Disneyland Hotels worth the price?

SarahC97

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 22, 2016
Hello! We're regular visitors to WDW and are planning a trip in October of 2021 to DLR. At Disney World, we always stay in the bubble but after doing just preliminary research, it seems as if the DLR hotels are a lot more expensive than hotels on Harbor Blvd. Is there any real reason to stay at a place like the Grand Californian over someplace like Park Place or Tropicana? There aren't any perks that go along with staying at a Disney-owned property there, right? My husband would love to stay at the Grand Californian, but I'm finding the price tag hard to swallow, especially when you can stay at a hotel right across the street from Disneyland for literally 1/3 of the price. Is there any reason that staying at a Disney hotel is worth the price tag out there? Thanks!
 

Marssiful

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
That’s a tough question to answer, at least for me. I love the Grand, So very much. The lobby is one of my favorite places in all of Disney. There are a few benefits to staying at GCH, magic morning can be a nice perk on busy days and the entrance directly into DCA is really convenient. But with all that being said, it’s just not worth a $600+/night price tag in my opinion. I’d rather stay offsite and spend the saved dollars on a nice meal or shopping.
 

tamu91

Howdy!
Joined
May 28, 2004
IMO, not worth it at Disneyland. There are so many cheaper options near by and the crowd is manageable on most days so resort benefits offered not worth the extra cost. A cheaper option (but still more than offsite resorts) would be to rent DVC points from a member but availability is always limited at GC.
 
  • ktlm

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2008
    We are WDW vets--- for us the big perk is the bubble. The Grand Californian is really nice, but it is just a scaled down version of WDW's Wilderness lodge. Although having an entrance from the resort directly into California Adventure would be fantastic, we can't bring ourselves to pay the extra price for that one. We have stayed at the Wilderness Lodge more than once, and paying more than we have ever paid for WL for a scaled down version is hard to do. We love the Disneyland Hotel- it is different than any place we have stayed at WDW, has Trader Sams, and by WDW standards the walk to the parks is not bad at all. You never have to leave the Disney bubble- the walk to the parks is through DTD. We spent a night on the Harbor side once due to coming in a day early for weather and being unable to add a day to our DLH reservation. The hotel was fine and the staff was great, but you are definitely out of the Disney bubble on that side. It is crowded and crazy, and the time we did it, the security line was much longer than what we were used to on the DLH end. If we weren't used to being in the Disney bubble, it probably would have been absolutely fine; but being WDW vets who were used to being in the bubble it was a culture shock. Prior to that time, DH had questioned spending the money on the DLR hotels, rather than just staying off property as there are so many within walking distance- but after that stay he said DLH was worth the extra and he didn't ever want to stay on the other side again. We were definitely spoiled by the WDW bubble. If you weren't used to the bubble, or if it would be a financial strain, there is no reason not to stay on the Harbor side.
     

    mentos

    Minty fresh happy haunts
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2017
    It's going to come down to how much you're comfortable spending and what kind of utility you get out of the perks, especially since it's easily 3x the price of a Harbor-side hotel.

    The top 2 perks for me are as follows:

    1) Semi-private security check/entrance into DtD + DCA
    --> Great when it's hot or raining (it's shaded and the line tends to be a lot shorter than the Harbor security entrance)

    2) Shortest distance from parks to hotel room
    --> Great for families with small children (less of a sunk time cost when going back to the hotel for a nap)
    --> Great for other adults with mobility issues

    One major downside is, depending on how sensitive you are to sound and where your room is placed, sleeping early may be difficult. The VGC wing/south facing rooms face the garden plaza of DCA and we have had some issues before attempting to nap/sleep early when a band is performing. The rooms are pretty well insulated, but if you hear everything... well, game over.

    All of the other intangibles -- decor, service, etc.. can be relatively duplicated at other 4* hotels nearby (DLH, JW Marriott*, Hilton, Marriott).

    When it's an adult Disney trip, we stay harbor-side or even way off park and take an Uber/Lyft in. When it's a family trip that is short (weekend Fri-Sun), we stay at GCH or DLH to cut back on transit time and maximize time in the park. When it's a long family trip, we stay at a Harbor-side hotel (usually Tropicana Inn and Suites) because transit time has less of an impact.

    Our stays at GCH are a mix of cash + hotels.com credits, as well as a VGC contract that helps reduce the financial "bite" that the hotel tends to give. You can always split-stay, but I find it disruptive to switch hotels midway through a trip.

    *JWM isn't open yet, AFAIK... I can't comment on the pricing or if they have private shuttle service, but an ART shuttle is nearby. Uber/Lyft would still be an option.
     

    travelplanningnerd

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2020
    Prior to our last trip, we stayed on Harbor. The last trip we stayed at GCH and now like everyone else we don't want to stay anywhere else. We booked through Costco and got a few hundred bucks on a Disney gift card which we used on food. While we don't end up with free breakfast and such, we did a grocery order to the room and had walking breakfast for everyone to eat in the park and it worked great. We'll probably try DLH the next time because the kids want to try their pool but for us it's all about the location and easy access.
     

