I love the giant planters atop the guard booths.
SAFETY TIP: Do not look at your phone during the trek down this corridor. In fact, try to keep your eyes focused ahead and downward. Why?
Because of these stupid stairs in the corridor that blend right into the floor until you're right on top of them. Talk about an accident waiting to happen.
Following the signs, we head out through the doors on the right.
NOTE: The corridor to the Grand Californian's direct gate into DCA is a bit farther back toward the lobby. Personally, we never use it for early entry: It doesn't get you to Cars Land ahead of the front gate crowd, and it's a rather closed-in place to wait for admission, with nothing to look at. The outdoor Esplanade between Disneyland and DCA provides a much more fun atmosphere for starting the day.
Turn left here. All this zigging and zagging is about to pay off...
There's a light at the end of the tunnel...
And here we are, right in the midst of Downtown Disney. Head to the right.
When you see the World of Disney Store, you know you're getting close.
Security Bag Check in sight! Once through security...
We've arrived at the Esplanade between Disneyland and DCA, which will remain this uncrowded for approximately twenty more seconds.
Extra Magic Hour was at DCA on this day, so this line is where our trek ends.
The red line shows our approximate path from the hotel to the Esplanade.
I hope this little photo journey might assist potential Paradise Pier Hotel guests in deciding whether or not the distance is a problem. Personally, I've come to love the early morning walk to the parks. The slog back along the same path at night with aching feet, however...not so much. Still, I do highly recommend Paradise Pier Hotel as a great compromise between perks and price.