Home » 8 Hotels That Let You Sleep INSIDE a Theme Park

    8 Hotels That Let You Sleep INSIDE a Theme Park

    Let’s face it: spending the night inside your favorite theme park is probably one of the coolest ideas on Earth. Problem is that there are precious few legal ways to do it. But all is not lost. Sensing guest’s deep connection and love for their parks, some operators have gone out of their way to create premium, outstanding hotel and resort accomodations that are completely and totally immersed into the stories and settings of their parks.

    Below, we’ve selected eight of the best examples of awesome hotels placed right inside your favorite adventures. All of the experiences below are pretty high-tier. Some are so exclusive, there’s practically no amount of money or time on a wait list that can promise you a stay. As for the rest, they may take some saving up, but it’s a lot more comfortable (and legal) than camping out in the bushes hoping to go undiscovered all night long. Have you had the chances to stay in any of these deluxe accomodations? Which would you most like to experience?

    1. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

    Location: Disneyland Resort

    Filled with elegant dark wood and California Craftsman-style style décor, the Grand Californian Hotel is by far the most exquisite and expensive hotel of Disneyland’s three official resorts. From the soaring six-story stone and wood lobby to the resort’s best eateries, the hotel is simply stunning. Pools designed to resemble natural springs, warm lighting, vines climbing trellaces. The Grand Californian has just about everything you need for an elegant vacation. And for $400 per night for a standard room, it ought to!

    Even better, it’s technically located inside Disney California Adventure. One of the park’s eight themed lands is Grizzly Peak, themed to a 1950s redwood National Park. The Grand Californian plays the role of the park’s lodge, with its sleek wood and glass exterior ever-present, but always obstructed by towering pines. And wouldn’t you know it, the park’s Grizzly Peak icon just happened to form so that hotel guests catch it from the very best angle. Higher level rooms also afford outstanding views of the park’s World of Color show, and guests can enter into Grizzly Peak National Park through a guest-exclusive entryway. Ritzy!

    2. Disneyland Hotel

    Location: Disneyland Paris

    Step right into the elegant Victorian railroad era inside the Disneyland Hotel in France. The cream and pink hotel was designed primarily to create a grand and opulent entry for a highly romanticized European park. With towering octagonal turrets, Mansard roofs, wraparounds porches, and goldleaf finish, the hotel is reminiscent of the Grand Floridian at Walt Disney World in many ways, but this resort is even better: it’s the entryway to Disneyland Paris.

    Guests must pass through a regal arch and into a covered plaza beneath the hotel where Disneyland’s turnstiles are located. Operationally, the hotel acts as a covered plaza for the notoriously blustery and waterlogged parked. From within, it acts as an appropriate Main-Street-style weenie to lead guests out of the park each evening. 

    3. Disneyland Dream Suite

    Location: Disneyland Park

    New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park is often cited by fans as the most beautiful land in any Disney Park. Glamorous and delightful on street level, its real treats reside overhead on the elusive second floor. Half of the land is taken up by Club 33, the ultra-exclusive membership-only club. But on the second floor off of Royal Street is the Disney Dream Suite, a rarely-used luxury hotel room.

    The room was originally conceived as a hideaway for Walt or exclusive VIPs. Mr. Disney even enlisted the styling talents of Dorothea Redmond, who’d created the sets for Gone With The Wind. After Walt’s passing, his brother Roy decided that the family would find little pleasure in the suite without Walt, and the project was set aside. It eventually became The Disney Gallery showing and selling concept art before Ms. Redmond’s designs were rediscovered and the location became the royal Dream Suite for contest winners during the Year(s) of a Million Dreams from 2006 – 2008.

    Today, the luxury suite is rarely used. The twin curved staircases of the Pirates of the Caribbean queue lead to the suite, but it’s no longer given out to one lucky family each day. Visitors who do get the chance to spend the night inside of Disneyland Park will find Chinese lanterns, lush décor, a full-sized carousel horse, and a mechanical songbird all within a Provincial French style. There’s even a hidden private patio that’s perhaps one of the most picturesque spots in the park (above). Most impressive, though, is a private patio overlooking the Rivers of America affording once-in-a-lifetime views of the river traffic by day and Fantasmic! by night.

    4. Hotel MiraCosta

    Location: Tokyo DisneySea

    A Mecca for theme park fans, Tokyo DisneySea is already one of the most sought-after park experiences on Earth. Imagine, then, the incredible Hotel MiraCosta that’s built into DisneySea. In fact, MiraCosta forms the park’s entry land, Mediterranean Harbor. The lobby is contained within a towering recreation of Florence’s Duomo (ever-visible in the distance from within the park) and is the centerpiece of the Tuscany wing that faces outward.

