Paradise Pier Hotel Review

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Paradise Pier Hotel is an official Disney hotel at Disneyland Resort with a 4-star rating, themed to a beachside boardwalk of the 1920s. It’s typically the least-expensive of the three official Disneyland Resort hotels, but it’s also the farthest from the park, and offers the least in terms of style and amenities. This review features photos of the Paradise Pier Hotel guest rooms and common areas, plus my thoughts on the hotel, and whether I’d recommend it.

Some people are fans of Paradise Pier Hotel. I am not one of those people. In fact, I honestly figured we’d never have a review of the hotel because I refused to pay anywhere near rack rate at this hotel and the type of insane deal necessary to convince me to stay here seemed unlikely. By stroke of luck, a family member of ours happened to get bumped from Disneyland Hotel for a recent convention and ended up at Paradise Pier Hotel, so we joined her for part of the stay. Hence this review.

The good news is that the experience at Paradise Pier Hotel was better than I expected. The bad news is that my expectations were incredibly low, and I still don’t recommend the place. It’s a nice-enough hotel, but it simply doesn’t offer good value.

Why is my opinion of Paradise Pier Hotel low? Well…how much time do you have? ;) (more…)

Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel Review: Hotel Menage

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Hotel Menage is a Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel located about 12 minutes from the parks near the I-5 freeway. The hotel aims for trendy and chic, and succeeds somewhat. This review features photos of the hotel, plus thoughts about our experience of staying here.

Let’s start the review by covering the location. With it being only a 12 minute walk from Disney California Adventure and Disneyland, the location is pretty solid on paper. It’s essentially right across the street from the HoJo Anaheim, both of which the I-5 freeway runs past. For those unfamiliar with the 5, it’s a major highway running through Orange County, which right away should raise concerns about noise. I never had any trouble sleeping or really noticed the sounds of the freeway, but light sleepers might want to think twice about booking this hotel, just the same. Likewise, when walking to the park, you have to cross the I-5 on and off ramps. There are pedestrian traffic signals here, but it still seems like a bit of a sketchy intersection.

Hotel Menage is one of the 39 Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels, meaning you could book it as part of a vacation package if you so desired (although if you choose to do that, you’re going to pay an inflated rate). It’s nice hotel that would earn that distinction regardless of location. You can get an idea of how it stacks up to the competition, plus our overall comparison of the benefits of staying off-site versus on-site in our Where to Stay at Disneyland post.

So what are the pros and cons of staying at Hotel Menage? Let’s take a look… (more…)

Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel Review: Anaheim Marriott

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Anaheim Marriott is a Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel within walking distance of the parks, and a few hundred yards from the Convention Center. In terms of quality and amenities, it’s one of the nicest hotels in this part of Orange County, California. This review features photos of the hotel, plus thoughts about our experience of staying here. It’s not going to be a hotel for everyone, but for a certain segment of Disneyland visitors and, more importantly, Anaheim Convention Center guests, this is going to be a great option.

As is the case with all of these hotels, let’s start with distance to the parks. Given its proximity to the Anaheim Convention Center, if you’re familiar with the area, you probably realize it’s not as close to the parks as the hotels right across the street on Harbor Boulevard. It’s actually located past Katella, on Convention Center Way, which is a loop containing a handful of major names. During our stay, I exclusively walked to and from the Anaheim Marriott, and each time it was about a 15 minute walk. It’s just under a mile away and although there’s the ART bus that can get you to Disneyland, it might be a bit far for those who like to walk.

In terms of demographic, I think it’s probably catering just as much to business travelers and convention-goers as it is to those visiting Disneyland. The business travelers coming to Anaheim who are loyal to Marriott are likely going to stay here, and then it’s one of the best options in terms of proximity to the Anaheim Convention Center. Still, it ranks as one of the better overall hotels among the 39 Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels due to its amenities and overall room quality. If those things matter to you and distance isn’t as important, this should definitely be a strong candidate for you. You can get an idea of how it stacks up to the competition, plus our overall comparison of the benefits of staying off-site versus on-site in our Where to Stay at Disneyland post.

Now let’s take a look at what I’m going to call the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Anaheim Marriott… (more…)

Hotel New York Review

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Hotel New York is a hotel at Disneyland Paris, designed by Michael Graves and occupying the top tier of Disney hotels at the resort. This review features room photos from the hotel, along with thoughts on its quality and my experience of staying at the hotel. Hotel New York is about a 10 minute walk from Disneyland Paris, making it the second-closest hotel to the parks after Disneyland Hotel. With regard to class, Disney categorizes it as a “4 keys/stars” hotel, making it the second highest priced and second nicest in terms of their tiering.

