The Disneyland Hotel- Staying in the Frontier Tower

The Disneyland Hotel is an old favorite that in recent years has seen a huge overhaul. When I was eleven my aunt and uncle got married at the Hotel. Back then it had the Marina Tower, Sierra Tower, Bonita Tower, villas, a “lake” to paddle boat in, a rose garden (where they had their ceremony), and a building housing Goofy’s Kitchen, the Monorail Cafe, and more.

A lot has changed, and while I may miss that awesome marina I never got to play in the Hotel is still fun for adults and kids alike. In keeping with Disneyland’s embrace of its history, the Hotel is themed for the park itself with plenty of Easter Eggs and fun tidbits for everyone.

The Hotel

You can opt to stay in one of three towers: Fantasy, Adventure, or Frontier. Each is themed for their respective Lands in the park. If you opt for a Premier or Concierge level room, you are most likely going to be in the Adventure Tower, which has views of either the pool or Downtown Disney and the park. For most people staying at the least expensive option the Frontier Tower is where you’ll be headed.

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Entrance to the Frontier Tower

This is the farthest of the towers from the front desk and Monorail station, so be prepared for a little footwork getting places. It is very convenient to Trader Sam’s and Tangaroa Terrace, so if it’s libations and food you desire, you’re in luck. While it is farther that’s not to say it’s miles away, just noticeable if you’re exhausted. That being said Busy Bumble and I have stayed here and been at the park past midnight and still made it back to our room without collapsing.

Outside the tower is a geyser that goes off regularly. Recently when we’ve walked by it hasn’t been on, probably because of the drought. If it goes back into service you can watch and pretend you’re on the long-lost Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland.

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The geyser outside the Frontier Tower. This is all that remains of the water features that once existed by the Bonita Tower before the remodel.

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Each tower has a lovely lobby area where you can sit and relax, wait for friends, or take in the A/C on a hot day. Non-Hotel guests are welcome to step in and each tower’s lobby holds special exhibits from their namesake Lands. In the case of the Frontier Tower it’s a scale model of Big Thunder Mountain!

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Scale model of Big Thunder Mountain, seen from the side which used to be Big Thunder Trail connecting Frontierland and Fantasyland.
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Another view of the model showing the loading station and queue areas. Note that the model even has the evacuation/maintenance paths!
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A plaque explaining the model for guests.

Children and adults will be delighted by the model. Take time to appreciate all the details and how a model like this one was once the basis for a treasured attraction.

As cool as the themed lobbies are, unfortunately the rest of the towers are rather plain. I wish they were a little more themed, but not Madonna Inn over the top (shout out to my SLO peeps!)

The Room

The rooms have undergone an upgrade along with the rest of the hotel. For our purposes Busy Bumble and I always get a double queen room, but there are suites and king rooms. For those with money to burn and patience to wait for a reservation to open up, one of the hotel’s Signature Suites, the Big Thunder Suite, is in this tower. This suite is chock-a-block full of memorabilia, art, and one-of-a-kind touches. It’s themed to be luxury Old West with railroad and mining elements and is on my Disney bucket list.

Our room faced the south parking lot where many DCA and DD Cast Members park, which can be cool to watch throughout the day, but isn’t particularly pretty. But I’m not here for the view. The room itself was pretty nifty.

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Our beds with the magical “fireworks” headboard.

The rooms are modern with a slightly retro feel. The beds themselves are a nice medium firmness. I have a hard time sleeping in hotel beds but these are good enough for me to get a decent night’s sleep.

Another cool thing with the linens are the Disney lyric throw pillows:

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A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep.

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The room also has the standard writing desk, television, chest of drawers, and a comfy armchair. Sadly the days of Disneyland Hotel stationery are long gone. I still have the pages I swiped from all those years ago when we first stayed and I wish hotels in general still had stationery.

The bathroom setup is nice in that the shower and toilet are in one room while the sink and a closet are in another alcove. Here’s the sink area:

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Sink console with complimentary Disney toiletries. Dig the hand sconces.

Like all other Disney properties you get some soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. The Disneyland Hotel’s fragrance was Grapefruit Bergamot. If you need more you can always ask Housekeeping (aka Mousekeeping) or even purchase full-sized bottles at the gift shop in the Fantasy Tower.

We’ve weekended three times at the Disneyland Hotel and while I’ve enjoyed each of the hotels the original holds a special place of honor in my heart. We’ve had really good trips whenever we’ve stayed here, whether it was for a special occasion or just to prove that yeah we’re adults and we can stay here if we want to. The atmosphere at this hotel is relaxed but fun. While we haven’t had a chance to play in the pool (why go to a pool when Disneyland is a Monorail ride away?) I’ve seen adults and kids enjoy it. The Monorail slides are pretty cool to look at so they might be fun to experience.

I also love the fact that there is so much going on in the hotel. You can go to Steakhouse 55 for Afternoon Tea, take a free tour of the hotel’s grounds with a Cast Member, drink tiki drinks at Trader Sam’s, and even participate in a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt is for guests only and focuses on specific Disneyland attractions. Complete the hunt, which is all ride trivia that you need to experience to answer, you’ll receive a prize when you return a completed form to the Concierge. In the past it’s been a special pin (not the Trading kind, but a button kind) but the last time we playing it was ride poster luggage tags! I’ll probably do a more thorough post later, so keep an eye out for it if you’re interested in the scavenger hunt.

The Disneyland Hotel isn’t cheap and deals are scarce. When we’ve stayed we’ve tried to use our Annual Passholder discounts if any are available. This is a treat and a destination vacation for many. If you can save up for it I think this may be the best value in terms of the three Disney properties at Disneyland: comfort, nostalgia, fun, and convenience that families have enjoyed for decades.

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Mickey Mouse as Davy Crockett as a flowerbed in front of the Frontier Tower.

Do you have any fond memories of the Disneyland hotel? Ever wished you could stay in a Signature Suite? Sound off in the comments and let us know what you think!

Tidbits

Good: close to the Monorail; Magic Mornings; excellent on site dining; superior customer service

Not So Good: you’ll still need to walk to DCA and you can’t use their entrance leading to Grizzly Peak; very expensive compared to other Anaheim Resort properties

Best Moments: Turning on the fireworks headboard for the first time

Forgettable Moments: Getting an answer wrong on the Pirates of the Caribbean trivia hunt. That was my ride!

Budget Range: Deluxe Resort- You’re looking at anywhere from $250-$500 for a room depending on the time of year. Upgrade to Concierge level or a suite and that gets even higher.

Summed Up As A Song: “Makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires will come to you.” When You Wish Upon A Star (seriously, they’ll take care of you here)

 

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