Choosing the Right DLR Area Hotel for You

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by HydroGuy, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. HydroGuy

    HydroGuy DIS Veteran

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    DLR has a large number of lodging options. Newbies often post threads asking for lodging advice. This thread is not designed to tell you which hotel to choose so much as it is to help folks decide which category they are in so they can narrow their search.

    First, be careful of off-site hotel claims about distance to DLR. Some are literally across the street from the parks but not across the street from the entrance to the parks. They thus may be a 1+ mile (1.6+ km) walk to get from the hotel to the park gates even though they are "across the street" or "one block away".

    So before you try to choose a specific hotel, decide which of these categories works best for you:

    1. Onsite Disney - close to parks but expensive (even more expensive than WDW hotels, and DLR does not have any Value options)

    2. Offsite Easy Walking Distance - most of these are decent enough hotels, but not Hilton/Sheraton quality. More like Best Western/Marriott Courtyard/Ramada Inn quality.

    3. Offsite Too Far to Walk Comfortably but More Upscale - Lots around Anaheim. Like 1-2 miles. Hilton/DoubleTree/Sheraton/etc. Note some of these hotels are south of DLR on Harbor Blvd. and easy to get to the Toy Story Parking Lot which has Disney buses you can ride to DLR. A few have dedicated shuttles that are grandfathered in and Disney allows the shuttles.

    4. Offsite Too Far to Walk Comfortably but Less Upscale - Like #3, lots around Anaheim but IMO a bad choice for most folks. If you want to stay at a less upscale (i.e., more economical) hotel why not just go with option #2 and get one within walking distance? IMO the only good reason to stay a bit farther away from DLR is for a more quality hotel like #3.

    5. Offsite but you do not care where because you will Uber or Lyft - Lots of those too. See this recent thread - https://www.disboards.com/threads/where-do-uber-and-lyft-drop-off-at-disneyland.3629816/

    6. Offsite but you do not care where because you will have a car and drive to the parks - Like #4, this is a bad option. Whatever you do, do not drive to the parks. That is the least efficient option. See "Hidden Time Losses When Using a Car At DLR" www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1381580. The only reasonable situation where one might want to do this is the occasional "I get to stay free at XYZ because [fill in the blank]" where [fill in the blank] means things like "my best friend's parents have a timeshare they are letting us use for free and it is 10 miles (16 km) from DLR". You can't beat free lodging. If you have to pay for the lodging like most people then this #6 option is bad for the reasons stated. If you have hotel points and can get the hotel for free, I would suggest this a time to save your points for a different trip and not do option #6.

    For me, I only do #1 or #2 based on this thread I wrote - "HydroGuy's Hotel Rule" www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1199862. Some folks who have a strong preference for more upscale hotels but do not want to pay onsite prices choose #3.

    For WDW vets my number one key advice I have is do not make the classic WDW vet mistake about hotel choice. Since WDW vets are so accustomed to buses to get to parks (or other time consuming options), they sometimes choose a hotel farther away and plan to take a bus thinking it is like WDW. Yes that works, but it gives up a huge DLR advantage that it has over WDW with so many closer hotels where you do not need a bus. And it can waste a lot of time unnecessarily. See my Hotel Rule advice linked above.

    The absolute closest off-site hotel is the Best Western Park Place Inn. From this hotel and those near it on Harbor you can literally walk from your hotel room door to the park gates in 5 minutes if you hit the Harbor Blvd crosswalk light just right. Think about that. A hotel where the room to park walk is closer than some of the bus or boat drops at WDW are to the parks.

    For those searching for a hotel and do not know where to start, I suggest you first figure out which category best fits you of the #1-6 above. This will narrow down your search. Then look for hotels that fit your category or ask for more help on this forum while clarifying which category you are looking for.

    Here is a link to an awesome map I use regularly to figure out distances around DLR: http://wikimapia.org/#lat=33.8092124&lon=-117.9188132&z=19&l=0&m=b


    :wizard:
     
  2. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    This is a great thread! Thank you, HG. :)

    Another category is hotels that have a private shuttle (not too many of those around anymore). Two I know of for certain are the Candy Cane Inn (highly recommend -- shuttle runs on time, every time, and has nice, helpful drivers) and the Majestic Garden Hotel (used to be the Sheraton Anaheim). The CCI has the advantage of being close enough to walk if you miss the shuttle -- the walk is about 10 minutes or so, depending on whether you make the light at the one crosswalk on the way. Most people consider the MG too far to walk, although it is walkable to the M&F tram (about 20 minutes away).
    Not having to deal with ART is a major advantage at DLR. It can save a lot of money and hassle. A private shuttle pretty much guarantees that there will always be room on the bus/van for you. The CCI drivers will even wait for you if you ask them ahead of time and the delay is very short.
     
