Favorite Non-Disney Hotels: Disneyland Resort

My post on Disney on a Budget has gotten so many hits, that I've decided to expand on it a bit. As I've mentioned numerous times, I go to Disneyland about 3-6 times a year. That's number of trips, not number of days (I've been there twice already this year). My trips average 3 days (2 nights). Over the many years I have gone to Disneyland, I've stayed at a variety of hotels. Aside from the on-property hotels (aka Disney hotels), there are 41 Good Neighbor Hotels (GNH) to choose from. I don't always stay at a GNH, because there are just so many hotels in the area to choose from.

For me, when going to Disneyland, I don't look for the most posh, luxurious hotel to stay in because I'm spending most of the day in the parks. The hotel is for sleeping. I have only a few requirements: the hotel should be clean (and relatively modern), located within walking distance of the parks, and I should get the most bang for my buck. So here is my list of tried and true favorite non-Disney hotels near Disneyland Resort (in no particular order):

The Grand Legacy had its grand reopening earlier this year. The entire hotel has been remodeled and updated and it was done superbly. In all honesty, I've stayed here probably most frequently as of late for numerous reasons: The hotel is located on the corner of Harbor Blvd and Disney Way, making it about a 10 minute walk to the security checkpoints entering the Disneyland plaza. I'm also on their mailing list, so I get regular emails from the hotel about what's going on in addition to discount codes! Their discount codes range from 10-30% depending on the time of year. The cheapest I have gotten was $100/night (plus taxes and fees) which is a killer deal for the area. On average, a room will cost around $130-150/night, depending on the room. The Grand Legacy also has a great continental breakfast. I've stayed at hotels where the breakfast consisted of an array of donuts and pastries and that was pretty much it. The Grand Legacy, however, offers fresh fruit, bagels and toast, various cereals among other items. It is one of the best complimentary breakfasts in the area.

Now, when they were first announcing the rebranding, they claimed they didn't intend to raise pricing. Which, as it turns out, isn't really the case. Prior to the official reopening, parking was only $5/day at the Grand Legacy and you could keep your vehicle on-site until 3 pm on check-out day. That has gone out the window which is really my only gripe about the hotel. Parking has increased to $12/day per car and cars need to be gone by noon or be subject to additional parking fees. All in all, I can't complain about the hotel (other than the increase in parking costs, but that's a whole other issue that I gripe about in general as not being included at any hotel that charges). The hotel also has a loyalty program and offers discounts for Annual Passport holders, AAA members, and for servicemen and women.

Located just across the street from the Grand Legacy (on the other corner of Disney Way & Harbor Blvd), the Anaheim Plaza Hotel is another great place to stay if you want to save on your nightly room costs. Rates range from $99-160/night. When booking, there is a space to enter promo codes; however, I have never seen or used one. There are also what they refer to as "Family Suites" available which are basically just 2 rooms that adjoin each other and connect. The hotel hasn't been updated in a while, so if you want luxury this isn't the spot for you. It is, however, clean and a perfectly decent hotel. The hotel has more of an old apartment-complex vibe to it, but that doesn't bother me. 

Parking, unlike some of the other hotels nearby, is ample but maybe not as close to your room as you'd possibly like. This has to do with the layout of the property and where parking spaces are located. I haven't stayed here in a little while, but parking was $4/day last time I stayed there (and as listed on their website) and we were able to leave our car until 4 pm.

Tropicana Inn & Suites
Next on the list is a hotel I haven't stayed at in about 2 years, but has been a favorite for many years. The Tropicana Inn & Suites is located on Harbor Blvd just one building over from the crosswalk to get to the main Disneyland Resort walkway and is also a GNH. Because the hotel is closer to the parks than the previous two, prices are a bit higher on average. Rooms start at $119/night and cap off at $179 for a standard. The hotel does offer discounts to AAA or AARP members and has rotating promo codes/discounts. Currently, if you book 5 nights or more, you will receive $20/night off (expires January 2018). You do have to call the hotel to make your reservation to receive the discount.

Tropicana really lends itself to large groups or families. They have various options to accommodate parties of 5 or more: The One or Two Room Kitchen Suite fit 4-8 guests and come with a kitchen equipped with stove, refrigerator, microwave, pots and pans, utensils and table. The Family Suite can fit up to 6 people (1 bedroom with 2 double beds as well as a living space with a full sofa bed) as well as a kitchen. You also have the option of getting adjoining rooms for larger parties.

The Tropicana has since nixed its complimentary breakfast, which is probably for the better since it was never particularly good. If I'm up and ready early enough, I will enjoy the complimentary breakfast if it's available. But I usually opt for one of my favorite breakfast spots inside the parks, so not offering breakfast isn't a deal breaker. Parking is tighter at the Tropicana and costs $14/day. One benefit of the Tropicana is that it is partnered with the neighboring Camelot Inn & Suites. So if the Tropicana can't accommodate you and your party, they will book you with Camelot and vice versa.

The Best Western. Oh, I have fond memories in this hotel growing up. The Best Western Plus Park Place Inn & Mini Suites is located between the Tropicana and the Grand Legacy on Harbor Blvd. The Best Western is the most expensive on my list; a standard room costs between $129-189/night. There are also discounted rates available for AAA or AARP members. Rooms also include complimentary breakfast of sliced bread, croissants, cereal, oatmeal, egg patties, waffles, sausage, fruit & yogurt as well as coffee, juice and milk.

Like the Tropicana, this hotel is good for larger parties. The mini-suite is a room with 2 queen beds and a pull out sofa. This is where we stayed most often when I was younger since there'd be 4-6 of us. Parking is very tight at this property. The property is basically a long rectangle that is deeper than it is wide (think of the famous San Francisco houses the Painted Ladies and how they're built) making parking only wrap around the hotel and the lot not all too wide.

In addition to what I've described above, all four hotels offer other perks: discounted tickets and packages, Disney dollars, tours, etc.

What are some of your favorite places to stay while visiting the Disneyland Resort? Leave your thoughts in the comments!



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