Desert Inn and Suites – Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel Review

On a trip to Disneyland this spring, my wife and I stayed at the Anaheim Desert Inn and Suites. At Walt Disney World, we would never even entertain the idea of staying off-property. However, at Disneyland we stay exclusively off-property. First, because proximity isn’t an issue at Disneyland; we could see both Space Mountain and the Tower of Terror, attractions in two different Disneyland parks, from our hotel’s front entrance. Second, because the three official Disneyland Resort hotels can be quite expensive.

Now, this isn’t to say we wouldn’t stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel or Disneyland Hotel if given the chance. Heck, we’d even stay at Paradise Pier Hotel for the right price! Even though the rooms in off-property Disneyland-area hotels at which we’ve stayed have been mediocre at best, the price and location have always been right. The Anaheim Desert Inn and Suites certainly wasn’t downright disgusting (the same cannot be said for the Anaheim Plaza Hotel & Suites), but it certainly was playing fast and loose with the term “suites” in its name. I suppose they meet the requirement if a suite is merely a “large room,” but I think suite connotes a certain level of quality and/or elegance. Perhaps that’s just me.

That said, Desert Inn was not a bad hotel by any means. The room was large and passable, albeit very dated in appearance with the exception of the flat screen television. Our bed was reasonably comfortable, and it was nice having a king size bed, plus a couch and coffee table, as well as a mini-fridge in our room. The room was clean overall, and was perfect for our purpose on that trip–it was simply a place to sleep. The amenities beyond the room were questionable. I ventured to the free continental breakfast one morning but didn’t eat anything after seeing the location where it was served, and the indoor pool didn’t seem nice, either. If you plan on spending much time at your hotel beyond sleeping and getting ready in the morning, you might want to look elsewhere.

The per-night prices of Desert Inn, and similar “budget” Good Neightbor hotels on Harbor Boulevard are typically very good at less than $100/night, especially considering their location. By staying at hotels this close, we’re able to avoid renting a car, instead taking the Super Shuttle from the airport to our hotel. The 3-5 minute proximity to the Esplanade also allows us to make stops at our room during the course of the day to pick up and drop off various items (tripod, coat, etc.) that we don’t want to carry for the entire day. For the reasons of price and convenience alone, I would recommend Desert Inn. I have heard other hotels along Harbor Boulevard offer nicer rooms and amenities, notably the Anaheim Howard Johnson, which has quite a following among some Disneyland Guests.

Below you’ll find a video of a Desert Inn and Suites room, along with several photos.

Please let us know whether or not you’d like to see more resort/hotel photos and video of other Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels in the future by leaving a comment. Likewise, if you have any suggestions or feedback, let us know! (Video of hotel rooms for every Walt Disney World resort isĀ  something on which we’re currently working. Here’s a sample from Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.)

Tom Bricker

Tom is an amateur Walt Disney World photographer. He recently married his princess, Sarah, to whom he became engaged at WDW on the beach of the Polynesian Resort in 2007. Tom and Sarah have a miniature dachshund named Walter E. Dogsney and a yellow cat named Yossarian the Cat. Together, Sarah and Tom run the website Tom's photography can be found on his Flickr page ( and he can be contacted via Twitter (@wdwfigment) and Facebook (

25 thoughts on “Desert Inn and Suites – Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel Review

  • October 29, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I would love to see more feedback on the Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels. We’re tentatively planning our first trip to Disneyland in March and it feels like there’s a lot that’s different from WDW to figure out!

    • October 31, 2011 at 6:34 am

      Good to know. I expect a lot of “first time” Disneyland trips will be taking place next year given DCA’s (basically) grand re-opening in the summer.

  • October 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I have stayed in several of the hotels around Disneyland, and I really don’t care for this hotel, mostly for all the same problems you had with it, Tom. The BEST hotel/motel around Disneyland is The Candy Cane Inn. I would say it compares favorably to any of WDW’s moderate resorts, if not better. As a “Good Neighbor” hotel, you also get perks like early entry on select days. Also, the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. When visiting DL, I would never stay anywhere else.

    The only downside to this place? The rooms are kinda tiny…

    • October 31, 2011 at 6:35 am

      Interesting. Candy Cane Inn’s prices for our next trip are higher than I’m willing to pay for a non-Disney resort, but I will make sure to keep an eye on it!

      • October 31, 2011 at 8:59 am

        I have never found the Candy Cane’s prices to be that much more than other places in the area, but maybe that has changed lately as word of its attributes spread. Each time we stay there, we meet fellow guests who say they will ONLY stay there when visiting Disneyland.

        Now I am worried that I won’t be able to afford this place next time I go! :^O

        • October 31, 2011 at 9:05 am

          Well, to be fair, our next trip is in two weeks and I just checked the rates today. The cheapest I could find is $139/night. By contrast, we paid $79/night for Desert Inn. For that difference, I’d MUCH rather stay at Desert Inn, or pay a bit more and stay at Disneyland Hotel with an AP discount.

      • January 23, 2012 at 7:21 pm

        After trying several of the “Good Neighbor” hotels, we tried Candy Cane Inn for the first time 4 years ago. We’ll never stay anywhere else! The grounds are beautiful and very clean. The staff is so friendly and accommodating and the rooms are lovely. The small store next door is a great place to stock up the mini-fridge with snacks, and the hotel is quiet at night. The breakfast in the morning has everything we like (cereal choices,yogurt,fruit, bagels, pastries, etc.) and with 3 kids we save a bundle. Each time we stay, the manager gives us a 10% discount on our next visit. We usually drive from Phoenix early in the morning and most of the time we can check in early. If not, they will gladly let you park at the hotel. The best perk, we can walk to the Disney entrance in under 10 minutes!