    SarahC97

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 22, 2016
    It's going to come down to how much you're comfortable spending and what kind of utility you get out of the perks, especially since it's easily 3x the price of a Harbor-side hotel.

    The top 2 perks for me are as follows:

    1) Semi-private security check/entrance into DtD + DCA
    --> Great when it's hot or raining (it's shaded and the line tends to be a lot shorter than the Harbor security entrance)

    2) Shortest distance from parks to hotel room
    --> Great for families with small children (less of a sunk time cost when going back to the hotel for a nap)
    --> Great for other adults with mobility issues

    One major downside is, depending on how sensitive you are to sound and where your room is placed, sleeping early may be difficult. The VGC wing/south facing rooms face the garden plaza of DCA and we have had some issues before attempting to nap/sleep early when a band is performing. The rooms are pretty well insulated, but if you hear everything... well, game over.

    All of the other intangibles -- decor, service, etc.. can be relatively duplicated at other 4* hotels nearby (DLH, JW Marriott*, Hilton, Marriott).

    When it's an adult Disney trip, we stay harbor-side or even way off park and take an Uber/Lyft in. When it's a family trip that is short (weekend Fri-Sun), we stay at GCH or DLH to cut back on transit time and maximize time in the park. When it's a long family trip, we stay at a Harbor-side hotel (usually Tropicana Inn and Suites) because transit time has less of an impact.

    Our stays at GCH are a mix of cash + hotels.com credits, as well as a VGC contract that helps reduce the financial "bite" that the hotel tends to give. You can always split-stay, but I find it disruptive to switch hotels midway through a trip.

    *JWM isn't open yet, AFAIK... I can't comment on the pricing or if they have private shuttle service, but an ART shuttle is nearby. Uber/Lyft would still be an option.
    Thanks for the insight! Did you like the Tropicana? That's one I've got my eye on.
     
  • mentos

    Minty fresh happy haunts
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2017
    Thanks for the insight! Did you like the Tropicana? That's one I've got my eye on.
    That’s my go to hotel - it’s not just one of the closest, but the walk has one of the fewest active driveway encounters of the bunch. It’s not a looker on the outside, but the rooms are comfy and recently remodeled. We had enough room to assemble a new stroller in a room entryway.

    The overpriced convenience mart downstairs is helpful.

    EDIT: removed remnants of a different reply
     
    Last edited:

    Bossy22

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 7, 2012
    I would never stay onsite, I just can't justify the huge price tag, especially when they don't even have breakfast! Sure the pools are nice (but we don't swim that much), sure the hotels are nice (but we mainly only sleep there), and sure they are close (we stay just as close if not closer than 2/3). The only real perk for me is the extra hour in the mornings. A nice perk but not for an extra 400 bucks a day!!!
     

    SarahC97

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 22, 2016
    I would never stay onsite, I just can't justify the huge price tag, especially when they don't even have breakfast! Sure the pools are nice (but we don't swim that much), sure the hotels are nice (but we mainly only sleep there), and sure they are close (we stay just as close if not closer than 2/3). The only real perk for me is the extra hour in the mornings. A nice perk but not for an extra 400 bucks a day!!!
    This is how I'm leaning. This is probably our "once in a lifetime trip" to Disneyland, but I still can't justify the price tag at GCH for it.
     

    disneycat321

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 13, 2013
    We are DLR vets and have been to WDW 3x, and stayed on property each time. We would never stay offsite at WDW. We've never stayed onsite at DLR, however. I would *LOVE* to stay at DLH or GCH, but we just haven't been able to swallow the $600+ per night cost. We stayed at YC last summer for $335 a night with the summer discount, and I really think YC has much more of a resort feel than DLH or GCH does. Also, it felt extra worth it since the only way to be able to walk to parks at WDW is to stay deluxe. That short little walk to Epcot was amazing!

    We've stayed at Best Western Park Place Inn, which is right across the street (and right next to Tropicana). It is SUCH a short walk - shorter than YC to the International Gateway. But it is NOT a Disney resort experience. When we go to DLR, we tour very hard and only use the room to sleep and maybe for an afternoon nap, so all we need is a room. BWPPI was perfectly fine for that. It also had a pretty decent breakfast, which we appreciated. WDW is a different experience for us - the trip is longer and we spend much more time at the resort.

    To summarize - I have a hard time paying almost 2x what WDW charges for deluxe for less benefits/something we don't really need.
     
  • mentos

    Minty fresh happy haunts
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2017
    This is how I'm leaning. This is probably our "once in a lifetime trip" to Disneyland, but I still can't justify the price tag at GCH for it.
    oof if it’s your one and only, I’d probably do it.

