My 9 year-old daughter and I just completed a 5 night trip at the Holiday Inn & Suites on Walnut in Anaheim from 8/25/10 through 8/30/10. We booked this hotel through Priceline as a 3 Star Hotel for $38 per night.
The hotel is located right next to the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure. This hotel charges a $10 per night Resort Fee and with tax that comes to $11.50 per night. With the Priceline booking the hotel told me I was booked in a room with one Double Bed. They were happy to upgrade my daughter and I to a room with two queen sized beds, though it cost me an extra $10 per night.
You can see in the picture above that the front hotel and lobby portico is right next to the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure at Disneyland. That should make it easy to see the location on Google maps or Bing.
We arrived around 9:00 PM on a Wednesday night and were checked in by a very helpful desk agent named Alicia. She was very quick, efficient, knowledgable and helpful. I presented my Priority Club card during check in and she gave me a "Kids Eat Free" coupon for their restaurant named "Onyx".
The "Kids Eat Free" coupon was valid for all meals and lasted for our whole five day stay. the main caveats were that it was good for up to 4 children aged 12 and under ordering off the kids menu. With only my daughter over the course of four meals that saved me about $25 or $30. For a family with 3 or 4 kids eating 1-2 meals there each day the savings could be HUGE!
Here is the clean, open and fairly spacious lobby for this kind of hotel. You can see the all-important gift and sundry shop is just to the left of the hotel's front desk. Important note - If you don't buy them in advance this shop is where you buy passes for the ART shuttle.
You can see that this property went through a pretty major overhaul and renovation not too long ago.
I would say that the renovations were a big success! The whole property was very warm-feeling, light and comfortable. In this picture you can see the entrance to the Onyx restaurant to the right of the couch.
We walked over to room 4317 in the evening. This room is in Building 4 on the 3rd floor and looks out to the Mickey & Friends parking lot. Due to the east/west oreintation of this hotel few, if any, rooms have a view of anything. However if you are coming to this hotel for a Disneyland vacation then the view out the window should be pretty irrelevant.
On our vacations the only thing we really do at the hotel is sleep, bathe, swim and eat. The rest of our time was spent out and about at the Disney parks and Newport Beach. in fact the only time I bothered really looking out the window was when I took the picture below. This is about the best view you can hope for at this hotel.
Here are some pictures of our room to get an idea of the size and quality of the place.
The room seemed just as open, comfy and spacious as the ones I stayed in at the Crowne Plaza in Garden Grove. In fact it was more spacious and comfy than the Holiday Inn Anaheim on Manchester.
The bathroom area was normal sized, clean, solid and better than I would have expected. The fixtures were very nice, easy and responsive to the touch. The hot water tap was instant in both the sink and tub/shower. Happily there was no need to take 10-20 seconds to let the water warm up. And the water pressure was excellent. It was very strong without being painful.
The sink and vanity area are separate from the tub and toilet. For people on a family vacation this feature can be pretty important. The mirror was also very nicely sized and good quality.
Few things are as important to a successful family vacation at Disneyland as pacing yourself and making time for a mid-day break for lunch, a swim and a nap. For that reason it is always important to have access to a decent pool.
The newly renovated pool at the Holiday Inn & Suites was excellent. While not quite as large as the pool at the Crowne Plaza it is larger than the pools at the Hyatt Regency. More importantly the pool was clean and refreshing.
The pool deck was in excellent shape. The fact that the south lounge chairs had their own cabanas was a wonderfully pleasant surprise.
It is a bit hard to see but each lounge chair had a fresh, clean, fluffy pool-towel rolled up waiting for each guest. That was a very nice touch. And these pool towels were much larger and softer than the ones I have used at other area resorts including the Disneyland Hotel and the Grand Californian Hotel.
This Holiday Inn also had a really nice chilled/iced water dispenser on the pool deck which was quite refreshing on hot days. The only downside was that some folks had left their clear plastic cups in the bottom of the pool so once in a while you would step on one unexpectedly and they could be a bit tough to see and fish out. I think if they were to switch to a tinted plastic cup that could help alleviate this.
