Family Stay at Embassy Suites Anaheim South Hotel

pin embassy suites anaheim south

Disneyland is possibly one of the most recognized and popular destinations for traveling families worldwide.It is, therefore, no surprise that there are over 160 hotels in the immediate area from which to choose. When our family visited the park this year, we chose to stay at the Embassy Suites Anaheim – South by Hilton in Garden Grove, a nearby town to Anaheim. The hotel, approximately one mile away from Disney’s California Adventure park, provides a good option for families that wish to visit the four area parks without paying an exorbitant price for lodging.

Family Stay at Embassy Suites Anaheim South Hotel sofa

What Makes it Family Worthy?

As mentioned before, the hotel location is convenient. It is just a short drive from Disneyland, the Los Angeles Angels Baseball Stadium, Knotts Berry Farm and Medieval Times. The property’s large suites with a two room layout can comfortably accommodate larger families. Furthermore, as a participant in Disneyland’s ‘Good Neighbor’ program, it offers a complimentary hot breakfast and a Happy Hour reception as well as free parking.

Fellow Travelers

Though Families visiting the local theme parks make up the vast majority of guests at this establishment, we also met several business people attending conferences at the local convention center.

Family Stay at Embassy Suites Anaheim South Hotel bar

Hotel Decor

The fourteen story modern looking orange building featured a central atrium with its rooms radiating outwards from it. The atrium housed the restaurant and bar as well as a small decorative pond, complete with a  fountain and swimming fish. The lobby and corridors were somewhat old fashioned; decorated in a  neutral color palette of  tans, browns, and blacks.

Family Stay at Embassy Suites Anaheim South Hotel beds

Our Room

Our suite was a generous size. We had two queen-sized beds in the main bedroom. The living room boasted an opening sofa so space could comfortably accommodate a family of six.

The living area had wall to wall carpeting in hues of tan and brown with medium and dark wood furniture consisting of a leather sofa and armchairs along with a coffee table. Though somewhat necessary it was functional with ample light, a phone, and a 40 inch TV. Across from the sofa the room had a dining table for families to dine at if they wanted to bring takeaway food back to the room. Furthermore, There was a kitchenette area with a sink, microwave and small cooler in the hallway between the living and bedroom.
Family Stay at Embassy Suites Anaheim South Hotel bathroom

 

The main bedroom featured the two queen beds as well as a small desk and a chest of drawers. There was ample closet space in the form of a standing wardrobe equipped with the standard iron and ironing board.
We were delighted to discover multiple power outlets in both rooms. The room had enough outlets for the whole family to charge their devices at the same time.

Our Bathroom

The moderately sized bathroom was well lit. The vanity countertop, with its speckled orange and gray granite, had plenty of space for cosmetics on either side. The bathroom featured a shower/tub combination along with an additional shelf area for toiletries. We were slightly surprised to see there was no place to hang damp swim suits and that there was no handheld shower head attachment.

Family Stay at Embassy Suites Anaheim South Hotel amenity

Dining

We had breakfast at the hotel’s dining room, the Serengeti Restaurant.  The typical  American breakfast buffet was delicious and hearty with plenty of pancakes, sausages, eggs, and bacon. Also, the buffet had an omelet station for guests wishing to customize their egg dish.

The Happy Hour or Manager’s Reception was available every evening during the week days. They served a few snacks and drinks, including cocktails and other alcoholic drinks and soft drinks.
Family Stay at Embassy Suites Anaheim South Hotel restaurant

Amenities

Families will be pleased to know that this site offers a daily shuttle directly to the Disneyland Resort for a nominal fee. We chose to enjoy the property’s convenient free parking and ‘uber’ to the park for under five dollars a ride.

The hotel had an indoor pool and whirlpool jacuzzi,  perfect for swimming all year round. There was also a gym for guests who wish to stay fit.

