Our Favorite Hotels within Walking Distance to Disneyland

When choosing a hotel to stay at for your Disneyland trip, a quick google search will result in dozens and dozens of options. How to pick?!

For our family, it usually comes down to these 3 criteria:

  1. Walking Distance. The first time we went to Disneyland, we had a 1, 3 and 6 year old. Our two youngest were still taking naps and we weren’t sure we wanted to have to rely on a shuttle to get us to and from the park. We liked that we could come and go as needed, although we ended up not going back to the hotel for naps like we thought (turned out our girls took great naps in the stroller!). Fast forward, now our youngest is 7 and we still prefer to stay within walking distance. We don’t have to worry about parking at Disneyland or paying for the ART (shuttle) to get us to and from the park.
  2. Affordable. For us, we want to stay somewhere that doesn’t break the bank so we can spend our money at Disneyland! Paying a few hundred less for an hotel means we can splurge a little bit more at the Park on food, souvenirs and more food. Always food.
  3. Family Friendly. That can mean a lot of different things, but for us it means that the 5 of us can sleep comfortably in one room and the hotel is clean.


So, which hotels do we stay at? Read on below to see!


Castle Inn

1734 Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92802

Our kids love this hotel for obvious reason- it looks like a Castle! We like it because it often has special offers like pay 3 nights, get the 4th free. It is about a 20 minute walk from your hotel door to Disney’s entrance gate pushing a double stroller. Very doable. Our six year old easily walked the entire time. It is located on the South side of Disneyland along Harbor Blvd, along with many other hotels and food chains. They also updated the rooms a few years ago and have suites that can easily accommodate large families.

Breakfast Included: NO  Outdoor Pool: YES  Indoor pool: NO  Parking Fee: FREE for one car

Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort

1460 South Harbor Boulevard, Anaheim, CA 92802

This is probably the closest non-Disney hotel to Disneyland. It is right across the street from the entrance, on Harbor Blvd, giving it about a 10 minute walk to the park.  This hotel consistently has low prices, but never really has deals or specials. They also have fun themed rooms and suites.

Breakfast Included: NO  Outdoor Pool: YES  Indoor Pool: NO  Parking Fee: $19 per day

Holiday Inn and Suites Anaheim

1240 S. Walnut Street  Anaheim, CA 92802

It’s no secret we are huge fans of Holiday Inn. They consistently provide quality rooms for great prices and offer great rewards to loyal customers. We love that this one is tucked behind Disneyland and our kids love that we can take the ‘secret’ entrance in to the Park. The secret entrance is really just the monorail located on the north side of Downtown Disney. After you’ve ‘activated’ your Disney ticket the first day, you can enter and exit the park here rather than walking all the way to the entrance. Time saver on those subsequent days for sure. It is about a 20 minute walk from the hotel to the Monorail entrance. A little extra if you walk through Downtown Disney and the enter through the main Disney gate. As the name suggests, they offer suites for large families included fun Disney-themed suites. We stayed in the Fairy room last time and our girls thought it was the coolest.

Breakfast Included: NO but kids eat free  Outdoor Pool: YES. They also have a splash pad. Indoor Pool: NO  Parking Fee: $12 per day

As always, to get the best deals, we always book with Getaway Today.  

During our travels, we usually do opt to stay at a hotel that also includes breakfast, however with our Disney trip, that isn’t a priority. Certainly there are many hotels that offer complementary breakfast, usually further away from Disneyland which means we can no longer walk, and sometimes with an increased cost associated. The main reason we don’t care if the breakfast is included is because we often arrive at the park early- 8 am. Rather than spend time eating breakfast at the hotel, we’d rather get to the park! What do you we do for breakfast? Well, we often bring things we can eat as we move: granola bars, protein bars, Bel Vita Crackers,  Go Gurts, fruit, trail mix etc.  All these hotels have mini fridges that can keep stuff cool, even if they don’t have full kitchens. Another reason we don’t care if the hotel serves breakfast is because we LOVE to have breakfast at Disneyland with Minnie and Friends on Main Street during our visit. The buffet is awesome!


