Ultimately, we are most likely going to stay at the Paradise Pier Disney-owned hotel. It is gonna cost a few extra bucks, but we just trust Disney to provide all the amenities we are used to when visiting a Disney park.
However, we have not made our final decision, and are still debating between a few choices.
Here are the hotels we have researched and considered seriously...all within walking distance of the parks:
Candy Cane Inn - hate the name, like the price. Pool seems small. Rooms look dated. Lots of great reviews on tripadvisor, but I think because of the price more than anything else.
Ramada Maingate - very close to the parks. Big pool. Nice pool. Rooms look very dated, but a major renovation is ongoing. In general I am not a fan of Ramada Inns.
Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort - looks nice. About what you would expect from a mid tier hotel chain. Small pool. Lots of "hidden" expenses (parking, internet, etc). Know people at work who have stayed here and liked it - especially if you will be spending most of your time in the park.
Sheraton Park Hotel - I would probably choose this hotel if I was going to stay offsite. In fact, we wanted to stay here, but there are no rooms available for five people during our timeframe. Nice pool, big rooms, lots of good reviews, decent price (about $200 / night). About a 17 minute walk to the parks - the farthest of all my choices.
Anyway, you can use tripadvisor.com to get more info, or maybe other posters who have visited can help. But staying close to the parks is key in my humble opinion... so try to pick something within a mile or less if possible.
Good luck, and let us know what you decide.
Thanks so much for your message. I hate the feeling of not knowing what to do or where to go!!! After all the trips to Orlando it feels really weird!
I'm going to do as you suggest and research this a bit further on tripadvisor. Hopefully others on here may also have further hints
I agree completely with your view that we should stay as close as possible to the parks. We are even going to move to another hotel after our Disney visit when "doing" the rest of LA
I'm super excited. I will be posting loads of questions on here I'm sure.....
Hope you have fun on your trip out west & enjoy your honeymoon!
A few things to consider:
How many days were you planning on spending at DLR (& what you're looking for in a hotel room)
There are tons of hotels / motels around the resort, but if you're also going be going to Vegas, LA & San Fran, I'd definitely reserve the "fancier hotel options" for those 3, if you're trying to keep a budget, and probably go for any one of the good neighbor hotels (that has a decent rating).
You're most likely going to be spending full days at the park, so things like pools or hotel restaurants, spas, etc. can be applied to the other destinations on your trip, where you might spend more time in a hotel!
If you have any other questions about DLR, or LA or Vegas (sorry can't help too much with San Fran) Just let me know!
I'm like you and was an Orlando veteran who wanted to try Disneyland for the first time last summer. When I was deciding on where to stay, I pulled up Google maps of Disneyland and looked at the satellite view of the hotels across Harbor Blvd from the pedestrian/bus entrance. I ended up choosing the Howard Johnson's, which is an easy 5 minute walk from the main entrance. To me, it had an advantage of being close, but not too close to main entrance. Parking was free, however I can't say about in room internet. I want to say my room was about $130 a night before all the taxes and junk fees. The HoJo was easy to get in and out of with my car over to the expressway when I made a jaunt to KBF and SFMM. Although its right next to I-5, I don't recall any noise in my room at night. I would not be opposed to trying trying one of the other hotels mentioned by other posters, but I was happy with the HoJo. As others have posted on this site, one thing you will definitely notice is how compact DL/DCA and the surrounding area is as compared to the mass of DW in Orlando. I would advise you to follow the advice and tips on this website, and have a great time. I've been to DW in Orlando over 20 times, but DL was special.
We are the type of people who are at the park in advance of opening and are there til it closes. I anticipate staying 3 nights near Disney before moving on. We were in Orlando in 2012 so I'm not that bothered if we miss some attractions, I just want to visit the parks and see what they have to offer. I was thinking probably a day in each park would work. We will arrive around 4pm on our first day so will spend that evening at Downtown Disney before hitting the parks for the next 2 consecutive days.
I liked the look of the Hyatt and the 2 Sheratons. Does anyone have any experience of those?
Ps - I can give excellent Vegas advice if you need that! :-)
Keep us posted! (I'm jealous!)
I'm impressed that my hubby to be is actaully allowing me to go to DL. Last year was his first ever time in WDW so it must have made a good impression. Good job too, or the wedding might be off! ha ha ha!
I'll certainly do a trip report although I've never done one before so it may be a disaster.
Feel free to pass on any other tips about DL or indeed Vegas. Having pretty much stuck to Orlando and the middle east for all trips in the last 10 years I feel completely off kilter with planning something new (but I'm LOVING all the planning....)
I presume the same rules apply regarding dinner reservations in Disney (ie- definitely make them in advance)
The hotel itself is old and small but cozy. Best of all, its not expensive.
In Las Vegas I stayed at Excalibur; it is well located (walking distance to everything) and it is amazingly cheap. But check out Paris hotel; its not that expensive and I found it to be the most beautiful hotel of them all! And you have to see a cirque Du Soleil show; O is with a huge pool and it is an amazing show.
At L.A. visit Universal; it has the Studio Tour which you don't have in Orlando. Also go to the Chinese Theater; the front patio has footprints and handprints plus some great quotes... I love the one from Robin Williams (Carpe Diem) from a movie that I love (Dead Poets Society).
Good rooms, nice breakfast, closer to the parks than any other hotel besides Disney's Gran Californian, free parking, free refreshments during the day.
And it sounds like you're plan is a good one, the afternoon at Downtown Disney & the next 2 days at each of the parks!
Just a hint, when you go to DCA, grab a fast pass for RSR first, those things go fast!!!
If you google map it you'll find the actually entrance to both parks is across from the IHOP on Harbor Blvd. We've stayed at the Desert Inn and Suites and the Del Sol which are a very short hop across the street to the actual entrance. There are a lot of hotels packed into that 1 mile block on Harbor Blvd. Howard Johnsons isn't too far away and I've heard good things about it.
Anything on Katella may say it is right by Disneyland but you can only enter off of Harbor Blvd. or on the other side through the Grand Califonian Hotel and through Downtown Disney. So be prepared for a lot of walking if you choose a hotel on Katella.
My family is not extremely picky when it comes to hotels. As long as its nice enough, smoke free, and can hold 5 people, we are good with that!
I would admit that this is the least "magical" of the three Disneyland Resorts, but that's because it started as another hotel. Think of it like a Sheraton or Double Tree Hotel. We got a room with two queen beds and a pull out couch.
One of the odd things about Disneyland is that only the Grand Californian is in the middle of the action. I actually think that the Paradise Pier Hotel is closer to the parks than the Disneyland Hotel. Also that famous monorail is really not that close to the Disneyland Hotel. Its actually in the Downtown Disney area.
I would request a room facing the resort because you will get a fantastic view of World of Color. Disney also pipes in the music for the fireworks and World of Color on the TV stations.
The character breakfast was really impressive to us. I mean, we are a family with the youngest being 15 so its really not our thing, but the food was good and the whole character thing didn't seem childish. Now that I think of it, I really do not recall there being too many young children in Paradise Pier.
Whats better is that Paradise Pier now has its own entrance right by the Little Mermaid attraction. They were building it when we were there.
If you want something that is Disney World caliber, I would suggest the Grand Californian, but I found Paradise Pier clean, simple, and a great deal.
I've decided to let husband-to be choose. I mean,I planned the whole Orlando trip (and did a terrific job) so its only fair that he plan this one, right?! :)