10 of the Best Offsite Hotels at Disneyland for Big Families

by on May 18, 2012 51 Comments

Filed under: Disneyland (CA), Resorts, Test

It’s always been a little difficult for big families to vacation with Disney without spending a lot of money. At Walt Disney World, only one of the four current value resorts have some rooms that allow more than four people (plus a child under 3), and those rooms cost more than twice what a standard room does. Three of the five moderate resorts don’t have any rooms that sleep more than four (plus a child under three). On the Disney Cruise Line, the classic cruise ships, the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, don’t have any inside or oceanview staterooms that sleep more than four. A family of five has to pay a good deal more for a larger verandah stateroom or get two staterooms in the less expensive categories.

At Disneyland, however, there are a lot of good options for larger families. First, all three of the Disneyland Resort hotels have standard rooms that will sleep five. If you are interested in staying on property, check out the blogs I’ve written on Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, the Disneyland Hotel, and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. Second, as I’ve said in a previous blog, there are many excellent offsite resorts at Disneyland as well. They are known as the Good Neighbor Hotels, and I’ll concentrate on these offsite options in this blog.

Because they are so awesomely close to Disneyland, I’ll stick to Harbor Boulevard(or just off Harbor) hotels for this list. I’m going to sort these by distance to the parks with number 1 being the closest. Some of the hotels are a little too far to walk so they either run their own shuttles or they participate in ART, otherwise known as the Anaheim Resort Transportation system, which provides transportation back and forth to Disneyland for just a few dollars a person. I also avoided hotels where you had to take a significant upgrade in price to get to a room that allows more than four guests.

Now some hotels are a little sneaky when they say a room accommodates five guests. You have to take that literally. They don’t have beds for five people, but they will allow five people. Your options are normally to pay a small additional fee for a rollaway bed, put an extra person in one of the beds, or put someone on the floor with extra pillows and blankets. I know some people would rather do that then pay more for a bigger room, so I included some of these hotels in the list. You’ll notice that at times I say a room will “allow” five people, and sometimes I say it will “sleep” five people. Take that literally.

1. Best Western Plus Park Place Inn and Mini-SuitesThe Best Western Plus Park Place Inn is about as close as you can get to the walkway to Disneyland. Cross Harbor Blvd and you are there. We’ve stayed here before and it’s nothing to write home about, but if you’re looking for a place to sleep and not spend a lot of money, here you go. A continental breakfast is included, and they’ve recently improved the food selection. Rooms with queen beds and a sofa bed sleep up to five and mini-suites sleep up to six. All the rooms have refrigerators, microwaves and free Wi-Fi.

2. Anaheim Fairfield Inn by Marriott – The Anaheim Fairfield Inn is a nice hotel! I was struck by how similar the rooms were to Paradise Pier. They used the same colors to decorate. There is also a Mickey head on one of the roofs. That was a nice surprise! The maximum number of guests is five. There are two queen beds in a 228 square foot room that allows up to 5 guests. You can even pay a little more for a mildly themed Disney room. The Fairfield Inn is an easy walk from the Disneyland entrance. McDonald’s and a Mimi’s restaurant are close by, and there are a Pizza Hut and Seattle’s Best Coffee inside the hotel! Wi-Fi is free here, as well, and there are refrigerators in the room.

3. Howard Johnson Hotel – The Howard Johnson is a favorite for many people, including myself. The water play area is amazing. It’s pirate-themed with water canons, slides and pirate ships. If you’re looking for one of the best pool features off property, this is it. Wi-Fi is free and the rooms have refrigerators and queen beds. The Howard Johnson is a little bit longer walk to Disneyland than some of the other Harbor hotels, but it’s not bad. The standard rooms allow up to five and some of the rooms face Disneyland. You can see the fireworks from some of the rooms! If you have an Entertainment Book, you can sometimes score an amazing rate here.

