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The Ultimate LA Family Guide ™

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Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel–Anaheim Resort

        Logan blasting the water cannon.                  Castaway Cove water playground.

The address for the hotel is 1380 S. Harbor Blvd. and it is right off the 5 freeway and across the street, about a 8-10 minute walk, from Disneyland. So why this hotel over the many hotels that families have to choose from when staying near Disneyland? Here is why we think this is a great option:

Another huge plus for this hotel: we could sit in the jacuzzi and have a terrific view of the Disneyland fireworks  and hear the music as well. The view from the kids pool area which also has a jacuzzi is of the monorail and Matterhorn. It was so cool to be able to stay at the hotel, sit on a chaise lounge and enjoy the fireworks show without having to stand and wait around the park. I think many of the families staying at the hotel purposely left the park and watched the fireworks show at the hotel instead because it was such a pleasant experience.

The kids water area is called Castaway Cove and it is dominated by a pirate ship in the middle of the key-entry, gated area. The first thing  to notice here is that there is no pool in this area, only a jacuzzi. Waterslides but no pool? What ends up happening is that as you finish sliding, the slide has a long path that you glide gently along and then you just stand up and step onto the ground. The result is that any age kid can go on this slide independently because there is no pool of water at the end. Brilliant! There are two slides next to each other that are kind of like slides you would see at a playground and then there is one much larger slide. We went down the larger slide together with our kids but we saw kids who were 3 or 4 years old going down independently. There is a hotel employee who sits at the top of the slide to make sure that the kids aren't going to bump into each other at the bottom but there's no real worry because the slide, although large, is not scary or that fast.

Besides the slides, there are large mushroom type structures with water cascading down, two water cannons that the kids can control which blast water at people on the pirate shop and down below, a jacuzzi that is not restricted to adults, a splash pad with little water fountains and a plastic turtle for kids to play on and a toddler pool with a beach type gradual entry (but no sand). My kids loved going from place to place and it was so nice for the adults because we could relax on the chaise lounges while the kids roamed around. Twice each day they close some of the water features including the slide for cleaning for half an hour. When this happened we grabbed our stuff and headed over to the garden pool to go swimming. This pool area was nicely landscaped and had a large, wide steps area which is what families with young, emerging swimmers need. Another really important note, there were plenty of fresh towels and chaise lounges at both pool areas. We have stayed elsewhere where we had a hard time getting towels and chaise lounges were even more scarce. We loved how easy it all was!

After using the pool areas for about three hours, having fun and enjoying every minute, we were all hungry. We headed over to a nearby delicious pizza restaurant about two miles away nestled between Disneyland and the Angels stadium called Pizza Boy. The address for Pizza Boy is 1177 South State College Boulevard.  It was a kid-friendly place with tasty food and I would definitely eat there again.

After we came back, we took the kids to the hotel's game room and gift shop and then put on their sweatshirts in anticipation of Disneyland's  firework watching.  We staked out some lounge chairs in the pool area and watched the amazing show. That night we all slept well in the comfy beds. In the morning my husband Jody went and got the muffins and drinks from Mimi's Cafe adjacent to the hotel,  and then we soon packed up and left. We are already planning our return to the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Anaheim because of how great the pool area was and the ease of watching the fireworks.