June 18, 2024

Is Our Top Hotel Near Disneyland Still #1?


In the last decade-plus, we have stayed at over 65 hotels near Disneyland and Disney California. First as tourists on trips, then as SoCal locals wanting to field test accommodations, then childeless millennial tourists again,

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In the last decade-plus, we have stayed at over 65 hotels near Disneyland and Disney California. First as tourists on trips, then as SoCal locals wanting to field test accommodations, then childeless millennial tourists again, and finally as parents living in Orange County. We’ve stayed at everything from sketchy motels to family suites to luxury resorts.

Our experience led us to create the comprehensive Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings back in 2015. It started as a ‘work-in-progress’ list based on the two dozen hotels we had stayed at then. It quickly grew over the years as we made a concerted effort to stay in and review hotels, especially as development was booming in Anaheim and new hotels were opening and others closing or being remodeled.

During the first few years, there were several different #1 picks. There was a time when Desert Inn, Hotel Indigo, Candy Cane Inn, Fairfield, Tropicana, and Park Vue Inn all jockeyed for top spots. And several of those remain sentimental favorites from a bygone era of Disneyland visits. However, our top selection has remained unchanged since Fall 2017: Best Western Plus Park Place Inn.

A lot has happened in the last ~7 years. (Understatement of the century.) That’s doubly true when it comes to hotels near Disneyland. Without actually counting, I’d hazard a guess that at least two-dozen brand new hotels have opened in Anaheim during that timeframe, including a couple of luxury heavy-hitters and at least a half-dozen family suites within walking distance. Countless other hotels have been remodeled in order to keep pace with the evolving hotel scene and guest expectations.

For better or worse, the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn has not changed in meaningful ways in the last ~7 years. The rooms were recently renovated when we last stayed there. They remain the same to this day, but are now not-so-recently renovated. The building is still old and the Best Western is still very much a roadside motel-style property. That’s the “for worse” part.

The “for better” thing is that the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn has not moved. I mean, I guess technically it has. Thanks to tectonic shift or whatever, Anaheim will eventually fall into the Pacific Ocean over a long enough timeline. But you know what I mean. This Best Western is the closest hotel to Disneyland, directly across the street from the parks. It’s closer to Walt Disney’s original Magic Kingdom than Grand Californian, Disneyland Hotel, or Pixar Place Hotel.

That location was the primary basis for our #1 ranking and it remains unchanged. Even if the hotel has shifted by a couple inches since we last reviewed it, the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn is still the closest hotel to Disneyland. Nevertheless, we’re in the process of revisiting and refreshing hotel reviews, and thought it wise to check-in at the Best Western again to see if our sentiment has changed after 7 years of additional hotel stays elsewhere in Anaheim. Hence this post.

The proximity selling point of the Best Western cannot be overstated. The hotel is literally at the Disneyland pedestrian intersection. You’re under 60 seconds (depending upon the traffic light) from hotel to the Disneyland Resort gateway and being enveloped in the cheery Esplanade background music loop.

From room door to park turnstile, the Best Western is, at the very most, a 10 minute walk. It’s the next-best thing to actually staying on-site, and you might even argue that it’s better than being on-site at the Disneyland Hotel or Pixar Place Hotel, as it’s closer to both parks than both of those. As with Park Vue Inn, it’s basically just crossing the intersection and you’re there.

In our Park Vue Inn Review, we noted that whether it or Best Western Plus Park Place Inn is a shorter walk to Disneyland really depends upon your room. The hotels themselves are nearly equidistant to the main entrance. Really, though, we’re talking about a difference of a dozen steps or so. Both hotels are directly across the street, and both are pretty evenly matched.

These aren’t the only two hotels in this cluster across the street–just the two closest to Disneyland. Others include all of the following:

  • Best Western Anaheim Plus Inn (a different Best Western)
  • Camelot Inn & Suites
  • Del Sol Inn
  • Anaheim Desert Inn
  • Tropicana Inn
  • Fairfield by Marriott
  • Grand Legacy at the Park

Aside from their proximity to the parks, the most notable thing about every entry on this list is that they’re generally the same type of motel-style properties. Sure, some have been refreshed or renamed over the last decade, but they’re all fundamentally still the same.

