This guide to accommodations near Disneyland ranks the 10 best hotels within walking distance of the parks, weighs pros & cons of staying off-site or on-site, perks of choosing an official DLR hotel, plus staying in Anaheim vs. beach cities or Los Angeles for California vacations. (Updated August 3, 2023.)
When Disneyland vacation planning, there are a ton of options: Good Neighbor Hotels, Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier Hotel, Grand Californian Hotel, or one of the cheaper hotels on Harbor Boulevard? We regularly tour and stay in hotels near Disneyland, and update this post regularly with thoughts on the benefits and drawbacks of hotels around Disneyland.
This post narrows down the literally hundreds of hotels near Disneyland to our favorites. If you’re looking for something more comprehensive that covers all of our Anaheim hotel experiences, including hotel room photos, pros & cons, and a numerical score for each hotel, check out our Disneyland/Anaheim Hotel Review & Rankingslist. It’s very long, but thorough!
If you’re booking at the last minute, we’d instead recommend using the Hotel Tonight app for maximum savings. Along those lines, Priceline Express Deals can offer better last-minute savings if you don’t mind using a ‘blind booking’ site. However, we’d caution against (voluntarily) booking at the last minute if you’re traveling during peak seasons–pretty much any holiday weeks or times school is out of session. Last minute reservations are a great option for saving more, but only during the off-season and slower times of the year.
Even during slower seasons, you should be mindful of the Anaheim Convention Center schedule of events. When there’s not an event in Anaheim, there’s a surplus of hotel rooms, and prices fall. When a big event is being held at the ACC, there aren’t enough hotel rooms within walking distance, and prices absolutely skyrocket. We’re talking $400 per night for hotels that are normally $150!
We have consistently seen this play out year after year for almost the last decade. (The worst was back when runDisney races coincided with conventions!) This happens so consistently that it’s not as much a prediction as it is an inevitability. If you don’t believe us, hedge your bets by reserving something that’s refundable to see if prices fall later.
With that out of the way, we will start off with our favorite hotels near Disneyland in a variety of categories, and then discuss the reasons to stay on-site versus the big advantage of staying off-site…
Top 10 Hotels Near Disneyland
We’ve stayed at every on-site Disneyland hotel and most of the Good Neighbor Disneyland hotels and other off-site hotels within walking distance of the Disneyland Esplanade. Thus far, we’ve reviewed over 50 of these. One thing we really want to stress is that not all hotels near Disneyland are equal.
Many are relics from a different era when most of the hotels near Disneyland were shady motels that thrived simply due to their location and the fact that people would book them regardless. We’ve stayed at many of these, and have had some downright creepy experiences.
Other hotels near Disneyland are brand new, built during a huge construction boom that began post-Cars Land and continues to this day, and will likely for years to come now with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Avengers Campus (Marvel Land), and more being built. While these hotels tend to be a bit pricier, they also are considerably nicer. Along those same lines, many older motels have been renovated in the last several years, elevating their quality.
With that said, here are our favorite hotels near Disneyland, along with the strengths of each hotel. Since there are huge variances in pricing, we’ve broken this list down into great value for money options (most of which are around $150 per night) and excellent luxury options, which typically start at over $250 per night. Clicking the name of each hotel will open our full review in a new tab (which includes room photos and more), so click away!
Many of our favorite hotels near Disneyland can be booked via Get Away Today at a discount. If you bundle tickets into your hotel stay, you’ll get an even better deal. You can check package prices here.
This list should be great for families looking to be close to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure without breaking the bank. All of the above hotels are within walking distance, but some are really close. Others make the list for their modern amenities, more spacious rooms, and other features. Basically, something for everyone–except those wanting true luxury or distinctly Disney accommodations.
There are not other off-site luxury hotels in Anaheim. Honestly, even calling the Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance “luxury” might be a stretch. It’s an incredibly nice family-friend hotel that has great rooms and amenities–like a water park–but it isn’t your prototypical luxury-caliber hotel. (Hence the “Courtyard” branding.)
You might find lists of 4-star or AAA Diamond hotels that include The Viv Anaheim Tribute Portfolio Hotel, The Anaheim Hotel, Anaheim Marriott, Sheraton Park Hotel, or Hilton Anaheim. All of those are really nice (except The Anaheim Hotel), but The Viv is really far from the parks and the others are slightly-dated and closer to the Anaheim Convention Center. None of them are on par with the above trio or Disney-branded options below.
