2. You can walk everywhere.
The Disneyland Resort is a much smaller place than Walt Disney World. We have stayed both on and off site and have walked to and from Disneyland from every hotel we’ve ever stayed at. Granted some of those walks were longer than others and some days we chose to drive because of weather, but that was for convenience rather than necessity. It’s very nice.
At Disney World most hotels require a bus ride to get to and from the parks. This means waiting in line for a bus, hoping there is room on the bus, waiting for another bus, then riding to the park. Coming home at the end of the day is even worse. At Disneyland, the only thing you have to wait for is the light at the crosswalk and that’s only if you’re staying off site.
It is so awesome. You can eat lunch in Downtown Disney and still get back to use your 1:00 FastPass at the Jungle Cruise. After that you can dash over to California Adventure to catch the 2:00 show at Animation Academy. All on foot, walking point to point.
While The Princess and I are great supporters of staying in the park all day every day, it is much easier to take a break when that break is so much closer to the action. The Grand Californian even has an entrance right into California Adventure not far from Grizzly River Run. An entrance we were quite happy to use after we rode that ride and got completely soaked. No long slog back to a room in wet clothes for us. We were in our room in a couple of minutes and changed into dry clothes.
Aside from the convenience of the size of the park, there is something nice about a smaller park. It is easier to manage. It is less intimidating with small children. It is more realistic to try to ride all the rides and see all the shows in one visit. It is charming in a way that the sprawl of Walt Disney World never can be. The Princess calls it “The Dome of Disney”. We exist in a Disney place without the intrusion of the rest of the world and it is magic.