It is common knowledge that Disneyland is smaller than Disney World; however, this is not necessarily a bad thing. I recently returned from a short action packed Disneyland training adventure. Although it was strange going alone, I quickly got caught up in the magic, put on my pretty blue sparkly ears and took to exploring the parks and hotels between classes.
I’m SO ready to go back already. Several times I teared up at the nostalgia of things I have seen and things I have heard about from stories from my mom about Walt Disney. Time was not on my side to take the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour; however it is now on my bucket-list.
Disneyland is very different in many ways from Disney World. It is a whole other park system! The upgrades and refurbishments over the years have not taken from any nostalgia; in fact, they have enhanced it.
The Disneyland Resort consists of Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure (DCA) and three official hotels. The park gates are across from each other with Downtown Disney (yes, they call it Downtown Disney) between the park gates and the onsite resorts.
But why Disneyland?
I’m glad you asked. We get many people asking many questions about starting their vacation planning and Disneyland may be the perfect choice if you have:
A strict budget or a short amount of vacation time, if you want to enjoy the Parks and you find ‘the World’ overwhelming
Since Disneyland is smaller, not as much time is needed to see and enjoy many of the attractions. Disneyland does not have as many table service restaurants, but they do have many yummy quick service locations and snack places. They pack a lot of great attractions into a small space so we still recommend allowing at least three full days unless you're only interested in focusing on those attractions that are different than Disney World.
Disneyland is Great When You Have Younger kids
Getting back to and forth to the hotel for naptime is easy, and Disneyland has more of the short, slow ‘dark-type’ rides (think Peter-Pan ride).
Disneyland is Great For Teenagers
Everything is close enough to get them some Mickey Ears and send them off. The new Guardians of the Galaxy Tower (previously Tower of Terror)....seriously, it is fun. Better yet, this is just the beginning; Disneyland is expanding the Marvel Universe into Disney California Adventure with new, immersive experiences that will open in 2020. Click here for more information.
This age group enjoys the higher intensity rides like the Incredicoaster, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Star Tours but they can also be surprisingly nostalgic about the Disney and Pixar characters and movies they grew up with.
Disneyland is Great For a quick getaway with Airline Options
You can fly into LAX (Los Angeles International) or SNA (John Wayne Orange County) and we can set up transportation for you. There is a fee with the Disneyland Express airport transportation, that varies depending on which airport you use.
Disneyland is Great For HUGE Cars fan
Disney’s California Adventure Park is the home of Cars Land, a replica of Radiator Springs, the cutest little town in Carburetor County. You’re there! Visit Flo’s V-8 Café or the Cozy Cone for a snack and join Lightening McQueen for a race through the canyon!
The Disneyland onsite hotels!
Hotels are abundant around Disneyland and there is no way to describe all of them. All of our agents have stayed both onsite and offsite at the parks and we each have our favorite offsite hotels. For the purpose of time, space, and strong opinions, I’m sticking to the onsite hotels in this article.
The onsite hotels at Disneyland would best be described as one moderate and two deluxes. They each have onsite restaurants and pools, and are each within walking distance to the entrance of the parks. There is a monorail at Disneyland; however, at this time it goes from the center of Downtown Disney into Disneyland Park. It is considered an attraction and you will need to scan your park ticket. It is faster to walk to the park gate!
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa - more of a Deluxe, located closest to the 2 parks, special designated Disney’s California Adventure park entrance. It sports a rustic, calming woodsy-theme. You may find Chip and Dale hiding within the artwork!
Enjoy Mickey's Tales of Adventure Character Breakfast at Storyteller's Cafe with delicious selections offered at their all-you-care-to-eat Farmer's Market Buffet.
Disneyland Hotel - moderate, Disney Parks themed. Here you will find wonderful throwback art, such as small models of characters you will find in your favorite Disney attractions, or photos of Walt walking through the park.
Goofy’s Kitchen at Disneyland Hotel offers two character dining options: Goofy's Good Morning Giggles Breakfast and Disney Dinnertime Magic. Pick your favorites from their five buffet servings stations!
Paradise Pier Hotel - moderate, Disney cartoon meets beach themed. This hotel is simple, bright, and fun-themed.
Donald Duck's Seaside Breakfast at at PCH Grill at Paradise Pier has delicious food served buffet style and lots of character interactions!
Nap time or mid-day rest? No problem! A quick 10-15 minute walk is all it takes to even the farthest of the hotels from the park entrance. No need to wait at a bus stop or to hike across the vast lot from the bus to the park. Each hotel has a pool with a waterslide, too!
Good Neighbor Hotels - Disneyland partners with many area hotels that include both chain and boutique hotel offerings that appeal to all kinds of budgets. Good Neighbor packages include one extra magic hour where you can enter a Disney theme park ahead of the crowds.
Don't Miss Out On Great Experiences At Disneyland!
You are probably beginning to see how helpful and valuable it would be to have someone who really knows and loves Disneyland help with your trip. Did you know that our travel agents that specialize in Disneyland add a lot of value to your experience without costing you any extra? When you book through us, you receive advice and information to help make your trip a wonderful and memorable time as well as a handy guidebook or online subscription (your choice) at no cost to you that will help you stay ahead of crowds and out of long lines. We book both Disney and non-Disney hotels and we love helping our clients have a great trip. Contact us today with your questions or to get a free, no-obligation quote.
A Poem About the Disneyland Hotels
Disneyland onsite resorts,
So far there are three.
All with-in walking distance
You will see.
So shiny and bright
If you guessed a surf theme
You’re probably right!
The name gives homage to a land,
Which is no longer the same.
Pixar Pier in California Adventure
Isn’t that why you came?
The next one is my fave.
Its origins are true
If you like Disney History
Disneyland Hotel is for you!
Consists of three towers:
Fantasy, Adventure, and Frontier
Trader Sam’s, a monorail pool,
And even Dole Whips are found here!
Stunning details adorn the lobbies
Of Walt’s Era and Imagineer art
Themed-music rocks you to sleep
For a great park morning start.
Grand Californian is a hit
If Disney’s Grand Floridian
And Wilderness Lodge were to merge,
This hotel would be it!
This deluxe hotel, nearest to the parks
Shortest walking distance
And California Adventure
Has its own special entrance.
There you have it,
The DL onsite three
Another one is coming
Soon we will see.
About the author - Toni Scott is a travel agent specializing in theme park vacations and is an expert in helping her clients plan wonderful and memorable Disneyland vacations.