Okay, so there are only three Disney-branded or owned hotels near Disneyland. It might be a stretch to call a list of two-thirds of the hotels a ‘best of’ list…but it is. The big thing you need to know is that Pixar Place Hotel (formerly known as Paradise Pier Hotel) is not worth the money. Some diehard Disneyland fans who are blinded by nostalgia will try to convince you otherwise. Don’t believe them.
No matter the price points of this trio of hotels, Pixar Place Hotel is not worth it. This isn’t to say that the Grand Californian Hotel or Disneyland Hotel necessarily are–they can be quite expensive and cost-prohibitive for most travelers. But Pixar Place Hotel is never worth the money. It’s literally a third party tower hotel from the 1980s that Disney bought and decorated with Pixar characters. The Hyatt Place Hotel down the street is nicer, and at a fraction of the cost.
By contrast, the other two are expensive, but can be worth it for some people depending upon their budgets, circumstances, and priorities. We far prefer the Grand Californian, but that’s largely a matter of taste and its location. For a point-by-point comparison, see Disneyland Hotel vs. Grand Californian.
If you’re still having trouble deciding, we recommend contacting a fee-free Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. They can help choose the option that’s right for your family. Just don’t believe them if they try to recommend Pixar Place Hotel! 😉
Hope this list of the best hotels near Disneyland helps narrow down your decision! If you’re still debating whether to stay off-site or on-site, here are the pros and cons of each…
Reasons to Stay On-Site
Environment – For us, the most compelling reason for staying on-site is that staying in a Disney-owned hotel keeps you fully immersed in that “magical” Disney environment. Many people discuss liking to be inside the “Disney Bubble” when on vacation, and at Disneyland, that’s only possible at the Disney-owned hotels.
They each have their own restaurants, Disney details, and can generally be accessed without seeing the rest of the “real” world. You won’t see Denny’s or Coldstone Ice Cream as you head directly from the Grand Californian Hotel right into its theme park entrance. You won’t find theming to a lavishly-designed arts & crafts style lodge or a monorail pool at the off-site hotels, either.
For some people, this is a big deal. For others, it’s not. If this does not matter to you, there’s honestly zero reason to pay a significant premium for a Disney hotel. They’re significantly more expensive, and don’t offer an advantage in terms of perks or proximity to the parks. If this does matter to you, strongly consider a Disney hotel.
While we tend to side with those who want to be immersed in the Disney Bubble as much as possible, that is not practical for us. Due to the high cost of the three official Disneyland hotels, we usually stay off-site at Disneyland in the hotels right across from Disneyland Resort on Harbor Boulevard.
If there was less of a price gap or Disney hotels offered more perks, that might tip the scales for us, but it’s so hard to justify paying an extra $300+ per night to stay in a Disney hotel just for the bubble. Your mileage may vary on that, though.
Perks – As compared to Walt Disney World, there are not as many perks of staying at Disney-owned hotels beyond the themed design and proximity to the parks. Other than that, the primary benefit is Early Entry. This is offered at both theme parks every single day, and gives on-site resort guests 30-minute access to the parks before they open officially to the general public each day.
Cost – What’s the saying? “Money talks.” Disneyland doesn’t have Value Resorts. Rack rates start at around $300 per night for both Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and can exceed $600/night. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa is crazy-expensive (think of it as the sister resort of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa), exceeding $800/night during many times of the year.
During the busiest times of the year at Disneyland, rooms in these hotels can cost much more. Just check out the rates for a summer weekend in the graphic above. Those are starting rates for a standard room. If you want a suite or something special, you’re paying even more! Unfortunately, Disneyland has a serious shortage of on-site hotel rooms, so prices are often in exorbitant territory.
By contrast, off-site hotel rooms near Disneyland, are not nearly as expensive–and many of them are actually closer you the parks! These hotels can be a ~10 minute walk to the parks and priced around $150/night, making them ‘value’ options, of sorts.
Note that off-site hotels can creep up in price, too. The hotel shortage in the area even impacts off-site prices during tourist seasons (think any time school is out of session), as well as when there is an event at the Anaheim Convention Center. For this reason, we recommend booking a hotel near Disneyland far in advance most of the time. (Exceptions to this are the off-season, such as late August through early October and January through early March–last minute bargains can be found then.)
