7 Amazing Reasons to Stay at the Disneyland Hotel
Some Disney resorts are easier to sell than others. You may not have much familiarity with Paradise Pier Hotel or The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, but everyone has heard of Disneyland Resort. I’m including non-Disney fans in this group. The hotel has attained rarefied status in pop culture as the first hotel accompanying a theme park. Here are seven reasons why you must stay at the Disneyland Hotel.
The Disneyland Hotel opened only a few months after Walt Disney himself introduced the world to the Happiest Place on Earth. While an odd bit of Disney history is that the company didn’t own the hotel at this time, it’s still inexorably associated with its accompanying park. The resort and Disneyland are siblings forever linked in theme park history.
When you stay at the Disneyland Hotel, you’re visiting one of the seminal locations for Walt Disney history. His fingerprints are all over the resort, and Imagineers have honored his memory over the past 50 years by adding his presence throughout the hotel.
You’ll see pictures of Walt and his films in many areas of the hotel including elevator lobbies and rooms. There are even models of some of the attractions like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad on display. The hotel is quite modern in design, but the interior design is acutely aware of the history of Disneyland and embraces that connection.
When you visit the Disneyland Hotel, your primary destination is the theme park complex. Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park (DCA) share the same entrance area. Due to its original placement, Disneyland Hotel isn’t technically the closest official Disney hotel to the parks’ entrance. That honor belongs to Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa, albeit for a different reason. That hotel features a special side entrance to DCA.
When you’re at Disneyland Hotel, however, you’re still quite close to the main entrance. Google Maps lists the distance as 0.9 miles, which means that you’re a casual 10-minute walk away from park admission. I should point out that the hotel includes three different towers. Those are Fantasy, Adventure, and Frontier Towers.
Each of them includes certain benefits. The Fantasy Tower has the main lobby; the Adventure Tower overlooks the pool and Downtown Disney; and the Wonder Tower includes views of waterfalls. Frontier Tower is the most remote, which means it’s quietest but also the longest walk to a lot of places. You’ll love all three for very different reasons, and picking a favorite is the stuff that Disney flame wars are made of.
The Magical Headboards
All of the recently renovated rooms at Disneyland Hotel come with a hidden feature. When you enter the room and look at the bed, you’ll see what appears to be an intricately carved picture of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. This headboard possesses a secret, though!
As a special touch of Imagineering magic, your headboard lights up with “fireworks” and a song. There’s a special button on the Tinkerbell lamp that triggers this effect. You can see video of it here. It’s the perfect way to celebrate your arrival at Disneyland or signal the end of a magical day.
You will never go hungry at the Disneyland Hotel. Its set of restaurants is in the conversation for best overall of all American Disney resorts. The deluxe choice is Steakhouse 55, and that number does in fact signify the year the hotel opened.
At Steakhouse 55, meat is on the menu during its two meals, breakfast and dinner. You’d better be hungry when you come here, too. Most of the steak servings are between 12 and 18 ounces! Also, the entrees range between $34 and $58, so make sure to bring a friend who owes you dinner.
Disneyland Hotel offers a character meal, too. Goofy’s Kitchen is akin to Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. It too is an All-You-Care-to-Enjoy (AYCE) meal, and it’s open for breakfast and dinner. You’ll find a surprising number of characters here, as anywhere between four and eight may appear at the meal.
The main ones are Goofy and Pluto, but characters as diverse as Cinderella and the Mat Hatter are known to appear. Even Mickey Mouse and Chip and Dale, who have their own character meals at Disneyland resorts, show up from time to time. Also, the food here is incredibly child-friendly, with mac and cheese and PB&J on the menu…but the peanut butter and jelly comes on a pizza!
The counter service restaurant here is a lovely spot called Tangaroa Terrace. I do want to add a caveat about this place, though. It’s going to close next week and remain down for refurbishments through the start of 2019. So, you’re better served heading to Downtown Disney when you want counter service food over the next three months.
Disneyland Hotel is home to the most famous of all Disney bars. Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar references the “head salesman” for Jungle Cruise Navigational Company. Yes, he’s the headshrinker on Jungle Cruise, and he apparently runs a bar on the side when he’s not out performing witchcraft.
Trader Sam’s is a beloved bar that serves what I can only describe as glow drinks. The potent potables up for sale here have macabre names like Shrunken Zombie Head, Krakatoa Punch, and Shipwreck on the Rocks. They also light up in fun ways, making this a go-to spot for nighttime entertainment at Disneyland Resort. And yes, it’s the same place as Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World, only the Disneyland Hotel version came first.
The Disneyland Hotel pool is one of the most famous of all Disney resorts. That’s because it possesses a waterslide feature that you truly must see to appreciate fully. It’s a pair of monorail waterslides! These twin slides recreate the original Mark I Monorail fleet in remarkable detail. The pool also has a gigantic Disneyland Hotel sign in the classic style. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time to the 1950s when you swim here!
The other pools at the Disneyland Hotel have cheeky names. One is the D-Ticket Pool and the better one is the – you guessed it! – E-Ticket Pool. These are plays on the “best” attractions at Disneyland back when guests paid per ride using admission booklets. For a few years, D-Ticket attractions were the best, but then Disney added the Matterhorn Bobsleds, the monorail, and the submarine in 1959, requiring an even better ticket for admission. It’s the proverbial E-Ticket that’s become a part of the pop culture lexicon.
The D-Ticket Pool is what Walt Disney World fans would refer to as a quiet pool. It has Mickey & Minnie Whirlpools and cabana rentals available for a fee. The E-Ticket Pool gets into the spirit of those early admission tickets with signage that commemorates those days of yore. Its 4,800 square feet of water are ample for plenty of family fun.
Admittedly, this section isn’t for everyone, as most of us are budget-conscious about our vacation. When you do have some money to burn on your Disneyland trip, however, the Disneyland Hotel has the perfect room for you. This resort has a series of Signature Suites that will blow your mind with their theming.
I’ve written about several of them at Theme Park Tourist, and the official Disneyland Parks Blog published this video. It shows many of the special touches that give these suites their extra oomph. The suites generally cost $1,000 or more per night.
Your best bet is to contact one of the brilliant specialists at Mickey Travels to learn more about the possible deals for suites and standard rooms at Disneyland Hotel. Staying here absolutely should be on your theme park bucket list. It’s the place that triggered the theme park/hotel resort craze!