Anyone who has researched the cost of the Disneyland Resort hotels knows that they are not cheap. Depending on the hotel and room type, prices can range from $250 to over a thousand dollars a night. When you factor in Disneyland Resort tickets, food costs, and other travel expenses, it all adds up quickly.

So, what makes the Disneyland Resort hotels so expensive, and is the extra cost worth it? Disney is well-known for their high level of customer service and going above and beyond to meet the customer's needs. Disney and its Cast Members strive to ensure that everyone has a "magical" experience. And, generally speaking, exceptional customer service does end up costing the consumer more. However, Disney truly does want to make everyone's stay at the Disneyland Resort hotels "magical" and the Cast Members will go out of their way to ensure this happens.

And now, a quick story. About six months ago I called to book a night at the Disneyland Hotel and was originally told that no rooms were available. However, the Cast Member placed me on hold and then came back a few minutes later and had found a room for me. The day of my arrival, I checked in at the front desk and the Cast Member stated that the room was not ready, however that it would be worth the wait and that if I had any friends nearby, to call them. I've stayed at the Disneyland Hotel numerous times before and this was not common. The anticipation was killing me however, I wandered to the parks to enjoy the day. A couple of hours later I received a call from the hotel stating that my room was ready and that I needed to go to the hotel desk.

Upon arriving at the desk, the Cast Member that checked me in and another Cast Member escorted my family and I to another tower in the hotel. They were very friendly, but also careful not to give any spoilers. As we got off the elevator, I noticed that we were on the floor that housed the themed suites. The Cast Members walked us to the end of the hallway to the Pirates of Caribbean Suite where they had my young niece open the door. Once inside, the Cast Members showed us the entire suite, gave us extra keys, and even took photos for us. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and the look on my niece's face was priceless. This is Disney at its finest and one, of many, examples of Cast Members going out of their way to provide exceptional customer service. Although most hotels will try to make your stay as enjoyable as possible, that type of "magical" experience is hard to find anywhere else.

Beyond exceptional customer service, the Disneyland Resort hotels also excel at their theming. One of the many things that makes Disneyland Resort so great is the details. The hotels, with maybe one exception, also excel in this area. Each of the three Disneyland Resort hotels has a different theme and all showcase the Disney essentials in some way, shape or form.

The Disneyland Hotel features mid-century modern theming from the era in which Disneyland first opened. In addition, the pool features a replica of the original Disneyland sign along with the monorail slide. The Disneyland Hotel also has a number of shopping and dining options, including Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar. Even if you aren't staying at the Disneyland Hotel, I'd recommend checking out Trader Sam's. Be prepared for a wait, however the atmosphere, drinks and food will be worth it.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa is the most expensive of the Disneyland Resort hotels. Rooms generally start at $500 a night, so this one may be tough if you are planning a long trip. However, the Grand  Californian has a much more relaxing atmosphere than the other Disneyland Resort hotels. This hotel is themed after the 20th century arts and crafts movement and features architecture you'd find in Northern California. Many of the rooms have bunk beds which is a great option for kids. The Grand California is also the closest of the three hotels to the parks and features its own entrance into Disney's California Adventure. In addition, the Grand  Californian offers a number of great restaurants. If you enjoy fine dining, I'd recommend making a reservation at Napa Rose. The food is fine dining at its best and the restaurant features an extensive wine collection.

The third Disneyland Resort hotel is the Paradise Pier Hotel. This is the least expensive of the three hotels and, in my opinion, doesn't quite match the level of theming that the Disneyland Hotel and Grand Californian have. The Paradise Pier Hotel is a hotel that Disney purchased and re-themed to a beach theme. In comparison to the other two Disneyland Resort hotels, it also lacks in both dining and shopping options. However, it is a quick walk to either of the other Disneyland Resort hotels.

The Disneyland Resort is unique in that some of the off-property hotels are the same distance from the parks as the Disneyland Resort hotels, with the exception of the Grand Californian, of course. So, location isn't really a factor with regard to pricing and the overall value of the hotels.

If you are looking for a "magical" experience, and your budget allows for it, I will always recommend staying at the Disneyland Resort Hotels. The experience truly cannot be matched at other area hotels. However, there are a number of great Resort area hotels within walking distance that are less expensive and also offer great pools and water play areas for kids. If you are looking for even more budget friendly hotels, you'll want to look a little further from the Resort.  You won't be within walking distance, but Anaheim Resort Transit picks up at many of these hotels and will take you right to the Resort.

So, to answer the question. Is the higher cost of the Disneyland Resort hotels really worth it? If you are looking for a "magical" experience that only Disney can offer, then the answer is yes. If you are simply looking for a place to sleep, the answer is no. Regardless  of where you stay, Disney makes its presence known. So, you'll never be fully removed from the Disney experience.

Published by Get Out and Have Fun -