Review of Disney's Disneyland Hotel

Disneyland Hotel is one of the most famous Disney hotels and the oldest to bear the Disney name. For a long time, we’d avoided the hotel for its high prices, but we recently decided to splurge and find out what things are like at this Disneyland option. Read on to learn more about Disneyland Hotel!

xdisneyland hotel review room headboard 1.jpeg

The Basics & Booking Disneyland Hotel

Disneyland Hotel is one of three Disney-operated hotels at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The other two are Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.

We booked our Premium View - Club Level room through our choice Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, Lauren Quirk of Enchanted Escapes Travel. We paid $654.62 per night on an “Magical Stay” offer rate, a 25% discount from the rack rate. For 2019, Disneyland Hotel rooms start at $460. Discounts from third-party sites (Expedia, Booking, etc.) are rare.

Some May, pre-tax rates at Disneyland Hotel

Some May, pre-tax rates at Disneyland Hotel

Besides location—discussed more below—the only real perk you get by staying at a Disney hotel at Disneyland is access to the Extra Magic Hour, an extra morning hour in one park each day. Read more about Extra Magic Hour at Disneyland. Read more about Extra Magic Hour at Disney California Adventure.

Arrival and Check-In at Disneyland Hotel

We arrived via Uber from LAX International Airport. There are a few shuttle options for getting from LAX to Disneyland, but if your party is larger than one it will often be cheaper to Uber or Lyft.

Check-in was quite smooth. We were quickly identified as Club Level guests, and a Cast Member from the E-Ticket Lounge came down and escorted us up to the lounge to complete check-in, and then to our room.

Disneyland Hotel Grounds and Theming

The Disneyland Hotel consists of three hotel towers (Adventure, Fantasy, and Frontier) and a convention center, which surround the three pools, the lawns, and a few smaller buildings.

The Fantasy Tower contains the lobby and stores, and is connected to the Convention Center, which contains two of the restaurants.

disneyland hotel review lobby 2.jpeg

The lobby (and much of the hotel design, really) reminded us of the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World, but with a bit of whimsy, including these fun teacup chairs.

Unfortunately, there was significant construction going on at the pools during our stay. So we won’t have much to offer about those besides construction pictures. Besides that…they are heated and filled with water. We will be back in May when the construction should be done.

Buried in the name “Disneyland Hotel” is the real theme of the hotel—history. Disneyland is the birthplace of all Disney parks, and the hotel embraces the history of Disneyland throughout.

Each tower—Frontier, Adventure, and Fantasy—contains concept art and models about the respective park lands.

The Convention Center contains displays on Disneyland Hotel through the years.

I absolutely love what Disney has done with this hotel. Keep in mind, this is in many ways the least “Disney” of any Disney hotel. It’s not themed at all in the same way as other Disney hotels, with transporting design or in-your-face animation.

But like everything in Disneyland, Disneyland Hotel works wonders with what it has. It takes this standard three-tower concept and makes it a special place, filling it with history and making it unlike any other place in a Disney resort.

Our Disneyland Hotel Room

We actually stayed in two rooms for this stay. The first was a Premium View with club level access. Like everything else about the hotel, the rooms have a simple Disney elegance with historical touches.

The room was quite small, but we had booked for two so it’s not surprising to have a room that fits your occupancy needs and no more.

The beds feature a cute throw pillow and the famous firework headboards.

There were two framed pieces in the room—the famous photo of Walt at Sleeping Beauty Castle and a collage of photos of Disneyland.

There were various Disney touches throughout the room. These are the sorts of things I wish they’d make more space for in the designs of some of Walt Disney World’s hotels.

The outlet situation was sufficient but less than ideal, with one bedside unit with two USB ports and some outlets at the desk.

While we’re on small things I complain about—the coffee machines were the same cheap Cuisinart pod things. Why people who pay $500+ per night can’t even get a Keurig, I still don’t know. (Note: Our Keurig at the Grand later in the trip ironically broke.)

The bathrooms were designed for two people (again, not a complaint, we were booked for two). There was only one sink at the vanity area, and only enough space for one person to really get ready. Otherwise the bathrooms were moderately spacious.

The view looked out onto Downtown Disney and the parks. On nights with fireworks, you’d be able to see those. We could even make out World of Color in the distance.

Honestly, while the Premium View of Downtown Disney was cool, it also had a really annoying aspect—the noise from the stage. The music only went until 9:30 or 10PM, but that’s still not great.

If you’re jet lagged, the music is a problem because it keeps you up. Even if you’re not, it’s actually loud enough that it disturbs your ability to just sit and enjoy a movie in your room after leaving the parks. Ironically, our room had a foyer to keep noise from the hallway out.

The second room was a Standard View booking, but we wound up in what seems to be a Deluxe View room. The room was identical to the Premium View besides the view, which looked onto the pool.

There are a few Disney views I’d pay for, even if it was just one night in a longer trip. I wouldn’t pay for a view at Disneyland hotel. Nothing is awe-inspiring. Almost no rooms have balconies (the only exception I’m aware of are suites).

There were two small issues with the second room. First, it didn’t have a shower curtain when we arrived. This was quickly remedied with a call down to housekeeping. It also had coffee pods left in the coffee machine. This has happened to me in several hotels, so I always try and throw out my pods after use.

Location & Transportation at Disneyland Hotel

Unlike the hotels at Walt Disney World, there’s really little to say about location and transportation at any of Disneyland’s hotels. All three hotels are located within walking distance of both parks and Downtown Disney.

