to get in and out of the slide on their own.
The boys made friends with all the lifeguards rotating shifts at the top of the slide – ha! So many funny toddler conversations happening every time they reached the top of the stairs!
Complimentary swim diapers!
Surfboard details – love.
The Paradise Pier Hotel is home to a few options for dining – PCH Grill (Surf’s Up Breakfast with Mickey & Friends), Surfside Lounge, The Sandbar, and the Express Room Service Menu. See below for descriptions of each!
The Sandbar is the Paradise Pier Pool bar located on the third floor deck. There are only a few food items on the menu (snack type stuff), but there is a full bar, so there are some fun drinks on the menu!
The Sandbar at the pool for drinks and snacks.
Express Fresh Menu
The Express Fresh Menu is available from 6-11 AM for breakfast or 5-11 PM or Midnight for dinner and late night snacks. All you have to do is either push the room service button on the phone in your room to order or leave this menu on your doorknob before midnight for breakfast the next day!
Fill the menu out with your info and check the time you would like breakfast to be delivered!
Some yummy options!
You can also find the Express Menu in this binder from the room full of all kinds of hotel information.
Our dinner spread from the Express Room Service Menu.
The Surfside Lounge is a quick service restaurant where you can sit down and enjoy a meal or take it to go. The menu includes items like Mickey waffles, pastries, fruit, hot beverages and more!
We thought that this giant pile of fruit for just $3.99 was a good deal considering what you can pay for one piece of fruit inside the parks!
PCH Grill is home to Surf’s Up Breakfast with Mickey & Friends and the Beachside Bonfire Dinner Buffet (no characters at dinner). Unfortunately, the restaurant is closed for lunch. Read on for more details!
Surf’s Up Breakfast with Mickey & Friends at PCH Grill
Join Mickey and his pals for a “surf’s up” style breakfast at the PCH Grill. This is the only character dining spot where you are guaranteed to see Mickey! An all-you-can-eat beach party breakfast feast is full of delicious eats including a “build your own omelet” bar. Characters may vary, but typically include Mickey, Minnie, Stitch, and Daisy.
Beachside Bonfire Dinner Buffet at PCH Grill
The Beachside Bonfire Dinner Buffet includes a buffet spread of food like ribs, cheeseburger sliders, hot dogs, roasted fish, vegetarian mini tacos, a S’more bar, berry crisp, strawberry shortcake and lots more!
See the pamphlet in the photo below for hours, price and information on making reservations.
Mickey in Paradise Gift Shop
The Mickey in Paradise Gift Shop contains a lot of the souvenirs that can be found inside both Disneyland and California Adventure, so be sure to check it out if you’re staying at the hotel! The shop also offers toiletries, some over-the-counter medications, snacks, etc!
The arcade at the hotel is a fun place to take your kids OR revert back to your childhood and play some Mario Cart! Ha!
One of the greatest things about the Paradise Pier Hotel is the fireworks viewing on the 3rd floor pool deck. The music from the fireworks show at Disneyland is piped through speakers on the deck which makes it totally magical! We think everyone should see fireworks at least once from Main Street in Disneyland, but if you have already seen the show from inside the park, the pool deck is a great alternative! It’s nice to watch the show in comfy clothes then just walk back up to your hotel room after.
The deck doesn’t get too crowded, but we do recommend arriving about 10-15 minutes before fireworks start just to be safe. The Sand Bar stays open during fireworks, so that’s another reason to arrive early – grab some popcorn or a hot chocolate to enjoy while watching!
Fireworks typically happen every evening during busy season and only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during slow season. Be sure to check the entertainment schedule provided in your welcome packet or on the Disneyland App during your visit for show times.
We know we didn’t get the greatest photos, but we promise, it is beautiful and you can see everything very clearly!
World of Color
World of Color from our hotel room was the highlight of our stay! After we watched fireworks at 9:30, we headed back up to our room to catch the second World of Color of the evening at 10:15 (be sure to check the schedule during your visit to see if there will be one or two shows). The best part about watching World of Color from your hotel room is the channel that plays the same audio for the show! Just tune into Channel 17 on your room TV and it will synch up perfectly with the beautiful water display and projections! It really is one of the most amazing shows at the parks, so we highly recommend adding it to the top of your must-see entertainment list!
Beautiful California Adventure at night before World of Color started!
Mack tuning into that Audio Channel for us – ha!
Have you ever seen anything so amazing?!
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, you get to head into the parks an hour before general admission Guests! So worth it.
We recommend arriving AT LEAST 30-45 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 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 than at Disneyland 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 Buena Vista Street, Paradise Pier, Cars Land and Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout. In Disneyland, Guests get to enjoy Main Street, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.
Magical mornings – twinning in Unique Vintage.
Empty Extra Magic Hour walkways – our favorite!
OTHER FUN PARADISE PIER HOTEL THINGS
The convenience of staying at any of the three Disney hotels 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 great restaurants (Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, Naples Restorante e Pizzeria and of course, SPRINKLES are our faves!), 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!
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!
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:
Morning Wake-up Call
One of the highlights of our kid’s Disney hotel stays is the morning wake-up call from Mickey! This is so easy to set up! All you have to do is hit the “wake-up call” button on your hotel room phone. Someone will answer and ask what time you’d like the call, and what time you’d like a follow-up call. Easy peasy!
A Magical Night at the Movies
On select nights, the hotel hosts “A Magical Night at the Movies” where guests get to enjoy a Disney movie screening on the 3rd floor pool deck! Food and drinks ARE allowed! We recommend arriving about 20-30 minutes show time to get a good seat (deck chairs are available).
If you’re visiting Disneyland during your stay at the Paradise Pier 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!
PHOTO FROM OUR DISNEYLAND HOTEL STAY – Luggage Tag prizes for each Trivia Challenge sheet! Aren’t these SO cute? They’re a sturdy rubber material, not paper.
Get Up & Go Power Walk (for guests ages 14 and up)
A fun, fast-paced 2-mile walk through California Adventure well before it opens! The walk begins at 6:00 AM and requires guests (ages 14 and up) to be able to keep up with a 15-minute mille pace. Athletic shoes are required. Strollers are not permitted, which is why we didn’t take part in this! Also, guests are not allowed to take cameras.
Sign ups are required at the Guest Services desk in the main lobby. It is FREE to participate.
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!
Learn how to make a magical creation out of a washcloth!