Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel review
The best way to enjoy your stay at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim is to stay at one of the resort’s three on-property hotels. There is the original Disneyland Hotel, the Disney Grand Californian Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier. All three hotels have a very distinct feel to them and they all offer their own distinct amenities and benefits. In fact, staying at each hotel will yield a completely different experience even though they’re all located in close proximity.
The Disney Paradise Pier Hotel is widely known as the best value of the three Disneyland Resort hotels. Generally speaking the price to stay at the Paradise Pier Hotel will always be less than the other two hotels. The Grand Californian Hotel is the crown jewel of the resort and the Disneyland Hotel is the sentimental favorite, and so the Paradise Pier Hotel usually falls in third place when it comes to desired places to stay on property (let it be known, however, that it doesn’t mean that you’re sacrificing quality here because you’re still getting the full Disney experience at the hotel).
For anyone considering making a Paradise Pier Hotel Disneyland reservation, here’s a handy guide featuring everything you need to know about staying at the hotel. We’ll be taking a look at the following areas to give you a sense of what the hotel has to offer:
- Things To Do
- Benefits of Staying at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel
Once upon a time Disney purchased the Pan Pacific Hotel back in 1995 and renamed it the Disney Pacific Hotel. The hotel operated as a secondary destination for resort guests but it lacked a true Disney feel to it until it was remodeled and rebranded as Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel in 2000, which coincided with the opening of Disney California Adventure that same year. With a refreshed design that flowed seamlessly into the theme park, the hotel finally felt like a true Disney resort.
The hotel features a seaside theme that is a callback to the beaches and boardwalks of the 1920s. The theming ties into what used to be Disney California Adventure’s Paradise Pier, which was rebranded as Pixar Pier in 2018. As such, guests will enjoy a vibrant and colorful experience at the hotel during their stay.
The Paradise Pier Hotel borders Disney California Adventure but guests must take a 15-minute walk to get into the theme parks, so guests should plan to leave early to pass through security and deal with lines to get into the parks.
Like any boardwalk carnival, there are plenty of giant lightbulbs to give the hotel a bright feel day or night. The hotel has a casual flare to it, with a giant statue of Goofy in his beach attire in the lobby. As such, each room features art that ties into the park’s decor.
In terms of room selection, there are rooms to fit every guest’s needs. Standard rooms sleep up to five people and come with combinations of queen beds and one day bed, one king bed with sleeper sofas and so forth. There are also suites available that sleep between ten and thirteen people.
Rooms can be upgraded with a premium view that will give guests a prime view of the Disneyland fireworks on select nights, or the World of Color water show at Disney California Adventure.
Guests also have the option of booking standard and premium Paradise Pier Hotel Club-Level rooms that provide things like turndown service, complimentary drinks and appetizers during happy hour, snacks, access to the exclusive Beachcomber Club, special desserts every night and a continental breakfast. Given the cost of meals around the resort, paying a little more for Club-Level service makes a lot of sense, especially if you’re not planning on staying at the theme park all day.
Each room is decorated in neural cream and beige tones with green and blue accents to highlight the beach theme of the hotel.
There are four dining options at the Paradise Pier Hotel. No matter what time of day it is, in-room dining will bring a wide variety of food directly to your room so that you don’t have to go out. Room service breakfast is always a lovely option on the last morning of your trip when you need a little break from all of the action.
Guests can grab a drink or light meal at the Surfside Lounge on the lobby level of the hotel. Adult guests can enjoy a cocktail, wine or beer at the Lounge throughout the day. There’s something for everyone on the menu, which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.
When the rooftop pool is open guests can find snacks and drinks at the Sand Bar restaurant, which is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the Southern Californian sun.
Lastly there is Disney’s PCH Grill, named after that famous stretch of highway along the Pacific Ocean. The PCH Grill offers a delicious menu of Italian-inspired food during dinner service, all served in the casual beach-themed restaurant.
However, the place really comes alive in the mornings and on select afternoons when Donald Duck and friends take over for Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast and Donald Duck’s Seaside Brunch (note: Brunch is only available Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
Character dining experiences are a ton of fun, and if you’re looking for quality photo opportunities with characters then the character buffet breakfast and brunch are perfect. Don’t be surprised if Donald and his buddies sit down at your table and hang out for a while, because they most certainly will!
The Paradise Pier Hotel restaurants are open to all guests, whether or not they’re hotel guests. Given the popularity of character dining the breakfast and brunch experiences can be quite crowded so expect to arrive early for prime seating.
Things to Do
The Paradise Pier Hotel has a rooftop pool that affords guests with a unique view of the Disneyland Resort and the surrounding Anaheim area. Guests looking to pamper themselves can also choose from one of the resort spa options.
The Paradise Pool is located on the third floor roof, but don’t let the location fool you because there is something for everyone on this rooftop oasis. The Children’s Pool is a place where little ones can splash in the water without having to compete for space with the older kids.
