Disneyland Hotel vs. Pixar Place Hotel: Which Is Best?


Disneyland Hotel and Pixar Place Hotel are two of the three Disney-owned properties at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. They regularly get put in the same bucket because of their similar pricing, but after Pixar Place Hotel’s recent renovation and rebranding, there are some clear distinctions.

An overview

The Disneyland Hotel is a historic property that opened in 1955, just a few months after the Disneyland theme park opened. The hotel has gone through several updates — the most recent was the addition of the Disney Vacation Club Villas in the fall of 2023. The hotel’s theme is Disneyland nostalgia. Guest room decor includes framed black-and-white photos of Walt Disney and an engraving of Sleeping Beauty’s castle in the wood paneling above the beds.

The Pixar Place Hotel was built in 1984 and bought by Disney in 1995. Its most recent rebranding — which included a name change from Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel to Pixar Place Hotel — was completed in January 2024. It has a more contemporary aesthetic than the Disneyland Hotel and is themed around Pixar Animation Studios’ detailed animation process, showcasing characters from movies like “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo” and “Inside Out.” Plus, Pixar Place Hotel’s location offers private access to Disney California Adventure Park.

Here are some other things to consider about the two hotels if you are choosing between Disneyland Hotel and Pixar Place Hotel.

Pixar Place Hotel vs. Disneyland Hotel: The similarities

Early park entrance

All Disneyland Resort Hotel guests — whether staying at Pixar Place Hotel or Disneyland Hotel — have early park access to either theme park each day of their stay. You can enter the park 30 minutes early.

Note that you’ll still need an admission ticket or Magic Key, and a park reservation for the day you’re visiting. Park reservations aren’t guaranteed just because you’re a hotel guest, so plan your park date visit ahead of time.

Pixar Place Hotel vs. Disneyland Hotel: The differences

Location

Both hotels are located west of Disneyland Drive. It’s a two-minute walk between hotels, with Disneyland Hotel at the west end of the Downtown Disney District and Pixar Place Hotel slightly south of both landmarks.

Disneyland Hotel is an 11-minute walk to the Esplanade to access both park entrances. Guests staying at Pixar Place have a special entrance across the street from the hotel to Disney California Adventure Park that’s accessible to hotel guests only. Guests with a Park Hopper ticket can walk through California Adventure to get to Disneyland. Otherwise, they’ll have to walk to the Esplanade to enter Disneyland.

Pricing

When comparing similar room types, Disneyland Hotel tends to charge higher rates per night than Pixar Place Hotel.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Disneyland Hotel has a room type called Duo Studio, located in the new Discovery tower. This room is usually less expensive than standard rooms and often has prices comparable with Pixar Place rooms.

Below is a basic price comparison for a standard or premium room at Pixar Place Hotel and Disneyland Hotel (not including taxes and fees) for select dates in 2024.

  • $655 premium Downtown Disney view.

  • $492 premium view of resort or theme park.

Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2024

  • $655 premium Downtown Disney view.

  • $492 premium view of resort or theme park.

  • $970 premium Downtown Disney view.

  • $729 premium view of resort or theme park.

Theme

Pixar Place Hotel and Disneyland Hotel have very different looks. The Pixar Place Hotel is the first Pixar-themed hotel in the U.S., which is felt as soon as you walk in the front door, as guests are greeted with a giant statue of the studio’s iconic lamp balancing on top of a ball.

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(Photo by Meghan Coyle)

There are also Pixar icons all over the hotel, from the Pixar ball embossed on the bed sheets to the lamp motif in the carpet.

The art in the lobby and the light wood in the guest rooms give the theme a contemporary and technological touch, even though the characters are playful and colorful.

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(Photo by Meghan Coyle)

Even the waterslide and play areas on the third floor feature Pixar characters.

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(Photo by Meghan Coyle)

The Disneyland Hotel, meanwhile, is focused less on specific characters and more on the theme park’s history. Some of the towers are named after “lands” in the park, and the waterslides include replicas of the park’s original monorail trains.

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(Photo courtesy of Disneyland Hotel)

Standard rooms at the Disneyland Hotel have a much more subdued color palette compared with Pixar Place Hotel. There are navy blue carpets printed with gold fireworks. The wood paneling above the bed is the room’s centerpiece, depicting Sleeping Beauty’s Castle (also surrounded by fireworks).

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(Photo courtesy of Disneyland Hotel)

The theme at the Villas at Disneyland Hotel is more similar to the Pixar Place Hotel. Its one-, two- and three-bedroom villas, as well as studios, have colorful murals, movie-inspired art and modern furnishings.

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(Photo courtesy of Disneyland Hotel)

On-site dining

For variety, Disneyland Hotel offers more dining options, including Tangaroa Terrace Tropical Bar & Grill, Goofy’s Kitchen, and Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar — a tiki bar that pays homage to Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise ride. Unlike Pixar Place Hotel, Disneyland Hotel also has in-room dining; plus, the restaurants in the Downtown Disney District are just steps away.

Pixar Place Hotel’s dining options are more limited. It has three options: Great Maple, a full-service restaurant, a poolside quick-service food stand called Small Bytes and The Sketch Pad Café coffee shop.

Hotel recreation

Disneyland Hotel also has a slight edge when it comes to amenities, mainly because the property is much bigger than the Pixar Place Hotel. Disneyland Hotel has two themed pools with poolside cabanas — including waterslides and water play areas for kids.

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(Photo courtesy of Disneyland Hotel)

The Pixar Place Hotel has one pool with cabanas, one waterslide and one water play area, but it’s plenty entertaining.

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(Photo by Meghan Coyle)

Next to the pool deck are fire pits and the Shorts Court, a blacktop-inspired area for kids to play games.

Both hotels have a fitness center and fitness classes for those who somehow didn’t get enough exercise walking through the theme parks.

Disneyland Hotel vs. Pixar Place Hotel recapped

For visitors who are planning to spend most of their time at the theme park, Pixar Place Hotel is the best option because it’s usually cheaper and it has a private entrance to one of the parks. The premium view rooms also have excellent views of Disney California Adventure Park. Not to mention, the rooms were recently renovated.

For people who want to surround themselves with Disneyland history and want the perks of staying at a bigger property (and more food and pool options), then the Disneyland Hotel might be worth paying a bit more for. The Villas at Disneyland Hotel are more updated compared with the older towers, so book a room or suite there for the best experience at the Disneyland Hotel.

Top photo by Meghan Coyle

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