By David Platt, your Mouse Master specialist
I just recorded a podcast detailing my family's recent trip to Disneyland® Resort at Holiday Time, complete with a surprise side-trip to Universal Studios Hollywood for my Harry Potter-obsessed daughter. Take a listen here.
Our trip began with a Universal Studios day, where we splurged on a VIP tour to ensure we saw and did everything. Our focus was definitely on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but we got to see a lot of other fantastic stuff too, including the Universal backlot. We even got to walk around the outside sets for one of our favorite new shows, The Good Place! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter certainly lives up to the hype. Just like with Cars Land at Disney California Adventure® Park, it literally feels like you're walking into the books or movies. The walk through Hogwart's is amazing, and it has the added bonus of culminating in a ride on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey! And where else can you walk around Hogsmeade, sipping on butter beer?
We then drove down to Anaheim and spent five days at the Disneyland® Resort, exploring all off the new Holiday Time offerings detailed in my previos blog entry 2016 Holidays at the Disneyland® Resort Dates and Events Revealed. Highlights included seeing a brand new holiday World of Color (even splurging for the Dessert Party so we could sit down for the show!), experiencing the Disneyland® Park Christmas Fantasy Parade for the first time, and exploring the fantastic new food booths at the Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park. We also finally got to ride the brand new Soarin' Around the World for the first time (yay!) and ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ for the last time (boo!).
All-in-all, it was a fantastic trip, It amazes me that after dozens of Disney trips, we can still fill a trip with surprises and find at least one new thing to experience every day we're in the parks. Of course we're already planning our return. Next up: the fourth annual 'Disneyland Daddy/Daughter Trip' this spring, followed by a long-delayed return trip to Walt Disney World® Resort in August.
Listen to the podcast of my trip report
By David Platt, your Mouse Master specialist
In my last blog entry, I talked about the advantages of staying on-property vs. off-property at the Walt Disney World® Resort. Now let’s move over to the west coast and talk about the Disneyland® Resort.
Staying on-property at Disneyland® Resort can be quite a bit different for those used to the dozens of resorts at Walt Disney World® Resort. Disneyland Resort only has three on-property hotels: Disney’s Paradise Pier® Hotel, the Disneyland® Hotel, and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel® & Spa.
However, unlike at Walt Disney World, there are no value-priced on-property resorts. Disney's Paradise Pier is roughly equivalent price-wise to a high-end Walt Disney World moderate resort, while the Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa are priced similarly to Walt Disney World deluxe resorts.
Each of the three on-property hotels is located very near the theme parks, with Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa even having its own private entrance into Disney California Adventure® Park. Disney's Paradise Pier and the Disneyland Hotel are a short ten-minute walk to the main gates, making all three extremely attractive from a location perspective.
One of the biggest perks of staying on-property, other than being immersed in the Disney magic, is that your entire party gets to enter one of the parks an hour early every morning, letting you get a huge jump on crowds.
But what about off-property? At Walt Disney World, off-property is usually only an attractive option if you’re traveling with a larger group that needs a suite or a vacation house. Staying at an off-property location usually means a long trek to the theme parks, using either a hotel shuttle or your own rental car.
Staying off-property in the Disneyland Resort area is a whole different ballgame, though— there are off-property hotels within easy walking distance. A few are even closer to the parks than the on-property hotels, believe it or not! It’s entirely possible to stay off-property with no need for a rental car and never setting foot on a shuttle.
Unlike the on-property Disneyland Resort hotels, off-property hotels come at all price points and at a wide range of amenity levels. Most located closest to the parks are older properties with fewer amenities, while those located a bit further away are more luxurious properties. Many, even within easy walking distance, have suite configurations designed for larger groups.
So when it comes down to it, which is the better choice— on-property or off-property? There really isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ answer; it all comes down to what you want in a hotel. Are location and luxurious amenities most important to you? On-property may be right for you. Or, if you’re a traveler who cares more about price and being close to the parks, you’ll probably be really happy with a nearby off-property hotel.
If you’d like to talk more about Disneyland-area properties, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm David Platt, your Mouse Master Disney Destination specialist. I'm delighted to bring you the latest news on Disney Destinations.