Because of personal priorities, we decided to forgo an expensive fancy stay at one of the Disney owned hotels in favor of having two fancy dinners.
As stated in the previous post, we discovered that our credit card offered points that could be cashed in for free nights at several of the good neighbor hotels. We did some research and chose The Anabella Hotel due to being a favorite of locals, and because as they say, location, location, location.
While researching for our trip,I found no information regarding what the parking rules were for Anabella guests, so after pulling into the parking lot, we made our way to the reception area in the hopes that we would be permitted to park at the hotel for the day. I assumed parking would require some sort of parking pass, otherwise park guests looking to sponge some free parking would fill up the lot.
Although it isn't an official Disney Hotel, the staff member who greeted us at the reception area
appeared to be held to the Disney standard of exceptional customer service. She was friendly, pleasant, and helpful.
We explained that we had booked a room for the night, and inquired if it would be possible to leave our car in the hotel parking lot. The staff member clicked away at her computer keys.
"We have a room ready now if you'd like to check in?"
"Yes," we replied.
After signing the obligatory paper work, and handing over our $15 per night parking fee, we were handed our room key and parking pass (we were able to leave the car there the following day too, so we never had to park in a Disney lot).
Having the ability to check into our room at 8:00 am was an amazing benefit, though if you book there, I wouldn't guarantee an early morning check-in. It was nice that we could lug our stuff into the room, and get things settled without having to worry about it later when we were theme park tired.
We followed the reception worker's walking directions to the parks.
After crossing the street, we strolled down a few tree lined blocks. We could see some of the back stage of California Adventure. Seeing a glimpse of where we would be spending our day intensified our excitement. We then entered the Grand Californian Hotel,
made a left in the lobby,
and followed all of the people doing the same until we exited into Downtown Disneyland.
Though smaller than the soon-to-be named Disney Springs in Orlando, Downtown Disneyland is a beautiful sight.
Having to walk through the bright and colorful Downtown increases the fun and anticipation of going to the parks.
If we had more time, it would have been nice to sit and enjoy a cup of morning coffee, watching all of the eager park guests pass by. But alas, we wanted to get to California Adventure at park opening.
We arrived at the entrance exactly on time.
After a marvelous day at California Adventure, we traversed the same path back to The Anabella. In the evening, twinkle lights gave the tree lined path a romantic flair.
No waiting in lines, no bus rides, no sitting in traffic, just a short pleasant walk back to our room,
to fall promptly into bed.
Our room was spacious and clean, but a little worn. It seemed to be in need of some TLC.The shower dripped all night, as did the air conditioner. The bed was okay, but we were spoiled at this point by our bed at The Welk Resort, and I was looking forward to getting back to that cozy bed the following night.
A first world problem, I know, but it was a slight inconvenience that there were no electrical outlets next to the bed. I use my phone as my alarm clock, and was worried that with the sound of the rumbling air conditioner, we wouldn't be able to hear Lumpy Space Princess (who sings me awake)from across the room (it ended up being fine).
The pool area looked nice, as did the restaurant area, but we didn't get to explore them fully as we were only there for one night.
It seems that with The Anabella Hotel, what you are really paying for is the location, and perhaps the friendly customer service. A lot of locals rave about the hotel, but we left underwhelmed. It was perfectly fine since our stay was free. During the week they often offer some great deals that probably make it worth it, especially if you are only planning to stay for a night or two, but if I was going back to Anaheim for a full week (and we do plan to), I would look into upgrading to something a little nicer.