4. Candy Cane Inn – The Candy Cane Inn is another guest favorite. The rooms have queen beds and the rooms that allow up to five are only a few dollars more. There’s a complimentary continental breakfast, a refrigerator in the rooms, free Wi-Fi and a dedicated shuttle to the parks. While it’s not a bad walk in the mornings when your feet are fresh and ready, at the end of the day when those puppies are screaming, you’ll love seeing that shuttle waiting for you. You may want to consider a premium room at the Candy Cane Inn. For not that much more you get amenities such as movie rentals, complimentary breakfast room service, bath robes and a microwave.

5. Doubletree Guest Suites – I’ll admit it, I’m a big fan of Hilton properties. Whenever we are driving across the country, I search for Hilton first because I know what I’m going to get. The Doubletree Suites in Anaheim is no exception. The rooms are clean, spacious, and tastefully decorated. The suites sleep up to six people with two queens, a sofa bed, and a separate living area with a refrigerator and microwave. In one of their restaurants, Agio Ristorante, kids under 12 eat free with a paying adult. The Doubletree is a bit far to walk to Disneyland, so it participates in ART. Wi-Fi is free at the Doubletree!

6. Anaheim Marriott HotelI thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Anaheim Marriott. It’s a little too far to walk to the parks, but it participates in ART. The rooms allow up to five and the rooms have two double beds. I thought the pool was excellent. It’s kind of an indoor/outdoor pool with part of it being covered and part of it in the sun. It’s in a courtyard in the middle of the hotel in a very lush setting. While the refrigerators are free, internet in the rooms cost extra.

7.Embassy Suites Anaheim South – If you’ve ever stayed at an Embassy Suites before, you know what to expect. An awesome hot breakfast, that’s what!! Oh yes, and big standard rooms that sleep up to six people. You can put the kids on the pull out sofa, or put the grown ups on the pull out sofa while the kids take over the other room with two queen beds. No going to bed when the kids do! Excellent! The rooms have refrigerators and microwave ovens, but Wi-Fi costs extra. Embassy Suites has its own shuttle system for a small fee similar to ART.

8. Residence Inn Anaheim Resort AreaThe Residence Inn is another all-suite hotel. Wi-Fi is free, there’s a fully equipped kitchen, and you can get two queen beds and a sofa bed. There’s a hot breakfast buffet every morning and an Evening Manager’s reception. The Evening Manager’s reception is a complimentary dinner! That’s right, dinner! It’s a light dinner, and there aren’t that many choices, but how many other places can you get a free dinner (other than the Homewood Suites—see below)? That can save a large family a pretty penny! There are also some kid’s suites with a separate room with bunk beds. They also participate in ART.

Blue Dots = Good Neighbor Hotels

9. Homewood Suites by HiltonHomewood Suites, is another Hilton property. The rooms are suites with two queen beds, and a sofa bed, and they sleep up to six people. There are also fully equipped kitchens and free Wi-Fi. So you could make your own breakfast, but why would you want to when the hotel will make you breakfast every morning? It’s not cooked to order like Embassy Suites, but there are some hot options as well as an excellent continental spread. Another bonus is the Welcome Home reception which happens Monday through Thursday nights and is similar to the reception at the Residence Inn. Free dinner! And for transportation, Homewood Suites has its own shuttle system that it shares with the Marriott Suites. There’s a small fee.

10. Anaheim Marriott SuitesThe Anaheim Marriott Suites is the farthest hotel from Disneyland on my list, but it’s really not far. It’s only about a mile down the road. The family suites accommodate up to 6 people with two double beds and a sofa bed in a 420 square foot room. There are refrigerators, but internet costs extra. The hotel is very pretty inside and the guest rooms are very tastefully decorated. They share a shuttle with Homewood Suites.

So what do you think? Do you have any favorite hotels for big families at Disneyland that I missed? Or, do you have secrets for housing a larger family that I haven’t even thought of?

