As annual passholders from out of state, we’ve tried more than our fair share of Disneyland-area hotels. We’ve even stayed in a few hotels down the road in Garden Grove (because, wow what a deal!), but today we’re sharing the best hotels within walking distance of Disneyland.
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What do you mean by hotels within walking distance of Disneyland?
“Walking distance” is a pretty subjective phrase, but we’re talking a 15 minute walk to the front gates. This is doable for most families, even with small kids.
Keep in mind that when hotels share the “distance” from the parks, they’re really calculating distance to the park entrance rather than through security and to the individual park gates. We use that same calculation. When planning your walk to Disneyland keep in mind that you have another 5-10 minute walk into the Parks or Downtown Disney, once you’ve entered the main gate.
As you can see from the map above Disneyland Resort is huge – it spans 500 acres. Granted, it’s not even close to the nearly 28,000 acres that make up Walt Disney World, but it still makes for a lot of walking. At the end of the day, the last thing you want to be facing is a long walk (or wait for a ride) “home.”
Generally speaking, we select hotels with the “magic triangle.” The magic triangle exists between 1-5, Harbor Blvd. and Katella Avenue.
Hotels in this area tend to be a 5-15 minute walk. Which, even at the end of a very long day is better than waiting amongst the crowds for an Uber pick up.
We understand that work is being done to make the hotels southwest of the Park, near Disneyland Drive, more accessible and hope those improvements occur sooner than later. There are some very nice hotels that way.
Tips for Booking Hotels Within Walking Distance of Disneyland
Before we jump into a review of the best hotels within walking distance of Disneyland, we have a few tips to share.
- Location, location, location. You will be tempted to book a Disneyland property. Not only are the three Disney properties far more expensive than even the luxury pick we’re sharing today, they are often not as close (the exception being the Grand Californian, which runs $500-1200 a night).
- Book early. Hotels close to Disneyland fill up quickly. If you want to book the best hotels within walking distance to Disneyland, book four to six months before your trip.
- Use a travel agency. Using a travel agent will save you time and money. Plus, you don’t pay a single dime for the service. With their low price guarantee, our travel partner Get Away Today has been the best value for Disneyland travel (beating out discount travel giants like Costco) we’ve found for more than a decade. Be sure to use our link for the very best deals and utilize the promotional code TE10 for an extra $10 off!
Now, let’s get to the good part…
Best Hotels Within Walking Distance of Disneyland
Slowly but surely, we’re working to stay at all of the hotels located in the magic triangle. Although there are a few we probably will not ever touch due to other online reviews. Without further ado, here are some of our favorite options within walking distance of the Parks.
Luxury Hotel Close to Disneyland
Our favorite hotel within walking distance of Disneyland is the five-star JW Marriott hotel (Read our full review of this hotel, including pros and cons). This hotel is an easy 12-15 minute walk to the Park gates. The most direct route to the Disneyland property is through Anaheim GardenWalk, which is pretty quiet in the morning hours.
The GardenWalk fills up throughout the day and is pretty thumpin’ when you return from the Parks at night. One of the advantages of staying near this area, are the many familiar restaurants easily accessed if you’re interested in a meal outside of the Parks.
This one hits you first on our list, because though it’s not the closest hotel it’s our favorite. The JW Marriott is the luxury we live for – from the spa like bathroom to the soft beds and gorgeous gardens they’ve got it all. However, there isn’t a lot for very small children.
We can afford to stay at the JW Marriott frequently by booking through our travel partner Get Away Today. Book through our link to get a fourth night on the house ($200+ savings) and free valet parking ($30 savings each day). You can also get an additional $10 off by using the promo code TE10.
Best Small Family Hotel in Walking Distance to Disneyland
Our son’s favorite area hotel is the Howard Johnson, by Wyndham. Located across the street (you can see the Monorail go by from your balcony!) from Tomorrowland at the north end of Disneyland, the HoJo is an eight minute walk to the Park gates.
This hotel has such a fun history. It opened in 1965 and was one of the first hotels built to serve Disneyland. It was designed by famed architect William Pereria, a good friend of Walt Disney. He also designed the Disneyland Hotel.
The Howard Johnson Anaheim sits on 10-acres and is made of several different buildings. The site is currently being remodeled one building at a time. We always request building number two, which is fully remodeled and has a new pool space right outside. If you have little ones there is also a small waterpark on site.