The pool entrances do require a room key card so I highly recommend getting two key cards just to be safe. I did find that one of my room key cards had to be reset after one day in my wallet so this would be another good reason to make sure you ask for more than one room key on check-in even if you are the only adult in your party.
One final note about the lounge chairs at this pool. These are some of the sturdiest, highest quality lounge chairs I have found at a hotel thus far. Other properties often have lounge chairs with either cheesey vinyl straps or low-strength nylon that easily rips off the frame when a 200 pound American like myself sits in them. The lounge chairs at this Holiday Inn were incredibly strong and well-built as well as being completely comfortable. Kudos on that nice touch Holiday Inn!
I didn't get any pictures of the on-site restaurant but it was excellent. I had a waffle, scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast there several days and a chicken sandwich and burger for my lunches. They were all exceptionally delicious and very quickly prepared.
My daughter kept commenting that the scrambled eggs were the best she ever tasted and she should know. I think I would have to agree with her too. The service was prompt, the staff were polite and cheerful and the restaurant hours were quite convenient.
As far as getting over to Disneyland goes we used three methods:
1.) Walk approximately 1/2 mile around the parking structure down Walnut to Magic Way and take the parking structure trams. In the morning with fresh legs this walk is quick and easy. However coming back for lunch or the end of the day with fatigued legs and feet on fire this walk back feels about 4 times longer. I did feel totally safe on the walk as the neighborhood is quiet, well lit and residential. That being said my daughter and I only walked over and back twice.
For those that are wondering there definitely is not any kind of shortcut through the parking structure. If you walk you will have to walk all the way around. You could also walk over and take the monorail from Downtown Disney but that walk is about 3/4 mile.
2.) Take the ART (Anaheim Resort Transit) shuttle from the hotel lobby to the transportation hub at the east side of the Disneyland entrance plaza. The #11 ART shuttles seemed to leave the hotel about every 20 minutes and were very convenient. This shuttle line only has three hotel stops so it was never crowded and the 1.5 mile trip was very fast.
I found the ART more convenient than free shuttles offered by other hotels firstly because those shuttles usually operate less often, typically every half hour and secondarily because the cost of the ART shuttle for my daughter and I was about what we spent on tip baskets riding the "free" shuttles at other hotels.
3.) We also had a rental car and I have a premium annual pass so for a day and a half we drove to the Mickey & Friends parking structure and took the parking structure trams.
On the one hand this was particularly convenient for going to and from the parks when we wanted. On the other hand it is possible that you may park so far away from the trams that you might just as well have walked from the hotel in the first place.
After trying those three options I would have to say the ART shuttle is the one I would stick with on future visits. It is incredibly convient, reasonably priced and saves the most wear and tear on your feet. It also is the easiest way to get back to the hotel for a mid-day swim, lunch and nap break.
My final word on this hotel is that it is excellent quality and a terrific value for the money. The location was great, the facilities exceeded my expectations and the room was perfect for our needs. One issue that often makes or breaks a stay at a hotel in this area is in terms of noise from other guests. I can be sensitive to this issue as well and I'm happy to say I didn't hear the slightest sound coming from the rooms next to us, below us or above us. In fact we didn't hear a sound from the parking lot or even the massive parking structure next to us.
If you are looking for a very high-quality, budget-priced hotel in this area where you will not be disturbed I don't see how this hotel can be beat.
I hope you found this review helpful and informative. If there is anything I can clear up or if you have any questions let me know.
*** One additional note. I forgot to mention a few other miscellaneous amenities that may be of note to Micechatters. The hotel came with free in-room wifi internet and parking though you need the current wifi access code as well as a parking pass to hang from your car's rearview mirror. While technically free I guess you could also consider this part of the non-optional resort fee.
The wifi was very useful for looking up info on park hours, checking email, conducting some quick work assignments and uploading pics for family and friends. I think the Crowne Plaza includes internet access as part of their resort fee.
The hotel's business center had Macs with 15 minutes of free access for printing boarding passes. People needing to rent a computer with internet access could pay a fee that was $I believe 15 or $20 per hour.
Additionally the room A/C worked great. I had no issues with it icing up or being too loud or ineffective like many other hotels in the area.