So, what are your favorite hotels to stay at when visiting Disneyland?  What amenities or features do you look for?


Should We Purchase the MaxPass at Disneyland?

 We waited no longer than 30 minutes at Disneyland in the Summer!!  How? Read below!

Yes! It’s true. Our family visited our favorite place in August 2017 and initially we were hesitant about visiting during what we consider a very busy time of year. In fact, we’ve never visited in the summer because we avoid those crowds at all costs. BUT it was the only time we could go. And when given the choice between Disney or NO Disney- we always choose Disney! Rather than park hopper tickets, we decided to just spend one day at each park (which is that we usually do. We prefer the ‘one park per day’ tickets.)  We only had two days and to maximize our time, we decided to give Disney’s new MaxPass a try!

SO, WHAT IS DISNEY’S MAXPASS? The quick answer is that MaxPass is Disney’s fastpass system accessible through the app on your cell phone!

DOES IT COST MONEY?  While the Disney App is free, the MaxPass does cost $10 PER PERSON. For our family of 5, it cost $50 per day ($100 since we spent two days total).

IS IT WORTH IT? YES! During peak time at Disneyland we were able to avoid lines and really enjoy all the rides and attractions without any issues.

IS ANYTHING ELSE INCLUDED WITH IT? Yes! Disney’s PhotoPass is also included in that price. We were thrilled to have access to this awesome feature- no more asking random strangers to take your group shots. Disney’s photographers are there for that- and don’t forget those awesome magic shots (our family’s favorite! We love getting those and seeing surprise Disney characters show up in our pictures.) You can also download and share photos from select dining locations, attractions, and Character Greetings.

See our MAXPASS Schedule below!

California Adventure Photo Magic at Disneyand

Here is what our time at the Happiest Place looked like with the MaxPass:

Disneyland – August 14

9:00 a.m. Monorail
9:20 Inside Disneyland
9:30 Astro Blasters and Space Mountain separately
10:00 Astro Blasters again (Max pass temporarily stopped working)
10:15 (Max passes working again, pulled Matterhorn for starting at 10:40)
10:26 Snow White
10:40 Casey Junior
11:06 Matterhorn (MaxPass) – Pulled Max Pass for Indiana Jones for starting at 1:15
11:20 Rider Switch at Matterhorn
11:30 It’s a Small World
Noon Made reservations for Orleans Café
12:06 Winnie the Pooh
12:30 Eating at Orleans – Pulled MaxPass for Splash Mountain at 12:32
1:00 Splash Mountain
1:40 Haunted Mansion
2:05 Indiana Jones
2:15 Rider Switch at Indiana Jones
2:30 River Cruise
2:36 Meet Moana
2:35 Indiana Jones again (Bigger kids)
2:45 Tarzan House (Little kid)
2:55 Pirates of the Caribbean
3:30 Tarzan House again
3:41 River Jungle Cruise again
4:00 Take a rest and save seats for parade
Quick Tiki treat
4:30 Watch parade
5:00 Peter Pan
5:32 Finally ride Peter Pan after technical difficulty
5:42 Mr. Toads Wild Ride
6:15 Storybook Island
6:30 Alice in Wonderland
6:53 Pinocchio
7:20 Pirates of the Caribbean
7:48 Dinner Bengals Barbeque
8:30 Parade (should have gone earlier but still got a decent spot on the side of Tomorrowland)
9:20 Pulled MaxPass for Star Tours and rode 10 minutes later
9:38 Autotopia (5 minute wait)
10:03 Finding Nemo
10:30 Done with Nemo – half asleep
10:44 Matterhorn
10:50 Monorail

