By David Platt, your Mouse Master specialist
I recently completed the trifecta of on-property Disneyland® Resort hotels by staying at Disney’s Paradise Pier® Hotel for the first time. Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel has a lot going for it. Among its highlights: the largest standard rooms of all three Disney-owned hotels, which can easily sleep five with two queen beds and a couch that converts into a day bed in some rooms. Each room features a fun beach theme, tying in with the Paradise Pier land in Disney California Adventure® Park.
Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel is consistently the least expensive of all three Disney-owned hotels, making it an attractive option for families wanting to stay on-property on a budget. That lower price comes with some trade-offs, though— it’s the furthest walk to the park of all three hotels. Keep in mind, though, that we’re talking a longer walk by just a few minutes. While Disney's Grand Californian Hotel® & Spa is about a five-minute walk to the Disneyland® Park main gates, the Disneyland® Hotel is about a ten-minute walk, and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel is about a fifteen-minute walk— still easily doable for most park-goers!
Staying at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel comes with all the great perks of staying onsite, the most notable being early entry into either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park every day of your stay. While any three-day-or-greater ticket gets you one early entry into Disneyland Park, staying on-property is the ONLY way to get early entry into Disney California Adventure Park and have a fighting chance of getting onto Radiator Springs Racers or Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission: BREAKOUT! with a short wait.
Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel has (in my opinion) one of the hidden-gem restaurants of the entire Disneyland Resort: Disney’s PCH Grill, which hosts the Surf’s Up Breakfast with Mickey & Friends every morning. This delightful character breakfast features such characters as Stitch, Daisy, and Minnie— and it’s the only character breakfast in the entire Disneyland Resort where you can meet Mickey. For dinner, the PCH Grill hosts the Beachside Bonfire Dinner Buffet, featuring foods based on California ‘beach eats.’ It’s a great dinner experience that’s hardly ever crowded.
Want a fantastic view of Disney California Adventure Park? Upgrade to a Premium View room (located on one of the top floors) and it’s all yours. On our recent visit, my daughter and I finished off our trip with a snuggly viewing of World of Color from our hotel room window. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect end to our latest Disneyland Resort adventure; World of Color in your pajamas is hard to beat!
Honestly, I wasn’t sold on Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel before I stayed there. I thought the walk would be too long. And I’ve been so thrilled with the Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa that I kept wanting to return. Would I return to Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel for a future visit? Absolutely. The walk is EASILY doable, even if you have small children. The Premium View rooms can’t be beat, and are a fraction of the cost of Theme Park View rooms at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. I think my on-property hotel decision for future visits just got a bit more difficult.
Disclosure: While I received a travel professional discount on my stay at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, the discount did not influence my review.
By David Platt, your Mouse Master specialist
Rocket and Groot have finally made their debut at Disney California Adventure® Park with last weekend's debut of Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission: BREAKOUT! The hot new ride, anticipated since its announcement months ago, opened May 27, and this Mouse Master was on-hand that very first day.
First, let's get over the big elephant in the room: yes, it's essentially the same ride as the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™. You get in an elevator, you shoot up to the top of the tower, drop, rinse and repeat. But Disney has re-themed Twilight Zone Tower of Terror with Peter Quill, Gamora, and all the other Guardians to create a thrilling new headliner attraction.
The new concept of the ride: the tower is home base for Taneleer Tivan (the Collector), who true to his name has amassed a collection of artifacts from all over the galaxy. He's decided to add the Guardians to his collection-- but Rocket escapes and has enlisted your help to break out his compatriots.
While I was a disappointed to see Twilight Zone Tower of Terror go and had a lot of initial reservations about the new Guardians ride, I couldn't be happier with the result. They've taken what was a very good ride, and amped it up into an excellent, not-to-be-missed experience. The story is comprehensive from start to finish-- while Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was creepy and thrilling, I never felt it had a particularly strong or comprehensible storyline. The queue is spectacular, allowing riders to view Tivan's collection up close-- and there are LOTS of hidden easter eggs among the collection for not only Marvel fans, but Disney fans too.
The new ride features six different songs and lots of different scenes that can be intercut to tell the overall story of rescuing the Guardians (similar to how Star Tours intercuts several different scenes to give you different experiences). Repeatability is a big factor on how popular this ride will be-- I heard park-goers comparing notes all weekend about how many of the six songs they had experienced so far. My daughter and I experienced three of the six songs and can't wait to ride again to hear 'I Want You Back' by the Jackson Five and 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' by Pat Benatar.
Lines? They will be long for quite some time to come. On day one, the standby line topped out at five hours, and FASTPASSes were all gone within two hours of park opening. They're letting people into the park early to queue, and I'd expect waits of *at least* an hour, even on slower days. Riding Guardians with a short wait will hinge on two key factors: FASTPASS and early entry (and remember-- only guests staying on-property get early entry to Disney California Adventure Park!). Using those two things in conjunction, my daughter and I were able to ride Guardians three times within two hours of the park opening for early entry.
Bottom line: this one is a huge hit in my eyes. It's going to be the linchpin for the upcoming rumored 'Marvel Land' expansion plans for Disney California Adventure Park. If it's any indication of what's to come, I can't wait!
I'm David Platt, your Mouse Master Disney Destination specialist. I'm delighted to bring you the latest news on Disney Destinations.