Defining Your Needs
By now, you know what your lodging budget per night is, but before you start looking for a hotel, answer these questions:
How many beds do you need and what size (twin, queen, or king)? How many bedrooms and bathrooms?
Do you need a rollaway bed? What about a crib?
Should the hotel have a swimming pool, hot tub, fitness center, tennis courts, or an onsite restaurant? Do you need selfservice laundry facilities?
Do you want a place within walking distance of the Disneyland main gate? If the hotel is not within walking distance, do you want to be on the Anaheim Resort Transit route? Is it okay if your hotel only offers a twice-daily shuttle to and from the Disneyland Resort? Will you have a car, and are you willing to drive to the park each day?
You're supposed to be on vacation, but sometimes it's hard to disconnect from the office. What do you need to stay in touch?
Do you want a refrigerator or microwave in your room?
Do you want an in-room safe where you can store your valuables?
Are you traveling with a pet?
Does anyone in your group have any special needs?
Do you plan to make phone calls from your hotel room? Some hotels charge a dollar or more every time you pick up the phone to make an outgoing call, even if you're calling locally or using a toll-free number, and charges can mount up.
During peak travel times, finding a last-minute vacancy at an Anaheim hotel or motel can be a challenge. If you're having trouble finding accommodations, try calling the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau at www.anaheimoc.org.
Spend a few minutes to think through what you'll be doing in your room to see if you have any other requirements.
Do Your Homework
The tips for minimizing your hotel costs in Chapter 3 will help you find the best-quoted rate for a room. Unfortunately, in an area like the Anaheim Resort, some hotels, especially the lower-priced ones, drop their guard on customer service and cleanliness. How can you figure out whether a property is a clean, comfortable place that offers good value for money or a dirty, noisy nightmare? The hotels listed in this chapter are all well reviewed within their price ranges, but it may help your search if you read other travelers' reviews at Tripadvisor, www.tripadvisor.com, keeping in mind that even the best hotel can have a bad day, and some people wouldn't be happy no matter what the hotel staff does.
Avoid Hidden Fees
Hidden extras can run up your hotel bill when you might not expect it. Asking these questions when you make a reservation will help you avoid many of the common cost-inflating traps.
Most quoted rates are for double occupancy. Is there an extra charge per person for children or others staying in the room?
Does the hotel charge for rollaway beds or cribs?
Does the hotel charge for parking? If they do, how much is it?
Does the hotel charge for local phone calls or for calling tollfree numbers? If so, how much?
If you need any business services such as Internet access, fax service, and the like, does the hotel provide it? How much do they charge?
Can the hotel guarantee you a nonsmoking room if you request one when you make your reservation?
Is there an extra charge if you have your pet with you? Is it a one-time charge, or per day?
When comparing prices, be realistic. Paying extra for a hotel with a tennis court won't make much sense if you don't have time to take out your racket.
If you want to experience the ultimate Disney vacation and the superior service and hospitality Disney is known for, and you can afford it, stay at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels.
All of the Disney-owned hotels (the Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier, and Grand Californian) offer two basic levels of accommodations: standard rooms and suites, and concierge suites, which offer priority check-in, complimentary breakfast, evening wine and cheese reception, DVD players, and complimentary movies. All three hotels are 100 percent nonsmoking. The Disney hotels have a seventy-twohour reservation cancellation or change policy.
All guests staying at the Disney hotels pay a resort fee of $11.50 per night, which includes parking, local telephone calls, Internet access, and use of the fitness center. For valet parking, add $14 per night.
Guests staying at these hotels sometimes get into the theme parks as much as ninety minutes before they open to the general public. On busy days, guests are also guaranteed admission even if the parks are at capacity.
The Disney hotels offer special promotional rates, package rates, and other discounts throughout the year, based on availability. To learn more, call the reservation number or check their Web site.