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  4. ktlm

    ktlm DIS Veteran

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    Love that awesome map link! I will be using that regularly now. Such a great view of how close things are at DLR!
     
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  5. 3TinksAndAnEeyore

    3TinksAndAnEeyore DIS Veteran

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    This is a great thread with great advice for one of the most frequently asked questions I see on this board. I do think that Park Vue Inn is closer than Best Western Park Place Inn, though. :rolleyes1
     
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  6. Tinkerbell19672

    Tinkerbell19672 DIS Veteran

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    Me too. Most people mention BW being closest but I don’t believe it :)
     
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  7. VandVsmama

    VandVsmama DIS Veteran

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    This thread is Sticky Thread material because it's got some really great suggestions and advice in it!
     
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  8. HydroGuy

    HydroGuy DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the feedback. CCI is an outlier in that it is walking distance and has a shuttle. I do not know the history but I believe DLR does not allow shuttles to use their bus dropoffs unless it is grandfathered in like CCI.

    For the record, we stayed at CCI in October and they did have to turn away guests a few times from their shuttle. What happened was when the shuttle driver needed a break they had a junior staffer not qualified to drive the shuttle instead use one of their vans. It only held 7 people. The van driver said when that happened he essentially just went back and forth to DLR constantly until the shuttle came back online. I had never seen that before with CCI.

    Another hotel with a shuttle is a hotel I used in 2009 when I did not have a choice. I was with my son's middle-school band competition and that is where they stayed. The hotel is Doubletree Anaheim/Orange County. The shuttle ran every 60 minutes.

    I did include hotels with shuttles in #3, and CCI is the only one that does not fit #3. Read it again and see if it explains it well enough. :)

    :wizard:
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
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  9. HydroGuy

    HydroGuy DIS Veteran

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    I have long used this interesting article from another site. Too many people think of proximity as hotel front to DLR front. The real distance you should care about is how far you have to walk from your hotel room to the DLR gates. It details this about GCH which is eye opening when you think about how "close" GCH is to say DCA.

    "How Far Is It?" (shows actual distances in feet from hotels to DLR entrance plaza) http://www.mouseplanet.com/7280/How_Far_Is_It

    I think we can agree that the difference between BWPPI and PVI to DLR depends entirely on where your room is located. ;)

    :wizard:
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  10. Tinkerbell19672

    Tinkerbell19672 DIS Veteran

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    I don’t see the distance for PVI but I think it’s closer to their rooms because with BWPPI you have to walk around the building to get to the crosswalk. But you’re right, depends on room location too.
     
  11. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    This is so true. The Hilton used to advertise (still does?) that it was across the street from the parks. Ummm, well... sort of. When the Timon parking lot was still in existence, that was true. And the Hilton even advertised that gate as a sort of private entrance. You can still see the entrance gate on Katella, even though it is sort of grown over. But you still had to cross Katella, cut through the Timon lot, then walk to the shuttle drop off, and then to the esplanade and to the gates. Not exactly a hop, skip, and a jump. The far back rooms at the GCH are like that, too. Very deceptive. Yes, you are on site. But the hike from some of those rooms at the very back of the hotel (especially now that the "secret" staircase is no longer accessible to the public) to DTD or to the DCA/GCH entry is a long one. If you are carrying sleeping kids, it feels like miles. So on site and price don't always equal close or convenient. And you are absolutely right to point out that "across from the parks" can be very deceptive.

    And your experience with the CCI van and junior driver is really strange. We've never had that happen to us. We'll have to ask the staff about that the next time we stay there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018 at 6:43 AM
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  12. Robinjay

    Robinjay Sherlocked Potter Whovian with Disney Nightmares

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    I find myself fascinated by many of Hydroguy's threads, and I stumbled upon this one. I live 8 miles from Disneyland and visit frequently and can tell you this is absolutely true. If I could Uber or take a magic carpet to the parks, those are better options than driving (but not avoidable in my case). It takes at least 40 minutes on a very good morning leaving an hour before the parks open to make rope drop to get there (only 10 minutes or less of actual time on streets and freeways). It is all parking lots/structure/security and trams. And that is the least busy time.