  • October 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I was hoping for a great review of a hotel we’d consider for our next trip. Looks like we’ll be sticking with HOJO. It really is as great as everyone says. In fact, I’d rather go back to DL and stay at HOJO than go to WDW, but my family is adamantly outvoting me…

    • October 31, 2011 at 6:36 am

      I’ve heard nothing but great things about the HoJo. I’d love to stay there, but we’re waiting for them to offer one of the $59/night retro rates during one of our trips (so far no luck) before we stay there.

  • October 29, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    On my last two trips to the DLR I stayed at both the HoJo and Desert Inn. The HoJo’s amenities were in fact better, but it was a bit of a hike to get there (picture walking up Harbor a distance equivalent to walking from the front gate to the back of Fantasyland). If you end up with a relatively high-floor room facing the freeway you’ll have pretty much constant traffic noise in your room.

    You can’t really beat the Desert Inn for being close to the DLR entrance for the price. Its just as close If not closer to the front gates than Paradise Pier and the Disneyland Hotel. It’s definitely no-frills, but it’s clean and provides a nice place to sleep and shower.

    • October 31, 2011 at 6:37 am

      This is basically my thoughts on Desert Inn. It was a passable room for us, especially for a commando trip, but if you’re into relaxing at your hotel, Desert Inn is a poor choice.

  • October 30, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Would love more Disneyland Good Neighbor reviews! I learned something important from this one: I won’t be staying at the Desert Inn for our next trip! Thanks.

    • October 31, 2011 at 6:38 am

      Desert Inn isn’t BAD, it’s just nothing special. If it suits your needs, it’s a great place to stay, especially for the price.

    • February 6, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      The Cappadochian hotel seems to be the most iiterestnng one to me Would love to spend like… a whole week there! Of course, not alone!

  • October 30, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I would love to see more reviews. What do people think of Ramada Maingate on Harbor?


    • October 31, 2011 at 6:38 am

      We’ve considered booking the Ramada Maingate as the prices are always competitive and the photos make it LOOK nice, but the Unofficial Guide rates it worse than Desert Inn (with the exception of the pool) so I’m not sure what to do.

      • January 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm

        We have stayed twice at the Ramada Maingate and I am just about to reserve again for a stay in 3 weeks. The rooms have been renovated and the locale can not be beat. I have no problem recommending it to anyone.

  • October 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    We stayed at The Ramada Plaza on Katella a little over year ago. We were very happy with it and I am pretty picky. We had adjoining rooms with my in laws. All the staff was very nice. We liked the free breakfast buffet. It was usually quick with decent food. We were able to walk to and from the park. I would definately stay again. I have stayed at the HOJO, The Anabella, The Castle Inn and the Holiday Inn which is now something else. I would say The Ramada Plaza was the one I liked the best.

    • October 31, 2011 at 6:39 am

      Thanks for the information. About how long of a walk was it?

      • October 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm

        I would say 10 plus minutes. We had a 2 year old at the time so we may have been a little slower. But we did make several trips back and forth and it never seemed bad.

  • October 30, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I would also like to see more reviews of good neighbor hotels in the Disneyland area. This one was very helpful!

  • October 31, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Yes! Please, more reviews of good neighbor hotels at Disneyland!

    As annual passport holders from Northern California we’re able to venture down 4-5 times a year and most of the time choose a good neighbor hotel. We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel on our most recent trip to celebrate a birthday, but couldn’t agree with you more about the jump in price from the good neighbor hotels to the on-property sites. Also, many of the good neighbor hotels are actually closer to the entrance then the Disneyland Hotel or Paradise Pier.

    We’ve stayed at the Anaheim Plaza, and left after one night because of how uncomfortable the beds were and how loud it was from the rooms around us and outside. After the Plaza, we moved next door to the Castle Inn, which was better, but still very dated. The Castle Inn did allow free parking, which is something that should be included in your reviews, because the ~$10 per day to park does make a difference.

    We also have stayed at the Fairfield Inn, and that was very nice, although that tends to be the most expensive hotel on that two-block stretch of Harbor Blvd.

    For our next stay in December, we’ll be staying at the Carousel Inn.

    But I’d love to read more reviews so we can try others, or perhaps find the one we’d always like to stay at.

  • October 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    We’ve stayed twice at the Howard Johnson, really impressive for the spacious grounds and resort like feel, and you are more away from the hustle and bustle closer to the main gate. From the pool area, you can see the matterhorn and the monorail next to the street. Excellent customer service. No continental breakfast, but in room microwave and fridge. You can ask for certain buildings, away from the traffic noise if you want. The walk is long at the end of the day for kids 8 and under, but no longer than walking from the mid TTC lot (too close for tram) to the monorail station. But there is a bus service for a nominal daily fee (Anaheim Resort Transportation) if you really need it. Too far for going to and from during the day unless it’s a longer break. I’d say 15 mins one way walk. Can look for CAA/AAA discounts, was also able to use Air Miles rewards points one trip.

  • November 1, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I would love more Disneyland Good Neighbor Reviews! We are considering trying DL this year instead of WDW so the kids can see some of California, too. Is Desert Palms any relation to Desert Inn? I was doing some research on that one because they had the two bedroom suites and we have a family of five. I’ve love to hear a review on that one particularly. Thanks!

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