So you want to see the Happiest Place on Earth?
Fabulous! Let’s talk trip planning. Planning is the most important step for keeping costs down. Over the next few weeks I will share my tips to save money on a Disneyland Trip. The first question is when do you want to go? We answered that in part 1 of this series, Disneyland Trips 101: When should you go? Now let’s figure out where to stay
Hands down the best hotel to stay at for convenience, comfort, and cost is the Howard Johnson Anaheim aka the HOJO. Everyone has different needs, expectations and price expectations, but with that in mind the best overall hotel for Disneyland is the HOJO!
The Howard Johnson Anaheim offers Entertainment Book rates from $59 a night (they used to be $45 a night)! The availability of these rates fluctuates with hotel capacity, but I am always fairly lucky in snagging these rates when I plan in advance. The best place to watch for updates on when the entertainment rate is available is on the HOJO’s website. You can also call and speak with in-house reservations during regular business hours. The 1-800 corporate Howard Johnson Reservation center can NOT give you this special rate. The only thing you need to qualify for these rates is an Entertainment Card(from ANY city).
I always make my reservations as soon as we decide on our dates. Then I stalk watch the HOJO website to see when my dates open up for the entertainment rate. It’s easy to just call the HOJO and have them adjust my rates with the cheaper ones! Again with a little planning you have a great chance at getting these awesome rates for when you want them.
Now why do we like the HOJO best? It is located on Harbor across from Disneyland and is in easy walking distance to the park. The hotel itself has been recently renovated and because it is an older property, the rooms are quite large. All rooms have a mini fridge, and some have microwaves. There is a fabulous new pirate themed water play area and a traditional pool and hot tub. In addition there is an arcade and small market for milk/food/etc on site.
The HOJO just recently remodeled some rooms to create Kid’s Suites, these are two room suites and you can see more details here! Two rooms are a definite plus with 2 kiddos and in fact the lack of 2-room suites were one of my only “issues” with the HOJO. We will be trying these out for the first time in December (only $99 a night with the Entertainment rate). I can’t wait!
They also offer free Wi-Fi on site! If you don’t bring a computer with you (perish the thought!!) they have a couple of computers to use in the lobby if you need to check email or flight information.
Other Hotel Options
There are a few other hotels on Harbor Blvd closer to the “Disneyland Crosswalk” and we have stayed at several of them. Hands down the best one is definitely the HOJO. You just can’t beat the HOJO for overall value and comfort. Their entertainment rate is awesome, the rooms are nice and the location is one of the best!
Check out the map HERE for other hotel options on Harbor Blvd and to see the proximity of the HOJO to Disneyland. The red square in the center of the map is the “Disneyland Crosswalk.”
Now of course my ABSOLUTE favorite hotel would be the Grand Californian! And if you have the money or want to splurge, then you should totally go for it. The Grand is the closest hotel possible to both parks. You can walk right out of the hotel and into Disney’s California Adventure (DCA) or Downtown Disney. There rates are quite pricey though. A good rate is $250 a night!
Disneyland sometimes runs promos for discounts to stay on-site at one of their hotels, check their website or watch for promotional mailings.
How do you get these special hotel rate promotional mailings? It’s not quite clear, but I would start with signing up for Disneyland resort information on their website. Keep in mind even with special rates, the Grand Californian is quite expensive!
I don’t think the other Disney Resort Hotels (Disneyland Hotel or Paradise Pier) are any closer than the hotels on Harbor. So with the other Disney hotels you are paying extra to stay at a Disneyland property and enjoy the ambiance, not a closer property. We have totally done it, and will most likely do it again. I just can’t justify it most of the time. I would rather get annual passes and visit Disneyland 2 or 3 times in a year!
There are many other hotels in the Anaheim area, but I think one within walking distance to the parks is the best option. It’s quicker than waiting for a hotel tram or driving (and paying to park) at Disneyland! So a hotel on Harbor (Go HOJO) or a Disney Resort would the best bet.
No disclosure is necessary, I just love the HOJO and of course the Grand Californian! Of course if either hotel wants to lets us stay and do a review, we are available. Anytime! 🙂
Where do you like to stay??
*Up next in my Disneyland Trips blog series: Food!