Of late, there has been a rise in theme park lands that give guests the opportunity to step into their favorite stories, and be an active “participant” in the scene. With the hit 1990s sitcom Friends recently finding a brand new audience via Netflix, I think now is the time for Hotel New York to really cash in and be the first hotel that allows guests to step into the story. There is (probably) a huge segment of the population that pines for the opportunity to set foot in Central Perk, dance in a fountain with their BFFs while The Rembrandts play in the background, and otherwise partake in the golden age of the Big Apple: 1994. Marketing genius that I am, if I were in charge of Disneyland Paris, I would change the name of Hotel New York to “Friends Season 1: The Hotel.” Now, I realize Hotel New York’s design actually dates before 1994, but I think it can pass for that glorious era.

This would obviate the need to update this woefully dated hotel, and hit that huge niche of people who want to go back in time and be a part of that amazing time in the Big Apple for those mischievous friends. Change the name on the marquee, maybe offer some Central Perk brand coffee, have the male Cast Members die their hair like Gunther and the female CMs get “The Rachel” haircut, and call it a day. Done and done. Maybe there could even be some Seinfeld tie-ins. Pirate shirts in lieu of robes in every closet!

In all seriousness, the datedness of this hotel is its principle problem, in my eyes. Judging by TripAdvisor reviews, almost none of which mention this issue (with most being resoundingly positive), perhaps I’m more sensitive to it than other travelers.

You can judge for yourself if you think the datedness of the hotel is a big deal in the photos here, but know they only tell part of the story… (more…)

Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel Review: Park Vue Inn

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Park Vue Inn is literally the closest hotel to Disneyland, and it’s pretty nice as far as the nearby hotels go. This review features photos of the hotel, plus thoughts about our experience of staying here. If you’ve been to Disneyland, you’ve probably seen Park Vue Inn before…it’s the hotel directly across the street that has a Cold Stone Creamery attached to it.

For a while, I’ve touted Anaheim Desert Inn & Suites, calling it my favorite off-site hotel because of its combination of distance, price point, and decent-enough quality for commando trips to Disneyland. Well, Park Vue Inn has replaced it as my #1 pick. It rivals some of the nicer Convention Center hotels in terms of quality, while being extremely close. It’s tough to appropriately categorize Park Vue Inn: like the other hotels on Harbor, it probably could be called a budget, but Park Vue Inn describes itself as a boutique hotel (I guess that explains the chic spelling of “Vue” in the name), and given what it offers and the iconic mission-inspired architecture, I’m inclined to call it a “moderate” hotel.

Let’s start with the location. When I say it’s literally the closest hotel to Disneyland, I mean it. The walk is less than 10 minutes from the hotel to the turnstiles at Disneyland, which makes it closer than every single on-site hotel, including the Grand Californian (although the Grand Californian is closer to Disney California Adventure, so perhaps this is a bit of a technicality). Another caveat is that whether it or Best Western Park Place Inn or Park Vue Inn is closer is really a question of which room you get. Again, minor detail.

I think all of the hotels in that cluster right across the street are “close enough” in terms of distance, as there are several that are about 10-12 minutes away, and it’s not really worth paying a premium to save 2 minutes, so in this case, it really comes down to quality and price, and Park Vue Inn excels in at least one of these regards. Although it’s not listed as one of the 39 Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels, Park Vue Inn is a Good Neighbor Hotel–they just don’t participate in the vacation packages through Disneyland. Regardless, it’s nice hotel that would earn that distinction regardless of location. You can get an idea of how it stacks up to the competition, plus our overall comparison of the benefits of staying off-site versus on-site in our Where to Stay at Disneyland post.

So what are the pros and cons of staying at Park Vue Inn? Let’s take a look… (more…)

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel Review

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Tokyo Disneyland Hotel is a luxury hotel at Tokyo Disney Resort just outside Tokyo Disneyland. This review features photos of guest rooms, views, and common areas, plus thoughts on the hotel in general and whether it’s worth the money. With its Victorian theme, luxurious style, and location a short walk from the most popular Disney theme park in the world, this would be the flagship Disney hotel anywhere else in the world. At Tokyo Disney Resort, it’s often overshadowed by Hotel MiraCosta (read our Hotel MiraCosta Review), which is actually located inside Tokyo DisneySea. Rooms in Tokyo Disneyland Hotel start at around $300/night, and go up depending upon the view, season, and number of guests (see this rate chart).

The view pictured above is from our room at Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, and while this view was absolutely stunning, it is not the norm. We were incredibly lucky with our room location, and because Tokyo Disneyland Hotel is located farther back from the park than its counterpart, Hotel MiraCosta, and because the roofed World Bazaar is fairly tall, many rooms–even those that face the park–offer little in terms of view.

I mention this from the outset because I think view might be the biggest consideration for those contemplating a hotel at Tokyo Disney Resort, and Tokyo Disneyland Hotel simply isn’t as consistently good as Hotel MiraCosta in this regard. If you get lucky or book one of the rooms that’s sure to have a great view, Tokyo Disneyland Hotel is definitely an incredible experience, though. If you’re trying to do Tokyo Disney Resort on a budget, there are great monorail loop hotels offering excellent views at a fraction of the cost of Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.

If you set aside the view, Tokyo Disneyland Hotel is arguably the best hotel at Tokyo Disney Resort… (more…)