Pros and Cons of Pixar Place Hotel

My family just returned from a four day/five night trip to Disneyland where we stayed in the newly renovated Pixar Place Hotel. While we’ve stayed at several of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels over the years, this was our first time staying on property at Disneyland, and we’ve got a few thoughts. But first, a quick history lesson:

Previously known as the Paradise Pier Hotel, Pixar Place is one of three hotels on property at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California (with the Disneyland Hotel and Grand California being the other two). The hotel originally opened in 1984 as the non-Disney Emerald Hotel of Anaheim before becoming the Pan Pacific Hotel. Disney purchased the hotel in 1995 and called it the Disneyland Pacific Hotel before changing the name and theme in 2001 when Disney’s California Adventure theme park opened. When I booked the hotel in fall 2023 it was still called Paradise Pier before it officially changed to Pixar Place in January 2024.

Now I’m going to share what we loved about the Pixar Place Hotel as well as what we thought was not so great. First, the reasons for staying there.

Pros of the Pixar Place Hotel

Proximity to the Parks: Obviously, the number one perk of staying here is how close you are to Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks. Pixar Place guests now have a dedicated entrance exclusively for them into California Adventure. It’s a short walk across the street, then swipe your room key at a gate right outside the Grand California. A short path behind the other hotel leads you to a security checkpoint and entrance into the theme park, right next to Corn Dog Castle.

This was super convenient the first night when World of Color was over and the kids were exhausted, we didn’t have to fight any crowds leaving, just slipped out the somewhat hidden exit and were back inside our hotel room within minutes.

To get to Disneyland, it’s a little bit further but not bad at all. The shortest way is to actually cut through the lobby of the Grand California hotel, hit the security checkpoint, then out onto the last segment of Downtown Disney. Alternatively, as long as you have park tickets you could also walk parallel to the Disneyland Hotel, enter Downtown Disney, then hop on the monorail which will kick you off at the Tomorrowland station inside Disneyland. We only did the Downtown Disney/Monorail route once as the security checkpoint line here seemed longer and slower than at the Grand Californian.

Early Entry: Time is precious inside any Disney theme park when trying to make the most of your day and if you want a little more of it stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel where you get a half hour early entry into one of the two theme parks everyday (*subject to change, always check the official park hours before visiting). During our visit in March 2024, the early entry schedule by day was:

  • Disneyland (DL): Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
  • California Adventure (DCA): Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Also be sure to check the Disneyland app to see which rides are schedule to be open during early entry. Our strategy for DCA was to hit Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree first, because we could walk right on and be off two minutes later, then get into the Radiator Springs Racers line. Racers is not open for early entry (though one day they did open it 10 minutes early) but it is the most popular ride in the park. This way we rode it with only a 15-20 minute wait, thus avoiding an hour plus long standby wait later on in the day or paying $19 per person for the Individual Lightning Lane.

Fresh Look: Paradise Pier was officially transformed into Pixar Place a few weeks ago and luckily it felt like it had just happened. The hotel was extremely clean and felt updated. We especially loved the decor and theming elements in the lobby and pool areas.

Characters: Pixar Place is the only location at Disneyland Resort where you can meet Bing Bong from Inside Out.

Sometimes in the evening there is a pianist dressed as Joe Gardner from Soul.


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Games: Just down from the pool (which is on the third floor) there is an area called Pixar Shorts Court where you can play games such as Bao bean bag toss and La Luna shuffleboard. I don’t think you have to be a hotel guest to play these games for free.

Pool and Slide: While the hotel occupies a small area, they’ve managed to cram in a pool, small splash pad, slide, and hot tub all on the third floor deck (must be a hotel guest to use). The seating around the pool is especially comfortable. We could’ve easily spent hours just lounging there. Shout out to the lifeguards who weren’t just constantly yelling at kids to stop running, but actually giving the kids free tips on how to swim better.

Non-theme park view room pixar place hotel

Non-theme park view room

See the Fireworks: On select nights you can view Disneyland Park fireworks from the rooftop pool deck at Pixar Place Hotel, while music and dialogue from the show are broadcast to the deck.


