We started our 17 day tour of Southern California with a quick trip to Disneyland. Here's how we managed to not spend all our time standing in line.
If you're not going to Disneyland or you hate kids, do not stay here! EVERYONE who stays at this fairly new Embassy Suites is going to Disneyland. This ES sports a safari theme (the restaurant is called the Serengeti Grill), an average-sized pool area, the typical breakfast and manager's reception, and nicely appointed room-suites. But the real attraction is the close proximity to Disneyland. The ES shares a shuttle bus with the Hampton Inn next door; it's always packed, but it's still the best way to and from the park.
The rooms are typical for an Embassy Suites and, thanks to the newness of the hotel, in excellent shape. We spent an additional $20/night and got an extra-large room (see photos), with a great territorial view.
Breakfast is served until 9:30 on weekdays and until 10:30 on weekends and can be a bit of a zoo. It's the most crowded around 9am, and there can be a shortage of seating. They feature omelets cooked to order, along with the usual array of other stuff--pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, hash browns, cereal, fruit, pastries, etc. Given the number of people and the amount of food everyone takes, they do a pretty good job keeping plenty of everything supplied. The first morning I got in the line where the server was rationing the bacon as if there was a national pig shortage. The next day I got in the help yourself to all the swine flesh your arteries can handle line.
I have no idea if the manager's reception is any good because we've never been there in the evening. For all I know, they never have to serve any free drinks because everyone is still at Disneyland. On the other hand, after a day at Disneyland with some of the kids I saw prowling the hotel, you could use a free drink or two.
The pool and spa area is average in size and has very little shade. The crowdedness seems to go in cycles. There's a flurry right after breakfast, then another one in the mid-afternoon (all those people who read in the guidebooks to bring the kids back to the hotel for a nap - ha!), and then one more late at night. On the weekends, there are grilled hamburgers and hot dogs available poolside for a reasonable price.
The parking lot is shared with the Hampton Inn, the Hilton, and the Buca di Beppo restaurant, so parking can be a challenge, and the parking stalls are among the narrowest I've ever seen.
Nonetheless, this Embassy Suites is still a good choice when visiting D-Land.
OK, there are about a billion guidebooks on how to enjoy Disneyland. Well, here's mine called "Fast Pass for Dummies" and it's real short. Ready? Here it is:
If you don't use fast pass for the major rides at disneyland, then you are a MORON!
Got that? Why in the world would you stand in line for 2 freakin' hours to ride Splash Mountain, when you can get a Fast Pass ticket, enjoy other stuff at the Park, come back anytime in your one hour window, and get on the ride with a wait of 5 minutes or less? Do you hate your kids/husband/wife? Do you enjoy shuffling along with strangers who keep bumping you while you sweat in the hot sun and your kids have to go to the bathroom? Are you nuts?
We were able to enjoy all the major rides without ever waiting in line, got to see all the other stuff in the park, have a nice lunch at the Pizza Port and a relaxing dinner at Blue Bayou, meet Mickey Mouse, and enjoy the Fantasmic show, ALL BECAUSE WE USED FAST PASS! While hundreds of lamebrains stood in line for the Haunted House, we rode the Mark Twain paddle wheeler, paddled the canoes, rode the Jungle Cruise, saw the Tiki Room show, and went to the bathroom. In fact, we didn't even want to go to the Haunted House, but the Fast Pass system spit out a "bonus" Fast Pass when we got our pass for Splash Mountain.
After spending 90 minutes in line for the over-rated and now defunct Rocket Rods on a visit to Disneyland about 4 years ago, I said "Never again". Repeat after me: FAST PASS FAST PASS FAST PASS!!!!!!!!!