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Staying Inside the Magic at the Disneyland Hotel

By Tinker Belle Diva

Disneyland Hotel circa 1982

Tinker Belle Diva feeding Koi in 1982

My first stay in the Disneyland Hotel was nearly 40 years ago. I was pretty young so I don’t have a lot of recollections of that trip, but I do remember feeding the koi in the ponds outside the Wonder Tower (now the Frontier Tower) where we stayed, and standing on the ~2 foot balcony to watch the Dancing Waters Show, which I consider a precursor to World of Color. Who also can forget the grotto and waterfalls! The Disneyland Hotel went through one of it’s biggest renovations from 2010-2012, where these were removed, the towers renamed, and so much was added – a brand-new pool, immersive water play area, a redesign of the Never Land Pool, and a new restaurant and bar.

Disneyland Hotel Waterfall 2009

Hotel waterfalls 2009

Since then, we have stayed at the Disneyland Hotel several times, most recently in June 2019. There are three “on-property” hotels to choose from at the Disneyland Resort – Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, the Disneyland Hotel, and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa – and they are priced similar to Deluxe hotels at Walt Disney World. Therefore, we don’t stay on-property often, but do enjoy being able to stay inside the magic every couple of years. You can read about our stay last summer at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel here. You will likely be paying anywhere from $150-400 more a night to stay on-property over non-Disney hotels, so I am going to highlight why we do decide (every once in a while) to splurge!

Disneyland Hotel Grounds

Hotel Grounds

The On-Property Perks – These benefits bring a bit of extra magic you can’t experience if you stay off-property. My favorite is the Extra Magic Hour each day, especially because the Extra Magic Hour at Disney California Adventure Park is ONLY open to on-property guests! This perk allowed us to ride Radiator Springs Racers, Incredicoaster! (twice), Toy Story Midway Mania, and went into line for Soarin’ Over California just as the hour was ending. You also can receive character wake-up calls, preferred access reservations, and hotel package delivery. You can read a full description of each at the Disneyland website. One of the perks is the Get Up & Go Power walk offered each morning. Read my review about this walk here.

Disneyland Hotel Autopia Car

Find this car near Steakhouse 55

Location – There are other hotels, including many non-Disney hotels, that are closer to the entrances to the parks. But what I love about the Disneyland Hotel is it’s proximity to the Disneyland Monorail and walking through Downtown Disney (DTD) to and from the parks. I love spending time in DTD, so read my article about why. To get to the parks, enter through security just past the Adventure Tower. From here, you can take the Monorail on the left directly into Disneyland, or walk all the way through Downtown Disney to access the main gate into Disneyland or into Disney California Adventure (DCA) Park. Note that you cannot use the gate into DCA from Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, but you can use that gate to exit DCA though.

Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar Disneyland

Relax at Trader Sam’s

Resort Type Grounds – I absolutely love just walking around this resort hotel. The grounds are beautiful and so many things to see, including the World Famous Cats of Disneyland. The resort is bounded by the three hotel towers (Fantasy on the north, Adventure on the east, and Frontier on the south) and then the convention center on the west. When you walk around this resort, you feel immersed as you cannot see the outside world. There are several dining options too – Steakhouse 55 (read my review here), Goofy’s Kitchen (read Superhero Diva’s review here)Tangaroa Terrace Tropical Bar & Grill, and Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. We really enjoy Trader Sam’s. We’ve had some amazing cocktails on the patio while musicians play and tiki torches burned. It’s a great place to relax at the end of the night.

Disneyland Hotel Monorail Slides

Monorail Slides with Adventure Tower in the background.

The Pools!! – It’s hard to count how many pools they have at this resort! There is the E-ticket pool at the north end, the D-ticket pool just to the south, the Monorail slides next to the Frontier Tower, and then both a Minnie shaped and a Mickey shaped hot tub! My kids love the Monorail Waterslides. There are two slides with replicas of the original Monorail trains. The Red Monorail slide is 25-foot-high and 180-foot-long, while the Yellow Monorail slide is 13-feet-high and 80-feet-long. For the real littles, there is a 2-lane mini slide, pop jets, fountains and a surging waterfall.

Ask a Diva: Disney Resorts

Disneyland Hotel – the headboard lights up with fireworks! (photo from Disney Magic Diva)

The Activities – When you check-in, be sure to get a list of the week’s activities. There are Disney movies to watch each night, which do rotate between the three hotels. You can learn to make washcloth creations, draw your own animation art cel, or learn to draw a character. Our favorite is the Classic Attraction Trivia Challenge. Pick up your free set of trivia questions from Guest Services, head to the attraction to find the answers, and return to Guest Services for your prize! During our trip there were four trivia sheets available and we did them all – Pirates of the Caribbean, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Jungle Cruise, and “it’s a small world”. Our prize was a luggage tag with a poster of each attraction (one per room).

Disneyland Hotel

Relax in a tea cup!

The Hotel Itself – Where else can you stay in a room with a light headboard that flickers fireworks and plays songs?? No where that I know of! But you can inside your Disneyland Hotel room. The rooms are spacious. We have stayed in rooms with two queen beds, but usually have one with two queens and a futon sofa bed. The toilet has a separate door from the sink and that helps with getting ready in the morning. Each tower has a magical surprise – Frontier Tower has a model of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Adventure Tower has items from Jungle Cruise, and the Fantasy tower as an incredible map of early Disneyland. When you are checking into the Fantasyland Tower, you can relax in the Tea Cup chairs and you might run into a character or too. Plus there is the Fantasia gift shop in case you forgot to buy souvenirs in the parks.

Disneyland HotelReady to book your vacation! Be sure to contact Patricia at All For Dreams Travel for a free quote.

***Disclaimer – We at Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos hope you enjoy reading our articles, and encourage you to share any you feel may be of interest to someone else. We do ask, however, if you choose to share the photographs attached to our articles, you give credit to the photographer. Thank you for your cooperation and sharing our love of Disney!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello! I'm Tinker Belle Diva. Just like you, I love all things Disney and have since my first trip to the Walt Disney World in 1980, followed quickly by my first trip to Disneyland. The love of Disney runs strong in my family and has been passed along to my daughter and son, who have been to Disneyland more times than I can count!