Sophisticated Boutique Hotel Next Door to Theme-Park Thrills
Nightly at Hotel Menage, guests are treated to some free entertainment: Disneyland’s Fireworks Spectacular. You can settle into one of the hotel’s pool chairs and enjoy a drink from the palapa bar as thousands of fireworks get launched above Sleeping Beauty Castle. The hotel is only a quarter mile from the theme park, too; by day, you can grab an all-day shuttle ticket ($4/day for adults; $1/day for children under 10) and hop on Hotel Menage’s shuttle that travels back and forth to the park.
As a whole, Hotel Menage reflects a family-friendly affect with an air of sophistication. The lobby is accented by black marble floors, a stylish bar, and trickling fountains. Up in the studio king rooms, there are leather-wrapped headboards that almost reach the ceiling. The rooms come equipped with a queen-size sofa bed to comfortably sleep some guests or wax statues of Walt Disney.
You can both start and end your day in the lobby lounge: in the morning, grab breakfast, and at night, you can stop in for a cocktail. For dinner, try American Tavern, which has a pub menu featuring dishes such as a Kya blue burger and Guinness-braised short ribs served alongside cheddar ale fries.
Anaheim, California: Magical Playland Close to the Beach
Less than an hour from Hollywood and Universal Studios, Anaheim is perfectly situated for making the most of a Southern California getaway. But most visitors never make it that far, as Disneyland has long dominated the city’s tourism scene. As Walt Disney’s original park, it has a handful of classic attractions that, though upgraded over the years, have been around since the park opened in 1955. You can ride the , hop on the King Arthur Carrousel, or sail in the Storybook Land Canal Boats (Walt Disney personally planted the small pine near Geppetto’s home). Disneyland has plenty of modern rides too, including Cars Land, one of the newer additions to Disney California Adventure Park and a life-size re-creation of the town from Disney Pixar’s Cars. The highlight here is the slot-car attraction, which puts you in an automated vehicle that swerves around animatronic characters before engaging another car in a high-speed race.
If you’re in the mood for thrills, ascend the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror before dropping in a heart-pounding free fall, or climb aboard the roller coasters thundering around Paradise Pier with sweeping views of the park. Alternatively, trade fairy dust for white sand in Huntington Beach, where you'll find 3.5 miles of free-to-the-public beaches filled with surfing, pickup volleyball games, and countless stalls hawking flip-flops and seashell-themed wares.