Disneyland is a regular on a bucket list. But what if you’re feeling a little too ‘mature’ for a full day at a theme park? Zoe Macfarlane discovers that pacing yourself is the answer, thanks to at the magically close Anaheim Hotel.

It might sound cray-cray, but I was about to pop my Disneyland cherry and was legit wondering if can you have too much happiness?

If you’ve ever spent the day in a theme park, you’ll know it’s a joyful-but-exhausting day out. Hours spent wandering attractions, perhaps a tantrum to deal with (and that’s just your partner), and the physical toll of being whipped around on a rollercoaster-like a plane with bad turbulence.

And can theme park crash-and-burn even occur at the happiest place on earth?

What if I told you that I found the answer to maximised happiness at the happiest place on earth, and it’s right on Disney’s doorstep?

The Anaheim Hotel, a recently renovated garden property, is a short walk from the entrance to the region’s most famous theme parks. It’s so close to the Disneyland and California Adventure Parks that if there were no barriers, you could get to the Guardians of the Galaxy ride in a couple of minutes! The hotel’s prime location and Disney’s re-entry policy means you can experience a rare opportunity at a theme park – a break!

Peeling off my Mickey Mouse ears, I relaxed at the Anaheim Hotel’s Olympic-sized pool and lush gardens in the early afternoon. The mellow hotel vibes infused an invigorating second wind that saw me return to the Disney parks and last until dark. Lasting so long felt like not just a win for me, but a triumph for middle-aged adults everywhere.


Check-in & beyond

Karry On - The Anaheim Hotel

The first glimpse of check-in at the Anaheim Hotel is of bold prints, hip retro-modern furnishings, and the sounds of Frank Sinatra filling the lobby. Against this inspiring backdrop, the check-in was friendly and efficient. A great start.


The rooms

Karry On - The Anaheim Hotel

The rooms are comfortable and well-appointed, if not a little dated. But, that’s about to change as the Anaheim Hotel finishes its refurb with room upgrades. A sneak peek at the new digs revealed that the retro-modern décor – a nod to the hotel’s 1959 open date – will continue. I was surprised to learn that there were 306 rooms across five 2-story buildings; despite being full, the property felt intimate and peaceful.


Food & drinks

Karry On - The Anaheim Hotel

If you’re a pizza lover, the onsite Pizza Press and Front Room Lounge are the hotel’s own version of happiness. If you’re a pizza lover on a diet, however, walk the gardens instead of the lobby to get to Disneyland, as I did. Be warned: the temptations stretch across the day; they even have pizza on the breakfast menu!



Karry On - The Anaheim Hotel

The gorgeous pool at the Anaheim is probably the greatest enticer to step out from Mickey-mayhem. And if you’re pooped by the end of the day, you can watch the Disneyland fireworks while soaking your feet in the hot tub (your feet will thank you)!

The garden areas are also fab, especially the oversized outdoor games, like Connect 4 and cornhole. There’s a gym, but the 25,000+ steps clocked dashing between the two parks confirmed that Disney gave me all the workout I needed.


The verdict

Karry On - The Anaheim Hotel

I feel like a monk that’s finally Zen’d in on the meaning of life: the answer to happiness is to do it your way! Call me a wuss, but my gut was right on needing that downtime between visiting Knotts Scary Farm and the full day at the Disney parks. The Anaheim Hotel’s Disney proximity and chill vibes give you a vacation from your vacation. Sweet.


The deets

The Anaheim Hotel has a lead-in rate of around USD119. From LAX, take an Uber or shuttle, it’s about 30-odd kilometres south. If you’re looking to reach Knotts Berry Farm or the Outlets at Orange, an Uber is approximately $10.

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