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 ART shuttle ticket ($5/day for adults; $2/day for children 9 or younger) 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. All rooms and public spaces have complimentary WiFi.
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 the MESSY bacon-and-cheddar burger, seared salmon filet, and a farm cobb salad.
Anaheim, California: Magical Play Land About a Half Hour from Huntington 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 Park 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 Mad Tea Party spinning teacups, 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 Park 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.