Why You Should Stay Off Property at Disneyland
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Anaheim, California is home to the very first (and my personal favorite) Disney park: Disneyland! I’ve been fortunate enough to visit almost every year since I was an infant so I have seen a ton of change over the years including the awesome addition of California Adventure. I’ve stayed in all 3 of the Disneyland hotels and a few of the off property hotels and I will always choose to stay off property. So save your money for mouse ears and Dole whips, we’re going rogue!
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Time and Location
You would think that the Disney hotels would be the closest hotels to the park entrance, right? Wrong. Disneyland Hotel is a 10 minute walk to the main park entrance. There are at least 6 off property hotels with less than a 10 minute walk. The off property hotels that are longer than 10 minutes have a shuttle! If you stay at Paradise Pier you have to take a tram anyways or it’s a 15 minute walk.
If you stay at the Grand Californian you have your own entrance to California Adventure. That part is nice, when you can use it. If you want to get to Disneyland your walk is just as long as Disneyland Hotel. But, who wants to strategically plan your day to start and end at California Adventure? If Magic Morning is in Disneyland you can’t walk through California Adventure because it won’t be open. Also, California Adventure typically closes an hour earlier than Disneyland so you won’t be able to use that private entrance and exit at that time either.
Let’s face it. Disney is expensive! Discounts on tickets are few and far between and their hotels are a splurge. Also, NONE of the Disney hotels offer a free breakfast. Downtown Disney has a great little bakery for breakfast food but it’s not cheap and the lines are always long in the morning. Who wants to start their day off waiting in line for 20 minutes just to get your coffee? If you stay off property you can save money and score a free breakfast to start your day off right!
But… Magic Mornings?!
Magic Mornings are a perk of staying on property. On certain days you get access to the park an hour early. But, it’s really not that big of a perk! First of all, they only open up one land for that extra hour and if it’s not Fantasyland there’s only a few rides open. Personally, I am rarely up early enough for Magic Mornings but I know those with kiddos probably are so if it’s super important, have no fear! Many of the off property hotels are what they call Good Neighbor hotels. And guess what?! They get Magic Mornings too!
So Where Should We Stay?
There are two off property hotels I recommend for getting the closest to the action: Anaheim Desert Inn and Suites and Best Western Plus Park Place Inn. The Best Western has a small outdoor pool and the Desert Inn has an indoor pool as well as its own fireworks viewing deck! This is an awesome way to watch the fireworks and you don’t have to deal with masses of people exiting the park afterward.
There are other options on this street that are a little farther away but may be even cheaper and offer nicer pools. I like not having to wait for a shuttle but if you have little ones in tow, having a shuttle might be more convenient for you!
I love all the little touches of Disney magic as much as the next person but I’d rather save my money for all my favorite park foods! So, next time you go to book your Disneyland vacation, think outside the box!