Map Copyright Google

Map Copyright Google

Disneyland Hotel specifically is located on the far west end of Disneyland property. You’ll be roughly a half mile, or a ten-minute walk through Downtown Disney, from the parks. It’s definitely less than ideal for such a high-priced hotel given the number of lower priced options with roughly as good (or better) locations.

Unlike Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, there is no dedicated park entrance for Disneyland Hotel guests—they will use them same entrance as all other guests.

Food and Dining at Disneyland Hotel

Keep in mind that because everything is so close, you can access the restaurants of the other two Disney hotels, Downtown Disney, and the parks quite easily. Disneyland is also surrounded by a variety of non-Disney restaurants, including two nearby Starbucks stores in Downtown Disney. This post focuses solely on the dining options at Disneyland Hotel.

Downtown Disney Starbucks

Downtown Disney Starbucks

Disneyland Hotel Restaurants

Disneyland Hotel has one signature dining restaurant, one character dining buffet / family style restaurant, and one quick service restaurant. There is also a small coffee shop and two bars (discussed below) that serve limited food menus.

Our loyal reader knows that we’re vegetarian hardcore non-foodies—pretty much the worst people to talk to about where to eat. So while we provide an overview of the dining options here and our very limited thoughts where we have them, you should check out another trusted source like Disney Tourist Bog if you’re looking for real reviews of these restaurants.

The signature dining restaurant at Disneyland Hotel is Steakhouse 55. Steakhouse 55 serves breakfast and dinner. Reservations are recommended, and you can expect to pay between $40 and $60 for an entree here.

The casual, character restaurant is Goofy’s Kitchen. This is your standard Disney hotel character buffet, with characters present at both Breakfast and Dinner. Brunch is served on a limited schedule. Both of these restaurants are located in the Convention Center building, adjacent to the main Fantasy Tower.

The quick service option at Disneyland hotel is Tangaroa Terrace Tropical Bar & Grill, located in a poolside building between the main four buildings. Regular readers will know not thing makes me feel at home like paying $600+ for a night at a hotel with sub-par quick service food. The Landscape of Flavors food court at Art of Animation remains the gold standard of Disney hotel food, in my non-foodie opinion.

Tangaroa Terrace has okay options, but it’s really the limited nature of the menu that gets me. That said, from Disneyland Hotel, you also have the option of visiting the other hotels and Downtown Disney, so maybe menu depth isn’t a necessity.

Additionally, there is a coffee shop that we haven’t yet had the pleasure of trying. There is also room service available from 5AM to 1AM.

Bars at Disneyland Hotel

The most famous of Disney bars resides at the Disneyland Hotel—Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. While we’re partial to the Grog Grotto down in Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort, we have love for the Enchanted Tiki Bar as well. This is one of the most fun, themed, exciting spots you can find at a Disney hotel.

disneyland hotel review trader sams.jpeg

If you’re looking for something more upscale, you’ll want to try The Lounge at Steakhouse 55. As its name implies, this is just the restaurant bar at Steakhouse 55.

Recreation at Disneyland Hotel

Because most guests are on shorter stays, the hotels at Disneyland maintain a more limited recreation schedule than their Walt Disney World counterparts, and the activities are shared across the resorts. Here are the two sides of the March 2019 recreation schedule:

disneyland hotel review rec schedule 2.jpeg

Shopping at Disneyland Hotel

The main store at Disneyland Hotel is Disney’s Fantasia Shop. While they have lots of Disneyland and Disneyland Resort merchandise, there wasn’t a ton of Disneyland Hotel merchandise. Otherwise, it’s a standard Disney hotel store, featuring the main product lines also available in the parks or at World of Disney.

A second smaller store, Small World Gifts and Sundries, has snack items, pool gear, and a limited selection of merchandise.

Disney’s Disneyland Hotel — Conclusions

Disneyland Hotel is a good hotel, and I’d definitely say one night there is a worthy Disney bucket list item. The history that oozes from the hotel and the magical touches in the rooms are enough to make it worth at least a night or two in your life.

If you’re looking for a longer stay or a “base” for your visit to Disneyland, you’ll first have to get over the price. The Disney hotels at Disneyland Resort are one of Disney’s most egregious money grabs, in our opinion. You’re really paying a premium just to be in a Disney hotel. The don’t offer anything near the perks offered to Walt Disney World’s hotel guests.

If you can get past price, there’s a lot to like. The rooms are great and filled with Disney touches, the location is one of the best you can find, and the hotel is a surprisingly nice place to explore. So, would we return? We already are! We’re booked in May for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and will be updating this review then!

All Your Other Disneyland Planning Questions Answered

Don't be overwhelmed by Disneyland planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way.

Just starting out? Check out our Disneyland Planning Guide. If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars.

When it comes to hotels, we’ve got reviews of all three Disney hotels: Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. As for tickets, check out where to find discount Disneyland tickets.

Know what to ride with our: Disneyland Rides Guide and Disney California Adventure Rides Guide. And just as important, know how to get on the best rides without the wait with our Disneyland and Disney California Adventure FASTPASS and MaxPass Strategy! For the complete guides to a day at the park, we have a One Day Disneyland Itinerary and a One Day Disney California Adventure Itinerary.

We always recommend arriving at the parks early. If you can get access to Extra Magic Hour at Disney California Adventure or Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning at Disneyland, you’ll have the most time in the parks. Even without those bonus hours, you’ll need to know Rope Drop Strategy at Disneyland and Rope Drop Strategy at Disney California Adventure.

Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.