    But it’s a deeply personal question whether $700 a night is something that a) you’d laugh at for being so high, b) your budget can support with moderate stretching, or c) seems reasonable given the savings.

    there’s also a Peloton bike in the fitness center, if that’s important:rolleyes1
     

    SarahC97

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 22, 2016
    oof if it’s your one and only, I’d probably do it.

    But it’s a deeply personal question whether $700 a night is something that a) you’d laugh at for being so high, b) your budget can support with moderate stretching, or c) seems reasonable given the savings.

    there’s also a Peloton bike in the fitness center, if that’s important:rolleyes1
    Well, if there's a Peloton...LOL

    I mean, we're still a ways out and I think we probably could afford it if we really wanted, but still -- that pricetag is a bit painful to my soul.

    If I'm really being honest, Disneyland Hotel seems more magical to me than GCH, but my husband was out there for a work conference last year and fell in love with GCH, so I think he's got his little heart set on it if we spring for a DL hotel.
     

    mentos

    Minty fresh happy haunts
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2017
    Well, if there's a Peloton...LOL

    I mean, we're still a ways out and I think we probably could afford it if we really wanted, but still -- that pricetag is a bit painful to my soul.

    If I'm really being honest, Disneyland Hotel seems more magical to me than GCH, but my husband was out there for a work conference last year and fell in love with GCH, so I think he's got his little heart set on it if we spring for a DL hotel.
    logistics says GCH is better, but that light up headboard after a long day at the park just rugs at your heartstrings, lol.

    this is what I would do: book GCH, book Tropicana, And put the deadlines in your calendar. Revisit (and recheck pricing) monthly.

    Just drop a reply here we’ll be here to guide you, haha
     

    SarahC97

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 22, 2016
    logistics says GCH is better, but that light up headboard after a long day at the park just rugs at your heartstrings, lol.

    this is what I would do: book GCH, book Tropicana, And put the deadlines in your calendar. Revisit (and recheck pricing) monthly.

    Just drop a reply here we’ll be here to guide you, haha
    Thanks so much!!
     

    mouseknotts

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 19, 2016
    it has been a while since we stayed at any of the resort hotels. Our current go to place is the Tropicana. But we have stayed at each of the resort hotels at least once, and that was before the big price increase. If things stay the same you will be able to enter the park early if you stay at one of the resort hotels, but who knows with the changes coming what the policy will be.
    A once in a life time visit then spending big on one of the hotels can help create those special memories.
    The GCH is very nice and for teens and older a good place to stay if you can swallow the steep price.
    The DLH is the most immersive, the room decorations are very nice if you have small children, and it is a little cheaper that the GCH.
    The Paradise hotel is the least immersive and also the cheapest of the Resort hotels, but personally if that was the only one I could afford of the three I would stay at a hotel on Harbor. The Tropicana is about the same distance from the DL entrance as the DLH but the lines through security can be long.

    You need to determine what is best for you, we find that we spend so little time in the hotel that we would rather spend the bucks inside the park.
    If you go during the holiday time then the GCH is decked out the best.
    Good luck and have fun.
     

    dismsn

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 17, 2004
    We decided to splurge and stayed at the GCH in late February. We used the military discount but a standard view room was still $351 on the weeknights and $419 on Friday & Saturday. Even with the discount, it is a steep price to pay for a hotel room.

    That being said, we had a great time and loved the hotel entrance to DCA, the short security line into Downtown Disney, and the short walk to Disneyland. We also enjoyed early entry into the parks but if you don't go to Disneyland right at early entry time, you could accidentally get stuck in a regular entry line. That was frustrating.

    It was a great location for the Food & Wine Festival but compared to WDW, the festival was a big disappointment. Out of food at many booths the second day and they did a horrible job managing their lines at each booth. I did enjoy a culinary demo and a cocktail class.

    We also splurged on the Chef's Counter at Napa Rose and that was a fun experience we will never forget but you can get that experience without staying there.

    Knowing what I know now, I'm so grateful we were able to take that trip when we did. Thinking about the fun things we did makes me smile while I'm stuck at home.
     

    MillauFr

    Buzz & Woody
    Joined
    Aug 5, 2011
    The question for us is would we rather have one stay at the Grand or two vacations at the Candy Cane Inn. We always figure two vacations is better than one.
     

    SarahC97

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 22, 2016
    The question for us is would we rather have one stay at the Grand or two vacations at the Candy Cane Inn. We always figure two vacations is better than one.
    I think this is probably our only trip to DLR. We live on the east coast so getting out to California is quite difficult for us -- and costly!
     





    Connect

    Disney News and Updates





    SUBSCRIBE TO OUR DAILY EMAIL
    Subscribe and never miss out on Disney News, Deals and Updates.






    Top