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Disney Hotels vs Good Neighbor Hotels

Good Morning! 

This week since I am so late in posting, I have added a bonus Disney Dining secret at the bottom of this post! 

Looking tips on the best places to stay around the Disneyland Resort? Look no further, we've got you covered!! 

First things first - is it better to stay on property or off property? 

Disneyland currently has three hotels on property (with a 4th one coming soon!): The Grand Californian, The Disneyland Hotel, and The Paradise Pier Hotel. The Grand Californian is built between California Adventure and Downtown Disney, providing quick access to shopping and a private entrance into the park! The Disneyland Hotel and The Paradise Pier Hotel both have Downtown Disney access, with the Disneyland Hotel being the closer of the two. 

As far as on-property hotels go, I have only ever stayed at the Grand Californian, and while it was DEFINITELY an amazing experience, it was probably one of those stays that won't happen very often. The reason? Price. Staying at Disneyland's on-property hotels can get extremely expensive! That price is totally worth it to many people, and I can understand that it if you are using all of the amenities the hotel has to offer. The pools are amazing, and they have a variety of amenities such as a spa, a work out room, and a kids club! The rooms are beautiful, clean and comfortable, and if you get the right rooms, you can have an AMAZING view of the park! We watched World of Color from our hotel balcony, and it was really neat! You are also extremely close to the parks, so at the end of the night you don't have to make a huge trek to your room, and you can send your purchases straight to the hotel so you don't have to carry them around all day. There are definitely perks to staying on property at Disneyland! 

Here are some pictures of the Hotel from our stay in 2016!

Beautiful view from our hotel room right after World of Color

Look at those beautiful stained-glass doors! 

Jack about to head into the pool! Those chairs were SO comfy!

Water slide at the hotel's main pool!

In the lobby, they have set up a bunch of child-sized chairs with adult-sized chairs behind them. Not pictured: a little TV playing Disney movies so the kids have something to do while waiting for Mom & Dad to check in!

However, if you are like my family, we spend as much time as we possibly can in the parks, and really only hang out in the hotel at night or during the occasional mid-day nap. While having the hotel so close was wonderful, the price wasn't really worth what we got out of our stay. We typically stay at a "Good Neighbor Hotel", which are designated hotels in the Disneyland area that have partnered with Disneyland, and offer ticket packages to the parks when you reserve rooms. These hotels are either within walking distance or provide a free shuttle to and from the parks! I have heard pretty good reviews about most of the Good Neighbor Hotels, but I have only ever stayed in a few. My favorite ones are the Desert Palms Hotel and Suites and the Anaheim Fairfield Inn! 

The Desert Palms Hotel and Suites is within walking distance of the parks. It is .5 miles away, on the exact same block - basically tucked right behind California Adventure. You have a great view of the back of the Collectors Tower (Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout!) from here! The hotel is very clean and offers a continental breakfast. We have stayed here twice, as the suites have been perfect when we travel with my grandma and only want to pay for one hotel room. The walk is a bit far some days, but this hotel is far enough that they offer a free shuttle to the parks! 

This is apparently the only picture I took of this hotel!

Our go-to Good Neighbor Hotel is the Anaheim Fairfield Inn by Marriott. We have used this hotel for 18 out of our 23 trips to Disneyland! The Fairfield is right across the street from the park - maybe a 5 minute walk from the entrance. I love this hotel because it is close enough that if you come home early, you can still watch the fireworks from the balconies (go to the top floor - worth it!), and you have a great view of the parks in the mornings! The hotel is very clean, and has been recently updated with hardwood floors and beautiful rooms! While this hotel doesn't have a ton of amenities, it is perfect for the trips when you just aren't planning on spending a lot of time in the hotel - and the beds are SO soft to fall into at the end of a long day of walking around the resort! Bonus: there is a McDonald's basically in the parking lot which makes for a perfect cheap breakfast on the way to the parks, and a perfect midnight snack on the way back!!

My husband and I stayed at the Fairfield for our Honeymoon in 2017. The Fairfield was so sweet to provide us a little welcome gift!

Beautifully updated rooms!

This is fireworks from the one of the upper floors at the Fairfield! I love being able to watch them from the comfort of our hotel.

Hopefully this post helps you to determine the kind of hotel that will best fit your family's needs! Let us know if you have any travel questions, we would love to hear from you. Shoot us an email at 

AS PROMISED: A special dining tip for you! 
If you have a favorite meal at a restaurant in Disneyland, ask your waiter if the chef would be willing to share the recipe! A lot of the time, not only are they willing but they already have print-outs of their most popular recipes they can bring out to you. We have received recipes from both the Blue Bayou and the Bengal BBQ, and the Cast Members were more than happy to give them out. 

What are your favorite hotels in the Disneyland Resort? Leave us a comment below! 

As always, if you have any tips, tricks, or questions that you would like to submit to our blog feel free to send us an email at! And don't forget to hit that blue follow button in the drop down menu at the top of the page! 

-Lindsay Prout 

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If you are interested in buying a copy of my Disneyland Guide, feel free to contact me at any time at I sell my guide for a one time fee of $10*, or you can request a personalized one for $15 that I will customize entirely to your family’s needs! *Any updated guides will be sent to you absolutely free of charge after your first purchase.


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