Adults can enjoy the relaxing Paradise Spa whirlpool, and everyone can experience the thrill of the California Streamin’ waterslide. The Paradise Pool has plenty of lounge chairs and places to catch the sun, too, and guests can grab a bite to eat at the Sand Bar before returning to the fun.
Guests looking to get to the gym during their stay can enjoy an on-site fitness center at the Paradise Pier Hotel, while the Grand Californian Hotel is the place to go for full service spa treatments. For guests who want unique fitness experiences, consider the Rise and Stretch in the Park stretch class held inside the Disney California Adventure park. Reservations are required, but this is one stretch class you won’t want to miss!
Benefits of Staying at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel
Staying at any hotel at the Disneyland Resort will open up a world of special benefits and amenities designed for hotel guests only.
One of the biggest perks of staying at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel is the ability to enter the theme parks one hour early each morning of your stay. Thanks to Extra Magic Hour, registered hotel guests can gain entry to the parks early, which means getting on rides without lines and shopping for goodies before the rest of the guests are allowed inside.
Guests are allowed early admission to Disneyland on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and guests can enter Disney California Adventure an hour early on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Keep in mind that every hotel guest is entitled to this perk and so the lines can get rather long, so plan to arrive early. Since the parks open at 8am on some days, this means arriving around 6:45am to be ready to enter the parks at 7am for Extra Magic Hour, and early days like that can be a challenge for families with young children.
Another benefit to staying at the hotel is that you can have in-park purchases sent directly to your room, freeing up your hands to enjoy the day without carrying all of your packages. Guests can also choose from an array of in-room celebration packages so that you can surprise that special someone with a birthday or anniversary celebration upon your arrival. It’s just one more way that the Disney Magic can make your trip even more magical.
There’s also the amazing view afforded by the Paradise Pier Hotel. Because the hotel is located right on the edge of the Disney California Adventure park the view is amazing.
Even if you’re staying at the hotel without planning on going into the park, or if your ticket package doesn’t include both parks, there’s nothing like waking up with a view of the theme parks and going to sleep watching the fireworks. (Nightly fireworks schedule will vary, and premium park views will be an added expense to your room rate)
Pros and Cons
Unlike the Disneyland Hotel and the Grand Californian Hotel, both of which were custom built as part of the Disneyland Resort, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel was acquired in the 1990s and converted into a Disney resort hotel. There are times when you feel like you’re in a converted space rather than a space that was created specifically for its purpose.
This really comes to light when you visit the Grand Californian Hotel, which is a masterpiece modeled in the storied Arts and Crafts Movement seen in California architecture of the early 20th century.
Since that time it has undergone several changes, and now the seaside theme fits perfectly with the Disney California Adventure theme park and what used to be known as Paradise Pier. Paradise Pier was rethemed in 2018 to become Pixar Pier, but the seaside theme is still present throughout, making the Paradise Pier Hotel feel like an extension of the park.
For guests looking for a getaway at the Disneyland Resort without actually venturing into the park itself, the Paradise Pier Hotel has the best views and is a close walk to Downtown Disney, making it a nice place to relax with Disney style.
Another benefit is that Annual Passholders will often receive discounted room rates during off-peak seasons, making the hotel an especially good value (usually less than half the cost of a room at the Grand Californian Hotel) per night.
The Paradise Pier Hotel is a lot of fun, and it is definitely a great place for families with young kids to stay because of the bright colors and beach theme. Older guests, or guests looking for a more laid-back experience, might opt for one of the other hotels.
In terms of accessibility, there is no entrance to the theme parks from the hotel. Guests can walk to the Grand Californian Hotel to enter Disney California Adventure, they can walk to Downtown Disney and utilize the Monorail to enter Disneyland, or they can walk to the main entrance plaza to enter both parks from the main entrance.
Keep in mind it’s about a 15-minute walk from the Paradise Pier hotel to the main entrance plaza, and hotel guests will be funneled through security along the way so plan to leave early because the security lines can get long during the busy season.
Rating Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel
Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel earns 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a great deal for anyone looking to stay on property at the Disneyland Resort, but it doesn’t have all of the Disney frills that the other two hotels have. Regardless, there’s no question that you’re staying at a Disney hotel when you’re there, and it will nicely cap off your Disney trip without breaking the bank.
If you enjoyed this article, please “like” our Countdown to Magic Facebook page!
You Also Might Want to Read:
- 7 Cheap Places to Eat at Disneyland on a Budget and Save Major Dough
- 8 Disneyland Rides for 4-Year-Olds That Kids Will Love
- The 7 Best Eats at Disneyland That Will Knock Your Socks Off
- The 8 Best Disneyland Restaurants You and Your Family Will Enjoy
- The 7 Best Value Food Meals at Disneyland to Save You Money
- The 10 Best Disneyland Snacks You’ll Love Eating
- The 7 Best Disney Character Breakfast Meals at Disneyland
- 12 Amazing Things to Do in Disneyland for Adults