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Cons of the Pixar Place Hotel

Now let’s talk about the things we didn’t like about the Pixar Place Hotel. Some of our cons are minor quibbles or preferences, but at the end of the list we’ll get to two BIG concerns that Disney should definitely address.

The Pool is Too Small: I know they’re generally short of space at Disneyland but they could have made the pool a little bigger. Even on a mild 65 degree day, the pool felt crowded and that’s with only ten or so people in it. Also be warned they are very strict on allowing only eight people in the hot tub at one time.

pixar place small pool

See how small the pool is? Seems like there is room between the building and pool deck that could have been utilized better.

Lack of Food Options: Having recently stayed at other Walt Disney World hotels and Cabana Bay at Universal, our expectation going in was there would be a food court style restaurant but there is not. They do have a Great Maple Modern American Eatery sit-down restaurant and a few food items at The Sketch Pad CafĂ© nut neither one appealed to us. There is a snack shop next to the pool called “Small Bytes” but I never saw it open at any point during our stay.

Well it looks fun but I guess it’s not open yet.

Strange and Slow Elevators: The elevators at the Pixar Place Hotel are the only ones I’ve ever seen where you push what floor you want to go to BEFORE getting on the elevator. It then tells you which elevator (A, B, C, or D) to go to. The reason for this is to increase efficiency but it doesn’t seem to help much as you still spend a little too much time waiting.

Room Quirks: Now for the actual rooms themselves, a few things we found odd about the rooms were how you can’t operate the shower from outside – you have to fully step inside to turn it on or off. The light switches are not your standard light switches and take a minute to get used to – not good when it’s the middle of the night.

And I hate the decorative blue pillows on the bed – they serve no practical purpose and all my kids want to do is fight like gladiators with them which I’m sure our neighbors didn’t appreciate because…

pixar place hotel room

The artwork and the reading lights are cool but man, do I hate those blue cylindrical pillows.

#1 Biggest Complaint of Staying at Pixar Place Hotel is Noise

I’m not one that usually notices or complains about noise too much but these hotel rooms were some of the worst insulated rooms I’ve ever stayed in. Our room had a door to the adjoining room and it was like it wasn’t even there; we could hear everything going on in the other room. For the price you’re paying for the room, the noise level was unacceptable.

see inside pixar place hotel room

It’s almost like the door on the left wasn’t even there.

The ceiling and walls weren’t too bad, except the water slide was right outside our window and it plays a sound bite of Crush every couple of minutes which you could hear from inside our room too. It wasn’t just the joining room door though. A pretty sizeable crack when the front door was closed not only let in a bunch of light but was also bad for noise too.

How much light you can see coming through the front door. Not good for noise either. What level of hotel would you expect to see this at?

2nd Biggest Complaint is the Cost of Pixar Place Hotel

While Pixar Place is the cheapest of the three Disneyland Resort hotels, that’s like saying the nosebleed seats at the Super Bowl are the cheapest: It’s not cheap. In fact, it’s one of the most expensive hotels I’ve personally ever stayed. Most of the complaints we had would have been small, acceptable things if this was a room at a Comfort Inn or All Star Sports/Disney World Value Resort. I’m not sure the exact cost as we bundled it with tickets and Genie+ but the cost of the hotel was a sizeable portion of the total cost of the trip.


You can search for prices here if you’re curious what it might cost you.

Prices for a random weekday in August 2024, actually one of the cheaper prices I’ve seen.

Final Thoughts on Pixar Place Hotel

Is it worth sating at the Pixar Place Hotel? You have to weigh the high cost and judge for yourself if the pros are enough to justify it for yourself. The price and decor are that of a Deluxe hotel but the quality of the small rooms is that of a Value hotel. But the extra time in the parks, short walking distance, and being completely in the Disney bundle may make it worth it to you. If you do park your car there, it was an extra $40 per day for parking. While we mostly enjoyed our time there, Pixar Place Hotel doesn’t come close to supplanting The Legoland Resort Hotels as our family’s favorite.


Have you stayed at Pixar Place Hotel or plan to stay there? Let us know your thoughts or any questions you might have in the comments below!