Family Stay at Embassy Suites Anaheim South Hotel snacks

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should be advised that the hallways overlooking the central atrium are open and give the impression of not being very safe and secure. We would recommend that parents of special needs children request a room on the ground or first floor as any higher up can be potentially dangerous.
  • Do pack a non-slip mat for the bathroom since the hotel does not provide one.
  • For light sensitive children, parents will be glad to know that there are both thick and thin curtains in the room that block the light effectively.
  •  Temperature sensitive kids will like the a/c panel in the room that allows guests to adjust the room temperature to their personal needs.
  • Parents of noise sensitive children should ask for a room furthest from the central atrium where it is most noisy.

 

Disney’s D23 Conference : Tips for Attending

Last week we finally got around to attending the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California.
D23 (D is for Disney and the 23 the year 1923 when Walt Disney founded the Company) is the official fan-club expo started by the company in 2009 and held every alternate year since.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending sign

The concept behind it was to give loyal fans a more in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at all the company’s projects; from future movies to theme park expansions.
The convention is highly popular and attracts more than 20,000 visitors during its three-day duration in August. Despite turning out to be one of the hottest weekends of the summer, the large crowds, and long lines; our son with autism managed to have a reasonably good time.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending audience
So, if you are a parent to a child with autism and are considering attending the D23; here answers to questions you might have.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending registration

Should young kids attend?

The expo is structured and geared towards teens and adult guests more than younger fans.
Aside from waiting in long lines to enter the different rooms, young children or kids with autism may find it difficult to sit through the actual panels which can range anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours.
There are specially priced children’s tickets available for those ages 3 – 9. Under three’s receive complimentary admission to the D23 EXPO.
For parents who do decide to bring their young child, the Expo provides a designated Family Play area with seating, entertainment, and games on the second floor.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending

Where is the best place to stay?

If your budget is somewhat flexible, strive to stay as close as you can to the convention hall so your child with autism can take a break if they get overwhelmed or overstimulated; or if you need to run pick up any items you forgot in your hotel.
The two properties closest are the Hilton Anaheim and the Marriott Suites Anaheim. Make sure you book early to grab the best prices, as these hotels tend to fill up months in advance.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending people you meet

Are costumes recommended?

Some guests do come dressed up, but if your kid has sensory issues, I’d strongly advise against it.
Most of the costumes sold in stores aren’t comfortable enough to wear for prolonged periods of time; especially if one needs to sit on the floor.
Also, bear in mind that if you or your child dress up, you might spend your Expo time posing for others’ pictures instead of enjoying the exhibits.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending R2D2

What to pack?

Since you’ll be standing on your feet or sitting on floors most of the day, you should bring along the most comfortable pair of shoes and pants you can.
The Expo doesn’t make public announcements in the event of a child getting lost so carrying two phones to communicate with one another in case you get separated along with a cord to recharge the devices is a good idea.If your kid is nonverbal then temporary tattoos or clothes patches should be used to help him or her be identified fast.
An additional benefit of bringing the phones is that it can entertain your kid if he or she needs to wait in any lines.


Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending ZOOTOPIA

What’s there to see?

Depending on your child’s interests there are quite a few choices to consider. The key is in the initial planning. You need to pre-plan your days at the Expo just like you’d plan your day in the theme park.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending ANIMATORS
Use the D23 website and mobile app to find out which presentations and pavilions to attend and where each one held, so you don’t waste precious time running around looking for the particular room.

Since there are several presentations given at the same time, you will need to pick which one to attend and arrive at the assigned room, at least, a half an hour before the doors open (for the sought -after presentations you need to come even earlier.)

If your child needs a break, the convention lobby is a great place to people-watch and strike up a conversation. It can be especially fun to see the homemade costumes.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending MOODS
At this year’s expo, the presentations included introductions to Walt Disney’s, Pixar’s and Lucasfilms’ new movies, multiple celebrity appearances; as well as the reveal of the Star War planned expansion in the US theme parks!

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending STARWARS
The Expo featured Live performances at the Disney Channel and Disney Radio booths with presentations from the Disney archives and Disney Imagineering.
There was an entire section dedicated to toys and video games and all the Disney memorabilia imaginable to gawk at and buy for the avid shoppers.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending CAR

Where to eat?