Distance to the Parks – The most compelling reason is that you can typically find an off-site hotel that is closer to Disneyland Resort than an on-site hotel. Sort of makes the terms off-site and on-site misnomers, right? Although Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa is the closest hotel to Disneyland Resort, there are several hotels directly across the street from Disneyland Resort’s Esplanade (the open area between the two parks) that are a five minute walk to the turnstiles.
Even if you’re hotel does happen to be further from the Esplanade than Disneyland Hotel or Paradise Pier Hotel (which are both around 10-15 minutes away), there’s still a good chance your hotel will be within walking distance. You can–and should–easily be able to book a hotel within walking distance from Disneyland. Even if for some reason you book a hotel that isn’t within walking distance, chances are you can cheaply get to it via a hotel shuttle that it offers, or the Anaheim Resort Transit.
Since Disneyland can’t meet all of the needs of guests with its three hotels, Disneyland has a better working relationship with many “Good Neighbor Hotels” in the area. Due to the difference in pricing, Disneyland Resort does not even consider the off-site hotels competition (most people are not choosing between a $600/night room at the Grand Californian and a $125/night room at Alpine Inn!); this is unlike the Value Resorts at Walt Disney World, which are direct competition to the off-site hotels in Florida. Because of this, Disneyland tries to work with off-site hotels instead of competing with them.
Few On-Site Benefits – If you’re a Walt Disney World regular who stays on site there for the perks offered there to on-site guests, don’t expect anything comparable at Disneyland. There are no Extended Evening Hours or priority booking window for Individual Lightning Lanes. Walking is the best way to get to Disneyland, so the transportation system at Disneyland isn’t as important.
The upside to the lack of perks for on-site hotels at Disneyland Resort is that they are not really needed in the first place. The entire Anaheim Resort District (which includes Disneyland Resort and the off-site hotels) is far more compact than Walt Disney World, and is fairly easy to navigate entirely by foot. Moreover, Disneyland has that laid back “Californian” atmosphere, and requires far less planning, in general.
Best Hotels Beyond Disneyland
Obviously, this is a post titled “Best Hotels Near Disneyland” and touts the many options within walking distance of the parks. So it probably doesn’t make sense to list options that are outside of Anaheim and require a rental car or rideshare to reach.
Nevertheless, many people doing Disneyland are visiting as part of a bigger picture California vacation, and may also include Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, Los Angeles, beach cities, or other destinations within Southern California. The good news is that Anaheim is a pretty centralized location, and easy access to I-5 makes it a breeze to reach everywhere on that list so long as you don’t encounter traffic.
Montage Laguna Beach – Our favorite hotel in Southern California–incredibly expensive, and inconvenient to DLR/LA.
Turning back to Disneyland to wrap this up, there are a lot of selling points for the off-site hotels in Anaheim. They are cheaper, can be just as close to the parks, and offer most of the same perks as on-site Disney-owned hotels with the very big exception of early access. The actual biggest reason to stay in a Disney-owned hotel at Disneyland is if you want the Disney theming and environment.
For some, myself included, this is a big part of the experience of visiting the Disney theme parks. However, when that aspect of the experience is so costly, we’ll usually stay off-site. The cost difference and lack of on-site perks is a lot to overlook. While we always stay on-site at Walt Disney World, the off-site accessibility to Disneyland and the comparative lack of perks for staying on-site makes staying on-site at Disneyland less appealing. With that said, if your cost is no issue or you really want to splurge, then you can’t go wrong with Disneyland Hotel or the Grand Californian, both of which are fantastic.
If you’re still unsure of where to stay, we’d encourage you to read our full post that Ranks & Reviews Hotels Near Disneyland.In these reviews, you can see photos of the rooms and the premises, plus our analysis of whether each hotel is worth staying at, to whom it will appeal, and what our ideal nightly price point is for each hotel. We think these reviews will be really helpful if you’re thinking of booking a hotel near Disneyland.
Do you normally stay on-site or in a nearby off-site hotel at Disneyland Resort? Which hotel in Anaheim is your favorite? Any hotels you don’t recommend? Has your opinion on off-site v. on-site changed since Cars Land opened in Disney California Adventure? Any questions? Hearing from readers is both helpful and interesting, so please share your thoughts in the comments!