Disneyland Off-Site Hotel Review: Candy Cane Inn

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Candy Cane Inn is a popular Disneyland Good Neighbor hotel, located on Harbor Boulevard. It’s about a 10 minute walk to the Disneyland Esplanade and about a 10 minute walk to the Anaheim Convention Center. This Candy Cane Inn review looks at its quality and value as compared to other Disneyland off-site hotels, and should give you an idea of whether it’s a good option for you.

Much like Alpine Inn, which we also recently reviewed, Candy Cane Inn is a popular pick for Disneyland regulars. Candy Cane Inn advertises itself as a boutique hotel, and while we’ve stayed at plenty of boutique hotels, this is not one of them. Rather, Candy Cane Inn is a 2 to 3-star motel that offers above-average (for the area) accommodations at reasonable prices, and does so in a reasonably nice setting. It doesn’t fit the bill as a boutique hotel because there’s nothing unique or stylized about it–it’s just an ordinary hotel. This isn’t necessary a strike against it, just something to keep in mind so you know what you’re getting. On the plus side, it has a nice location, often reasonable prices, is safe, and generally is a quality place to stay when visiting Disneyland Resort on a budget.

As there are a lot of questions about the best off-site hotels at Disneyland Resort, and because we’ve stayed at a good number of these “walking distance to Disneyland hotels,” we thought we’d put together some quick-hit reviews of each hotel along Harbor Boulevard and Katella Avenue in which we’ve stayed. You can read our overall comparison of the benefits of staying off-site versus on-site in our Where to Stay at Disneyland post.

As mentioned, Candy Cane Inn has a ton of fans and is one of the most popular Disneyland-area hotel for frequent visitors. It’s even the #3 hotel in Anaheim on TripAdvisor! However, as with Alpine Inn, we don’t quite see all of the hype. It’s a really nice hotel, but we don’t quite view it as the #3 hotel, and wouldn’t give it 4.5/5 stars.

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On the plus side, the rooms are clean and very well kept at Candy Cane Inn. Of the walking distance to Disneyland hotels, these rooms are some of the nicest in which we’ve stayed from the perspective of cleanliness and just looking nice. With that said, the rooms are quite dated, with an archaic notch-key (that you have to return) to open the doors, floral bedspreads, and CRT televisions, among other things. Again, it’s all very clean, but it’s not exactly what I’d consider the epitome of luxury traveling. Actually, it reminds me a bit of a guest bedroom at my grandma’s house. Super clean and tidy, but looking like it hasn’t been updated in a few decades.

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The bathrooms are fine, with the typical split between the sink and the shower, which we like.

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This wouldn’t be a problem at all if the pricing were in line with other budget hotels in the area, but it isn’t. We regularly check it as a possible option when we travel to Disneyland, and rates are often $150+ per night, sometimes nearing $200! In doing some random weekday searches for off-season dates right now, I can’t find it for less than $133/night.

In an area where several hotels are sub-$100/night, paying a $30-50 premium for Candy Cane Inn is completely unjustified. Its added quality does not amount to a $30-50/night premium. $10/night, perhaps, but even then you have to factor in the added distance to Candy Cane Inn from the Disneyland Esplanade versus closer (cheaper) options like Del Sol Inn and Desert Inn. Every hotel in Anaheim has high taxes and other fees added, so expect to pay about 25% more than the listed price no matter where you stay.

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Why there are so many fans of Candy Cane Inn is actually a bit unclear to us. The upkeep isn’t that much nicer to justify it, so maybe it’s the flowers? To its credit, Candy Cane Inn does have some nice flowers and a fountain up front, and this does give it a cute and intimate look, but we do not view it as enough of a draw to really make a difference when booking. More like one of those things you pass by and say, “oh, it’s nice that they dressed up the motel a bit with these flowers,” but not something you’d really give a second thought. Maybe that’s just us, though.

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Candy Cane Inn is one “sort of” exception to our general rule that none of the Disneyland off-site hotels are places where we’d want to hang out when not in the parks. The grounds here are okay, and we could see possibly sitting on the park bench or by the pool. It definitely would not be our first or even 101st choice for things to do in Southern California, but it’s not a totally unreasonable idea if you wanted a “chill” day at the hotel. With that said, Candy Cane Inn is a motel, not a resort.

Like the other Good Neighbor Disneyland hotels, it’s best used as a place for sleeping and showering. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that, although we do find it a tad bit troubling that Candy Cane Inn purports to be a boutique hotel. If I read no reviews, didn’t look at any photos, and booked solely based on the “boutique” claims on their website, I’d be irritated. Then again, it’d be partially my own fault for not looking at reviews or photos, from which it’s clear that this is not a boutique hotel! ;)

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Additional amenities are offered, including free parking and a shuttle service to Disneyland, both of which might be very appealing to some guests. Not every Disneyland Good Neighbor offers either of these services. We prefer walking (it’s typically faster) and don’t have a car when visiting Disneyland, so these perks don’t matter to us. Candy Cane Inn also has a pool, free WiFi, fitness center, and guest laundry. A basic, cold-item free continental breakfast is also available in the morning.

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Overall, while nice for what it is and located within walking distance of the Disneyland Esplanade, Candy Cane Inn is sort of in no man’s land for us. It’s more expensive than other similarly-situated hotels, without the level of accommodations to really justify the added price. It’s generally priced above the budget motels, but offers quality lower than the nearby major-label hotels. Chances are, if you’re looking at the Good Neighbor hotels in the first place, you’re doing so because price is a concern, and Candy Cane Inn is sort of an outlier in that regard. With that said, if you can find Candy Cane Inn for less than $125/night, and you like the idea of a slightly upgraded hotel, it is probably worth booking. Otherwise, we really can’t recommend Candy Cane Inn too enthusiastically. It’s nice, but it’s not that nice.

