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Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel Review

Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel Review


Disney’s Paradise Pier is an onsite hotel, within walking distance of the Disneyland Resort theme parks. I’ll be discussing the pros and cons for booking a stay at the Paradise Pier hotel. I’ll also share whether it’s the best choice for families.

Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel sign

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*Disneyland 2020 Reopening Plans*

EDITOR’S NOTE: Disneyland Resort including hotels and theme parks have pushed back their reopening dates, as the plans have not yet been approved at the state and local government level. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks had planned to reopen on July 17, 2020. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel had planned to welcome guests on July 23rd, with the Disneyland Hotel reopening at a later date (to be announced). 

For additional details on Disneyland reopening as well as the thoughtful safety measures that the Disney resort hotels will be taking, read this post about taking kids to Disney parks after reopening. Some details in this Paradise Pier Hotel review may change upon reopening. This includes characters meet n’ greets, character dining and limiting the numbers of guests at the pool.

Little girl posing at Paradise Pier hotel wearing a polka dot dress

Disney Paradise Pier Hotel

While Walt Disney World boasts dozens of “on-site” resort hotels, the Disneyland Resort only has three – Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the original Disneyland Hotel and the Paradise Pier Hotel. In addition to the 3 Disneyland Resort hotels, there are also dozens of surrounding Anaheim area hotels and suites to choose from within walking distance of the amusement parks. When planning a first Disneyland vacation, you might be having a tough time deciding where to stay!

Disneyland Resort Hotel Review - Paradise Pier Hotel

Image Credit: Disney Parks

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Where is Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel?

Disney’s Paradise Pier is an onsite hotel at the Disneyland Resort, despite that its location puts it farther away from the resort entrances than some off-site hotels. A walk to the front gates of the parks could take 10-15 minutes from Paradise Pier. Guests can access the parks by walking through Downtown Disney District (after passing through the security checkpoint in front of the Disneyland Hotel). Or use the Monorail Station in Downtown Disney to enter Disneyland (with valid park ticket).

In the past, guests of all three Disneyland Resort hotels were permitted to use the private entrance for Disney Californian Adventure Park inside the Grand Californian Hotel. Unfortunately Paradise Pier guests can no longer access this entrance. A security guard at the entrance of the hotel will not allow passage through the hotel and a valid Grand Californian room key is required. 

Disneyland Resort Hotel Review - Paradise Pier Hotel

What Can You Expect at the Paradise Pier

This hotel is often under critique as being the “least Disney”, when compared to the other Disneyland Resort hotels. When you first step into the lobby, you might feel that this particular hotel is lacking a bit in the theming that is so prevalent at the other two hotels.

While the other two Resort hotels were built specifically as Disney resorts, the Paradise Pier Hotel was actually a different establishment that was taken over and remodeled by Disney. The Paradise Pier started its life as the Emerald of Anaheim in 1984 and later renamed the Pan Pacific Hotel. It was purchased by Disney in 1995 and renamed the Disney Pacific Hotel. In 2000, it was re-branded as the Paradise Pier Hotel (to match the Paradise Pier theme at Disney California Adventure Park).

Theme of the Paradise Pier Hotel

The Paradise Pier offers a 1920s seaside theme with slight Disney touches, oak paneling, overhanging plants, and a glass elevator. It’s a small lobby that lacks the “grandness” (obviously) of the Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa or the vintage-chic feel of the Disneyland Hotel. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just not very “Disney” feeling.

Little girl poses with Goofy statue inside Paradise Pier hotel at Disneyland resort

There is a statue of Goofy with a surfboard to take your picture with. Characters are also often here, meeting guests as they arrive. There is a large gift shop called Mickey in Paradise. A small kid’s space called the “Paradise Theater” shows Disney cartoons in a beach-themed room. There are multiple dining areas that I will discuss later.

PCH Grill at Paradise Pier Hotel

Paradise Pier Hotel Guest Rooms

The beach theme carries over from the lobby to the hotel guest rooms at the Paradise Pier hotel. Oak headboards and wicker furniture could use a style refresh, though the colorful bedding is a plus. The Pixar ball pillows remain on the beds, an addition made during the Pixar Fest celebration. There are subtle Disney details throughout the room, including a lifeguard Mickey lamp. A large sun mirror is a flashback to the original California Adventure entrance feature.

Inside room at Disney Paradise Pier Hotel

Rooms at the Paradise Pier Hotel (with Pixar balls!)

A pull-down sofa converts to a bed, making this room available for a family of 5 (or six if you have a baby that can sleep in a pack ‘n play). Rooms have a separate bathroom with shower/tub combo. Paradise Pier rooms do not offer a balcony though some pool-area hotel rooms have outdoor patios. Regular amenities include a mini fridge, coffee maker, and in room safe.

Paradise Pier Upgrades

When booking, guests can choose park view options that overlook the California Adventure theme park. On the television, tune in to the World of Color channel to listen to music and view some of the show from the window of your hotel room!

Park view from Paradise Pier hotel room

Several years ago my family splurged on a “Club Level” upgrade. This concierge upgrade permits access to the second floor Beach Comber club level lounge. Club level access includes continental breakfast, “evening happy hour” with appetizers and alcoholic drinks, with grab and go snacks throughout the day. There was also special dessert when we returned in the evening. A concierge desk can offer additional travel help with booking dining reservations.

