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"THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH"

Disneyland Park and Disney's California Adventure

 

Staying at the Howard Johnson Hotel Anaheim, A Disneyland Good Neighbor Resort

 

 

Disneyland Park in Anaheim California is about to celebrate it's 50th Anniversary - making it one of the oldest and most famous Theme Parks in the World.  One of it's Good Neighbor Resorts, The Howard Johnson Anaheim Resort will be celebrating it's 40th Anniversary at the same time, making it one of the earliest Disneyland Resort Hotels.  These milestones along with my husband's desire to take our children to the first theme park he went to with his family created the perfect opportunity for a www.hotelfun4kids.com "Visit..." to the "Happiest Place on Earth".

 

Our trip to Disneyland wouldn't be quite the same as my husband's in 1969 when he was 9 years old.  Instead of driving from Brandon, Manitoba, with 5 children and two adults piled into a station wagon, we elected to fly from Toronto - just 5 hours instead of 3 days.    There have been a few changes at Disneyland too since my husband was there. 

 

As it turns out, my husband's family also stayed at the Howard Johnson, which at that time, was an almost brand new hotel.  The hotel has undergone extensive renovations, additions and upgrades that have enhanced its appeal as one of the most popular Disneyland Good Neighbor Resorts.

 

Disneyland - Then and Now

 

Even back in the 1960's Disneyland was a place to which families would trek for a once in a lifet ime holiday.  Part of the allure of Disneyland for many parents nowadays is that they visited the park as a child and they can't wait to take their own children.  During the visit my husband would talk about the things he remembered while our children experienced the Magic of Disneyland.  It showed how timeless and unique Walt's Disneyland has become.

 

Disneyland Park opened on July 17, 1955 with 18 major attractions.  Today it has more than 60 attractions, including over 25 in California Adventure, the second park which opened in 2002.

 

While there were some glitches on that opening day back in 1955, the Disneyland of today epitomizes how far theme parks have come.   Disneyland's attractions, landscape, entertainment, food, guest services and even an approach to reducing the wait in ride lineups are unparalleled. 

 

Disneyland is really three separate areas, Disneyland Park - the original, Disney's California Adventure -  the newest and Downtown Disney - the high-energy entertainment zone. 

 

Disneyland Park

 

Our VISIT to the Disneyland Park started with a walk along Main Street before studying the park map to check which rides utilized the new FASTPASS.  This program allows you to return to the rides during a designated time and avoid waiting in the regular line up.  The most popular rides are part of the FASTPASS ("FP") system and it is really a great way to reduce time spent in line.

 

Since we were ready for adventure - Adventureland was our first destination.  See TIPS for other suggested starting points.  I grabbed our FPes for the Indiana Jones Adventure and then went on to ride the Jungle Cruise, climb Tarzan's Treehouse and check out the Bazaar.  We just finished all that and practically walked right into the thrilling expedition ride - Stephen's choice for Top Disneyland ride.

 

We used the same modus operandi for some of the other themed lands with FP rides - in New Orleans Square for The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, Critter Country - for Splash Mountain (for younger children there is also The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh too) and Tomorrowland's Autopia, all FP rides.  The plan is to get the FP first, enjoy the themed land and then get on the popular ride without waiting in the usual line.

 

After getting the FP for Big Thunder Mountain, located in Frontierland  - Mitchell's Top Pick -  we went for lunch.  Frontierland is part of the original Disneyland. the Lunch at River Bell Terrace gave my husband time to reminisce about his first time at the Park with his parents and siblings.

 

Disneyland Tip:

If you have younger children - Ages 8 and under especially, you will want to head first to Mickey's Toontown and Fantasyland.  These areas are ideal for these ages and best enjoyed when children are full of energy.

 

Disney's California Adventure

 

Disney's California Adventure was created to immerse park goers into the State's most fascinating features and we were ready for fun under the California Sun. 

