Monday, August 11, 2014

Best Hotel Accommodations - Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend


When planning a Disney racecation, there are certain things that are important to lock down fairly early on. First of all is your registration to the race (they sell out so quick now!), flights/transportation and of course, your accommodations! When thinking of a hotel for a racecation it is all about location, location, location. Oh and price! Whether you are going with your family or sharing a room with your best running friends, it is important to get the most for your dollar. And since you are travelling somewhere to race (and possibly sight see) you really would like to have a hotel that is close to the action without breaking your budget.
Luckily, with the Disneyland races there are many hotel options for you to choose from that fit all price levels. Now with all the options (44 in all between on property and Good Neighbor hotels) it would be tough (and a bit long!) to write a comprehensive list of all the available hotels. So I am going to pick a few options to review and hope that they give you a broad sense of what is available to book on your next racecation to the Disneyland Resort!


It just so happens that the three Good Neighbor hotels I will be talking about happen to be in the Moderate category, however they offer very different experiences and are at different locations around the Disneyland Resort!

Run Disney also provides comprehensive information on shuttles to the resort for race and expo days. They have outlined the hotels and routes that ART (Anaheim Resort Transit) goes in order to get you to the expo as well as the race start and then back to the resorts after you have finished. Please make sure you leave enough time for the transfer in the mornings and prepare for long lines after you finish to be back to your resort.

The first best hotel (and my personal favorite) is Best Western Park Inn and Suites which is located just across Harbor Blvd from the Main Entrance to Disneyland. You literally cross the street and you are walking onto the resort property, it is very close and convenient! The rooms are spacious and nicely appointed. You have your choice between king or two queen beds and each room also comes with a pullout sofa bed! So if you are looking to save some money, you can get a double queen room and be able to sleep 5-6 people! Though there is only one bathroom, so pick your battles!

Speaking of the bathroom, the shower/tub and toilet are separate from the sink area, there is a large closet with mirrors on the sliding doors, a large desk and comfortable chair, large entertainment center with a flat screen TV. There is also a mini fridge and microwave in each room as well as many plugs to charge all your electronic devices. They also offer an impressive complimentary continental breakfast each morning with eggs, bacon, waffles, along with all your standard breakfast items. Please note that it opens at 6am so it will not be open in time for runners to grab something on their way to the start line. (Side note: I would grab an extra banana and bagel and put it in my room for the next mornings breakfast while I walked to the corrals, worked out great!)

They commonly have discounts and we used our AAA membership to get a room for around $90/night during Disneyland Half weekend last year. It was a fantastic rate for a great room in a great location! 

The next hotel is the Anabella Hotel located on Katella Avenue just south of the resort by the California Adventure park. While the hotel is close to the parks, it is quite a walk to get to the entrance of the resort. You would have to take Katella to Harbor and follow that up to the main entrance there, or take Katella to S West Street and enter the resort via Downtown Disney. Either way will be about a 30 minute walk so just be aware! The ART is also available to transfer you to and from the resort.

The rooms are beautifully appointed and provide many rooming options from your standard to concierge level. Options include two queen beds or one king, with full granite bathrooms and free wifi (a must nowadays!) There is a fridge and coffee machine along with a complete entertainment system including a flat screen TV. They have a great restaurant on site, but do not offer a complimentary continental breakfast unless you are a Business First or Concierge level guest. 

The grounds are beautiful and the hotel is quite lovely with so many options (even bunk beds for the kids!). Their prices are a bit more than the Best Western coming in at $121/night for a standard room up to $150-190 a night for concierge or kids suite rooms. This is a great option for those that want to be a bit more removed from the parks and be able to enjoy some peace and quiet. 

The third Good Neighbor hotel is the Howard Johnson located on S Harbor Blvd just west of the Disneyland Resort. This hotel is also serviced by the ART and will be providing transfers for Run Disney for the races and expo. You can walk from the hotel to the Disneyland resort, just realize that it will take some time because you are walking along a busy area and can take approximately 20-30 minutes depending on traffic.

