OK.. I am finally getting around to writing some reviews from trips I took a while ago. For the record I have stayed at all 3 Disney Resorts. Disney and The Grand California multiple times, but this review is about our first stay at the Paradise Pier, for a weekend vistit in July of last year. I have always wanted to give this hotel a whirl since it was the only of the three I hadn't tried yet. I have a lot to share, I'm going to give details from my own perspective as well as what I think the majority of Disney visitors might want to know. I will try to be as helpful as possible as I know so many people anguish over these 3 resort properties and how to decide which one is right for your family.
This hotel is situated across the street from The Grand Californian. The Grand has an entrance to California Adventure, which leads you into Disneyland. So it's not nearly as direct as staying at the Disneyland Hotel. Just for the record The Disneyland Hotel is my favorite. I have stayed in many different rooms at the Grand Californian including their suites/cabins and still prefer The Disney. But more about Paradise Pier because I think this is an excellent choice for many families.
So, on this trip we came down for the weekend with our youngest child and left our older 3 with Grandparents. When we went to check in, we expected to get a King bed without giving it a thought. No such luck. We were told by the very friendly "Cast Member" ( Cast Member is what Disney calls all their employees) that the hotel had only a few King bed rooms, I think she said 4 or 6 in a hotel of nearly 500 rooms. When she told me this, I think my jaw literally dropped. She said this is a "family" hotel and we don't get many requests for a King bed.
This was a huge disappointment to me so I asked if there was availability at the other "Disney" hotels and there was not, they were sold out. I reminded them that I was a good Disney customer staying at Disney Resorts regularly usually several times a year. She stared at her computer screen, typed in a few things, not sure if she was looking at my hotel record, (they keep track of everything, when ever you call for a reservation, they know all your kids names, and ages of each of them.) or maybe she was emailing her manager, not sure, but suddenly she shouted " YOU'RE THE BIG KAHUNA FAMILY!" My husband and I looked at each other and laughed. "Thank you, but what does that mean?" I asked. She replied, every day one family is picked "randomly" ( ya right) to be The Big Kahuna Family and you are upgraded to a Park View room, you get treats, balloons, your photo taken with Goofy,..." She went on and on.
My husband and I knew immediately that The Big Kahunas must be "code" word for The Big Complainers. But we were happy with the upgrade none the less. We joked that they must want to take your photo, so that they can email it around to staff, to make sure people are extra nice to you if they see you. I am pretty sure they do this at certain hotels, some hotels like the Four Seasons, and The Ritz, even have staff with mini walkie talkie things in their ears so they can say Mr. and Mrs. so and so are coming down, blah blah blah.
Anyway, we got to our Park View room and it was very cute. A 2 bedroom (ug) but great view. All the other decor was average but same quality as the rooms that have not been remodeled yet at the Disney. I know they are renovating The Disney right now and some rooms are already done. Maybe most by now.
The Park View at Paradise Pier at night however was quite spectacular, we were able to watch the new World Of Color show, and turned on the TV to have the music to the show in stereo in our room. Even for us oldies, it was fun! People line up early every morning to get tickets (fast passes) to get good seats to this show and you have a fantastic view of it from your Park View room at the Paradise Pier. I think you have to request a Park View that the show is visible from to be safe.
The 2 restaurants at the hotel did not impress. One was Lilo and Stitch Character breakfast. We skipped it, since we only had the baby with us but I am sure if we had our other kids with us we would have gone. The other one was like a cafe with crappy food.
The pool here, is my my least favorite for many reasons. It is not on the ground floor and you have to go up exterior stairs just to get to the pool. It also is not very attractive.
So why I would recommend this hotel? Most families who visit Disneyland save up their money to come out and spend multiple days at the parks. While I think staying in the hotels downtown Anaheim ( I have done that too) are not as desirable for people with little kids because you have to take a bus or car to get to the parks. However, this hotel is right across the street. There are a few other hotels right next to this one too. Best Western? I think. Never stayed there but you might check that out too.
