Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, provides the vacation of a lifetime, especially for Disney fans closer to the West coast. Built in 1955, Walt Disney later expanded the original park to the 500-acre entertainment resort it is today. While it may seem like a daunting place to pack into a couple of days, it is a trip that can be done and done well! In the bustle of the modern world, there is no reason to shy away from making Disney memories, even if a traveler only has a couple of days.

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Disneyland Resort has two theme parks (Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure), three hotels, and a shopping district called Downtown Disney. Compared to Disney World, Disneyland is much more compact. It would take 51 Disneyland's to equate to one Disney World. If that doesn't make the traveler feel better about making a fulfilling trip to Disneyland in one weekend, nothing will!

Best Accommodations In Disneyland

As a weekend warrior, a visitor will want a home base close to the park's action. Who wants to spend precious time commuting? Visitors will want to spend every spare moment enjoying Disneyland, not fighting through traffic.

On-Site Hotels

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the Disneyland Hotel, and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel are located within the park. They all have themed pools, and all three are within walking distance to the park. While booking one of these once-in-a-lifetime trips, these hotels deliver an unforgettable experience!

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Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The most luxurious of the three on-site hotels, Disney's Grand Californian is a Craftsman-style resort with a magnificent lobby, restaurants and bars, soothing music for magical outdoor experiences, and Disney-themed touches throughout the halls, comfortable rooms, and suites.

  • $475-$980/night
  • Three themed pools
  • Fine dining; family dining; Tenaya Stone Spa (coming soon)
  • Laundry room
  • Fitness center
  • Electric vehicle charging
  • Valet or self-park options ($35/$25 each night)
  • Lobby shop
  • ATM and currency exchange;
  • Special guest access entrances to California Adventure and Downtown Disney
  • Services for guests with disabilities

Disneyland Hotel

Disneyland Hotel is both the perfect family-friendly hotel and a great compromise between upscale styling and conscious budget. There are three towers to choose from with spacious rooms (at the time of writing, Fantasy Tower is the only one open) and multiple water activities and dining options.

  • $300-$410/night
  • Two themed pools
  • Poolside cabanas
  • Two monorail waterslides
  • Two whirlpool spas and a fun water play area
  • Laundry room
  • Fitness room
  • ATM
  • Restaurants including bars, grills, coffee shops
  • Electric vehicle charging
  • Self-park option ($25 each night)
  • Services for guests with disabilities

Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel

The heyday of the California boardwalk is the vibe of the Paradise Pier Hotel. Relaxing, seaside-themed rooms and 1920s decor heralding the beachfront pavilion hotels make this a unique stay for those who appreciate an ambiance but don't require the Disney theme 24/7.

  • $300-$500/night
  • Rooftop pool
  • Laundry room
  • ATM
  • Electric vehicle charging
  • Self-park option ($25 each night)
  • Fireworks show from the pool deck
  • Services for guests with disabilities

Off-Site Hotels

Off-site hotels can offer budget-friendly options. Often, they are an equally lovely hotel (albeit without all the Disney swag) at a better price. Try the hotels located on Harbor Boulevard across from the Disneyland Resort. Here are a couple of options.

Hilton Anaheim

Family-friendly and close to everything, Hilton Anaheim is among the top choices for staying off-site near Disneyland. Its proximity to shopping outlets, and dining.

  • $130-$400/night
  • Ten-minute walk to Disneyland
  • Two pools (indoor and outdoor)
  • Waterslide
  • Hot tub
  • Gitness center
  • Currency exchange

Hotel Anaheim

Mid-century modern styling and unbeatable prices and just minutes away from Disneyland! Family and (very) budget-friendly without sacrificing cleanliness or style.

  • $115-$250/night
  • Large outdoor swimming pool and recreation area
  • Pet-friendly rooms
  • ATM
  • On-site restaurant
  • Laundry room
  • Fitness room
  • Electric vehicle charging
  • On-site parking.

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Booking With An Agent

For extra peace of mind, consider booking Disneyland adventure through a travel agent. Because they are professionals, they can often help in saving money and provides valuable insider tips.

  • Adventureland
  • Fantasyland
  • Frontierland
  • Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
  • Toontown
  • Critter Country
  • New Orleans Square
  • Tomorrowland

There is also Disney California Adventure which contains five lands:

  • Cars Land
  • Grizzly Peak
  • Hollywood Land
  • Pacific Wharf
  • Pixar Pier

Each park is its own experience. A park a day is a good rule of thumb. Both parks are suitable for all ages. One significant difference in the parks is that one can buy alcohol in a few places at Disney California Adventure. Alcohol is not sold anywhere within the Disneyland Resort. California Adventure has a newer feel, with a modern ambiance, while Disneyland Resort remains classic and nostalgic.

A "hopper" pass allows one to go back and forth between the parks as much as the person likes. The hopper pass is more expensive than a regular pass. By purchasing a regular pass, one can visit both parks but cannot go back to one once left. If traveling to two parks sounds overwhelming, most visitors choose to forgo California Adventure and concentrate on Disneyland Resort.

  • Insider Tip: It's best to arrive one hour before opening to be part of a group that can gain early admittance. Start the day off right! Visitors will be surprised at how much easier the day will feel when they get a head-start on the crowds.

Finding The Best Dining Options At Disneyland

Disneyland Resort has multiple dining options. Treat bakeries, sit-down restaurants, counter-dining, and character dining are all available. Take note of what restaurants are near different attractions.

3 Must-try snacks from Disneyland:

  • Beignets from Mint Julep Bar
  • Raspberry rose macaron from Jolly Holiday Bakery
  • Dole Whip and Dole Whip Swirl at Tropical Hideaway

California Adventure is somewhat more upscale and with more worldly fare and, of course, adult beverages. Carthay Circle Restaurant is a meticulous replication of an L.A. theatre and offers packages including dinner and a show. Other highlights of California Adventure dining include Sonoma Terrace, with its wine-tasting and brew options.

3 Must-try snacks from California Adventure:

  • Hand-dipped corn dog from Award Weiners
  • Bacon mac and cheese cone from the Cozy Cone Motel
  • Jack Jack’s Cookie Num Num from California Adventure

When To Plan The Weekend

Disneyland experiences crowd year-round. The busiest day for Disneyland Park is Saturday, and Sunday is busiest for California Adventure. If one is planning to visit both parks, plan California Adventure for Saturday and spend Sunday at Disneyland. Although, it is much easier time weekend-ing at Disney if planned well and only visit during certain times of the year. Halloween is now as popular as Christmas time at Disney. Some of the rides and attractions change themes for the holidays. Space Mountain, for example, becomes Ghost Galaxy during Halloween. There are free parades and fireworks daily if the visit is planned during Christmas, and the lights are dazzling.

Other times to consider avoiding a weekend Disneyland adventure are Summer Break and Spring Break. A weekend during December will be very different from a weekend at the end of February. January through May visits to record the fewest crowds. However, the weekends then are still busy, and some firework shows are not in operation during these months.

Transportation

Everything is walkable inside the Resort. However, complimentary bus transport to and from Disneyland to California Adventure and the Toy Story Parking Area is available. From the airport (LAX is approximately 40 minutes from Disneyland), public transit and shuttles are available straight to the park. Within the park, an exciting option is to take the monorail from Downtown Disney to Tomorrowland. This scenic ride passes over many well-known areas of Disneyland, such as Fantasyland and Hollywoodland. The monorail is available to all guests with a valid park pass.

Disneyland makes for an exciting, action-packed, unforgettable weekend trip. Decide and plan which options fit the interests and budget. Enjoy the Resort from morning to night, experiencing the best of what Disneyland has to offer.

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