Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Beckee's Deals at Disneyland: Hotels

Oh where, oh where should I rest my head whilst I am partying the week away with toddlers and teens at Disneyland?! Well, let's talk about that...

(Here are a couple of my little Seahawks fans walking back to our hotel the other day:)

Probably the most common question my friends and family ask me about going to Disneyland, is where we stay when we come. I have to be honest and tell you that I am always looking for the best deal I can when I book hotels, but the best deal for me now looks a whole lot different than it did a few years ago. I have been in that place where I HAD to find a room under $100/night that could accommodate my large family even if it meant staying in a not-so-nice place in a far location where we would have to walk several miles. I would tell myself that the extra long walks were good exercise and it was totally bearable! If you are in that spot, that's ok. There are hotels for all kinds of price ranges near Disneyland!

I am a little pickier these days, and I try to plan ahead a little more so I can get better hotels (at not much more cost). Plus, I have 5 children. Very, very few hotels have rooms (or even suites) available for 7 people. Six people, yes, but seven, no. And when we try to get 2 adjoining rooms, they will not guarantee the two rooms will adjoin (or even be next to one another). It is a nightmare for me really to find places. Much, Much easier when we only have 6 people with us. 

Lots of my friends rave about staying on property at one of the Disneyland hotels. I remember staying in the Disneyland hotel as a kid and having breakfast with the characters. I remember the fun pool and being so close that we just walked over to the monorail to go into the park. There were awesome things about staying there as a kid. I loved it. But as a kid, I was not footing the bill. So far, I have not been willing to pay for that experience for our family now that I am the adult. (Thanks mom and dad for being so awesome and talking me to the Disneyland hotel! Please don't tell my kids about that!) :) 

Here's how I choose a hotel when I come to Disneyland. One word: Expedia! Really! When we plan a trip to Disneyland, my first Internet stop is Expedia. I search my dates for the best hotel deals for my group. Once I find the best deals, or choose the hotel I want, I do one more little trick. I check that hotel's website and see if they will offer me the same deal (or a better deal) than Expedia is offering for those dates.

That is really all I do when I choose a hotel. Of course I have learned that some of the budget hotels are NOT worth it, and I have some favorite hotels. My mom always told me to be careful of booking the hotels north of Disneyland. She says the ones on Ball road are ok, but it gets a little shady when you get further north. I agree with that assessment and thus do not book those hotels (yes I know it's a personal bias, but the whole point of this is to share my opinion based on my personal experience). 

Make sure you know what amenities you want! We look for a big room, a pool, a convenient location, free parking, free WiFi, and free breakfast (ideally). 

What amenities are must haves for you? If you must work while you are away and need WiFi (My daughter is in the other room in an online class as I type this), make sure to check and see if that is an additional charge. If you insist on a great pool, check the pictures and reviews! If you must be within walking distance, need a shuttle, or want free parking, check the hotel's website to see what they offer! 

Beckee's Favorites!

As mentioned before I have lots of kids. Our big family needs to stay in a Suite, My favorite places to stay are Embassy Suites SouthHomewood Suites, and Castle Inn and Suites.  

Embassy Suites and Homewood Suites are both Hilton properties. They are similar to one another, but my family prefers Embassy Suites given the choice. It is a little fancier. Both of them have awesome full breakfasts included! Embassy Suites has "firework view" rooms that we enjoy. The kicker on both of these is that you have to pay extra to park your car and it is a bit of a walk to Disneyland (1.4-2 miles). They do have shuttles, but we never use the shuttles (if I recall it was because it cost more for us to pay for the shuttle than it did for us to park at Disneyland parking). 

Castle Inn and Suites is my current favorite place to stay for one reason: Family Suites! What does this mean you ask? Well, usually if we stay in a suite hotel room with our kids, we want to have the kids all in one room and us in the other room. This usually means we are sleeping on a pull out couch bed. Folks, I am getting old and those things are not comfy! The regular suites at Castle Inn are just like this, BUT the Family Suites are like a piece of heaven! Instead of a blasted couch bed in the first room, there is a glorious king sized bed for me and my husband!

Here's the one I am currently using this week:

Isn't that a wonder to behold? I love it! 

Not only does Castle Inn and Suites have these amazing family suites, but it also happens to be about a block from Disneyland, plus as a guest of the hotel you get to park one car for free! Glorious! (Plus free WiFi.) The trade off is that it is really more of a motel than a hotel. It is pretty basic as an overall property. 

Beckee wants to stay...

When we arrived this time to Disneyland we saw this amazing water park at the Anaheim Courtyard by Marriott. It looks AWESOME! We will be giving this hotel a try next time we come out (well, depending on the cost!) 

Also, we have been anxiously awaiting the opening of the Anaheim area Great Wolf Lodge, and it looks like it will be taking reservations soon for it's opening in early 2016! It's also on my list of places to try!


There are a few places I will never, ever stay again, but I feel I should not name names so publicly. What I will say is this-if a place looks too good for the price, it probably is. AND, make sure to read reviews of the places you are looking into (take them with a grain of salt, but if there is a lot of negative reviews, don't ignore that completely). 

And if you have questions about the hotels around, ask. I will tell you anything I know about the hotels. Plus, I know Facebook and Twitter are just filled with people full of opinions about the hotels around Disney. You can always ask on there (whenever I am looking into staying at a new hotel, I ask a general questions on my Facebook page about whether anyone has had experiences with that hotel-I usually get really constructive comments).

If you are planning a hotel stay right now, happy hunting! I hope you find all you want in a hotel for your dream Disney vacation!