*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.
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!
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!