The hotel rooms are well-sized, but not large so we don’t recommend this particular hotel to families with more than two kids.
Closest Hotel to Disneyland for Larger Families
The best hotel within walking distance of Disneyland for larger families, is definitely the Courtyard Marriott Theme Park Entrance (read our full review here). Located just north of the Park entrance, this hotel is an easy five-to-eight minute walk.
There are a variety of room options that include bunk beds and even pull out couches. This hotel is honestly too big for our little family of three – all of the rooms in this hotel sleep at least six.
In addition to sleeping space, this hotel has a large waterpark and pool area that appeals to families with younger kids. On our last visit, one of the best things I heard on the whole trip was a kid who exclaimed, “This is the most fun ride of our whole trip!” in reference to one of the water play elements.
This hotel is a bit more expensive due to the location, space and number of beds in each room, but if you book far three to six months out with Get Away Today, for a better price.
Check out our full review of the Courtyard Marriott Theme Park Entrance – the closest hotel within walking distance of Disneyland for large families.
Value-Style Hotel Across from Disneyland
The Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort, by Marriott, is located directly across the street from the park. It’s set back slightly on the lot and so the walk to the Park entrance is still about five minutes.
I use the phase “value-style” here, because the Fairfield Inn is a 1980’s motel with outdoor room entrances, that’s been updated to entice Disneyland guests with a desire to stay close. Having said that, rooms typically run almost double what you’d consider value in any market, including Anaheim.
The updated rooms at the Fairfield Inn, include hard surface floors (so good) and fun Disney-themed decor. Many of the rooms have pull out beds and there are a number of adjoining rooms, which helps to accommodate a moderately sized family.
Inside the hotel’s main tower, guests will find a small arcade and a Pizza Hut.
Book the Fairfield Inn through our travel partner Get Away Today and in addition to great rates, you will receive free parking each night and in-room internet.
Hands Down Closest Hotel to Disneyland
The very closest hotel to Disneyland is the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn (Read our full review of this hotel). This motel-style stay is located DIRECTLY across the street from Disneyland’s main gate. We hesitate to place a time stamp on your walk, because it really just depends on when you hit the light right outside. If you’re looking for proximity it can’t be beat (it’s even closer than Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier).
The rooms are small, but well-kept. It’s a great option for those who will be spending every possible moment celebrating the Parks, but don’t intend to spend downtime in their room.
This isn’t the best hotel for families with multiple children, though it works for our family of three (and could accommodate four). Some of the rooms are right on Harbor, so this hotel can also be a bit noisy.
If you want to stay at the Best Western Plus Park Place, be sure to book early. Due to the location, it fills up incredibly fast. Also, be aware that you will be paying for proximity. These rooms are not cheap.
Cheapest Hotel Close to Disneyland for Families
If you’re looking for a good deal on a family stay, the Desert Palms around the corner from Disneyland is great! It’s a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel to the main entrance of the Park. You can actually see Disney California Adventure from the building. It’s also the only hotel featured in this post outside of the magic triangle.
The rooms at Desert Palms have a slightly awkward layout, but they are very large. Between regular rooms and very affordable family suites, this hotel can accommodate a family of any size. They also offer a free breakfast.
Perhaps our favorite thing about this hotel is the friendly staff. We were so impressed with the welcome we received and their interest in making sure our stay was fantastic.
Close Hotel with an AMAZING Free Breakfast
The Element, by Marriott, is a brand new hotel east of Disneyland near the I-5. It’s on the very edge of our magic triangle and is easily a 15-20 minute walk. Honestly, this one is ALMOST beyond our walking comfort zone at the end of a long day, you may decide to spring for a quick $5-10 Uber ride back.
What keeps us coming back (we’re hoping to book for our next stay!) to this hotel is how beautiful the facilities are AND the incredible breakfast.
This isn’t your average breakfast bar – they’ve got everything from cereal and milk to healthy low-carb friendly options.
We’ve found that filling up before heading into the Parks ends up saving us a lot of money, because we don’t want to stop for an expensive (and calorie filled) snack every few hours.
We think we’ve rounded up the best hotels within walking distance of, but maybe you’ve tried something we haven’t…Let us know if you discover another that we should consider for this list.
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