Ramada Plaza Anaheim Review

ramada-plaza-disneyland-walking-distance-front


Ramada Plaza Anaheim is near Disneyland and Disney California Adventure that’s nicer than many budget hotels in Anaheim. This hotel review features room photos, thoughts on amenities, and a look at the pros and cons of staying at Ramada Plaza Anaheim. It also covers how you can score a deal on the hotel and its quality as compared to close competitors in the area that are similarly-situated.

The story here is one of squandered potential. Ramada Plaza Anaheim, overall, is a solid hotel and one I would recommend. The unfortunate thing is that it could be near the top of my rankings, but for some missteps. The sad thing is that it stumbles in what I consider to be basic and unexpected ways, while excelling in areas you might not expect. For Disney fans, I think a good analogy is Epic Mickey. The game has flashes of brilliance, is loaded with detail, and has stunning environments, but the camera and controls absolutely suck. (How do you not get these most basic things right?!)

Ramada Plaza Anaheim is not a Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel, but that’s a meaningless distinction that (I think) is based on paying for the ‘certification’, anyway. If you want to know how Ramada Plaza Anaheim stacks up to the competition in my opinion (which is based on the perspective of someone who has stayed in 30+ hotels near Disneyland), check out our Disneyland Hotels Reviews & Rankings post. You can also read our overall comparison of the benefits of staying off-site versus on-site in our Where to Stay at Disneyland post.

Want to learn more about Ramada Plaza Anaheim and see some room photos? Let’s take a look… (more…)

The State of Disneyland: Stardate Summer 2015

D75_2267 copy

Last month, we took a look at the current state of Walt Disney World. Now, it’s time to do the same for Disneyland. It was a long, cold (well, not really, but metaphorically) winter and spring at Disneyland Resort, with large portions of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure “down” for the months leading to the kickoff of the Diamond Celebration.

Normally, the beginning of the year is a slow time in terms of crowds at Disneyland Resort, and consequently, it’s a window filled with refurbishments. This timeframe was extended and the attractions and areas refurbished more ambitious this year, with most of the projects continuing even through the busy Spring Break and Easter seasons.

This all culminated in the kickoff of the Diamond Celebration on Memorial Day weekend, and for locals, I think it’s safe to say the “colder” winter and spring were unequivocally worth it. We cover all of the details specific to the new entertainment in our Ultimate Guide to the Disneyland 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration Guide, so I don’t want to fixate on those here, but I do want to cover the state of Disneyland, aside from that, in this post.

So, what’s going right and what’s wrong at Disneyland Resort, Stardate Summer 2015? Let’s take a look… (more…)

 Disneyland 60th Anniversary Live Coverage!

Today is the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland, and I’m there to cover the festivities! If you’ve been following this blog, you know I am super hyped about the Disneyland Diamond Celebration, and are really excited to be there to celebrate the momentous anniversary in person. In this post we will offer some info about the day’s events, and be updating all day long with live photos.

While today, July 17, 2015 is the official date of the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland (but not Disney California Adventure…that came a few years later), those of you who aren’t Disneyland locals or have been living under a rock should know that the Diamond Celebration will continue at least through the end of 2015, and probably until the end of 2016 (making it roughly an 18-month celebration, which is about par for the course on these things).

This post won’t be offering basic overview information about Diamond Celebration as a whole. Everything you need to know about the new offerings can be found in our Ultimate Guide to the Disneyland Diamond Celebration, with additional background and reviews in my Disneyland 60th Anniversary Info post and in my Disneyland 60th Anniversary Entertainment Reviews post.

As for today’s festivities, let’s take a look at what’s on the agenda… (more…)

Stanford Inn & Suites Review

stanford-inn-suites-bed-mickey-mouse-wall

Stanford Inn & Suites is a Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel for budget travelers located near Disney California Adventure and just beyond the Anaheim Convention Center. This review includes photos of the hotel rooms, thoughts about our experience of staying here, and to whom I’d recommend this hotel.

Sometimes, a hotel totally defies expectations. This is most definitely the case with Stanford Inn & Suites. I stayed here a couple of weeks after Alamo Inn & Suites, and based upon the location (we’ll get to that) I was absolutely expecting the worst. It probably couldn’t be worse than the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, at least. A pretty low threshold, but sometimes a little perspective is helpful.

I only stayed here because I have a serious case of self-loathing, and wanted to see just how scary it was. Not really. Actually, I saw it for a really low price on Hotel Tonight, and reviews on TripAdvisor put it as the #15 hotel in Anaheim. Having unfortunate experiences at other highly-ranking hotels, I was apprehensive, but I figured what the heck. YOLO, amirite? (Sorry, that will never happen again.)

Per its own website (but not the Disneyland listing page), Stanford Inn & Suites is a Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels. Honestly, I have been listing this categorization in these reviews because people seem to care, but it’s totally meaningless. Hotels can pay for the distinction to be a Good Neighbor, and then pay more to be on the Disneyland page. I think it’s all about the money, and not being inspected and “certified” by Disneyland or anything of that sort.

If you want to know how Stanford Inn & Suites actually stacks up to the competition (at least in my opinion), check out our Disneyland Hotels Reviews & Rankings post. I can assure you none of the hotels there are featured based upon payment to us (although if some Disneyland-area hotel wants to offer us a boatload of money, I’m sure something can be arranged! 😉 )

Stanford Inn & Suites most definitely was not as awful as I expected. But, that doesn’t mean it comes highly recommended… (more…)

Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland

This post features tips and info for Halloween Time at Disneyland, occurring September 11 to November 1, 2015. The hard ticket Mickey’s Halloween Party will be held during this time, with tickets costing $63 to $84, depending upon the night and whether you qualify for an Annual Passholder discount. Besides this party, entertainment during the Halloween Time at Disneyland season is included in the cost of regular theme park admission.

For those considering visiting during Halloween Time at Disneyland, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the standard offerings during the Halloween season in Disneyland are superior to those in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The decorations are better, the entertainment is superior, the seasonal snacks are more plentiful (and most are absolutely delicious), and there are two attractions at Disneyland that receive Halloween overlays (plus extra entertainment in Big Thunder Ranch), versus zero at Walt Disney World.

The bad news is that hard ticket Disneyland’s Mickey’s Halloween Party is inferior to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, crowds are not light (still better than summer) during Halloween Time at Disneyland like they are in the fall at Walt Disney World, and there are no other fall offerings justifying a visit to Disneyland Resort specifically during the Halloween season, versus Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, which is also a big draw during the fall at Walt Disney World.

With all of that said, we think Halloween Time at Disneyland is an incredible time to visit Disneyland. In fact, after Christmas at Disneyland, Halloween Time at Disneyland is our absolute favorite time of the year to visit. The only reason Christmas gets the edge is because all of its entertainment is included with the normal cost of admission, and Disney California Adventure gets into the fun during the Christmas season, too.

Note that for 2015, expect Halloween Time at Disneyland to be impacted by the Disneyland 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration. While we still expect all seasonal attraction overlays to happen, and Mickey’s Halloween Party 2015 dates have already been announced, it is likely that the park will have fewer decorations (with the 60th Anniversary decorations largely staying up) than normal as the Diamond Celebration will still be in full swing. Please keep in mind that this is speculation at this point. For more information and planning tips about the 60th, read our Ultimate Guide to the Disneyland Diamond Celebration.

We attended the first weekend of Halloween Time at Disneyland (September 12-15) last year, and had an awesome time. We’ve updated this post with some new photos and thoughts from this year’s festivities, so let’s take a look at Halloween Time at Disneyland, sharing some of our tips and reviews for the various offerings… (more…)