Posted on May 18, 2012

51 Responses to “10 of the Best Offsite Hotels at Disneyland for Big Families”

  • We’ve stayed at the HoJo and it was perfect. We were lucky enough to have a great view of the fireworks and the walk to the park is minimal. Our kids were 5 & 7 at the time and had no problems with it. Great value for the money.

    • by Tammy Whiting on May 18, 2012, at 4:50 pm EST

      I love the HoJo, Tiffani! I always recommend it to people. I’m glad to hear you liked it too!

  • Thanks for the info, Tammy! We are planning a trip to DLR this fall. We usually stay at the Ayres on Katella, which I absolutely love, but I’m willing to consider other options (especially if I can avoid paying for parking at DLR).

  • Any opinion of the Park Vue Inn right across from the park entrance? We’re considering staying there this summer.

    • by Tammy Whiting on May 19, 2012, at 9:34 am EST

      The Park Vue Inn is definitely in a great location. You can’t book it through Disney, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They have a great hot waffle breakfast, microwaves and bunk beds in some rooms. The rooms aren’t spectactular, but they’re clean and close to the park!

      • We LOVED the Park Vue Inn. I tell friends that it’s as close as you can get. We had the 1 br suite w/ 2 queen beds, kitchen & Jacuzzi bath. Absolutely will stay there again. I have high standards for hotels & although this is “motel style” we were perfectly fine & just happy to be so close in a nice, spacious suite. Had to move to the bunk bed room on last night, b/c our room was sold out (knew in advance) but that was fun for the kids, too & the room was large. Perfectly clean & hospitable.

  • We stayed at the Anabella and had a very comfortable bed and a huge bathroom. The room was oddly narrow, but comfortable. It took ten minutes or so to walk from our door to Disneyland. I would like to hear about off property hotels in Orlando.

    • by Tammy Whiting on May 19, 2012, at 9:39 am EST

      The Anabella is a good one. I agree, it has some interestingly shaped rooms!

    • Aaron,
      I recently went to WDW in April and we stayed on International drive. There are ALOT of hotel chains in this area from the ok to really nice. Its well located if your also going to Universal, or Sea World. The one thing I did not like was the hotels shuttle system, there was only 2 morning shuttles to the park and 2 shuttles in the evening. So that meant no mid day breaks.

  • My wife and I LOVE The Candy Cane Inn, and it is the hotel we prefer to stay at when we visit Disneyland. The rooms are TINY, though! I cannot imagine four or five people staying in one of those rooms, and still being on speaking terms at the end of their stay.

    • by Tammy Whiting on May 19, 2012, at 7:51 pm EST

      I do too, Bill! The rooms that allow 5 are slightly larger. Not huge, but slightly larger.

  • 1. Do you know which Entertainment Book I should buy to get the HOJO discount? L.A.? Orange County? This is the second place where someone has stated they received a great discount at the HOJO with the Entertainment book.

    2. I have to admit, I am a hotel snob. I was happy at the Coronado Springs and I’m going to POFQ in October. Is the HOJO like these hotels?

    • by Tammy Whiting on July 3, 2012, at 5:51 pm EST

      I’d get the Orange County book. Zip code is 92802. There are some great deals with it! I would say the HOJO is comparable to a moderate resort at Disney World. Not a deluxe resort, but not a value because of the pool area. So I’d say a moderate is a good comparison. 🙂

  • Thank you so much for such valueable info! Do you have an opinion on Staybridge? Thanks!

  • I was hoping that when I saw the blog title which included the words “large families”, you would have options that went higher than 6. Anyone have info on ways to travel without to Disney without breaking the bank. No, we are not camping. lol

    • Higher than 6! Well that is a lot! 🙂 I would lean towards two rooms. Two rooms will almost always come out cheaper than the huge suite/villa options that are available at Disneyland.

