Hello! We just got back from our trip to Disneyland -- it was our first time going as a family and I wanted to share some things that we learned that might be helpful in planning your trip. We’re not experts, but I love reading others perspectives and tips and maybe you do too? :)
We LOVED our hotel, so I’m writing about it first. I’m NOT getting paid by them or we didn’t get any kind of discount, we found it by researching, checking TripAdvisor – it is the #2 hotel ranked hotel in Anaheim, and asking around and it didn’t disappoint – we would recommend it to anyone! We stayed at the Homewood Suites Anaheim Convention Center. There are 2 Homewood Suites in Anaheim, make sure you get the Convention Center one. We found it was the cheapest to book directly through the Hilton site, but check definitely check around.
It worked for our family because we only had to get one room – we got the 1 Bedroom Family Suite because it has a full kitchen, pull out double sofa bed where the girls slept, a double bunk bed with a pull out trundle (so three beds!) where the boys slept, and a nice king bed for the parents.
I’m not going to lie, having only one bathroom was a little crazy when we all came home and had to go, but we were on the first floor right down the hall from the main hotel bathrooms so we used those a lot too.
But this hotel was perfect for us! It has a great heated pool, a kiddie pool, a splash area,
hot tub, basketball court & putting green,
awesome workout room, arcade, fire pit, and bbq area.
They also show a free family movie each night out on the patio.
It saved us A LOT in food too – we could buy our own snacks and keep them in the full size fridge/freezer. There is a CVS just down the street and a Target and new Walmart really close where you can stock up. The hotel also have a really nice bbq area where we grilled our Sunday dinner and ate out on the patio – it was so nice!
But the best thing for us: they have a full hot breakfast every morning and then on weekday evenings (M-Th) they have a dinner.
They advertise it as a light dinner each of the nights had something different and it was basically all you can eat. Some of the menus:
* Italian Sliders, mac & cheese, pasta, fruit, soup, potato salad, ceasar salad
* Asian Stir Fry with chicken & vegetables, rice, fruit, kale salad, green salad, soup
* Salad bar with meats, cheeses, toppings, rolls, soup, salads
We don’t drink alcohol, but they also had complimentary beer & wine and also lemonades and juices.
We would be at Disney right when it opened each morning and went strong until around 3 p.m. then we went back to the hotel to rest, swim, eat dinner and then headed back to Disney around 6 p.m. for the rest of the evening. So we only had to buy lunch and fun treats at the park each day which saved a lot of money for our family.
Now the biggest drawback is that the hotel is 3 1/2 blocks from Disney, which is about a 15-20 minute walk. It’s great in the morning when everyone is fresh and ready to go but it can feel really long at around 11 p.m. after a full day of walking.
Some solutions for that:
1. One of the parents run back to the hotel (ahem—my awesome husband!) to grab the van to come pick everyone up. It totally makes up for the Monte Cristo sandwich you just ate.
2. The Toy Story Disneyland Parking Lot is right next to the hotel! So you can hop on any of the toy story parking shuttles at the end of the day (free) and it will save you lots of walking.
3. There are taxi vans right there at the pickup and drop off lot and it may be the best $10 you ever spend to get right to the hotel and not have to walk anymore.
4. There is also an Anaheim shuttle service (ART) you can buy tickets for at the front desk. I think around $12 per person for the week?
We went at an off-season time – the 2nd week in May and our rate was $152/night plus tax and parking is $16 a night. It may be more or less depending on when you go. We liked staying on the first floor to have great access to everything but if you stay on the higher floors, you can request a fireworks view to see the Disney fireworks every night. Some other hotels we considered and why we eventually chose the Homewood Suites:
* The #1 ranked hotel in Anaheim was the Courtyard Marriott Theme Park Entrance – it was right across the street and had a little water park right there, but it was about $40 more per night and no kitchen, no breakfast or dinner.
* The Springhill Suites was also right down from us and we were seriously looking at this one too. About the same price, It is a little closer, but the pool area wasn’t as big/nice, no dinner, valet parking only.
* The Candy Cane Inn – the rooms were less expensive but we would have to get 2 rooms, no kitchen, lighter breakfast, but it was well kept, had breakfast and the pools.
It just depends on what you are looking for: closer location, meals, pool, how many rooms you need, etc. I hope this helps – what is your favorite Disneyland hotel? I’ll share some Disneyland tips I wish I had known in another post ~