Residence Inn: A lower-cost alternative to staying at the Disneyland Resort

We've just returned from a magical Thanksgiving at the Disneyland Resort! When I began planning our trip, I was a bit apprehensive -- would the Thanksgiving crowds ruin our holiday?? -- but we got to the parks when it opened and left when it started getting too crowded, so we had a great time. What made the trip even better is that we saved some money on accommodations by staying at a Residence Inn!

Staying in one of the 3 hotels at the Disneyland Resort is great -- if you have the budget for it. They do cost quite a bit, even in the off season, and during Thanksgiving week? Fuhgeddaboudit! Marriott Residence Inn actually has 2 properties very close to Disneyland: Residence Inn Anaheim Maingate and Residence Inn Anaheim Resort Area. Rates can be as low as $125 and $145 per night, which isn't even half of what a night costs at the Disneyland Hotel or the Grand Californian.  Both are just a couple of miles from Disneyland, so they are near enough for families to head back to their rooms in the middle of the day for a nap, then return to the park for the late afternoon and evening. Plus, the Residence Inn offers so much more value for money, with large suites and a free breakfast!

Unfortunately we weren't able to book a stay in either of the Anaheim locations because they were full for the holidays, but the Residence Inn in Fullerton had space, so we booked a stay there. The property is actually quite close, just a 15 minute-drive away, so we had no trouble getting up early and driving to Disneyland and arriving at 7:30AM.

Marriott Residence Inn Fullerton CA

We stayed in a 1 bedroom loft suite, which sleeps up to 6 people, I love how Residence Inns are so family-friendly -- the suites have so much space, they really feel like a home away from home when you're on vacation. Disneyland vacations are great, but they are also exhausting, so having a Residence Inn suite where the whole family can recharge and relax is such a treat.

The kids were so excited to see that our suite had a second floor with a loft! The loft had a queen bed and a full bathroom.
Marriott Residence Inn Fullerton CA

The downstairs bedroom had two comfy queen beds and its own full bathroom. This bedroom has a door, so the grownups can relax outside while the kids sleep.
Marriott Residence Inn Fullerton CA

The suite has a large living room so everyone can unwind after a long day at the parks.Marriott Residence Inn Fullerton CA

Like all Residence Inn Suites, this one had its own kitchenette, so families can have a snack or cook their own meals. When you're on vacation, it's nice to give your wallet and your waistline a little break from time to time by cooking your own meals!
Marriott Residence Inn Fullerton CA

Breakfast, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter. We like to get to Disneyland early to avoid the long lines, so we don't want to waste time cooking breakfast or lining up at a cafe or waiting for our order to arrive at a restaurant. Fortunately, Residence Inn guests get a free hot breakfast that starts at 6AM!
Marriott Residence Inn Fullerton CA

The breakfast area at the Fullerton Residence Inn is spacious and cozy.
Marriott Residence Inn Fullerton CA

 Hot dishes include sausages, eggs, potatoes, oatmeal, and make-your-own waffles, while cold dishes include yogurt, cereal, granola, and a wide selection of breads and pastries. There's more than enough food to fuel you up for a long day at the parks!
Marriott Residence Inn Fullerton CA

Check out these adorable mini waffles -- the breakfast bar included a regular sized waffle iron and a mini waffle iron!  Guess which kind my kids fought over?
Marriott Residence Inn Fullerton CA

The snack area is super convenient: you can buy drinks, granola bars, crackers, and other goodies to take to the park with you so you're not constantly having to shell out $9 for a turkey leg or $5 for a churro. It's also a great place to get something to nibble on when you're hungry late at night.
Marriott Residence Inn Fullerton CA

The lobby serves coffee and tea all day and night, and provides workstations so you can check in to your flights and print out boarding passes. There's also free WiFi throughout the property -- you can pay $5 per day for higher speed and bandwidth connection, but the free WiFi was high speed enough for all 5 social media addicts in our family to surf the web, play games, catch up on email, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc...
Marriott Residence Inn Fullerton CA

Disclosure: I am a Resident Blogger Ambassador for Residence Inn by Marriott, and I was given a gift card that partially subsidized the cost of our hotel room. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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