    • I was thinking the same thing! I don’t really consider a room that sleeps 5 to be for “large families” and “allows five” just sounds like a standard room to me. We’re a family of seven (mom, dad, five kiddos) and when we visit Disney our will be ages 9 and under (youngest will be 21 months) and that’s just not old enough for me to feel comfortable getting two standard rooms. :/

    • My family (of 8) recently took a trip to disneyland and we stayed at the Residence Inn Maingate. They have 2 bedroom suites (one bedroom had 2 queen beds, and the other had 1 queen, plus a sofa bed in the living area). It easily fit all 8 of us! There is even a full kitchen, 2 bathrooms, kitchen table and chairs and a living area. Great continental breakfast and a couple of the nights we were there they offered dinner! One night was hamburgers and hotdogs, and another night was nachos and chili. The only downside to me was that it was about 3/4 mile walk to disneyland. It would be perfect if it was right across the street from the park!! But overall we were pleased with the hotel. They will even get groceries for you at no charge (well, you have to pay for the groceries of course, but they will do the shopping for you for free and put everything away in the fridge, etc.)

  • What about comfort inn maingate with bunkbed rooms?

  • First time visiting and trying to find a hotel is quite a task. I narrowed it down to Best Western Plus Park Place Inn and Mini-Suites and the Candy Cane Inn. Any suggestions for a family with a 2yr old? We checked out HOJO but not interested in the water park. The closer to the entrance the better. Also noticed moderate hotels as priced at the same level as the higher end. It’s only when I search further out prices lower.

    • by Tammy Whiting on March 19, 2013, at 1:09 pm EST

      I like the Candy Cane Inn better than the Best Western, but the Best Western is much closer. If you want close, that’s one of the closest.

      • Yea from all the reviews all roads point to Candy Cane as a best place to stay. Is it because of the great customer service? Looks like I got some thinking to do. Thank you for the informative blog.

        • by Tammy Whiting on March 19, 2013, at 1:47 pm EST

          They do have great customer service, and their rooms are very nice. They’re nice and bright. Many of the hotels on Harbor are clean and fine, but their rooms are just kind of dark. Candy Cane’s rooms don’t feel like that at all. The continental breakfast is good too. 🙂

  • I made reservations tonight at the Anaheim Islander. I don’t think it’s a Disney Good Neighbor hotel, but the price was right and so were the anemities. I’m taking my daughter and two youngest grandchildren (the guys aren’t going!) I reserved a room with two queen beds and bunks, which works perfectly. It could actually sleep 6, considering the two queen beds instead of a king, which most “Kid” rooms seem to have. It also has free parking, another perk that’s not available at most of the Good Neighbor hotels. It’s not exactly walking distance to the park, but it’s one of the ART stops. I’m more than happy to pay the price for the transit bus and not have to drive, park at the resort, and then find the car at the end of the day. Plus, with ART coming and going every 20 minutes, the youngest grandchild (3) and I can go back to the room to take a nap when we get tired. 🙂 If there are bad reviews for the Anaheim Islander, please let me know. Otherwise, it sounds great!

  • Have you ever tried the Anaheim Camelot Inn & Suites? Is that the closest hotel to the Disneyland entrance?

    • by Tammy Whiting on May 2, 2013, at 10:30 am EST

      I have! We liked it. It’s not technically the closest but there are 3 or 4 hotels right there where he difference is just a few steps. The Park Place Inn and Suites or the Tropicana are probably the closest.

  • Can’t decide between Paradise Pier & Fairfield. HELP! About a $500 difference. Is an EMH at 7am really all that worth it when the park opens at 8am in late June? Which one is a faster walking distance to DLR’s gate entrance? I have 2 reservations and need to cancel 1. Fairfield is the themed suite with fireworks view. Paradise is standard room/no-view. THANK YOU!!!

  • p.s. the $500 difference was for a week-long stay. Thanks, again!