MaxPass on Grizzly River Rapids

California Adventure – August 15

10:20 Inside California Adventure – Pulled MaxPass for Radiator Springs Racers for starting at 12:20
10:25 Grabbed World of Color MaxPass
10:30 Grizzly River Run (10-minute wait in standby line)
10:55 Registered for Avenger Training
11:05 Monsters Inc.
11:15 Jeff waited to meet Spider Man; Emily and kids rode Monsters Inc. again
11:45 Met Spider-Man – Pulled Toy Story MaxPass
11:50 Bug’s Life – Meimlich
12:05 Bumper Bugs
12:20 Radiator Springs Racers (bit of a wait – not more than 30 though)
1:00 Lunch at Flo’s — pulled MaxPass for Guardians of the Galaxy for between 5:15 and 6:15
1:35 Toy Story
2:00 Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
2:15 Bus Life again
2:30 Jeff in line for Frozen play
3:00 Frozen play
4:00 Pulled Max Pass for Screamin’ California
4:15 Screamin’ California
4:20 Check-in at Avenger Training
4:45 Avenger Training – Kids on stage – Pulled MaxPass for Toy Story for starting at 7:55
5:02 Guardian of Galaxy (down to three cars – slow 30 minute wait)
6:15 Watch Pixar water parade in shade (Emily saved seats while we were at Guardian)
6:46 Tow Mater
7:02 Luigi’s dance
7:29 MaxPass on Soarin’
8:10 Kids and Emily ride toy story, while Jeff save seats for World of Color
8:30 Kids and Emily ride King Tristan’s carousel
9:00 World of Color

World of Color with MaxPass

The Long Answer to what exactly is Disney’s Max Pass is that any ride that has a FastPass  option, you can ‘reserve’ your spot through your phone. Instead of running around to each of the FastPass rides and scanning your ticket to reserve your spot, you simply reserve it on your phone! The cool thing is that when you open the app to reserve your spot, you can see what the available FastPass options are. Some you may be able to reserve and ride almost immediately! It is quite efficient! It’s important to note that ONLY rides with FastPass options are available in the MAX pass option- so if ride (like Peter Pan) doesn’t have a FastPass option in person, it won’t have a MaxPass option either.

Here are a list of the current FASTPASS Ride Options:

Disneyland Park
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Haunted Mansion
Haunted Mansion Holiday
Indiana Jones™ Adventure
“it’s a small world” Holiday
Matterhorn Bobsleds
Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
Space Mountain
Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy
Splash Mountain
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

Disney California Adventure Park
Goofy’s Sky School
Grizzly River Run
Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark
Radiator Springs Racers
Soarin’ Around the World
Toy Story Midway Mania!
World of Color

How to Purchase and Use Disney MaxPass If You Have Tickets:
1. Download the Disneyland app.
2. Enter the park you wish to visit using your tickets. ***This is an important step.  You MUST be inside the park to purchase the MaxPass. ***
3. Open the Disneyland app.
4. Tap the circular character icon at the bottom of the screen.
5. Sign in with your Disney account.
6. Tap “Get FASTPASS with Disney MaxPass”.
7. Select all Guests in your party who wish to use the Disney MaxPass feature—if someone is not listed, link their ticket or pass.
8. Purchase the Disney MaxPass feature for any Guests who do not already have it.
9. Make your FASTPASS selections and enjoy your Disney PhotoPass downloads.

Other Disney questions you may have:

Where is the best deal to buy Disney Tickets?  Our favorite place that always has the very best deals is Getaway Today!  It is the only place we buy our Disney Tickets. Not only do they have the best deal, they have the best customer service. We accidentally reserved our tickets for the wrong weekend (my bad! In my excitement I didn’t double check our dates). Not a problem for Getaway Today, though. They quickly worked with Disney to get our tickets ready for us. If you have any questions or issues, give them a call. They frequently visit the parks and nearby hotels and can give you a personal account and help answer any questions you might have!  We also buy our Character Dining Vouchers from them. For more information on Character Dining at Disney, check out our post about that here.

Where is the best place to stay? Well, it really is just a matter of preference, but we prefer to stay as close to the parks as we can for cheapest price we can find. For more details on where we like to stay, check out our post on that here.