Howard Johnson is a world of its own! Not only do they have warm, spacious rooms, but they also have a pool and water park area (yes, I said water park!) that can rival some stand alone parks that you have to pay to get in to. And this area is complimentary to all guests! So if you have kiddos and want to have a place to come have some fun at outside of the park, this place is perfect!

Their rooms are nicely appointed, spacious and include a fridge, coffee maker (it's a Keurig!), free wi-fi (bonus!), desk area and TV. There are a few bed configurations with two queen beds, or one king, or one queen with bunk beds, a fold out couch, there are so many options. Basically you can fit a family of 4-6 easily in one of these rooms, just again, be aware of the bathroom situation, there is just one! :)
Unfortunately they do not offer a continental breakfast, but do have a restaurant on-site, along with other options on the street. The rates run any where between $175/night and upwards of $220/night. They do have rate sales and offers through out the year that can cut those rates in half sometimes, making it a very economical place to stay!

Lastly but not least, are a couple of on-property options for your magical Run Disney experience. The Disneyland Hotel has done some major room remodels and have provided guests with a room experience not to be missed! Including the headboards pictured below, with a flip of a switch a fiber optic light show appears with some music to add to the magic! The rooms come with two queens or one king and a fold out sofa, floor to ceiling windows with fantastic views of the grounds (and parks!), beautifully appointed bathrooms with hidden Disney touches, a coffee maker, and premium bath amenities.

The Grand Californian is a beautiful homage to the rustic Arts and Crafts period with dark woods and luxurious features strewn throughout the resort, it is tough not to get swept up in the whimsy of this Craftsman style treasure. The rooms are wonderfully appointed with two queens or one king bed with a pull out sofa, flat screen TV's, comfortable seating, a coffee maker and premium bathroom amenities. The views are also hard to beat from anywhere in the hotel!
In addition to these beautiful hotel accommodations both of their pool areas are fantastic places for an afternoon respite from the parks, offering water slides, hot tubs and cabanas, there is a little something for everyone. Neither resort offers a complimentary continental breakfast unless you are on the Concierge level, then there is a special room where there are complimentary snacks, drinks and offerings throughout the day for those guests.

What is wonderfully unique about these resorts is their proximity to the start and finish lines of the races, they are quite literally right outside. The runner area and finish line is staged in the parking lot and street right outside the front of the Disneyland Hotel and only a few minutes walk from the Grand Californian. You can reach the runner area in less than 10 minutes, talk about prime location! That location can come with a hefty price tag though, the Disneyland Hotel rates start around $300/night whereas the Grand Californian rates start at $400/night with Concierge level rates starting at around $650/night. Both hotels provide wonderful memories and amenities (including an exclusive entry way into California Adventure from the Grand Californian) and are a must see even if you don't have the ability to stay there.

There you have it! Some really great choices of places to stay that have many different offerings for any budget and age range. There are so many other places that have rave reviews from other runners, so don't just take my word, ask around and get opinions! With so many choices you will never run out of options for your next Disneyland racecation! 


Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory


21 comments:

  1. Awesome post. Thanks for the great information. I am a fellow blog hop, check out my post on the medals at http://wp.me/p2Esuo-16b. This is our first trip out to Disneyland, after going to WDW over 40 times. We are staying at Paradise Pier. As DVC members we wanted to stay at the Grand Californian but just couldn't swing it. I can't wait to see Disneyland and run the half there. Thanks again..

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    1. Thanks David! I enjoyed your post as well! I can't wait to have those beautiful medals hanging around me neck! I LOVE the Disneyland resort, it's a COMPLETELY different feel than WDW, I will be so interested to hear what you think about it!
      I'm staying at the Grand Californian in a DVC suite, I'm SO excited! My family has been members for years and we LOVE Grand Californian. Paradise Pier is a great hotel too, Disney did a fantastic job with their theming with all the hotels.

      I can't wait to see your recap of this trip and who knows, maybe we'll meet there!

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  2. This is terrific information Lena! I have always chosen a Disneyland Resort for my West Coast races, but the costs really are starting to add up. The Good Neighbor Hotels sound like wonderful alternatives; I never knew the Howard Johnson's had their own water park! Thank you for adding so much to the Virtual Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Blog Hop!!

