Last week, I took the family to Disneyland, and I chose to stay at the Disneyland Hotel for the first time. We loved it! The Disneyland Hotel is the perfect accompaniment to a Disneyland Resort experience. It’s quintessential Disney in so many ways, and it keeps you in the magic your entire stay.
This hotel just finished a major remodel just over a year ago, including a major change to the pool area. The pool, in fact, was the main reason I chose this hotel. My kids LOVE pools, and because we plan our park days around an afternoon break, pool time is always a part of our day. This pool gets a major thumbs up from me for being perfect for families.
First of all, there are two large, pleasant pools with a bridge over them for families to swim in. There are a ton of lifeguards on duty at all times, and there are free life vests for your use. This allowed me to feel very safe with my kids swimming around me or even with me sitting on the edge while they swam.
Second, there is an additional monorail themed water play area with THREE water slides. There is a very small slide perfect for tots and young children as well as a medium slide that both let out into a very shallow splash area. The splash area also has a waterfall from the top of the structure and a bubbling fountain area for kids to splash around in. The third water slide is a full sized, fast and winding slide that lets out into a small pool. At first, my kids were afraid to try it, but by the second day both of my kids were rushing to get to it. What’s great is that because of the life vest, my 4 year old daughter was able to go down the slide, splash into the pool, and the current would float her over to the stairs to get out herself. There is a lifeguard always on duty right there, and he or she also will throw a tow line to any tots who may be a little slow to float to the edge. I felt perfectly safe allowing her to go up and down herself because of this.
Now, this slide area is surrounded by lounge chairs and umbrellas, which means when mom or dad is not sliding with the kids, they can easily keep an eye on them while relaxing in a lounge chair. Would you prefer to lounge with a drink in hand? No problem – a server comes around to take your food and beverage (alcohol or not) order frequently. We loved being able to have a little down time while the kids splashed!
Next up, nothing says Disney like having characters show up in the lobby! Right while we were checking in, Goofy appeared in the lobby and played with all of the children waiting. He posed for pictures, messed around and stayed a good long time. This was far more interaction than you might get posing for a picture in the parks! We saw him one more time on another day on our way into the hotel in the afternoon, and he once again played around with my kids. Other characters do stop in, though we didn’t happen to see them. There’s no set schedule, so you can’t be sure who you’ll see, but plenty of people have reported other characters stopping by.
So what about the rooms? Perfect! The rooms are plenty big, with big windows letting in natural light, a desk area, a comfy chair and a daybed couch. You can fit 5 in these rooms if you’d like to. The room has many Mickey themed touches throughout: the faucets are Mickey heads, the lamps on the wall area held by Mickey’s hands, the carpet has Mickey like swirls. But the most magical touch is the very special headboard, which lights up a castle and fireworks complete with “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” playing when you push the button. The kids thought this was super magical and turned it on each night.
There are quite a few categories of rooms you can book. We were in the Fantasy tower and were upgraded to a fireworks view on the 9th floor. I had no idea how amazing that would be – it looked like the fireworks were literally exploding right in front of our window! I didn’t capture any photos of that, but I wish I had just so I could show you how great that was. I also toured two other room categories so that I’d be better able to help my clients. The first was a Deluxe Pool view, which you can see here.
And the second was a Downtown Disney view, which was so fun because you can see a lot of the rides from here, and of course, you’d have a perfect view of the fireworks as well.
I also got to take a peek at the Concierge Lounge. You can book a Concierge level room, or you can add it to a suite booking. They serve food in here all day long, with 4 changes of food ranging from breakfast foods to dessert. There are also free drinks (like sodas and bottled water) all day, and alcohol for free at night. This lounge also has a perfect view of the fireworks, and they pipe the music in while you are watching so that you can get the full experience!
I should add that, although I have seen various reports that if you don’t stay in the “right” tower, it’s a lot of extra walking, I don’t agree. All 3 towers are very convenient, with an extra minute at most between any of them. So don’t worry too much about which tower is “closest” to Downtown Disney! The entire hotel property lets you out right in Downtown Disney, which is a convenient walk to each of the park gates, or if you are going to Disneyland park, extremely close to the monorail that takes you directly into Tomorrowland.
Last, the early entrance that resort guests get every morning is extremely helpful. You may already know that I don’t advise going to the parks with extra magic hours in Disney World, but in Disneyland it’s a bit different, and there is a definite advantage to having early entrance. This is especially true for California Adventure when you are trying to get to Cars Land. If you use the early entrance, you are only competing with the resort guests (which is still plenty) to get on the rides before the lines get crazy. This is MUCH easier than when you are competing with everyone in all of the many off property hotels!
So there you have it – a tour of the Disneyland Hotel! I highly recommend this hotel for your next Disneyland stay. There truly is a difference to staying “onsite” at Disneyland, despite how many options there are offsite. The service, the magical touches, the views, the pool….it’s very much worth it!
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