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Old 12-10-2013, 06:20 PM   #1
hill6
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Going to Disneyland for the First Time - Where to Stay?

DH and I are looking at going to California in the spring. I have never been to Disneyland/California and I am looking for advice on where to stay when we are there.

We are looking at doing some non Disney things like going to baseball games.


Thanks for any advice.
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:26 PM   #2
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You will probably get a better response if you post on the Disneyland forum.

http://www.disboards.com/forumdispla...daysprune=&f=5
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:46 PM   #3
hill6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mousemommy1 View Post
You will probably get a better response if you post on the Disneyland forum.

http://www.disboards.com/forumdispla...daysprune=&f=5
Thanks
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:47 PM   #4
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hojoanaheim.com is a great place -- within walking distance to the parks

I love disneyland...I haven't been in a long time because I live on the East Coast now (grew up in Oregon)...
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hill6 View Post
DH and I are looking at going to California in the spring. I have never been to Disneyland/California and I am looking for advice on where to stay when we are there.

We are looking at doing some non Disney things like going to baseball games.


Thanks for any advice.
We were there this past march. We stayed at paradise pier and disneyland hotel. STAY AT DISNEYLAND HOTEL it is really awesome. we had a fantastic time.
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:32 AM   #6
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I'll move this over to the Disneyland board.
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:44 AM   #7
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We have been greatly enjoying our stay at Hotel Indigo. It's a recently remodeled and updated Holiday Inn with free parking and wifi and has breakfast options for rates. I believe for 2 adults it was only $10.00 extra and you order off the breakfast menu itself. We have enjoyed the hotel immensely and consider it our go to place now. We even had a perfect fireworks view.

The only negative I've noticed is the walls could be thin to some. While this does not affect me I know some are very sensitive to any other sound /noise.
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hill6 View Post
DH and I are looking at going to California in the spring. I have never been to Disneyland/California and I am looking for advice on where to stay when we are there.

We are looking at doing some non Disney things like going to baseball games.


Thanks for any advice.
OK, number one mistake IMO when WDW vets make decisions about lodging at DLR is to bring their WDW thinking with them. Let me clarify.

At WDW, for the most part, your lodging choice is relatively far from the parks and DTD, etc., and so WDW vets are accustomed to buses, boats, trams, monorails, and using their own car to get around.

DLR is Disney but it is not WDW.

DLR is in the middle of a major metropolitan area. Driving takes time and wastes time. There are many hotels - both Disney and non-Disney (called Good Neighbor hotels) that are within easy walking distance to the parks and DTD. When you stay at one of these hotels it changes everything about how you visit DLR. Hotel break for a swim or nap? At DLR it takes 5-10 minutes to get there vs. 30-60 at WDW. Rope drop? You can sleep in a whole extra hour at DLR and still make rope drop.

So, think long and hard about where you stay and please do not assume it is OK to stay far away from DLR "because that is how you do it at WDW and it works fine". Will it work at DLR? Yes. Will it waste tons of precious time? Yes.

See this link for more info on this: "HydroGuy's Hotel Rule" www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1199862

To get very specific, the most popular lodging choices near DLR are the DLR hotels (more pricey at DLR than at WDW but check it out) and for non-Disney there is Howard Johnson's (a nice Hojo's comparitively) and Candy Cane Inn. The absolute closest place is the Best Western Park Place Inn. Be careful of hotels that claim to be "across the street from DLR" or "a block away". While literally what they say is true in practice these can still end up being a mile or more by foot to the parks because of how the streets and park entrances are located.

Be careful about hotels further away that promise you can easily use ART to get to the parks. ART (Anaheim Resort Transit) is an option but it is imperfect for a Disney visitor unless they have a lot of patience. I personally would not use ART for a DLR visit unless it was absolutely my only choice because of someone else's bad decision.

As for activities in SoCal outside Disney I am glad you mentioned baseball unlike some people who think the only thing to do on vacation is to visit theme parks.

