To me, one of the best things about Disneyland is its great resorts. They have great pools, restaurants and lounges, all within short walking distance of the parks.
In Disneyland, we’ve stayed in two on-property hotels – the Disneyland and the Grand Californian – as well as the Hyatt nearby. After staying at the Hyatt, which was lovely and close but still required a shuttle bus to and from the parks, I feel strongly that one should stay on-property if it can be worked into your budget.
The Grand Californian is, as the name suggest, grand. The best thing about this resort is its direct access to the California Adventure park, making it super convenient to pop in and out for a mid-day dip in the pool or a spa appointment. The other great thing about this resort are the bunk beds – two twins, plus a trundle underneath – in many of the standard-sized rooms, making it economical and convenient for a family. The restaurants here are great, with ample variety, and the spa is nice too.
But our favorite resort is the Disneyland Hotel. Recently renovated, this hotel is now modern, with a clean design, yet still has all the Disney fun it used to. Because it tends to run a bit lower in price to the Grand Californian, we like to either get a suite with concierge lounge access (with a hide a bed and roll away bed in the ‘living room’), or adjoining rooms. This way everyone has their own bed, which makes momma happy. The new pool area is super fun at this resort, with big water slides and enough variety for everyone. Best of all, Trader Sam’s bar, near the pool, is a blast, both indoors (it occasionally ‘storms’ inside if you order the right drink), and on the deck outside. There are often Hawaiian ukelele musicians, who are great and really make for a festive atmosphere. And with plenty of life guards around the pool, you don’t need to worry if you tip a Mai Tai too many.
Access to the concierge lounge at the Disneyland hotel is worth it, in my opinion, primarily because of its great view of evening fireworks. With this, you can get back from the parks, get the kids bathed and pajamas on, and go upstairs to the concierge lounge where they can have milk and cookies and everyone can watch the fireworks comfortably. If you decide to splurge on concierge, request a room in the Adventure Tower, where the lounge is located, and be at the lounge about a half an hour before the fireworks start to get a great window seat. At the concierge lounge you can also borrow Disney books and virtually any Disney movie ever made on DVD to be played in your suite.