On-property or off-property? For visitors to Disneyland this is a huge decision to be made. Is it worth the extra funds in the budget to stay on property? Are the rooms really nice? What about the amenities and the convenience to the parks? Are early morning magic hours necessary?

With the compact nature of Disneyland and off-property resorts right across the entry, staying on property at Disneyland has never been a huge priority for me. I wasn’t convinced that the on-property resorts were going to be worth the extra fee for a long weekend. But this year, I learned how wrong I was as I spent a long weekend at the Pixar Pier resort at Disneyland California.

First impressions make a big difference and from the moment I entered the hotel, the cast members were exceedingly helpful and friendly.  As soon as I had my room key, I head up to the fourth floor to check out my home away from home. Although the resort is considered a value resort at Disneyland, I would easily consider this room the equivalent of between a moderate and deluxe resort at Walt Disney World. Decorated with a seaside theme, I felt like being on the boardwalk overlooking the Pacific Ocean. With either two queen-sized beds and a day bed, or a king-sized bed and a day, bed, the rooms can accommodate families of up to 5 people with 4 adults with plenty of room for everyone to feel comfortable. If you have a larger family of 6 members, be sure to book a Paradise Suite to accommodate all.

Pixar Pier has plenty of amenities for families of all ages.  The California Streamin’ roller coaster-shaped waterslide, whirlpool spa, Paradise pool, and toddler wading pool are sure to have the kids screaming with delight. Teens will delight in the arcade and the little ones will ask to rest while they watch movies at the Seaside Cinema. When you are ready to grab something to eat, check out the Surfside Lounge for lunch, or the PCH Grill for breakfast or dinner – reservations recommended. The PCH Grill features the Surfs Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends at breakfast so you can see your favorite characters right at your own resort.

Getting to the parks from Pixar Pier is so quick and easy. I found the easiest path to walk across the street to the Grand Californian Resort and through their back entrance to get to Disney’s California Adventure Park or to the connected entrance to Downtown Disney, to get to the entrance for Disneyland Park.  I was in either park in minutes from the hotel entrance.  I took advantage of early magic hours at Disney’s California Adventure and walked onto the rides with no wait for a ride. Just myself and my friend ready to board a ride with the small number of other on-property guests. It felt like we had the park completely to ourselves!

After spending my first-time on property at Disneyland, this will become a new must-do for myself and my family. This transformed my usual Disneyland experience from a great vacation to an above and beyond magical experience. I highly recommend you talking to one of our travel agents about spending your next Disneyland vacation at a Disneyland Resort hotel and in particular ask them about staying at the Pixar Pier hotel. Surf’s up, dude!