Thinking about booking a stay at Candy Cane Inn? Click here to see the current specials at Candy Cane Inn!

For Disneyland trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Disneyland Trip Planning Guide and related articles.

Your Thoughts…

Have you stayed at Candy Cane Inn? Are you a fan of it? Do you prefer staying off-site or on-site at Disneyland? Please share your thoughts or questions in the comments section below!

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17 Responses to “Disneyland Off-Site Hotel Review: Candy Cane Inn”

  1. Darrin says:

    We have enjoyed our stays at Candy Cane. We just were there in March and they now have key less cards for room entry and flat screen televisions. The no extra charge for parking and internet is also nice. We found the location to be close enough but not too close, that there was never a crowd of people to fight through. The shuttle is a nice feature and we found it nice especially going back to the room. We found the Candy Cane to be similar to our stays at Port Orleans Riverside at Walt Disney World. Thanks for all your reviews and wonderful photos.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Thanks for the info on the update! Maybe it’s time for us to make a return visit to inspect. Did you notice any other updates?

  2. Sarah says:

    Hi Tom,

    I really enjoy reading all your posts. They have been immensely helpful, as I am a Disney newbie. I have never been to DL but am planning to run the Tinkerbell Half May 2015 (never too early to begin planning, esp. with registration in August ’14!!). I have really been leaning towards the Tropicana (price point is average for a GN hotel and they list a short walk). Any thoughts on Tropicana or the *best* hotel for convenience? I want a decent stay, but will likely travel alone and probably only for the race weekend, so I’m not concerned about spending too much $ and don’t plan on doing more than sleeping/showering at the hotel.

    Any tips on transportation for staying off-site?

    Thanks!! :) Again, the blog is great-you and Sarah are my go-to site for WDW (and hopefully DL in the near future too!!)

  3. Jason says:

    While I agree that the CCI isn’t a boutique hotel, it’s definitely one of my favorites. I love sitting by the pool in the morning having breakfast and enjoying the music. I think it’s a bit of an understatement to say they put out some flowers. The grounds are manicured to perfection and are beautiful. I find the CCI to be very charming and am actually a little disappointed that they’re sold out for our next visit and I have to stay someplace different.

    With price, I have never paid more than $129 a night since you get a $10 a night discount for being an Annual Pass holder and an additional $10 for being a repeat guest. I definitely prefer the Candy Cane over the Park Place or the Fairfield Inn. I would say that my Disneyland #1 pick is tied between Hilton and the Candy Cane. (Not counting Disneyland Hotel that is!)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Fair point about the flowers. I guess they didn’t really make an impact on me, as I didn’t really notice anything special about them while we were there. It wasn’t until we got back that I noticed a lot of flowers in my photos, and mention of it on the Candy Cane Inn website.

      Thanks for sharing your rankings. I like Fairfield Inn, although that’s another one that often has higher prices, I’ve noticed.

  4. Richelle says:

    We just got back from DL 2 weeks ago & stayed at the Tropicana. It is about as short of a walk as you can get. It isn’t anything special but it was clean, updated, & comfortable. The fridge & microwave in the room were very nice as we made a grocery stop. They do charge for parking but we didn’t have a car so that didn’t matter to us. We got a great rate thru the hotels website under their special deals. Before taxes, I think it was $89/ night. I would recommend it to others who plan to spend the majority of their time in the parks.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      $89/night for the Tropicana? Nice! That’s been on our list for a while, but we haven’t seen it at that attractive of a price point yet. Thanks for the feedback! :)

  5. Sheryl says:

    We stayed at Candy Cane in 2007 and loved it. We paid less than $100 a night back then so we felt it was a value for what we got. You review is spot on. I have enjoyed your reviews and would probably try one of your most recommended places next time. I wonder if the CCI prices have gone up due to the popularity on trip adviser and other sites. Thanks again for these reviews!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      For <$100/night, it is DEFINITELY worth it. If it can be had for that price now, I’d highly recommend it. The tough thing about these reviews is that they’re dependent on price (for good reason, as that’s why most people choose off-site over Disneyland Hotel or the Grand Californian), which does vary. With that said, I’m guessing the prices have spiked since 2007, due to both popularity and an overall rise in Disneyland Resort attendance. I’ve noticed prices everywhere creeped up a bit when Cars Land opened.

  6. Howell says:

    We have stayed at this hotel twice. We get a room even when we’re staying with friends in Orange County so there’s a place to take a quick dip in a pool or a nap mid-day. It always feels like a great value, the rooms and the grounds are charming and immaculate. It’s not the Grand Californian, where we usually stay, but it’s also not $350 a night.

  7. Melissa says:

    I am a fan of the Candy Cane Inn as my offsite hotel choice. Among the other things mentioned, they also had a hot tub you could go in late at night, which isn’t always possible at other hotels. That said, the pool/hot tub are far enough away from the rooms so you do not hear the noise.

    Found your website looking for info on TDR and really enjoying it!

  8. Susan says:

    Candy Cane is our non-disneyland resort go to, and I think a lot of the fans are SoCal residents like us. Passholders and return customers always get a discount that helps to lower the cost. Another thing is that some other walking distance motels make guests move their cars at check out time even if they’re planning to go back to the parks, and Candy Cane does not. Customer service there is also always top notch.

  9. The grounds, pool, and breakfast are so much better than cheaper hotels especially the Del Sol that you mentioned. Easily worth $30-$50 more per night.

  10. April says:

    We recently booked the Candycane Inn for a trip we are taking Mid September. After taxes and fees it was just under $1000 for seven night stay (not bad). Thanks for your great reviews!!!

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