My tip to anyone that asks me about where to stay at Disneyland, is to book a hotel within walking distance. This is especially true, in my opinion, for parties traveling with children. There is nothing like heading back to the hotel for a break during a multi-day trip to rejuvenate weary park goers and launch into Infinity and Beyond! Or it will at least help keep you awake through most of the night until the park is about to close. I have stayed at several hotels within walking distance, which for me means a 10 minute walk or less, and the Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground, or HoJo Anaheim, is one of my favorites. It is a Disneyland “Good Neighbor” hotel, which means they have partnered with Disney and you can book a Disney travel package that will include the hotel. Here is why HoJo is one of my favorites.
Location – HoJo is located on the east side of Disneyland along Harbor Boulevard. Precisely, it is located on the northeast corner of Harbor Blvd and Manchester Avenue. Their website boasts that they are an 8 minute walk to Disneyland. On my last trip, I clocked our walk three different times and was between 8 and 10 minutes for each one from the hotel parking lot to the bag check security line at the east entrance. It’s location also allows great views of the fireworks and watching the Monorail swoosh by. We have both watched fireworks from our room, from the parking area on the west side, and from the Castaway Cove pool area. Great spots!
The proximity to Disneyland is a plus, but Interstate 5 is directly east of the hotel grounds and it is loud if you are on the north and east side of the property. On our first stay in 2010, we were in a room that was on the freeway side of Building 1. The traffic noise kept two of the five of us on that trip from getting good sleep. HoJo did update the windows in those rooms a few years ago. While I have not stayed in one again, I stayed in Building 1 on the other side and spent time in the hallway by a room on the freeway side when the door was open for cleaning. I could not hear the freeway so it does seem that the new windows brought the noise level down. If you have stayed in a room in Building 1 facing the freeway, leave a comment and let me know about the level of freeway noise in the room.
The Resort-Type Grounds – Most of the hotels along Harbor Blvd are long and narrow, typically consisting of hotel rooms surrounded by parking lots. This is where HoJo shines above the rest. This hotel has six different buildings, plus the building for the front desk, and two different pools that are connected with pleasant walking pathways, lush gardens and several fountains. Each room has a balcony or patio so you can sit out and enjoy the view too.
Service – Outside of a Disneyland Resort Hotel, the employees at the HoJo are some of the friendliest I have encountered. I have always found friendly staff from housekeeping, to lifeguards, to the front desk. I also follow their Facebook page, and staff member, Tommy, will stream live videos of himself walking through Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park. I would seriously like to take over Tommy’s job.
Wide Variety of Rooms – There are 12 types of rooms to choose from when you stay at HoJo, from single King rooms up to multi-room suites. There are rooms in Building 1 with magical views of Disneyland where you can watch the fireworks from your balcony at night! Many of the rooms have recently been refurbished and the rest are on the schedule to be done soon. Our most recent stay was in a Double Bed room in Building 6, lower level (DIVA TIP! If anyone in your party has ambulatory issues, note that Buildings 3,4, 5 and 6 are two story, but the upper floors can only be accessed by stairs. These building do not have elevators). I have found the beds and pillows to be comfortable. The rooms are large, and the typical Double Bed room has a sink outside the main bathroom that helps with multiple people getting ready. And all of the rooms are Disney themed! HoJo offers a variety of ways for you to receive room discounts, such as AAA rates and even a special Annual Passholder discount.
UPDATE – I stayed in a Building 1 room with double queen beds and a Disneyland view in March 2020. It was lovely! A check-in, I was told that Building 2 is almost completed and will have the same look, and then Building 3 through 6 will start once Building 2 is completed.
POOLS AND WATER PLAY!! – Castaway Cove was a big hit during our first visit in 2010, and was still a big hit with my pre-teen kids on our trip in Fall 2018. Castaway Cove has slides, splash pads, rain mushrooms, a toddler pool, a shower and restroom, a heated spa, water guns, water spouts, and of course, the GIANT bucket of water that dumps on those below every few minutes. This pool is located to the south of Building 4. In addition to this play area, there is a serene Garden Pool nestled next to Building 2. This pools is fairly large, is heated, and a good place to relax away from the action.
FREE PARKING! – Unlike most other hotels along Harbor, the room rate is all you’ll pay (plus Anaheim’s rather large hotel tax) – there are no hidden resort fees. HoJo offers free WiFi and free parking. Each room has a Keurig coffee maker and cups, mini fridge and microwave. The big bonus for us was that our TV in our Double Bed room was connected to Netflix. We watched ‘our shows’ when we returned to the room to rest or sleep. (DIVA TIP – Make sure you log out of your Netflix account if you use this before you check out!) However, unlike other hotels, there isn’t a free breakfast. We bring along breakfast items that we store in the fridge and warm up in the microwave or the hotel has a market where you can buy food and even fresh fruit. It is also located across the street from Mimi’s Cafe where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner (DIVA TIP – join the Mimi’s E-club just before your trip so you can use the coupon they willl send you for a free two-pack of muffins or croissants!), and just a little bit further south on Harbor you will find Panera Bread and McDonald’s.
Summary – We stay at HoJo when we know we will have some extra time to take advantage of the Castaway Cove pool and when the rate is on target. The lush grounds and friendly staff do a great job of making your stay comfortable and pleasurable. It is certainly one that I recommend for your Disneyland vacation.
If you want help booking at HoJo or planning your Disneyland Resort vacation, be sure to contact Patricia at All For Dreams Travel for a free vacation quote.
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