On our April 2010 trip to Disneyland my mother really wanted to stay at the Grand Californian hotel due to its convenient location to the theme parks. However, that is also the most expensive official Disney hotel at Disneyland. She settled for the Paradise Pier Hotel, which is still more expensive than the nearby motels, but is a better class hotel and still more convenient to walk to the theme parks from.
The Paradise Pier Hotel tends to be much cheaper than if you stay at the Grand California and is also cheaper than the Disneyland Hotel. It does not seem to have quite as many amenities, such as the multiple pools at the Disneyland Hotel and the entrance to California Adventure from the Grand California. However, by being a guest of the Paradise Pier Hotel you can have access to those other hotel’s amenities. They just are not quite as convenient, but with the money you save it becomes quite a deal.
The Paradise Pier Hotel is an easy walk through Downtown Disney to get to the Disneyland theme parks. Certainly less than walking from most non-Disney hotels and you do not have to deal with car traffic except occasional cars in the parking lot you cut through to get to Downtown Disney. You also do not have to deal with shuttles, which rarely work for our family since it seems most hotels do not have wheelchair accessible shuttles and the ones that do tend to be the ones that charge you to ride them.
The hotel room is not really anything extra fancy, but we found it to be quite comfortable even with my brother’s wheelchair in a non-accessible room (we did not even ask for one because instead we enjoyed a complimentary upgrade to a California Adventure view). I had expected there to be just two beds and we would have to share with there being three of us, but the room actually had a couch that converted into a twin bed, so we each got our own bed.
The Magic Morning access make staying at Paradise Pier Hotel really worth it in my opinion, though, as I was able to finally go on Finding Nemo without leaving my brother, who cannot get out of wheelchair and on to the ride, having to wait hours for me. I know some packages of non-Disney hotels give you a ticket for Magic Morning, as we have done that before, but staying at the hotel lets you use your room key to go every Magic Morning during your stay instead of having to choose just one.
Overall the Paradise Pier Hotel was a great place to stay, but it still is a little hard on the budget when Disneyland Park Hoppers and food in the parks have to be budgeted along with souvenirs (we always get a pin or two). For some the convenience of being able to easily go to hotel and take a nap works well with the Disneyland Hotels, but it is not always worth it.