SoCal is overflowing with a wide variety of things to do so it really depends on what you like. Here are some more ideas...

- Visit the beach. Newport and Huntington are nearby. It will be too cold in the Spring to go in the water without a wetsuit but you can walk the boardwalk or pier and have a nice meal. Or find a place to explore tide pools.

- Santa Monica Pier is a special kind of beach visit so consider that.

- La Brea Tar Pits - very cool to visit especially with kids

- La Jolla in San Diego - nice beach area and small town on the cliffs

- Santa Barbara - nice drive up the coast (and my alma mater )

- Hollywood - The blvd and the tours of the rich and famous and tapings of live shows there and around Burbank.

- Mission San Juan Capistrano - check out this piece of early California history.

- Catalina Island - take a boat or helicopter tour out to the island and take in the Pacific Ocean smells.

Plus tons more. Hope that helps!

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Old 12-11-2013, 11:32 AM   #9
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Unless you have to stay at a Disney hotel and willing to pay the extra $$$ to stay there, there are alot of good off site hotels that are close to the parks without paying premium price. I've stayed at HOJO's (Howard Johnson Anaheim), the Hilton Anaheim (a 20 mins walk from the parks but doable), and most recently at the Best Western Park Place Inn (BWPPI). Hands down the best of the 3 in my opinion for convenience and price is the BWPPI. I stayed there last month, and you can't beat the price and the hotel is a basic motel but is very quiet. The only negative is that if you are at the back of the building the WIFI which they do offer for free is non existant. Their breakfast is decent, and they do offer discounts for AAA members. Another hotel that's gotten consistantly good reviews is the Candy Cane Inn, which also offers a free breakfast. If you are ride junkies, then a visit to Knotts Berry Farm is a must.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:48 AM   #10
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There are three Disneyland Resort Hotel properties; The Grand Californian, the Disneyland Hotel, and the Paradise Pier Hotel. I'd stay at one of those if possible. If not, there are Embassy Suites and Marriotts close by but not necessarily within walking distance. The HoJo is totally overrated for what they now charge.
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Old 12-11-2013, 01:56 PM   #11
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I think it all depends what is worth more to you - staying inside the Disney magic for the entire stay, or saving money?

If you stay at the Disneyland Hotel or the Grand Californian, Downtown Disney is right outside your hotel room. After leaving the parks, you can spend some time in Downtown Disney, and your hotel room is right there. Downtown Disney is open for an hour or two after the parks close.

If you're staying at a hotel off property, the walk from the parks is not much longer (one is 'technically' closer than Disneyland Hotel), but you must cross a busy street. Plus, Downtown Disney is the opposite direction from the off-property hotels, and leaving Downtown Disney is a hike, compared to being right there. Because your feet will be so tired, you probably won't go back to Downtown Disney at night if you stay at an off-site hotel.

Staying at an on-site hotel, you are able to go into one park an hour early each day.

You'll definitely save money by going off-site, but you'll miss some of the magic. It all depends if the extra money ($200/day or so) is worth it. Our family thinks it's worth it, but I understand how other families do not.

Last edited by bbeagle; 12-11-2013 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 12-11-2013, 02:02 PM   #12
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I would love to stay in one of the Disney hotels, but they're just not in the budget. When I was trying to figure out if I could justify a Disney hotel for our upcoming visit, a friend wisely reminded me that if we stay in a cheaper hotel we can stay longer. That clinched it for me. No second thoughts!

I went to Disney World twice in the early 90s, staying at the Dolphin and the Caribbean Beach Resort. I LOVED the "Disney Bubble". But with Disneyland, it's a different world. The park is smack-dab in the middle of a city. I remember noticing years ago that it was essentially in an industrial area. I think Seattle/Tacoma people will know what I meant when I exclaimed, "Holy Moly! Disneyland is in TUKWILA!!"

