Last week we surprised the kids with an overnight trip to the Disneyland Hotel. As annual passholders, we're frequent visitors to Disneyland, but it was fun to treat this as a mini-vacation, rather than just something to do after school. I'm typically thoroughly impressed with Disney, and this was no exception. Some of the high points:
When we arrived Goofy was in the lobby to greet us, which immediately set the tone. The seating in the lobby is Disney themed, and there are Disney movies playing to keep the kids busy while you wait to check in.
The rooms are full of Disney touches. From the castle beds, with stars and fireworks that light up, to the Mickey faucet handles on the sink, my kids were losing their minds. There were even Mickeys in some of the shower accent tiles, which I didn't notice until I was right next to them.
From our room we had a view of the park, and we would have been able to see the fireworks had there been any the night we were there. As it was, we could see the Matterhorn, Space Mountain and Splash Mountain. The room was a bit on the small side, but we had four people, and a pack and play to contend with, so I'm sure that contributed. (Tip: There are pack and plays in all of the rooms, but I recommend bringing your own pack-and-play sheet, because all they provide is a giant flat sheet that tends to get all bunched up.)
There are three pools at the hotel, all within the same gated area. There are swim diapers available for free, as well as life jackets and towels (of course). There are three water slides, one that even the smallest kids could ride with parental assistance. There are no height or age requirements for the slides, and the area around the slides is about one foot deep, perfect for non-swimmers to splash in. What I really appreciated was that there were lifeguards everywhere at the pools, and they were very attentive.
There is no shortage of hotels near Disneyland, and the Disneyland Hotel isn't exactly a budget-friendly option. However, it's hard to beat the convenience of walking out of your hotel and directly into Downtown Disney. From there you can walk to the entrace of either park, shop, have dinner, see a movie, or take the monorail directly into Disneyland.
Extra Magic Hours
For me, this was worth the cost of the room alone. Guests of any of the Disneyland Hotels (Disneyland Hotel, Disney Pacific or The Grand Californian) have access to the parks one hour before opening. Since Cars Land opened this summer, wait times have been insane. We managed to ride all three Cars Land rides in the span of an hour. When we got off Radiator Springs Racers, the wait time had soared to two and a half hours, just 30 minutes after the park had opened.
I was really surprised by how much fun we had. Honestly, I was more worried about all of the work involved in packing for two kids, for even one night away. I'm glad my husband talked me into it, because it felt like a true vacation. We'll definitely do this again, only next time we'll stay longer. I would love to check out The Grand Californian next, which is considered their luxury hotel line, and has its own entrance directly into California Adventure.
(photos from: me)