Disneyland Good Neighbor – Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance

After booking our Disney cruise on the Wonder and our pre-cruise stay in Vancouver, I needed our add-on Disneyland post-cruise stay to be a bit…let’s say…economical.  There was no way I could afford one of the on-property Disneyland hotels, so I researched the Good Neighbor choices and quickly settled on the one I liked best – Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance.

Upon arrival, we immediately knew I’d made an excellent choice.  This hotel was most obviously committed to three things – Friendliness, Cleanliness, and Halloween Decorations!

Disneyland Good Neighbor – Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance

Arriving early in the day, we knew our room would not be ready.  We were warmly greeted by an employee who assured us that he would get us the very best room possible and call us when it was available.  We were handed our Disneyland packet of park tickets, coupons, and freebies before we passed off our luggage to the bellhop for storage and made the very short (9-minute) walk to Disneyland’s park entrances.

It was obvious during the check-in process that this hotel takes Halloween seriously!  The decorations were extensive and incredible!  This added to our visit since Disneyland was likewise adorned and all that seasonal splendor created extra fun.

As we were enjoying Disney California Adventure, we got a call from the Courtyard’s front desk about our room.  It was ready and on the top floor (6th) with a theme park view!!!  I must say, we were warmly welcomed every single time we entered the hotel and sent off with kind words every time we left.

We headed back to our room to change for dinner at Napa Rose and found our room spacious, extremely clean and tidy, and with a balcony that would allow us to enjoy Disneyland’s fireworks each evening.  NOTE:  This place was perfect for us, but for folks with small children, the fireworks were loud!  Certainly loud enough to disrupt bedtime and possibly cause some fear in little ones.

The split bathroom was luxurious.  We had two showers and since Raymond and I like our separate getting-ready-spaces, this was ideal.  The toiletries, hair dryer, comfortable linens, and high ceilings made us feel like we were in a much more upscale hotel.  Our room had two queen beds and a set of bunk beds, so would have easily slept 6 (four adults and two children).

Bottom line:  I was trying to save money when I booked our Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance room and what I ended up with was a delightful experience that exceeded our expectations and was worth every penny.

Disneyland First Visit First Impressions

It may have been only two-and-a-half days, but our first visit to Disneyland exceeded our expectations – it was wonderful!  Our Good Neighbor hotel was fantastic and allowed us quick and easy access to the parks and Downtown Disney.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we did not see a single cloud the entire time we were there.  So with a great place to sleep and sunny skies, we got busy making the most of our limited time.

Disneyland First Visit First Impressions

Our first stop was Disney California Adventure.  So many things felt super familiar, it was odd to not know exactly how to navigate the park without a map.  Much of DCA felt like Disney’s Hollywood Studios and construction walls certainly made us feel right at home.

We were captivated by Pixar Pier and the areas around it.  There’s so much to take in and the theming was completely immersive – which we loved!  Raymond made the observation that the way the attractions were laid out reminded him of Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.  We visited Tivoli in 2015 knowing it was inspirational to Walt Disney before Disneyland was built and we noticed many similarities – mainly the way attractions, restaurants, shops, and kiosks were crowded together in an exciting way with something interesting to see or do from the ground to the sky.

We used both paper FastPasses (on Friday) and MaxPasses on Saturday and Sunday and both were certainly handy.  The paper FastPasses made us feel sentimental since those have been long gone from Walt Disney World.  MaxPass was worth every penny!  We used several (4+) a day and with all the PhotoPass photos included, we were very satisfied with how it worked.  We did miss having Magic Bands though.  We’re so used to the convenience of being able to enter the parks and purchase everything with them – doing without felt like an inconvenience.

Disneyland was a delight!  I could not believe how many attractions we could experience in just a couple of hours.  I’ll write separate posts on the attractions themselves, but I’m going to try to describe here how charmed we were by this park’s overall atmosphere.  We expected it to be as magical, interesting, delightful, and exciting as we find Magic Kingdom.  What we didn’t expect was for it to be more.  More of everything that makes us love Disney parks.  Disneyland feels like Disney World’s more mature, wiser and more beautiful sibling.

Yes, as you may have heard (or noticed yourself), Sleeping Beauty Castle is quite a shock.  Like your eyes are playing tricks on you – Where is it?!  It should be the centerpiece at the end of Main Street, visible just after entering the park.  That it doesn’t appear where and when it should certainly takes some getting used to.  Sleeping Beauty Castle’s relatively tiny stature does not detract from its beauty.  Once you get close enough to take in the details, it seems as perfect as can be.

One-stop security is awesome!  As you approach the central plaza in which the entrances to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Downtown Disney are located, there’s a single security stop for bag-checks and metal detector screening.  After that, park-hopping takes mere moments and, compared to Walt Disney World, seems absolutely effortless.  We loved this aspect…except after 5:00 pm.  Word of caution – if you leave the parks and return in the evening, two things happen.  Security lines are extra long due to decreased screening capacity and the sun is brutal!  We were there in September and the setting sun was blinding which made waiting in that looooong security line seem more horrible.  The necessity of arriving before the after-work crowd was one of our biggest take-aways.

Thanks for reading…I have much more to tell you, so please stop by again soon!