    I know people who try to visit in the evenings and it can take 60 minutes or more just to enter the lots and structure. Katella, Harbor, and Ball (and the 5 and 22 if you are further out) can get nasty traffic-wise. Need Hydrogy's great and accurate advice!
     
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  13. Supermavs

    Supermavs Earning My Ears

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    So here’s my question...the cost will be a major factor for me. Is it better to find a really cheap motel (under $60 per night) and use Uber? It will be a trip this summer with just my 14 yr old daughter and me. My ideal would be one of the closest spots so we can walk and it would be safe. But, it’s a stretch just to take the trip, so I’m trying to find cheap cheap for lodging.
    Any safe but very inexpensive places?
    Yes, I do realize it’s probably a pipe dream to find lodging that cheap. Anyone know of a good way to earn some money?? Ha ha!
    Becky
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  14. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba Mouseketeer since birth!

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    $60 a night in summer (peak season), located anywhere close enough to DL to want to Uber, is probably going to be pretty sketchy. If someone posts a "great deal" they got for that price, it's probably a few years old and not repeatable. Plus the taxes and possible resort fees can drive up that final price. If you have to stay far enough away to avoid the "Disneyland effect" on hotel prices, you're probably going to pay almost enough in Uber costs twice a day -- and probably surge pricing -- to bump yourself into a closer hotel. Plus the time lost commuting.

    If it's just you and one 14-year-old both in good health, you could stay at a far-walking-distance hotel that would be little better priced but still avoid the need for Uber or parking costs. If you have flexibility of timing you might find an OK deal but the hotels have high demand.

    PHXscuba
     
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  15. sherilaine

    sherilaine DIS Veteran

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    This is a great thread. Honestly this is about the most subjective question anyone can post and the answers are one extreme to the other so having these categories can help people who are new to DLR or who want to try something different. I have warned people about the whole "across the street" issue - a lot of good it does you to be across the street from a wall with no entrance!

    The one other thing I'd recommend for people to utilize is TripAdvisor - you see honest pictures there and honest feedback from previous guests telling you both the good and the bad - the onsite hotels are far from the highest rated hotels especially due to their ever increasing price point.
     
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  16. 22Tink

    22Tink DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the map link it's awesome! We are dedicated BWPPI and Tropicana Inn patrons and love the short walk. This year we're doing both a WDW and DLR trip so cost is a little more important. We spend zero time at the hotel other than to sleep so this time I've booked at the Anaheim Discovery Inn because I got a really good rate but I'm concerned about the walk from Katella. I know Uber is a good option after a long day but how much longer is the walk really? We've been spoiled for the last 15+ years with that 5 minute walk from S Harbor...:rolleyes1
     
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  17. Winnowill

    Winnowill DIS Veteran

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    We stayed at the Quality Inn right near there two weeks ago, and the walk is LONG. It is a solid 25-30 minutes to the park gates (not counting time in line at security). We took the Monorail to DTD when leaving DL and that helped, but you don't want to do that in the morning and there's no fix like that for DCA. We had no choice because we were booking for Christmas week a month beforehand and it was the only place that was reasonably priced anywhere near walking distance, but I would not recommend it as "walkable."
     
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  18. 22Tink

    22Tink DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the heads up. Any reviews I could find said 10-15 min but I thought that seemed a bit off.
     
  19. Winnowill

    Winnowill DIS Veteran

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    That might have been when you were allowed to walk through the GCH to get to the gates, but, as that's no longer an option, it adds significantly to the walk.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  20. 22Tink

    22Tink DIS Veteran

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    That makes more sense. Your comment yesterday made me rethink my choice so after some digging I was able to get a decent deal at the Desert Inn on S. Harbor. Not as cheap as the Discovery but definitely much cheaper that the BWPPI and Tropicana for our dates. I feel so much better now! Thank you!!
     
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  21. OhStuffandFluff

    OhStuffandFluff Mouseketeer

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    Has anyone stayed at the Kings Inn (formerly the Super 8) on West Katella? We got a pretty good rate there for my family in early July. We are planning to walk from there to and from the parks, so hoping it isn't more than 15 minutes to get to the parks. Thanks for any info you have!
     

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