    Inside the park is the Venice Wing, overlooking the park’s Palazzo Canals. (Yes, in the image above, you’re seeing a hotel in the foreground.) The bridges over the canals lead to the hotel’s swimming pool, which is placed on the rooftops of the park’s buildings.

    The third wing is the Porto Paradiso wing (above), which is perfectly disguised as a Mediterranean seaside village overlooking the park’s stunning lagoon entry. It’s the Paradiso Wing that affords the most outstanding views, of course, with fantastic views of the park’s water pageants (including Tokyo’s watery version of Fantasmic!) and the towering, rumbling, steaming, volcanic park icon, the 190 foot tall Mount Prometheus. For park visitors, the MiraCosta seriously sells the notion that you’re in a real Mediterranean port village. Real folks in the windows, real lights turning on and off, and real conversations from above… It’s too good to be true.

    5. Contemporary Resort

    Location: Magic Kingdom

    Opening with the Magic Kingdom in 1971, the Contemporary Resort is eternally tied to the history of Walt Disney World and the Florida Project. The ultra-sleek A-frame main tower was a joint effort between Imagineering, the United States Steel Corporation, and Los Angeles architect Welton Becket. The resort is also the subject of many urban legends, chief among them being that modular pod rooms were hoisted and slid into place in the frame (which is true) and that they were meant to be removable but for the settled steel structure (which is false).

    The Contemporary Resort is not really inside of a park like the rest of the entries on this list, but it is an inseparable part of the Magic Kingdom experience. The iconic building signals your approach to Magic Kingdom no matter if you arrived by ferry or monorail, but particularly aboard the monorail you can’t help but be absorbed into the resort – the monorail glides right through the resort’s open, hollow atrium center.

    6. Animal Kingdom Lodge

    Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort Area

    Designed by the same architect as Walt Disney World’s Wilderness Lodge and Disneyland’s Grand Californian, Animal Kingdom Lodge follows in the same grand tradition of impressive and grand hotels that deliver deluxe experiences. The hotel is arranged in a classic kraal shape, meaning a horseshoe design. The lobby of the towering Jambo House building features African-style crafts and oversized sub-Saharan craft style chandeliers.

    The real attraction of the Animal Kingdom Lodge, though, has got to be its placement on the Serengeti. Or so it seems. The resort is built around a savannah with free-roaming giraffes, zebras, pelicans, kudus, cranes, and ostriches. Talk about sleeping in the middle of the action. At the Animal Kingdom Lodge, you may forget that you’re in Florida and not on safari.

    Again, Animal Kingdom Lodge is not technically inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. But its savannahs are undoubtedl an extension of that park’s experience.

    7. Hotel Breakers

    Location: Cedar Point

    Today, Cedar Point is affectionately referred to as “America’s Roller Coast” for its pristine location on a peninsula jutting into Lake Erie and it’s incredible collection of record-breaking coasters. But like so many parks of the era, Cedar Point actually started in the late 1800s as a picnic grove that grew very organically and gradually into the thrillseekers Mecca it is today. One of the last great remnants of its time as a family picnic park in the Victorian era is the Hotel Breakers, which opened in 1905 in hopes of creating in Cedar Point a “Coney Island of the West.”

    Of course, the hotel has gone through many renovations and rebuilds over its century-plus history. In fact, it’s currently in the midst of a two-year rebuild that will renovate the exterior and interior in one of the park’s largest cost projects ever. The point is that the Hotel Breakers is truly a historic treasure and one of the few remaining grand lakeside lodges of the early 1900s remaining. Plus, visitors are literally staying in Cedar Point and generally get early admission the mornings of their stay!

    8. Cinderella Castle Suite

    Location: Magic Kingdom

    Like Disneyland’s Dream Suite, chances are that you’ll never personally see the interior of the Cinderella Castle Suite with your own two eyes. Given out as a daily, randomly-assigned prize during the Year of a Million Dreams celebrations in 2006, 2007, and 2008, the Castle Suite isn’t nearly as grand as you’d think. Like Disneyland’s version, it was envisioned as an apartment for Walt and abandoned after his death. It was then used for storage and then as a call center.

    Converted into a luxury hotel space for the promotion, the space actually isn’t very big. It’s made of a salon, a bedchamber, a restroom, and a private marble foyer. Still the lack of space isn’t likely to be an issue for anyone who sleeps within. Talk about exclusive: the suite has vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows, rich wood, porcelain, copper basin sinks, a lush garden tub under the stars, and a portrait of Cinderella that’s truly a flat screen HDTV in disguise. Plus, the only way to stay here is to win a competition or be very, very famous.

    Even if you can’t see the inside, you can identify the location of the Suite pretty simply. It’s about 2/3 of the way up the castle, with stained glass windows on the North and West walls.


    From pricy to impossible, the eight overnight experiences we’ve listed here are all deluxe, exclusive, and out of this world. Have you had a chance to stay in any of them? Which would you be most excited for?