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    1. Thanks Didi! The Good Neighbor hotels have so much to offer for all types of travelers! I will admit that I love to stay on property when I can, the magic of Disney is just too much to resist. However the walking distance from the hotel to the Main Gate of Disneyland is further from the Disneyland Hotel than it is from Best Western Park Place. Sometimes there are benefits to the other hotels off property! I also HIGHLY recommend the HoJo! That place is so awesome!

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  3. Thanks for sharing the hotel info! I've splurged and stayed at on property hotels each time I've gone out there because I love the feeling of being fully immersed in Disney and not having to leave property. It is expensive though and if I do another race after this year I think I'd consider a good neighbor hotel!

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    1. Thank you Danielle! I agree that the Disney magic of the on-property hotels is just too much to resist sometimes! I try to stay on property whenever budgetarily possible, but there really are some great Good Neighbor hotels out there with some great amenities!

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  4. I love the Anabella for runDisney, but you are right about the trek to the parks. Especially after staying at the Grand CA for my last visit!

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    1. The trek can be a bit brutal, but sometimes it is nice...just to shake out the legs a bit! The Grand CA is a fabulous hotel to stay in and it completely spoils if for any other hotel stay after that! :)

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  5. Great post! I'm a fan of the cheap-o motel options located right across the street. I've stayed at the Dessert Inn and this year will be Del Sol. Since I'm one of those nutcases who's in the parks from opening until closing, it just doesn't make sense to invest the money in staying in one of the on-site properties -- although they ARE gorgeous! :)

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    1. Thanks Jennifer! I am always looking for the best deal on hotels when I go to DL, because just like you, I stay in the parks the WHOLE day. I hardly ever spend time in the hotels other than to sleep, shower and change. I'm the same way at WDW too, why spend more on the hotel when you can use that money for other things...like rD merch! :)

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  6. Lots of good info! :) I like staying at Paradise Pier since they usually have best price of the 3 hotels on property. Last year I stayed at the Hilton which was a bit longer of a walk but still much better than dealing with parking or buses on the day of! Thanks for sharing your reviews! I'll probably check back the next time I'm looking to book a hotel there! :)

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    1. Thanks Nerissa! I've heard lots of great things about the Paradise Pier as well, though I have yet to stay there myself. The Hilton is a bit of a hike, but still a great property to stay at!

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  7. The Anabella is also one of our preferred runDisney accommodations because of its proximity to the corrals. We just borrow the Grand's entrance into DCA when we want to get into the parks. :P I'd love to stay on property for a run, but it's tooo overpriced during race weekends!

    Great post!

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    1. The Anabella is a great location for race days! I also love that DCA entrance at GC, not a lot of people know about it so I tend to go that way to avoid the morning crowds!

      I agree the on-property hotels are pricey during race weekends, but they also correspond with a holiday too, so it's tough. But you can get good deals you just have to book WAY in advance!

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  8. Hey, I'm a fellow blog hop!
    Great post, I'll probably be staying at the Best Western since we have an early start to the day, I want to be as close as possible.

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  9. Great information! I'll have to bookmark this for future visits!

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  10. We're travelling from Sydney, Australia and staying at the Doubletree. I wonder if getting to the park on race day will be a marathon in itself! Great tips, thank you!

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  11. Great tips! I often am asked about the best accommodations and it looks like you really covered it :D

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  12. Amazing guys...
    nice snap m too willing to share my snap at California when i visited Disneyland!!!!
    I dont have words to explain the fun and the hotels were too luxurious...
    I had a stay in your hotel as well thanks for serving us its my pleasure to appreciate you guys.And the same thing i came across at the condor hotel that too were so good...
    with full of leisure.....
    for others should visit their once...
    http://www.condorny.com/
    condor hotel

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  13. It is true that you won't get five star amenities in a cheap hotel but you will surely be satisfied with the basic ones that you get. The plus point is that these hotels give a lot of importance to cleanliness and hygiene. That is the reason why a lot of people prefer to check into these hotels rather than the expensive ones. I always prefer cheap hotels as they are not costly and are good in quality and services. Thanks!!!

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