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Travel Guide: California

How to Get a Disneyland Area Hotel Discount:
Picking the Best Location in Orange County

Including pros & cons of various Orange County cities, with an emphasis on convenience

Whether you want a budget hotel in the Disneyland and Orange County area OR a big discount on a deluxe luxury one, the information found here helps you make the right choice.

Picking the right area to stay can make the difference between a safe, convenient, and enjoyable visit and one that is not.

The areas discussed correlate to the ones used on Priceline.com and are similar to those utilized by another Orange County discount hotel site Hotwire.com.

To view curent Disneyland area hotel neighborhood maps, click on

See Winning Hotel bids in Top Cities from $28 per night!Amsterdam hotel neighborhood maps

and then fill in the city, Anaheim, CA. Links show for maps of each area.

To learn how to get the best prices using Priceline bids, go to our hotels section.

In Orange County, your main neighborhood choices are --

  1. Disneyland & Anaheim area
  2. Buena Park, Fullerton, & Orange
  3. Huntington Beach
  4. Newport Beach
  5. Costa Mesa & John Wayne Airport
  6. Irvine
  7. Laguna Beach
  8. Other areas of Los Angeles

1. Disneyland & Anaheim Area

Anaheim, the location of Disneyland, offers a convenient place to stay in Southern California, especially if you have younger children.

If driving, you easily reach most southern California attractions.

If not driving, you have access to a wide variety of sightseeing coach tours.

BidOnTravel provides a variety of links and tips on its Disneyland area sightseeing page. Even those with cars may want to take their kids on several of the train trips mentioned.

In this area, you'll have reasonably easy access to John Wayne (Orange County) Airport and to Long Beach International. Amtrak and Greyhound serve both Anaheim and Fullerton.

The disadvantages of staying near Disneyland?

  • You'll pay more for the convenience of staying here, unless you get a great bargain by bidding (tips) for your hotel.

  • The immediate hotel area around Disneyland lacks charm. This is in contrast to the pleasant landscaping and natural areas you find around Disney World in Florida.

    Walt Disney, they say, bet everything developing a revolutionary new type of family-oriented theme park during the 1950's. Disney lacked the money to buy and control the land surrounding Disneyland itself, which he regretted later on.

    However, believe me, your kids will love their time here!

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2. Buena Park, Fullerton, Orange, & Buena Park

If you have a car and want to save some money, the largely residential cities of Buena Park, Orange, Cerritos, Brea, and Cypress, as well as more commercial Fullerton, offer less expensive accommodation than the Disneyland neighborhood.

You'll give up walking to the park gates or in most cases getting a free transfer.

On the other hand, most families spend no more than one or two days in Disneyland and perhaps Disney's California Adventure, and may wish to trade off a little inconvenience to save money.

In Buena Park, you'll find Knott's Berry Farm theme park, hugely popular with Southern California families, which is often overlooked by out-of-town visitors.

Kids of all ages enjoy Knott's, but its adrenaline-packed rides have special appeal to teenagers.

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3. Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach is a quintessential southern California beach town.

"Surf City, USA" provides an awesome beach, a pier, the International Surfing Museum, the Surfing Walk of Fame, and hordes of fun-loving teenagers and young adults on warm days throughout the year.

You can choose from a wide-variety of moderate-cost accommodation near the beach. Unlike some beach towns, you are not in a seedy area.

You should have a car here, as public transportation is very time consuming. Even with a car, getting to Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm can be "stop and go" in heavy traffic, as there is no direct freeway.

Unlike Florida, the shores of Huntington Beach and adjacent Seal Beach (as with most southern California beaches) are not blocked by private development.

You do not need to stay right on the beach in order to enjoy a fine water-based vacation.

4. Newport Beach

Actor John Wayne spent his last years in laid-back Newport Beach. The "Duke" loved it. So will you.

Like John Wayne, this wealthy city seems to lack most pretension (until you visit one of its exclusive shopping areas such as Fashion Island).

Here, you find some of the most up-scale hotels in Orange County. Some of these may sit on the harbor, but they are not on the beach.

Sadly, although all beaches are public, parking is a real problem, especially on warm days. You must go early.

Try to find a space on the long point near the entrance to Newport Harbor called Balboa Peninsula (not to be confused with nearby Balboa Island). This offers a great beach and you can watch large yachts and sailboats approach the harbor.

From Newport Beach, you'll easily reach Disneyland and the rest of the Los Angeles area by car, but public transportation is slow (as it is throughout Orange County). You are close to John Wayne Airport.

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5. Costal Mesa - John Wayne Airport (SNA)

Southern Californians seldom think distance. They think time.

You are not "eight miles from work", but "20 minutes during rush hour."

On television, businesses call themselves "freeway close." If your business is near an interchange, it is "freeway close," regardless of the distance.

In this way, Costa Mesa and John Wayne Orange County Airport are "freeway close." Staying there, at the junction of two major freeways (Interstate 405 and the Costa Mesa Freeway), you are centrally located to see all of southern California from the Mexican border to Santa Monica.

Yet, nothing you are likely to want to visit is right there, although the beach is close. The area is pleasant enough, but like most Southern Californians you commute.

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6. Irvine

Irvine, which also adjoins John Wayne Airport, is also "freeway close."

Irvine is just a far more affluent version of it.

This well-planned community, built during the last few years, hosts a campus of the University of California and the headquarters of many firms engaged in technologies unheard of 25-years ago.

Like Costa Mesa, you are close to various beaches and to the shops and fine restaurants of Newport Beach, but public transportation is slow. Irvine does have an Amtrak station for easy access to San Diego and the San Diego Zoo.

The old Irvine cattle ranch has become an extremely pleasant, but not a tourist-oriented city, unless you enjoy golfing. You are close to the beach.

7. Laguna Beach - Dana Point - Mission Viejo - Laguna Hills

Just over the hills from Irvine lies Laguna Beach, whose beach coves (at least 30 of them) and Mediterranean-style architecture make it the most picturesque coastal town in Orange County. Adding palm trees, flowers and numerous art galleries, Laguna achieves an almost "Riviera" feeling—if you could somehow get rid of all the traffic on Highway One.

You won't find an abundance of accommodation here, especially anything inexpensive. In other words, don't expect any of Priceline's legendary 60 percent off deals here in season (but try for a lower discount).

If you want to stay in this area, also check out Laguna Cliffs and Dana Point, as well as Irvine and the towns of Laguna Hills and Mission Viejo along Interstate 5, just over the coastal hills.

Highway One offers good access from Newport Beach and San Clemente, but traffic can be backed up on warm days. To reach other areas, you can easily access Interstate 5, just over the coastal hills.

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Have a great time in southern California!

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