Of Disneyland’s three hotels, I know many Disney-lovers prefer the more upscale Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa with its woodsy detailing and grand lobby. Those on a budget might enjoy the beach-themed Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel (or one of Disney’s Good Neighbor hotels). I, however, like the traditional Disney elements of the Disneyland Hotel best. Located at one end of Downtown Disney with a nearby Monorail stop, this hotel feels very much at the center of all things Disney. With its recent remodel, the Disneyland Hotel is better than ever.
Disneyland Hotel D-Ticket Pool
Last summer I named the Disneyland Hotel’s Monorail Slide Pool one of the 10 Best Kid-Friendly Hotel Pools in the USA for its whimsical Monorail-themed waterslides. There are two large slides on which sliders zip through enclosed Monorail tunnels and then spin about before splashing below. There are two mini slides for young children too. This pool is open 11 am – 5 pm daily.
Last weekend, the hotel’s D-Ticket Pool area finished its remodel and opened to the public. While not as fantastical as the Monorail Slide Pool, this traditional pool area is still super fun. One large pool has a loopy shape while a smaller rectangular pool sits beneath a flower-ensconced footbridge. Plenty of complimentary cushy lounge chairs are available. Shaded cabanas with flat-screen TV, Internet access, and refrigerator can be rented at an additional charge.
Both D-Ticket Pools are 4-feet-deep all of the way across. This means there’s no diving and you must keep a close eye on young children whose feet cannot touch the bottom. Children’s life vests as well as disposable swim diapers are available at no charge. The D-Ticket Pools are open 6 am – 10 pm daily.
My family visited on a chilly November day and we were pleased to find the pool heated to a swimmable temperature. If visiting during colder winter months, note that the smaller pool is slightly warmer. Still, I spent most of my time in the toasty whirlpool spa. A second spa decorated with Minnie Mouse ears and bow is available near the Monorail Slide Pool.
Disneyland Hotel “magical” headboard
The Disneyland Hotel keeps the magical feeling of Disney alive without hitting you over the head with cartoon-y decor. Standard rooms are decorated with subtle Disney elements like Mickey Mouse-shaped faucets, white-on-white Mickey-patterned duvet covers, and royal blue fireworks-inspired coverlets.
At the turn of a switch, a fireworks display cut into the headboard comes to light above a carved castle design while the tinkling sound of Sleeping Beauty’s theme song, “Once Upon a Dream” plays. My children delighted in pressing this button again…and again…and again.
I appreciated the little touches, like a magnified makeup mirror in the bathroom and mini bend-able reading lights beside each bed.
Beware of hidden costs at this resort. When my husband called down to ask for a corkscrew and wine glasses, he was told it would cost $15 to have the items delivered to our room. (We opted to stay thirsty.)
The hidden passageway in the Signature Adventure Suite
I am a big fan of booking a suite whenever possible. Having a separate room for the kiddos allows for some post-bedtime privacy and enables better sleep all around. At a more expensive hotel, like the Disneyland Hotel, I would probably opt for a standard room and save my money for the parks. Besides, after a big day riding Teacups and roller-coasters, families are pretty worn out and ready to sleep, no matter how many people are in the room.
If you have a large family, will be visiting with grandparents, or have money to spare, by all means opt for one of the Disneyland Hotel’s one-, two-, or three-bedroom suites. These can sleep up to six people.
Better yet, go all-out and book one of five Signature Suites. Choose from these themes: Pirates of the Caribbean, Mickey Mouse Penthouse, Fairy Tale, Big Thunder, or Adventureland. I got a chance to tour all of these (besides the Fairy Tale Suite, which was booked up) and each would make a wonderful splurge for a big anniversary, birthday, wedding proposal or other celebration. The Adventureland Suite was the favorite amongst my blogger friends (with whom I toured the rooms) for its lush fabrics, safari prints, settee with curtains, and secret passageway behind a faux bookshelf.
There are five restaurants to choose from at the Disneyland Hotel. Goofy’s Kitchen is the place to go for a character meal and all-you-can-eat buffet. Goofy “spills” a bunch of plastic dishes and then encourages children to make music from the mess. Disney characters visit each table for lots of photo opportunities. As with all character meals, only the title character (Goofy) is guaranteed to make an appearance but expect to see the likes of Pluto, the White Rabbit (from Alice in Wonderland), Winnie-the-Pooh, or others here.
For a quick breakfast of coffee, rolls, yogurt, and such head to The Coffee House. There is no indoor seating but you can enjoy your meal at an outdoor table on the patio. (My family opted to camp out on a couch in the lobby during our frosty visit.)
Steakhouse 55 is the fancier sit-down restaurant option at the Disneyland Hotel. This restaurant is open for breakfast if you’re not up for a full character experience but you want something more substantial than what The Coffee House offers. I’d recommend this as a date night restaurant.
The poolside Tangaroa Terrace offers casual island fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus grab-n-go items. I’d love to try the French toast with bacon and banana-caramel sauce some morning, wouldn’t you?!
Trader Sam’s–Enchanted Tiki Room is an old-school tiki bar with appetizers such as Asian chicken wings and Ahi poke, plus tropical drinkies like Krakatoa Punch made with light and dark rums, orange curacao, orgeat syrup, organic agave nectar, and fresh lime juice. Hold onto your hula skirt because you never know when a tropical storm is going to hit…complete with thunder, lightning, and “raining” walls.
What is your favorite aspect of the Disneyland Hotel? Tell us in the comments!
A Note from The Travel Mama: Thank you to Disney for inviting my family to stay at the Disneyland Hotel as part of a media event!