  • Hello all,

    My large family (6) really enjoys the Anaheim Desert Inn and Suites. The property offers a variety of room configurations to suit many needs. It is directly across the main gates beside the Park Vue. We booked the Parlor Suite that has 4 queens, two full bathrooms, and a separate tv/sitting room with an extra pull-out sofa. The spa size tub option is a treat. The continental breakfast has enough to get you started in the day and there is an indoor pool. The prices are very reasonable; even more so during the slow/shoulder seasons. The rooftop has a viewing platform for the fireworks and you can even see some of the ground level fireworks. Anyway, just my two-bits. Have fun! We went during Spring Break and it was still awesome despite the crowds.

  • PARK VUE INN! Loved it. Very clean & comfortable. Suite was very roomy & didn’t know there would be a Jacuzzi bathtub (nice surprise). Walk right across the street to Disneyland entrance on South Harbor. Our 2-room suite was sold out the last night & we moved to the bunk bed 2 queen, which was also great. Party of 4 but could have been comfortable with 6 people. Staff was nice. Breakfast good. FREE PARKING & WIFI. Pool & hot tub great, too. We will stay there again. 10% discount to Coldstone Creamery ice cream shop downstairs, too :)Cute gift shop.

  • Were going to Disneyland the first part of December for the first time. We are a family of 4 girls 9 and 12. I can’t decide between Disneyland Hotel and Residence Inn. It’s $1000 difference in price, which is not a small amount. Is Disneyland Hotel worth the extra cost? If we stay outside the park we get more space and breakfast. Inside the park we get 3 pools and more of the Disneyland experience. Experienced Disneylanders PLEASE HELP!!!!

    • by Tammy Whiting on August 7, 2013, at 3:21 pm EST

      That’s a tough one, Shirley. I usually say, yes go for the Disney hotels, but $1000 is a big difference. If you can swing the $1000, stay onsite for the benefits of being onsite. If it’s too much, then you’ll still have a great vacation from the Residence Inn.

  • by Helen Alexander on July 22, 2013, at 11:48 am EST

    Hello Shirley,

    Early December is a great time to go to DL; smaller crowds and the x-mas spirit is in full swing. Check out the “Is It Packed?” websites. It’s a challenge to pick accommodations to suit your needs because of the variety, but the lower rates are worth it in comparison to the DL Hotel. The hotels across from the main-gates are a good option and in some cases are even closer in proximity than the DL Hotel. These include the Park Vue which has great reviews, Anaheim Desert Suites and Inn (my favorite because it suits larger families), Howard Johnson – a wee bit further down the road but has a wonderful water park. My brother loved the classier Annabella (a 5-10 minute walk to the main-gates). The Candy Cane Inn is lovely too. My friend really enjoyed the Residence Inn – it’s a good choice, and fairly close to the main gates. Continental breakfasts are a nice bonus as it gets you quickly fueled without waiting in a restaurant. You want to get to the main-gates by opening especially if you have a Magic Morning.
    There is a 7-Eleven on the corner of Katella and S. Harbor plus another small market that offers a variety of breakfast and snack foods. Look for a room with a fridge and microwave – most of the Good Neighbor Hotels do. Another relative of mine stayed at the Paradise Pier Hotel and felt it was overpriced for what was a standard room. The $1000 price differential is considerate – perhaps put it towards another holiday?
    If you can, pick up the, “Unofficial Guide to Disneyland,” this is a great resource. The Fast Pass system is great but don’t be too disappointed if you can’t get onto ‘Cars’ – wait times are incredible, even during slow times. The new Fantasy Faire is wonderful and very funny. Your girls are a great age to go – have a blast and just remember that the hotel is basically a place to sleep, but a good night’s sleep is essential. Oh yeah it’s worth packing a few cheap rain ponchos from your local dollar store for Splash Mountain and Grizzly Bear Run.


  • We are going to be in the area of the 4th of July so have decided to stay at Disneyland for the night. We would like some recommendations on a NICE hotel with a good swimming pool, we have teenage girls! We prefer to be close to Disneyland, within walking distance! We wont be entering the parks because we were just there and it will be very crowded. Any help is much appreciated!

  • Thanks so much for the efforts. I just used a bunch of the links and they are still active and useful.