The Expo boasted diverse food venues both inside the convention building all cafeteria style, as well as outside food trucks.There were long lines at lunch time especially the indoors places, sparse seating and few options for guests with special diets.So, my recommendation is that attendees with special dietary should bring their food.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending FOOD

Is the Expo autism- friendly?

This is the million-dollar question.
The Expo states on their website that it can accommodate special needs attendees of all types including those using wheelchairs and service dogs and that requests can be helped by the guest service personnel in the lobby.
However, in reality, the accommodations varied and were not consistent.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending ACCOMMODATIONS

On the first day of the Expo (Friday) our son was let into the building fast without needing to sit in the long lines outside which was a blessing since the temperature outside that day was quite high and he is temperature intolerant.
He was also helped to get a stage pass so he could attend the Inside Out panel he wanted to see.Later that afternoon he asked to attend Pixar’s presentation and was also let in with little wait after explaining his condition.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending QUEUES
Things didn’t go as well the following day Saturday when there were many more visitors than the day before.
He wanted to attend the Lucasfilm and Marvel presentation for which people started queuing the night before.

When we arrived five hours before the doors opened there were already thousands in line. We went back and forth asking guest services and the staff at the hall’s entrance for accommodations, but no one could tell us where to go. An hour later as he tried again to enter the room he was told the event had been sold out.He got highly agitated and experienced a serious meltdown that continued for over an hour. The staff there was nothing short of amazing -they worked on calming him down and were well trained in de-escalation techniques.
As the time neared, a kind staffer was able to secure us two seats in the room which needless to say ‘made our day.
Disney needs to formulate more transparent policy when it comes to persons with autism explaining  when and where to go to ask for accommodations.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending GIFTS

Tips for minimizing wait times

If you’d like to shop in one of the three official venues without standing in the long lines, go to the pass store desk in hall A and ask for a Store Pass that gives you priority entry and a designated time slot to go and shop.
This applies to the Disney Dream Store, Disney Store, and Mickey’s of Glendale, too.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending MEDALS

If you don’t wish to ask for special accommodations but still want to get priority entrance to panels, the Expo offers a system of stage passes that you can get at the designated desk in the hall.
Be aware that this is only applicable for panels that start at 11 a.m., and you can only get one stage pass at a time so if you wish to attend more than one panel you have to go back and get a separate pass before each panel starts.

StagePass tickets are not available for Hall D23 sessions, or for presentations scheduled before 11:00 a.m. in Stage 23 and Stage 28 so if you would like to attend any of these presentations you need to ask Guest Services for help.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending DECOR

Autism Travel Tips

  • The best way to start preparing your kid is to show them video clips and pictures from past events that are available online.
  • Make sure you print a copy of the building map and acquaint your child with the location of the different halls.
  • We didn’t do that and spent valuable time the first day getting lost in all the different rooms.
  • Teach them how to use the phone app to check for new updates.
  • Discuss and formulate a plan B if you can’t get seats for a specific panel that they wish to attend.
  • Explain the reality that they may not see all conferences because of time and logistics.
  • Shopping is an integral component of the Expo so make sure you set a spending budget to avoid arguments and potential meltdowns.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending MONSTER

As longtime Disney fans, attending the D23 was a special treat for us.

Though, things didn’t go as planned (do they ever?) my son looks back and remembers all the fun times he had.

In fact, he is looking forward to booking his tickets for the next Expo as soon as they are released, sometime in January of 2016.
Hopefully, the above tips will be helpful to you as you plan for the D23 of 2017, and you will be inspired to join us.