Anyway.. the reason I would recommend this to most families is that it is within a short walking distance into the park, it's a fun hotel and it will save you hundreds of dollars per night as compared to a very similar room at the Disney or at the Grand. The Grand "Downtown Disney View" rooms for instance, sound great but this means you have a view of people walking down the street. Not very pretty in my opinion.The rooms are small too. Also, even though the common areas of the Grand are beautiful with the Craftsman style architecture, really, you will not be hanging out there, you will see it when you check in, check out and when you are walking down to the parks. That's it. One year we stayed at the Grand for Easter and they had an Easter Egg hunt on the grass. That was the most time we spent in the common area. Other than the pool. The pool at the Grand is great. You could spend a whole day there. Also, the Grand has a Spa, but as a mother of 4, I would feel guilty spending time at the Spa at Disneyland. I suppose if you had teens, and they were running on their own at the parks this would be an excellent combo. The Napa Rose is an upscale restaurant at the Grand and has the best food of all the restaurants in the Disney Resorts. No characters will be running around in here. Hee hee.
Anyway, Disney is constantly changing the pricing on all of their hotels but sometimes the Californian seems to run a few hundred more per night. Save that money for all the "stuff" (could have used a different word there), if you know what I mean) that your kids will expect you to buy. Mouse ears, Light up twirly things, $10 balloons, etc. etc. etc. the list goes on and on. Be prepared. I tell my kids if they are really good all day, at the end of the day they can pick one thing. Trust me, you do not want to be walking around the park, lugging all that stuff on ever yride, or leaving it in the stroller hoping nobody swipes it. also, at the end of the day they will be so wiped out that they will not care as much and you can pick up something less cheesy in Downtown Disney at the disney Store that they might actually keep. Most of the stuff at the park that they sell at the little stands near the parade etc is just junkie.
Another tip, really think through the "Park Hopper" passes. Disney tries to presell these to you when you book, then when you check in. I would buy your park passes at the front desk, you do not want to wait in line at the park for these, but sit down and really think it through, the 10-20 minutes you spend with your family reviewing what you want to do you get there, will be worth it. For a large family not getting park hoppers for one day could save you a bunch. A few good example for this, one time we came in the spring and it rained and our kids didn't want to be outside at all. So we wound up doing indoor stuff, but had prepaid for tickets to the park. Also, my kids are young, my oldest is 10 so they all prefer Disneyland and don't want to got to California Adventure at all so buying "Hoppers" is a total waste. There are fun things for little kids at California Adventure, don't get me wrong, but my kids are strictly interested in Disney and everytime I got suckered into the idea of buying the hoppers, and they went to waste. Note: If you stay at The Grand, you will want to get hoppers because you go through California Adventure to get to Disney. If you stay at the Pier, there is a way to Disney without going through the short cut of the Grand thru California Adventure. Hope that all makes sense, when you get there, you'll know what I mean.
Anyway, Disneyland Hotel is my first choice, best for little kids. Paradise Pier is a fabulous choice to save money and it's very close, and The Grand is probably best for parents of teens who will let their kids run free at the parks and want a nice hotel to hang out at. One last note about The Grand.. I almost had to threaten to take away a few cast members mouse ears at this hotel. They have a bit of an attitude here, and I had a few mishaps on one of my trips. Also, I was disappointed with housekeeping. This hotel seems to be the most popular, but I think the staff gets this attitude, and they forget it's suppose to be the "Happiest Place on Earth."
I hope you found this helpful! Let me know please, I love helping people. If you want to know more about the Disney Hotel from me, I reviewed that too. See my profile for all my reviews. Thank you!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Return to the heyday of California beachfront boardwalks at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. Loaded with special Disney touches, this seaside-themed hotel will carry you on a wave of relaxation, all the way up to the whimsical waterslide at the scenic rooftop pool. Located in the heart of Downtown Disney District, exceptional dining and entertainment are just steps away. Hotel Guests can also enjoy a special entrance through Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa to Disney California Adventure Park with a valid Park ticket. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Paradise Pier Hotel
- Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel
- Disney Paradise Pier Hotel
- Disneys Paradise Pier Hotel
- Disneys Anaheim
- Paradise Pier Anaheim