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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tip Tuesday: Disneyland lodging

Welcome back for another Tip Tuesday!

With a trip to Disneyland the near future, I thought I'd share a tip about lodging when it comes to planning a Disneyland vacation.  One of the first major questions to answer is this:  to stay on property or not.

This is a key decision that must be made because it can impact many aspects of your trip.  Here's something you might not have considered before.

Do the Disney resorts give you closer access to the parks than off-site resorts?  Well the answer is both yes and no.  Certainly the Grand Californian provides the closest access to both parks - it is part of Disney California Adventure and has it's own special entrance to that park, so there's no beating the Grand Californian when it comes to proximity to the parks.

But what about the Disneyland Hotel and the Paradise Pier Hotel?

Click image for a larger view
If you take a look at the map to the right, you'll see the locations for the Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier Hotel and the Good Neighbor Resorts on Harbor Boulevard.

Do you see how far away both the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier Hotels are from the main esplanade between Disneyland and California Adventure?  True, there is the monorail station in Downtown Disney that is fairly close to the Disneyland Hotel providing transportation to Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom, but overall, it's pretty clear that the Good Neighbor Hotels, especially those right across from the main pedestrian entrance provide closer walking access to the park entrances than do the Disneyland Hotel or Paradise Pier Hotel.

Now, I know location is only one factor to keep in mind.  There's also theming, which you certainly will not get with any of the Good Neighbor Hotels.  I've stayed at these hotels before and will be doing so again soon and I'm not under any illusion that these hotels provide anything more than a clean room with decent amenities.  If you're looking for any sort of theming or experience, you'll find it at a Disney hotel, not at any of the Good Neighbor Hotels.

On the other hand, there's the price to consider and there's simply no way the on-property resorts come anywhere close to the inexpensive rates of the Good Neighbor Hotels.  Some of the rates you can find along Harbor Boulevard will be half (or more) the rate for the on-property hotels.

It's all about determining what your priorities are.  If you are focused mostly on proximity and/or price, then the Good Neighbor Hotels are the way to go.  If, instead, you're focused more on amenities and experience, then you need to seriously consider one of the on-property hotels.

Once you've got an idea of where you want to stay, you'll next need to think about how you're going to get there.  I'll share some thoughts about that in a future post.

What do you think?  Which is the better option?  Staying on-property or off?  Post a comment!


Anonymous said...

In 2012 I waited too long to make up my mind about staying at Disneyland hotel (due to cost) and it booked up. So I had to stay at a 'good neighbor' which was the Carousel. Much closer to the entrance and more economical. I had been on a business trip to San Diego and wanted a chance to see Disneyland for the first time. As an East coaster, I've been to Disney World frequently. So from San Diego I took a cheap train ride ($25) to Anaheim, which drops you off atthe Angels baseball stadium

Mark said...

This is an excellent overview. Thanks!!!

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