If you’re planning several off-park Disneyland days, I’d highly recommend a Club Level stay as an awesome Disneyland splurge. But if you plan to be in the parks all day and not able to access the lounge throughout the day, the dining perk is hardly worth the extra cost.

Disneyland Resort Hotel Review - Paradise Pier Hotel

Just for fun, a vintage view of Disney California Adventure Park, circa 2009

Dining Choices at the Paradise Pier

There are multiple dining options available at the Paradise Pier hotel including quick service and a character dining experience.

  • Surfside Lounge is quick service that serves all three meals including late night meals.
  • Pool side Sand Bar quick service dining available on select days. This restaurant has never been open during any of my visits, even during busy seasons.
  • Disney’s PCH Grill has two dining options – Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast is a character meal. At night they serve Italian food, no characters.

We’ve dined at PCH Grill several times and appreciate the variety at the character breakfast. You almost can’t go wrong with Mickey waffles. The music, entertainment and character interaction is a great start to the day. Donald’s Seaside Breakfast is also well known as one of the few places you can see Stitch from Lilo and Stitch.

Minnie, Stitch, Donald and Daisy pose with mom and girl at Donald Duck's Seaside Breakfast

Rare photo op with all 4 characters since we were the last ones in the restaurant!

Paradise Pier Pool Area

The Paradise Pier offers a pool with a view! Situated on the third floor, the Paradise Pool is an enjoyable respite mid-day. Unlike the sprawling Disneyland Hotel and Grand California pool areas, the Paradise Pier pool area is much more compact and on one level. It’s a smaller area than the other Disneyland Resort hotel pool areas, which can be a good thing when you have small kids to keep your eye on.

Rooftop pool at Disney’s Paradise Pier hotel

The Paradise Pool area includes one large lap pool, one small and shallow children’s pool and one whirlpool hot tub. California Streamin’ waterslide is a highlight for kids (and adults!). Unlike the other two Disneyland Resort hotels, the Paradise Pier pool area does not offer cabana rentals. During the summer or warm weather weekends, consider showing up to the pool area early if you want a lounge chair. Life jackets are available in a variety of sizes for kids.

Why Should You Stay at the Paradise Pier?

There are many reasons that guests choose to stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel. For many, the Disney perks are worth the additional cost when compared to Anaheim Good Neighbor hotels

Extra Magic Hour  – While staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel, guests may enjoy the theme parks an hour before park opening with Extra Magic Hour and a valid park ticket. Extra Magic Hour is an ideal way to maximize your first two hours inside Disneyland parks

View of California Adventure from Paradise Pier Hotel

Slightly Lower Cost – Unfortunately there aren’t any Value Resorts at the Disneyland hotels. Paradise Pier is always the lesser priced of the three Disney Resort hotels but it’s still priced quite a bit more than off-site hotels in the Anaheim area. . Work out the Disneyland vacation budget ahead of your trip to weigh the cost options.

Fireworks – Come night fall head to the third floor pool deck. Hotel guests can pull up a beach chair and watch the Disneyland fireworks over the Park. There is a live synchronized broadcast over the loudspeakers so you’re fully involved in the show. I have fond memories of my dad’s last visit to Disneyland, as he held two of his pajama-clad grandsons on his lap while we watched the fireworks from this location. This special fireworks viewing area is a definitely perk for staying at the Paradise Pier hotel!

Paradise Pier Hotel Podcast

Listen and learn more about the Paradise Pier hotel at the Disneyland Resort, along with insider tips on the Disneyland With Kids podcast!


Monday 22nd of February 2016

When we were planning our trip we struggled with resort selection a lot! Though we finally settled on Disneyland Hotel it looks like a stay at Paradise Pier is in order for another trip. Thanks for providing a thorough review!


Sunday 21st of February 2016

This is probably the hotel that is most in our budget. So happy to see we won't be disappointed!!

Lee Beatens

Saturday 30th of January 2016

If it's a cheaper option for onsite stays, I'm in! Pity about the lesser Disney décor though. Thanks for the review!

elaine massey

Friday 29th of January 2016

I have been to Disneyland twice and we stayed at The Disneyland Hotel for the first last Feb. and then The Grand Californian for the second in June. I considered Paradise Pier, but the Disney folks suggested the other ones. This sounds like nice hotel. The concierge is a great thing if you can afford it. We did it once at The Beach Club Hotel but it's quite a bit extra. Thanks for the review. I have been curious about this hotel.


Thursday 28th of January 2016

Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel is an unexpected winner! I stayed there 5 years ago when the rate was still a bargain and fell in love with the bright, beach ball decorated rooms. (I had a room overlooking the construction of the California Streamin’ slide, so I'm happy to read that your kids enjoyed it so!) Unfortunately, the room rates have caught up with its popularity, so the Disneyland Hotel usually wins it for me. BUT, with its proximity to the corrals for Tinker Bell Half Marathon (in its parking lot), I would stay here again in a heartbeat!

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