All that to say that the Disneyland Resort is concentrated into a relatively small area. If you search on Google Maps for Disneyland, you'll see that the Disneyland park is to the north of California Adventure. There's an "esplande" between the two, with Downtown Disney and the Grand Californian on the west side of that. The Disneyland Hotel (DLH) and Paradise Pier (PPH) are off to the left (west) side of the parks. Off to the east side of the parks is a series of hotels that are as close, or closer to the park entrances than DLH or PPH.

When you're looking at the Google map, if you zoom in closer, you'll note that the hotels (and restaurants) are labeled with their names... The street along the east side of the parks is called Harbor Blvd. In my opinion (and experience) any of the hotels along Harbor between Manchester Ave (to the north) and Disney Way (to the south) are good choices as far as distance. In the middle of the block (at IHOP) there's a crosswalk across Harbor, straight onto the Disney property, and an easy walk to the ticket booths and entrances. Park Vue and Park Place flank IHOP and are the easiest, but not by much. The entire block is 1/4 mile.

There are other hotels nearby that folks on DIS mention as favorites. Candy Cane Inn, for example, is on the Disney side of Harbor Blvd, but a bit farther south along at Katella. It's right behind Cars Land (Radiator Springs), actually. Howard Johnson's (HoJo's) is just north of Manchester on the east side of Harbor.

For my trips, though, I stick with that one block along Harbor. I've stayed at a few of them over the years, but since I first stayed at Desert Inn & Suites, I've never stayed anywhere else. It's consistently cheaper than any of the others. It's nothing fancy, but totally serviceable.

I think your choice depends entirely on your preferences. Do you want a true resort experience? If so, you'd better stick with the Grand Californian or the Disneyland Hotel. Do you want a good pool? I'd suggest Paradise Pier or HoJo's (just north of Manchester on Harbor). Please note that I've never stayed at any of these places, just going on what I hear... You can also see most of the hotel's pools on Google Maps, so that will give you a sense of the atmosphere.

You'll also want to check with hotels that interest you about there other services. Most, but not all, provide a continental breakfast, some better than others. Most, but not all, provide free Wi-Fi, but the quality of that varies a lot. Most, but not all, provide microwaves and/or fridges.

Pluses, in my book, about Desert Inn & Suites, are as follows:

* Very close to the crosswalk
* Cheaper than the hotels at the crosswalk (and generally cheaper than all others on the block)
* Simple continental breakfast
* Good-sized fridge (not the tiny box size, one step up, maybe 3 ft tall?)
* Microwave
* Cheaper than other hotels
* Cheaper than other hotels
* Cheaper than other hotels.
* You're close enough that, in my opinion, you don't really leave the Disney Bubble. Everyone and everything you'll make contact with is all about Disneyland. You'll walk in a crowd of other park-goers to/from the parks, you'll hardly notice that there's a city surrounding you.

* The only bad thing, in our book, is that the pool is nothing to make note of... It's a small indoor pool (and hot tub) in a smallish room with what seems to be a fairly low ceiling. (Not sure my memory of the ceiling is accurate, but it felt a bit claustrophobic to me.) In our family, this isn't an important negative, though, as we're there for DISNEYLAND!!


*Please note that I haven't been to DLR for 6 years (going in a few months!!), but my memories correspond with recent reports here on the DIS boards.
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Old 12-11-2013, 02:03 PM   #13
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On property - Grand Californian and DLH
off property - Fairfield Inn

What else are you planning on doing while in SoCal?
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Old 12-11-2013, 02:40 PM   #14
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The park is smack-dab in the middle of a city. I remember noticing years ago that it was essentially in an industrial area...

If you search on Google Maps for Disneyland...
Disneyland is not really in an industrial area. Google Maps clearly shows far more residential around the resort area than anything else, especially on the West side of I-5 where the entire resort is located.
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Old 12-11-2013, 02:55 PM   #15
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Must have been my perception at the time... I have noticed in recent times that things seem to have changed a lot. I remember years ago having trouble finding a grocery store nearby, even with help of the hotel staff.

But these days, it seems to be easy-ish access to pretty much anything.
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