It was a day in paradise. Not that any day at a Disney property doesn’t spell paradise, but this one actually and literally does!
My Cruising Christopher and I have decided a while ago to be Disney vacationers as much as we possibly can, because it’s simply put the best way to vacation. Period. And if you are really really rich, and money is no problem, I am so very happy for you. But if you’re on any sort of a budget like me, you’re probably constantly looking for deals. After all: When you get a good deal, you can maybe squeeze in an extra trip with the money you just saved! 😀
The “Value Resorts”
When vacationing at one of the Disneyland Resort properties in California, you have to be prepared to leave quite a bit of money here. Much unlike Disney World, there are no “value resorts,” there’s simply no room to build them. There ARE good neighbor hotels, which are much more affordable than the Disney Resort properties, they are close by, and they all have complimentary shuttles to the park (and some are right across the street and you just walk over). And they are honestly nicer than Disney World’s Value Resorts.
Paradise Pier Hotel as Your Best Budget Choice
But if you are like me, you’ll want to be in the heart of the Disney magic on your Disney vacation. At Disneyland Resort, there are then only 3 properties to choose from. So if you want to do this on a budget, you will want to look at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. Out of the 3 properties, this one, while still carrying quite a price tag, has the least expensive rates by far.
When you book off-season, your room rates for a standard room at the Paradise Pier Hotel start at $269/night, which is still a lot better than a starting rate of $417 at the Grand Californian. Remember room rates do not include meals or park tickets, either. Because I am as thrifty as I am, I have a very hard time spending this kind of money when I have my own bed for free 20 minutes down the freeway.
Our Resort “Vacation Days”
So we do what we call “Vacation Days.” We go to hang out at the hotel for a day, bring some games if needed, buy a snack and a dinner there, enjoy the lobby areas and fun things to do around the hotel, and go home for the night. We enjoy the hotel, without paying the hefty price tag of staying at it. Granted, that doesn’t give us access to the pool, and I can’t tell you about room service either, but I can tell you about all the rest!
We went on our last Vacation Day for New Year’s Eve, where we enjoyed the afternoon, evening, and night at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. To read all about the event, click here. To see the hotel, keep reading this post!
The Lobby Area
Since this hotel is the least expensive, it’s also the smallest out of all the properties. Some reviews will tell you it’s unimpressive, but I disagree. It’s not the Grand Californian, but it’s not supposed to be. The theme is Southern California beaches, and you can feel it everywhere you go. As you enter the lobby area, you are greeted by a big surfing Goofy, even though we were last greeted by a big surf-themed Christmas tree. The lobby is open and airy, and everything is right there and has a touch of ocean. Your kids will not get lost and you feel immediately like you’re on vacation.
While the check in counter is on your left, the concierge counter is on your right. The elevators to the guest floors are right in the middle of the round lobby atrium.
The eateries and restaurants
When you venture past the big Goofy or Christmas tree to your right, you’ll walk right up to the Surfside Lounge, a casual eatery to sit back, enjoy coffee or a beer, or a snack, or a quick dinner. While you pick up drinks and snacks at the bar, dinner actually has table service. It’s a living room feel at the Surfside Lounge, with a TV corner and couches built in to rest up before heading back to the busy parks.
Around the Surfside Lounge are more tables with comfy chairs and nooks to hang out in and relax. The whole lobby is bursting with ocean touches, from the blue, wavy glass dividers to separate sitting areas, over the wicker lounge chairs, to the palm tree-resembling light fixtures. And the color themes remains in blue and sand shades. Very relaxing.
Past the Surfside Lounge and seating areas is Surf’s Up, the hotel’s restaurant. Definitely not a formal restaurant, you feel at home in jeans and T-Shirt or a sun dress at this beach themed place, complete with tiki huts and surfboard decor. We enjoyed eating at this buffet-style restaurant; and when you sit by the large window front facing the street, you can see the Disneyland fireworks at night!
Mickey In Paradise: The Store!
Can’t forget your merchandise store in the lobby right across the Surfside Lounge. Mickey In Paradise is actually quite sizeable and has a really good variety for all ages and interests. We bought some pins there, and really loved the Paradise Pier Hotel pin! And if you’re a hotel guest and forget any of your toiletries, fret not. They are right there. And if you’d like to enjoy some wine in your room without calling room service, you can buy some bottles right there, along with Disney wine glasses. Just in case you were wondering. 🙂
Kids Theater Room and Other Amenities
When venturing a bit further into the hotel, you’ll find the grand ballroom right across from the kids’ TV room, which is really cute as the TV sits in a big sand castle and the kids get to sit in wooden kids-sized beach chairs. This is behind a glass wall so kids don’t get lost, however, there’s no staff member to watch your kids. So you either need to stay there, or they are on their own.
This is also where stairs go up to the second floor, which features a well equipped gym, which you enter through a Mickey door (cute!), and the concierge lounge. Bathrooms are on each floor and they follow the beach theme as well. Excuse me for taking pictures from the inside!
Now as I said, we did not have access to the pool, neither did we care to because it was December 31, and that’s cold time even in Southern California! What I really do like about this hotel, though, is that it has a rooftop pool! How special is that?! On select nights, you can watch Disneyland’s fireworks from up there with synchronized music you would also hear at the park. Much better than crowding in front of the castle, if you ask me! And the hotel also offers movies under the stars, where you sit back, relax, and watch an open-air Disney movie!
Because of its location, you have a fantastic view not only over Disneyland Park to see the fireworks, but also over California adventure to see World of Color. You may not hear the music, but it sure looks beautiful from above!
Main Take-Aways and Tips
- Yes, this is the smallest of all the hotels.
- No, I do not WANT to spend close to $300 a night to spend the night there and have access to the pool. But if you don’t happen to have a bed 2o minutes away, and you’re looking for a Disney vacation, or just want to treat yourself, this is a really nice hotel to stay at.
- You’re experiencing Disney service, the staff is wonderful, the hotel is immaculate.
- The Surfside Lounge brews good coffee and it’s not even completely overpriced! It also features a microwave, condiments, plastic utensils and paper plates for any home-brought or baby need you may have.
- You have access to the kids club at the Grand Californian across the street if you want your kids watched, and there’s character dining at your hotel.
- It’s very relaxing with island and beach themed music playing quietly in the background.
- You’re a stone throw away from the parks and Downtown Disney, with a beautiful view of it all from the pool (or possibly your room) when you don’t want to leave your oasis.
- Parking in the hotel parking structure is expensive. Assuming you’re staying the night, it’ll cost you $100 per 24 hours, or $18 for the first hour and $9 every subsequent hour. I hear there’s a free lot for hotel guests a bit further in the back (just leave your luggage and drive the car to the lot), but you need to push to receive this information.