They’re also distinct from the newer generation of Anaheim hotels, all of which would surpass anything on the above list when it comes to guest rooms and amenities. The difference is the location. These have it, those newer hotels don’t. That’s probably also why the hoteliers operating the above properties as disinclined to raze and replace. They don’t need to–the location sells itself.

Let’s turn to the rooms at the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn to see if they’re still up to snuff…

Knowing that nothing had actually changed about the hotel, we opted to switch things up with this stay by opting for the Mini-Suite with 2 Queens and Sofa Bed. This is the largest room type at the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn, and the only option capable of sleeping 6 people.

Our thinking was that maybe this would bridge the gap between a standard hotel room at the Best Western and the spacious family suites that are available farther down the road from Disneyland.

It really does not. At least, not in our opinion.

These larger mini-suites at the Best Western do provide a bit of breathing room as compared to standard rooms, and obviously there’s the difference of being able to sleep 6 as opposed to 2-4 guests. So strictly from a capacity perspective, they’re an upgrade.

That’s undeniably true if you have a larger family that can’t do a standard room and will only use this as a ‘crash pad’ and are not concerned about spaciousness. That will be the perspective of many families visiting Disneyland, and for that demo, these rooms are a win!

We hear from many families of 5, disappointed by the lack of options across the street from Disneyland. The mini-suites at the Best Western are great for them. They’re also good for parents plus a grandparent, and a child or two. (Our exact scenario–except baby didn’t need her own bed!) I’m sure there are other parties of 3-4 who would prefer the 3-bed setup. So we’re not dismissive of this configuration–it’s a good one that makes the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn viable for many parties!

What we’re simply saying is that it doesn’t bridge the gap between the old motel style and the new family suite style that’s proliferated in Anaheim.

Those new rooms usually have separate sleeping and living spaces (and sometimes kitchens). There is often, but not always, a wall and door between the living and bedroom. This makes it easier for putting kids to bed while parents stay up and decompress, do adult activities, and whatnot.

I probably don’t need to explain this–the photos should speak for themselves–but that’s not possible at the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn. The little quarter wall thing (with the cut-through) just doesn’t cut it for subdividing the space. Everyone is going to bed at the same time, and engaging in the same family-friendly activities. Here’s a video room tour to better show you around the space:

Beyond that, the rooms at Best Western Plus Park Place Inn are fine. No longer “newly” renovated, they are definitely showing their age as compared to the brand-new hotels that have been built in the years since we last stayed here. It very much has the look of an older motel trying to stay “contemporary.”

This isn’t to say there’s anything bad about the rooms. To the contrary, there are little touches throughout the room, from the carpet to the paintings to the headboards. Equally as important, we found the hotel room to be clean and well-maintained. It also doesn’t smell like it was freshly carpet-bombed with Febreeze or used copious amounts of cleaner to mask years of decay.

You might laugh, but in staying at 65+ Anaheim hotels, we’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. The Best Western aspires to be something more and makes an effort. It doesn’t just phone it in and rest on its laurels of being the closest hotel to Disneyland.

Circling back to the basics, these mini-suite rooms at the Best Western feature two queen beds and queen sofa sleeper offers a flat screen TV, alarm clock/radio, microwave, mini refrigerator, coffee maker, iron/board and hairdryer.

The queen beds are plush and comfortable. The sheets and pillows likewise felt high quality. The sofa sleeper is a different story, but I think that’s to be expected. Best Western Plus Park Place Inn gets high marks in terms of the room comfort.

Having a Keurig, even of the knockoff variety, is also nice. Many of the motels in the area have really bad and cheap coffee makers, and the most repulsive coffee imaginable. Not that “Donut Shop” is the pinnacle of small-batch, sustainably grown, artisan coffee roasters…but at least it’s not awful.

A mini-fridge is also nice. It’s easy to get groceries near Disneyland or you can–and I’m not condoning this–grab an extra yogurt or other item from the free breakfast and stash that in the fridge for a midday or late night snack. Going back to the room throughout the day is easy since you’re so close to Disneyland.

Then there are the bathrooms, which are a weakness and very similar among all Anaheim motels. As I’ve written before, I could use a single stock photo for 75% of the hotels in Anaheim, and no one would ever know the difference.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with any of these bathrooms…there’s just nothing right about them, either. They are all consistently undersized and underwhelming.

Although it’s hardly a purposeful design feature (since they’re all this way, regardless of size), the one good thing I’ll say about these bathrooms is that the shower/bathtub and toilet are separate from the sink and mirror.

