It really depends on what you're looking for. For my money, and since 9/10 times I'm at the park with just the bros, I stick with Anaheim Plaza. It's a short walk, the price is reasonable, and they have a pool/spa, bar, and an affordable buffet.
If you're going for grandure, I'd check out the Grand Californian. I just can't bring myself to pay that amount to stay there. 3 nights is an entire trip.
There's gonna be a different hotel for each person. It really comes down to what is worth it for you, and what your expectations are for the amount paid.
Overall best ambience and convenience, the DL Hotel's. Disney magic!!!
Of course, not everyone can afford them, and some just don't want to spend that kind of coin on them. To each their own...
When we haven't stayed on property, we have enjoyed the Sheraton on Ball, the Marriott and Hilton, the Candy Cane, Hojo's, Embassy Suites, the Hyatt and the fairly new Doubletree. The Residence Inn in GG on Harbor is great too. HUGE family suites and awesome hot breakfasts.
You can't go wrong with any of those.
Priceline has given us rooms at the Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Doubletree in the $50/night range. You can't beat that!
Also, check with the hotels to see about any parking fee's.
One word of caution... Avoid the Castle Inn across from the Park. We tried it once due to its CSAA rating and were horrified by it. NEVER again!
We like the Paradise Pier Hotel but of course if money is no object we'd be staying at the Grand Californian. Since my one stay at the Disneyland Hotel was such a disappointment, I would recommending skipping it.
Off site, Hyatt Orange County has super nice rooms and the very best beds.
Camelot Inn across the street from DLR is motel style but actually very nice and reasonably priced.
If you can keep your head when all around you have lost theirs, then you probably haven't understood the seriousness of the situation.
th GCH is one of the best, but the other two disney hotels I would not stay at unless they are running a special. They are not that great. The hotels down a bit further are far nicer. I loved the Hyatt and crowne plaze.
I suppose it depends on what your needs/wants, expectations, and budget all are. I've stayed on property and recommend it to everyone at least once. It's expensive and really no better than off-site. My preference now is Hojo. Service is excellent. Close to food/drink, very reasonable price, not really any farther than DLH to the main gate. I have met quite a few interesting people there. Can't say as much for on property.
the best hotel would have to be the Hyatt Regency Orange County. It is the best kept secret in terms of hotel. You can't walk there from Disneyland to the hotel but i has complimentary shuttle to and from the hotel to the parks, great food choices around the place and a target for your convenience. I don't want to sound like i'm selling the place, but i have been in most of the hotels you guys have said but this place is the best by far. It has the same ammenities and it's fairly cheap.
I've thought about staying there. How is it beyond the surface?
Best hotel beds I've ever slept on, it's really quiet, they have a shuttle, the breakfast buffet was decent, the grounds are nice. I've never used the pool. You can walk to the resort if you are so inclined- it makes for a brisk wake-up in the morning.
I've only stayed in one dive-y motel there, the Del Sol, and it was fine for a cheap overnight, but I wouldn't stay there again.
It's been a while since we have stayed on property. Cost got to be too much for us. We now stay off property. The best are the Candy Cane Inn, Hilton Anaheim and Hampton Inn in GG. I agree stay away from the Castle Inn across the street. We stayed there one night and that was enough. We also stayed once at the Islander Inn, it was OK, but I prefer staying someplace else.