Disney’s D23 Conference : Helpful Tips for Attending BUZZ

Family Stay at The Red Lion Anaheim Hotel

 

The Red Lion Anaheim Hotel, located at 1850 South Harbor Boulevard, is a reliable choice for travelers looking for a budget friendly choice when visiting Anaheim attractions because of its proximity to Disneyland, family restaurants, stores and major freeways.
It offers 308 non-smoking rooms with king or two queen beds along with a 624 square foot suite fitted with a King sized bed and a living room area and an opening sofa that a child can sleep in.
There are two categories of rooms available: premium rooms with views of the Disneyland Park and standard ones with no park views.
The property also has ADA compliant rooms with wider doorways, lower grab rails, and TDD capacity and connecting rooms for larger families.

Transportation

The hotel is within walking distance of Disneyland and the Convention Center, so there is no need for guests to drive to the park and pay an additional parking fee.
If visitors want to spare their feet for walking around the park, they can get a daily 5$ pass for the Anaheim rapid transit vehicle that passes every 15-20 in front of the property or hop onboard the Disney’s resort express bus.

Fellow travelers

The hotel is a favorite with families and a few business travelers because of its proximity to the park and Convention Center.

Our room

Our room decorated in contemporary with dark woods and geometric patterns had two queen-sized beds, a comfortable ergonomic chair with a work desk and a small sitting area by the window.
Lit by several standing the lamps, the room also boasted two phones one of which is conveniently by the bedside and multiple outlets to power up electronics.
Additional room amenities helpful for traveling families include a flat-screen TV with free cable channels including HBO, ESPN and Disney, an in-room safe, Keurig coffee maker, a microwave and mini refrigerator.
Since the building didn’t have a central air conditioning /heating system, every room was equipped with its own individual with unit and thermostat.

Family Stay at The Red Lion Anaheim Hotel room


Bathroom

The bathroom was average sized for L.A based hotels with a black granite counter top and the shelving underneath that provided ample space to store cosmetics and medicines families’ travel with.
The tub had a showerhead (if you need a hand held the shower head to wash young kids you should bring a plastic one that fits over the tub spout) and a curved shower curtain.
The hotel provided eco-friendly toiletries for guests that included soaps and hair products.

Restaurants

The property’s restaurant Red’s Pasta Kitchen was open for Breakfast Lunch, and dinner in case guests returned hungry and exhausted from their day in the park. The breakfast spread for $10 per person (free for kids under 10) included cereals, bagels, pancakes scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, and sausages. Parents with children that are picky eaters should head on to the 24 hour House of package’s next door.The hotel also offered a Grab and Go venue food alternative called Café2Go, a good option for those rushing to get to the theme park for those early magic hours.

Hotel amenities

The heated outdoor pool  (no life guards on duty) and weekend roasting s’mores in the outdoor fire pits can help with entertaining kids to recover from a Disney overload.
The hotel also boasted a gym with cardio and weight lifting equipment for those wishing to maintain their exercising regime on vacation.

Useful idea

Like many other hotels in resort and theme parks, areas this hotel was equipped with laundry facilities.

Service

The hotel staff was courteous but looked a bit overwhelmed by the line of travelers checking in or out.
We did call housekeeping asking for additional towels that were delivered promptly.

Cost

Join the Red Lion Club before booking for a 15% discount and other perks like bottled waters or check websites like Expedia and Priceline.com to find the best prices.
Since the daily parking fee of $14 can add up, travelers should try to book a nightly hotel rate that includes parking.

Family Stay at The Red Lion Anaheim Hotel pool


Autism Travel Tips

  • Since the building has minimal soundproofing travelers should ask for a quiet room in the main building on middle floors (3-7)  away from noises of parking lots, boulevard traffic, elevators, ice machines or roof fans especially if their special needs child is noise sensitive.
  • The room A/C can get noisy at times so guests might want to have their kid sleep as far as possible from the unit if they are noise sensitive.
  • Guests may wish to bring a night light to supply the hotel room with some continuous light as the bathroom light is controlled by a motion sensor and will turn off at night.
  • For those kids who tire quickly or are uncomfortable in large crowds, the premium hotel rooms are a good option as they enable the guests to watch the fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle from the comfort of the room.

 

 

 

 

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