If you’re in a room that sleeps 6 and are coming close to maxing out that capacity, having separate spaces for multiple people to get ready simultaneously is probably a good thing. Which is also why it’d be nice if that wall separating the beds from the couch were a bit more wall-ish.

Perhaps the biggest change since our last stay at the Best Western isn’t the hotel itself, but that Captain Kidd’s has been replaced by Calaca Mamas Cantina, Anaheim’s Day of the Dead inspired Mexican eatery that’s family-owned and serves homemade cuisine. It’s a night and day improvement over Captain Kidd’s, but then again, so would’ve been an airport Sbarro. (But really, this is much better.)

Speaking of which, the Best Western’s free continental breakfast is served upstairs at Calaca Mamas Cantina. It’s fine. Not as good as the ambitious breakfasts at the newer family suites, but above-average by Harbor Boulevard motel continental breakfast standards.

The pool at Best Western Plus Park Place Inn is also nothing special. Pools at these hotels don’t really matter to me since I never use them, but if you have kids and want to take a midday break for pool time, this will leave something to be desired.

What I will say here is that at least the pool is flanked by the hotel buildings, which isolate it from the outside world to some degree. (Well, until some weirdo in one of the rooms above creeps on sunbathers…) A lot of Anaheim motels have pools in the parking lots and this is better than that. Still not as good as the best option, which is rooftop pool decks.

Without a doubt, pricing is the biggest change for the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn over the last 7 years. You used to be able to get rooms here in the $150 to $200 per night range. That was on the higher end of the Anaheim average, but not too bad.

Now, you’ll be hard-pressed to book the Best Western for under $300 per night. Prices have exploded throughout Anaheim, but even so, this is above trend. More than anything else, this is what gives us pause in keeping the Best Western in the #1 spot, especially as its competition has not increased this much in price. (Click here to check Get Away Today for current deals at the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn and compare its pricing to other hotels near Disneyland.)

As with most other hotels in Anaheim, you’ll also now pay for parking. That’s a double-whammy that makes the Best Western much more of a tough sell.

Ultimately, the question is whether the ‘closest hotel to Disneyland’ can overcome the higher price point and the construction of over a dozen new hotels that do everything better than the old roadside motels on Harbor Boulevard. That’s almost impossible to answer. Ask me first thing in the morning when we’re full of energy and have issues walking a few blocks, and I’m probably saying no. When we’re overdue for nap time or at the end of a very long day when every step counts, I’m saying yes–without a doubt.

One thing we’ve learned over the years of doing this and receiving reader feedback is that proximity to the parks is paramount. More of you care about location than any other single quality–probably than everything else combined. Obviously, no advice is one-size-fits-all, and your party may prioritize differently and not care as much about location. In which case, the Best Western is not going to be the #1 hotel near Disneyland for you. Heck, it probably wouldn’t be top 20!

For many (most!) other Disneyland visitors, being directly across the street is a huge advantage for Best Western Plus Park Place Inn. This makes it easy for a midday nap, pool break, going back for snacks, or even grabbing my tripod and other lenses. The time spent leaving and returning to Disneyland or DCA is minimal from the Best Western, whereas the hotels past the Harbor/Katella intersection are much more of a hassle.

While we still have to revisit a few of the other hotels on Harbor, the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn remains our #1 pick and recommendation for now. That’s the case for those who heavily weigh proximity to the parks. It still strikes the best balance of location, room quality, and amenities. Whether that remains the case depends upon prices and updated rooms (or not) elsewhere.

Any of the above motels on that bullet-point list near the top could claim the #1 spot if they’ve redone the rooms and charge more reasonable rates. (Tropicana Inn immediately  comes to mind as a strong contender for the throne.) In the meantime, the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn is still the perfect place to stay for a park-centric vacation, especially one that is likely to include midday breaks, or for those who want to save their feet. You just might be overpaying for saving a few steps and staying at the closest hotel to Disneyland.

Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and many other SoCal cities!

Your Thoughts

Have you stayed at the Best Western Park Place Inn? What did you think of the location, rooms, and amenities? Think it’s the #1 hotel near Disneyland when heavily weighting the rankings for location? Does proximity to the parks overcome the astronomical price for what’s basically a glorified roadside motel? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of this hotel? Any questions? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!

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