If you’re looking for a hotel - and a really good one - as close to Disneyland as you can get, you should begin (and end) your search at the Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance.
True to its name, the Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance is on the doorstep of the world’s most famous theme park - in the Harbor Pedestrian District less than 10 minutes walk to the turnstiles, which is closer than two of the three ‘Disney’ hotels. But this property’s location is just the beginning...
At reception, we’re greeted by smiling staff who guide us smoothly through check-in as well as help us with our Disneyland tickets (which are sold at a discount here). Clearly, the proximity of this hotel to the happiest place on earth has rubbed off on its employees.
Surveying the lovely lobby, I see a mostly contemporary space, where Mac desktops and modern-looking armchairs sit among images of water and waves, an ongoing motif in the hotel.
Next to this, the Bistro Restaurant offers a wide range of healthy fare from acai bowls and egg white frittatas at breakfast, to crispy brussel sprouts and Mediterranean grain bowls for all-day dining. For something a little more substantial (and decadent), the eatery also serves up burgers, a three-cheese grilled sandwich and an individual chicken pot pie among other tasty treats. Or guests can just enjoy a Starbucks coffee, craft beer or American red inside or outdoors.
Elsewhere, there’s a gift shop laden with Disney products, from which I have to distract my three-year-old daughter every time we walk past, and a 24-hour fitness centre that may have lured me had it not been for everything else going on.
Inside our large (50m2) light-filled room, two double beds back onto a gorgeous floor-to-ceiling image of gently lapping waves, while opposite this, a twin bunk bed immediately catches the eye of my climbing-obsessed daughter.
Elsewhere, there’s a small modular-type lounge and table in the corner, large 47-inch TV with Netflix and Pandora streaming, small work space and espresso coffee maker. Apparently, this is the standard configuration throughout the hotel, so families are well catered for in every abode here.
In the modern bathroom, there are two sinks, and unusually, two showers: a walk-in and a tub/shower combo.
For all its family-friendly features however, it is the hotel’s amazing water park, over which our room looks, that’s the highlight.
A haven for small and big kids alike, Surfside Waterpark is a 20,000 square foot facility that boasts two 30-foot waterslides, several smaller slides, a swimming pool, kid-friendly pool, hot tub, and the Beach Shack play structure that features a 1,500-litre dump bucket. And if you swim at night, you might even catch the Disneyland fireworks.
Or as we do, you could watch them from your room, past the silhouettes of Space Mountain and the famous Matterhorn. Because this place is just across the road from Disneyland.
The writer was a guest of the hotel. Transfers between Los Angeles Airport and the property were provided by Karmel Shuttle.
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