As mentioned in yesterday’s post, one of the highlights of our recent trip to Disneyland was the last minute booking at the Disneyland Hotel. We were quite excited as we started out on our journey. A steady rain accompanied us on the way to the airport, but the flight was scheduled to leave on time. Our flight was from Dallas Love Field at 10:25 PM, landing in Los Angeles at 11:45 PM.
Of course, the best plans are laid waste by the weather, sometimes. And so it was, that due to rain and lightning, the incoming flight was routed to Austin first, and then to Love Field. By the time we left that night, it was 230 AM Friday morning. After catching an Uber from LAX, we reached the Disneyland Hotel around 430 AM, Pacific time.
Disneyland Resort Express provides shuttle buses between Los Angeles airport, John Wayne airport and hotels in the Anaheim resort area. Shuttles run between 7 am and 8 pm every day. Roundtrip charges per adult are $48. Our flight was scheduled to arrive too late for us to avail of this service, so we chose to Uber our way to the hotel.
Needless to say, we were exhausted by the time we reached the hotel. The check-in counter was understandably empty and we completed the process over the next few minutes. The staff, while efficient, showed no real empathy for tired travelers. Perhaps, my expectations exceeded reality. Since we had already lost most of the first night of our stay, we tried to get one room for the remainder of our time but were told the premium room wasn’t available until later in the morning.
We were assigned a standard room at the Frontier Tower and soon we were there catching up on much-needed sleep. By 11 am, we were up and ready to move out of the room. But first, we stopped at the Tangaroa Terrace for breakfast. Mr. JJ and I enjoyed the thick and fluffy Japanese pancakes (they were indeed thick, fluffy and very filling) with compote and guava syrup while Sonny JJ got the Tangaroa toast, a brick French toast with bananas foster, whipped cream, and toasted coconut, served with hashbrowns instead of bacon.
Next, we went to the main lobby where one of the managers asked us to stow our luggage with the bell service. Our room wasn’t ready for occupancy yet.
The walk from the hotel to the California Adventure Park took about 15 minutes, mainly because we were finding our way for the first time and taking in the sights and sounds of the Disney Downtown. The day was superb and the decorations everywhere, in honor of Halloween, so colorful.
After a satisfying day at Disney’s Californa Adventure Park, we walked back to the Disney Downtown district where we enjoyed dinner at Black Tap. Then we walked back to the main hotel lobby and got our keys for the new premium room with pool view.
Although the layout was similar to the standard room, this one was much bigger and the two queen beds did not feel cramped. The view from our room was of the pool area and Frontier lawn, a significant improvement over the parking lot from the first room. We also had a view of the Matterhorn in the distance.
The entryway to the room was flanked by a vanity area to the right and the bathroom to the left. There was adequate space here for three adults (Sonny JJ feels like an adult somedays) and a separate vanity area meant two people could get ready at the same time.
Sonny JJ and I spent some time looking for the Mickey ears motif across the room and found about 5 or 6 of them. The following morning we looked down onto the lawn in front of the hotel to find Mickey Mouse himself smiling at us from the creatively trimmed bushes.
The water area at the Disneyland Hotel has three different pools. They were not immense but large enough to keep both children and adults busy. The Monorail pool has slides as well. Given our short visit, we did not use the pool, but I could easily visualize spending three or four days at the resort, combining poolside fun with visiting the parks.
Surrounding the Monorail pool is adequate seating as well as a large outdoor fireplace. We found many people hanging out here at all times of the day and night. It seemed a pleasant area to lounge in and enjoy a good book, listen to music or enjoy a quiet chat, in front of a warming fire.
The Disneyland Hotel has two other towers, the Fantasy tower where the main lobby is located and the Adventure Tower, located perpendicular to the Frontier Tower. I genuinely enjoyed the lawns and gardens along the walk path at the hotel. They boasted a nice array of flowering plants and bushes and the Mickey and Minnie topiaries were fun to discover and appreciate.
According to the designingdisney.com website, the original idea for the Disneyland Hotel was conceived in 1954 and at its grand opening in 1956, featured over 200 rooms, an Olympic size pool, several cocktail lounges, and restaurants. It has since undergone several transformations. The Monorail service was extended from the park to the hotel. These original Disneyland Hotel buildings were torn down in 1999 to make way for Downtown Disney and the parking facilities of the Disneyland resort. Read more about the history of the Disneyland Hotel here and here.
The sorcerer’s hat en route to Downtown Disney is a must-see. Although the hotel offers a total of five restaurants and lounges, we liked the Tangaroa Terrace so much we hung out there two mornings. The Terrace has the Dole soft serve ice cream although we didn’t stop to try it.
I found the proximity to the Disney Parks a huge benefit. The second day, after we had explored most of Disneyland, I was too exhausted to wait for the Fantasmic viewing. So I left the boys to enjoy the show and walked back to the hotel to turn in early. It was a pleasant walk through Downtown Disney but also safe and I was back in the room in no time. Similarly, that morning, we took advantage of the Extra Magic Hour to finish some of the attractions in Tomorrowland. This meant, we had more time to spend at Galaxy’s Edge, when it opened at the usual time. Disney hotel guests can also make use of the Package check service. After we built the lightsabers, we realized they were cumbersome to carry around all day. So we took them to the package check service at Pioneer Mercantile in Frontierland. Although the boys went back to pick up their package before leaving the park, they could have had them delivered to the Bell services for pick up the following morning.
The one other aspect of the Disneyland Hotel that I enjoyed much were the toiletries. I simply liked the Disney H20+ collection of conditioners, shampoo, body wash, and bath soap. They were in sea salt and sea marine fragrance. It has been a long time since I closely guarded and packed leftover toiletries but I certainly did with this one.
All in all, we had a wonderful stay at the Disneyland Hotel, even though most of our day was spent at the parks. But I would certainly think about returning here to enjoy a more relaxed time, taking advantage of the pools as well as the parks.