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Review of the Howard Johnson Anaheim and Water Playground

When it comes to travel, I love nostalgia. Retro hotels can be so much fun to stay in. The Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground combines retro family fun with a fantastic convenient location across the street from Disneyland Resort.

Disclosure: My stay at the HoJo Anaheim was complimentary. All opinions are my own.

Rubber duck at the HoJo Anaheim

Steps from Disneyland: Review of the Howard Johnson Anaheim and Water Playground Resort

Howard Johnson hotel view

Location of the Howard Johnson Anaheim

Disneyland differs from Walt Disney World in that nearby, Good Neighbor hotels are easily within walking distance of the parks. Staying on theme park property isn’t nearly as important in California, because off-property hotels may still be very convenient.

The Howard Johnson Anaheim is located on S. Harbor Boulevard, about eight minutes walking distance from the main entry plaza at Disneyland. It’s close enough that you can definitely consider walking back to the room midday to rest or enjoy the water playground.

I flew into Long Beach Airport at about 7:30 pm and was at the hotel within about 25 minutes. On Sunday morning, I flew out of LAX very early, and it took about 30 minutes to get there – although I’d expect it to take much longer with traffic. Given a choice, I’d choose either Long Beach Airport or John Wayne Airport.

A queen bed room at the Howard Johnson Anaheim

Rooms at the Howard Johnson Anaheim

When choosing a hotel room for a family, you’ll want something that’s large enough so that you can spread out a bit. Luckily, the Howard Johnson Anaheim offers a variety of room types in several different buildings.

Here are the various room options:

Standard rooms are available with two double beds (and an optional rollaway for an extra cost) or as a king bed ADA room. These rooms are in buildings 3-6.

Deluxe rooms include one king bed rooms (in building 2), one queen bed with jr bunk beds (building 1 facing the freeway), and two queen beds in either building 1 or building 2.

Premium rooms are available as either one queen bed/one bunk ADA, or two queen beds. In addition, you can get two rooms with two queen beds that are adjoining. These are available in building one (facing Disneyland) or building two (for the ADA rooms).

King suites, queen suites, and kids suites are also available. The kids suites have two bedrooms, so there is plenty of room to spread out. These rooms are in building one.

I had a two queen bed guest room in building one, facing Disneyland and the water playground. I arrived in the evening, so it was dark outside. However, when I woke up, I was pleasantly surprised to see how close the Matterhorn was from my room.

Rooms offer amenities that can help you have a comfortable stay. These include comfortable beds with plenty of pillows. There’s a bench with a table that you can use to have a snack or breakfast in your room.

A small table in the side of the room contains a mini-fridge, a microwave, and a Keurig coffee maker (with complimentary Wolfgang Puck coffee). Rooms have a safe, a closet, drawers, a television (with Disney Channel, Nick Jr, HBO, and more), an Amazon Echo device, a desk, and plenty of outlets for charging your devices.

Bathrooms have refillable toiletries including shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. There’s also an adorable rubber duckie by the bathtub that guests are invited to take.

Free WiFi is offered throughout the hotel and is very easy to access. If you need to print, there are computers with printers in the common areas.

At night, I was excited to be able to see the Disneyland fireworks right from the small deck in my room. I was in building one, in a room facing the theme park. This building is the taller of the HoJo buildings and was recently renovated.

Building two is currently being renovated and is expected to be complete in the spring.

Castaway Cove at the Howard Johnson's Anaheim

Amenities at the Howard Johnson Anaheim

When I arrived at the hotel, I went right to the front desk to check-in. It’s in a separate building, and the whole process was very easy. I then went directly to my room.

Within the hotel is a small gift shop, filled with souvenirs, Disney-themed apparel, premium coffee, snacks, beverages, and other essentials. While the room does come with coffee for the Keurig, there is more premium coffee available to purchase and use in the Keurig.

The hotel is a Good Neighbor hotel, and guests can purchase their Disneyland theme park tickets right at the front desk.

As you’d expect from the name, there’s also a water playground on property, called Castaway Cove. It’s open exclusively for the guests, from 10 am to 10 pm daily, and lots of kids seemed to be enjoying it.

Castaway Cove includes a toddler water slide, a drench bucket, water cannons, water umbrellas, a toddler wading pool, a whirlpool spa, water fountains, and more.

In addition, the Howard Johnson’s Anaheim offers a garden pool. It was closed for refurbishment during my visit but is scheduled to reopen April 15th, 2020. There are lounge chairs and complimentary towels at the pool.

Fireworks view from the Howard Johnson Anaheim

Guests at the resort receive free parking at the hotel for one vehicle and can pay for a second vehicle (based on availability). This is a huge benefit because many of the hotels in the area charge for parking.

During my stay, complimentary face paint and glitter tattoos were offered by the front desk on Saturday. I’m not sure if that’s a regular offering, but it’s a fun little perk.

There are also vending/ice machines and coin laundry located at the property. Across the street from the hotel is Mimi’s Cafe Restaurant, which offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

If Disneyland is a big part of your Southern California vacation plans, I would definitely recommend a stay at the Howard Johnson. It’s conveniently located for your Disneyland vacation and is a fun, comfortable place to stay with the family. You can learn more on their website.

Review of the Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground, a family-friendly hotel located across the street from Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.
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