Sophisticated Boutique Hotel Next Door to Theme-Park Thrills
At Hotel Ménage, guests are treated to some free, seasonal, 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 light up the sky above Sleeping Beauty Castle. The hotel is only a half mile from the theme park; by day, you can grab an all-day shuttle ticket ($5/day for adults; $2/day for children younger than 10) for convenient transportation to and from the park.
The hotel is family-friendly yet sophisticated. Up in studio rooms, you’ll find leather-wrapped headboards that almost reach the ceiling. King rooms come equipped with a king bed and queen-size sleeper sofa, while double queen rooms include two queen beds.
In the morning, grab breakfast from American Tavern for an additional fee; at night, you can stop in the lobby lounge for a cocktail. For dinner, the restaurant offers a pub menu featuring dishes such as a smoked bacon and cheddar ale burger and Guinness-braised short ribs served alongside cheddar ale fries. A two-for-one menu is offered, once per stay.
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 hop on the King Arthur Carrousel, or sail in the Storybook Land Canal Boats (Walt Disney personally planted the small pine near Geppetto’s house).
Disneyland has plenty of modern rides too, including Cars Land, one of the newer additions to Disney California Adventure Park. 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. Trade fairy dust for white sand at 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.