 

Actually that is the Sun Wheel, a ferris wheel that is part of the Paradise Pier theme area replicating an ocean midway.

 

Our first destination was the newest addition to the park - The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, located in the park's Hollywood Pictures Backlot.  See TIPS for other suggested starting points.  Again, we used our FP system - see TIPS - and enjoyed the area before our FP time to be "Terrified".

 

Just opened in May, 2004, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is based on the same popular ride at Disney World Resort in Florida.  Legend has it that the hotel opened in 1928 - the same year Mickey Mouse was in his first movie.  The whole ride took us to the bygone area of Hollywood with some very interesting props in the lobby, library and through the bowels of the hotel's service area.  My husband, being a fan of The Twilight Zone even recognized some series props.

 

The whole ride experience started in the lobby and culminated in a ride in a service elevator that was nothing short of hair raising. We all loved this one.

 

Other highlights of our California Adventure included:

  • California Screamin, a roller coaster located in the Paradise Pier themed area, catapulted us from 0 to 55 in four seconds.  This ride turned Stephen into a roller coaster lover.

  • We were ready to get wet on the world's highest, longest and fastest raft ride by the time we reached Grizzly River Run - trust us you will get wet.  No worries though - there is a gift shop with dry shirts at the end of the ride.

  • Our virtual hang gliding ride at Soarin' Over California left us breathless.

Disney's California Adventure Tips:  As with Disneyland, the most popular rides have FPs and we followed the same plan again.   For families with younger children - under 8 years of age start at A Bug's Land.

 

Downtown Disney

 

Downtown Disney was where we headed for our close-up dining experience with Disney Characters at Goofy's Kitchen. 

 

Snow White dropped by to say hi to Mitchell while he was enjoying his second plate from the buffet.  Who says you can't meet girls at Disneyland.

 

While Goofy does most of the cooking at his restaurant, he did have time to come visit Stephen.  He gave our table a lesson on how to shoot sugar packets with a spoon until his son, Max, came over and put an end to the frivolities. 

 

There was plenty of other dining, entertainment and shopping to take in at Downtown Disney after dinner.

 

Howard Johnson Hotel Anaheim Resort

 

Located within walking distance of Disneyland, the Howard Johnson Hotel Anaheim Resort has been a family favorite for almost 40 years.  My husband's family stayed there 35 years ago.

 

Our Disneyland VISIT gave us a great opportunity to showcase the recently renovated Hotel and the new Speedy's Sprayground at the Main Pool.  The Pool also features a zero entrance beach kiddie pool for younger children.

 

Our room afforded us a great view from the Tower Building to the Main pool.  We had two queen beds, in-room mini-fridge and microwave in one one of the hotel's Home Office Suites.

After an active day at the Parks and sometimes during the day, we walked back to the Hotel and relaxed around the main pool.
Stephen took turns running through the fountains and sitting on Speedy in the Sprayground.

 

The Games Room in the Tower Building offered the boys a place to hang with some of the many other children at the Hotel. 

 

Across the street from the Howard Johnson is the popular Mimi's Café where we enjoyed some hearty home-cooked meals.

 

While we usually walked to Disneyland, there is also a Transit System that stops at the Hotel regularly.  Tickets are available for purchase at the Hotel.

 

 

"The Happiest Celebration on Earth"

 

Beginning in May 2005, special events will take place at all world-wide Disney Resorts to celebrate Walt Disney's Dream - Disneyland - as it turns 50.

 

Disneyland's half century anniversary brings to the forefront what one man's dream can become, gives many (including my husband) an opportunity to relive a memorable family vacation and lets today's multi-generational families create some memorable experiences to carry forward for the next 50 years of Disney.

 

Location, convenience and all the comforts a family could need help make the newly renovated Howard Johnson Hotel Anaheim Resort a Hotel Fun 4 Kids Destination at Disneyland.  The Hotel will be offering specials in 2005 to coincide with its 40th Anniversary and Disneyland's 50th Anniversary.

 

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