Resort Report: Is Disney’s Paradise Pier worth booking before the Pixar retheme?

If you plan to visit Disneyland Resort this year, you may be thinking about places to stay. Of course, there are a ton of “Good Neighbor” hotels near Disneyland, however, staying at Disneyland Resort always has the ability to give guests the magical feeling of being in the coveted “Disney bubble.” 

paradise pier hotel
Photo by Matt Roseboom

By Alessa Dufresne

At Disneyland Resort, there are only three options for guests to choose from, which is quite different from the 25-plus Disney Resorts at Walt Disney World Resort.

That being said, guests can stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort, which has immediate access to Disney California Adventure as well as stunning and delicious restaurants like Napa Rose and Storytellers Café, to name a few.

The Disneyland Hotel is also a popular option, as it is packed with history and has incredible eateries like Goofy’s Kitchen.

Disney’s Paradise Pier is the final option that guests can choose from, and, as of late, it has not been the most popular option. At the moment, there are no dining options available at Disney’s Paradise Pier. PCH Grill was a character dining spot that is now closed, along with Surfside Lounge and The Sandbar. On top of the dining closures, the pool is under a massive refurbishment, so guests who are staying at Paradise Pier must be shuttled to the Disneyland Hotel pool. The shuttles run every 15 minutes and take only two minutes.

Most recently, we heard the massive news which stated that Disney’s Paradise Pier would be gaining an entirely new theme! As Disney explained, the new look will implement the artistry of Pixar into its comfortable, contemporary setting at the hotel. We will be able to see the creative journey of the artists who helped bring these stories to life.

So far, we have witnessed renderings that show possible character interactions with the Pixar Lamp balancing atop its ball in the lobby. At the moment, we do not know when the retheme will begin, but just that it is slated to start “soon.” 

While guests are awaiting the new Pixar look, however, should you bother to pay to stay at Disney’s Paradise Pier with its current theming and lack of food or pool options?

Rooms at Paradise Pier are currently as low as $387 per night for a standard view. These prices can jump up closer to $500 per night for a theme park view of Disney California Adventure, with suites costing upwards of $1,000 per night. Comparatively, Disneyland Hotel has a starting rate of $517 per night, which is a lot more expensive; however, it does have all of its amenities functioning and open.

paradise pier room
Photo by Alessa Dufresne

After a recent stay at Disney’s Paradise Pier, I have come to my own conclusions on whether or not this hotel is worth dishing out the hundreds of dollars it costs on your next Disneyland vacation. 

The first thing that I noticed upon entering Paradise Pier was that the lobby was far less busy than I had seen at the other two Disneyland Resorts. It was actually the quietest Disney Resort lobby I haveever seen! This is likely due to the lack of dining, which is placed in the lobby area, that would have brought in tons of guests in the past. Although the subtle energy did feel odd to me at first, it was nice to be able to still be on Disney property without feeling the massive crowds of the theme parks. 

I was sad the pool was not available to me, and if I had been unaware of the ongoing refurbishment, not having a pool could have been a big upset! Thankfully, I was well aware that it would not be open during my stay. If the pool were open, we would have had rooftop views of the Disneyland fireworks. When we wanted to head over to the Disneyland Hotel pool, the shuttle, which is located in the parking garage of the hotel, picked us up within minutes. You ride on an extended gold kart to the hotel, and as I mentioned earlier, you will arrive in minutes.

sand bar
Photo by Alessa Dufresne

This service is very convenient and runs until a little after 10 p.m., which is when the pool closes. I was a big fan of the shuttle, as it not only allows you to go to enjoy the pool, but you can also go and explore Disneyland Hotel, grab a drink at the iconic Trader Sam’s, and not have to make the walk as you usually would. 

In terms of not having food, this was definitely not a great selling point for the hotel at the moment. There is a grab-and-go store available, however, I would recommend crossing the street and dining at Disney’s Grand Californian. Being only steps away from another Disney Resort makes the lack of food to be much more tolerable.

Speaking of the location, if you are staying on Disney property you can enter Disney California Adventure Park from the Grand Californian entrance, which is incredibly convenient for those staying at Paradise Pier.

Now, if you do choose to stay at Paradise Pier, your experience can be significantly heightened depending on your room choice. The rooms themselves are spacious, with a beach feel, similar to what I have experienced at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort. But the showstopper of this Disney resort is the view. The theme park view gives you a look into Disney California Adventure Park, where you can see the entire park from an incredibly close proximity.

paradise pier view of park
Photo by Alessa Dufresne

Please be aware that a theme park view is going to cost more. However, it is easily the best view I have ever had at any Disney resort. At night, the park lights are something to dream about, with the Pixar Pal-A-Round Ferris wheel shining into your room.

Plus, you will be able to get a perfect view of “World of Color,” which has recently returned to Disneyland. Pop on channel 17 on your television and listen to the show soundtrack play in perfect coordination. 

I would say grabbing a theme park view room at Disney’s Paradise Pier before it is potentially closed for renovations, or harder to book due to the soon-to-come refurbishment, would definitely leave you without disappointment, as long as you are aware of what is currently missing. 

Do you plan on staying at Disney’s Paradise Pier before the Pixar retheme? 


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