The Disneyland Hotel
There are a ton of hotel options at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, but only 3 of them are “official” Disney Hotels: The Grand Californian (my personal favorite), Paradise Pier (Disney’s slightly more “budget” offering), and the original Disneyland Hotel.
When it comes to planning a multi-day stay at Disneyland, we’re usually inclined to choose the Grand Californian Hotel. Though the rooms there are ever-so-slightly outdated (they’re being refurbished as I type this!) the location is superb, and I’ve always loved the arts & crafts theming. Of course, where the Grand screams splendor and architectural magnificence, the Disneyland Hotel has no shortage of magical details. It underwent a major refurbishment in 2009, and since then the Disneyland Hotel has consistently wowed.
This year, my family and I did our annual NYE staycation at the Disneyland Resort. To change things up & get the best of both worlds, we split our time between the Grand Californian and the Disneyland Hotel.
A room in the Adventure Tower
The Disneyland Hotel is comprised of three towers: Frontier, Adventure, and Fantasy. If you’re lucky, rooms in the Adventure Tower facing east have a fabulous view of Downtown Disney. We booked our stay a little later than usual, so room pickings were slim — especially as the Christmas-NYE window is Disneyland’s peak season. We’ve stayed in one of the premium view rooms before, where you can see the Matterhorn peeking out of the trees, and DCA’s funwheel lit up at night. Unfortunately, that option was all sold out this time. So, a standard room it was!
Still, at over $600 a night during peak season, even the cheapest Disneyland Hotel rooms are nothing to balk at. Rooms may be on the small side, but Disney details abound: there’s a princess castle light up headboard (that sings when you turn it on!), Cinderella pillows, a Mickey-fied bathroom, and Walt-inspired artwork.
Plus, a nice view of the pool and cutesy monorail if you’re lucky, or a view into Downtown Disney and the Parks if you’re even luckier.
The E-Ticket Club
When we booked our stay, we opted to pay a little bit more for the club level concierge service. It gets you access to the E-Ticket Club, essentially the Disneyland Hotel’s equivalent of the Grand’s Craftsman Club: a lounge area for guests staying in club level rooms, providing all inclusive drinks and snacks.
The E-Ticket Club is on the 11th floor of the Adventure Tower, facing Downtown Disney. They have coffee, water, and drinks all day long, and have set times where they put out snacks, desserts, and appetizers. You can easily catch the fireworks from the Tinkerbell tables lining the floor-to-ceiling windows, and they even pipe in the music for it. Be sure to get there early to grab a spot, as it gets crowded.
A perk of staying at the Disneyland Hotel is that you’re only minutes from one of the resort’s very best restaurants: Steakhouse 55! This is probably my second favorite place to eat at the Disneyland Resort, tied with Carthay, and just behind the unbeatable Napa Rose.
The vibe is very “Old Hollywood,” and pictures of Walt with celebs like Shirley Temple, Marilyn Monroe, and Lucille Ball line the walls. Meat and seafood eaters will love it here, as the menu is riddled with steaks (true to the name), lobster, and fish. They also have the most decadent desserts, including their most well-known masterpiece: the 24-layer chocolate cake.
The 24-layer cake is a caloric gold mine, and requires a pretty massive appetite. For those not wishing to be rolled out of the restaurant, the creme brulee is a nice alternative. It even comes with baby donuts, lest you think you’re not getting enough sugary gluten.
We were only at the Disneyland Hotel for a night before making the short 800 meter drive over to the Grand Californian for the rest of our stay. But one night of magic is better than none! The hotel is luxury, Disney style, and, if you can stomach the price, it’s well worth it.