If you haven't heard, Get Away Today takes a trip every year to Southern California to meet our hotel and attraction partners. It's lovingly known as our FAM (short for familiarization) trip, and something we look forward to each year. Mainly because we get to tour the parks and hotels for firsthand experience. But we also team up with many of them to give away 2-night hotel stays, theme park tickets and more. Keep reading for an overview of what we did on Saturday and Sunday:
Universal Studios Hollywood
This year, our FAM trip started on Saturday, November 10th. The team was up bright and early to fly into Los Angeles, where we started the fun in Universal Studios Hollywood.
From flying through Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey to cruising around the backlot on the Studio Tour, we all had a great time. It was especially good for some of our newer reservation agents, who hadn't experienced either the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or even Universal Studios before.
If you haven't been lately, we highly suggest it! Especially because Christmas at the Wizarding World begins this Saturday, November 17th and runs through January 6th. You can enjoy holiday decor, entertainment and the dazzling Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle show. In December, you can also experience Grinchmas on select nights as well. It's always a great choice to add a day or two at Universal Studios Hollywood to your SoCal trip!
After our star-studded time at Universal Studios, we headed back to Anaheim to begin touring hotel properties. We can't visit all of our hotel partners during this time because we have so many, but we do our best to see as many as we can. Which is helpful for us to make sure we're giving you, our guests, the best hands-on information.
Hampton Inn & Suites
Our first stop was the Hampton Inn & Suites. The hotel looks absolutely amazing after its recent remodel, with fresh and bright decor. On top of the rooms being spacious, they all had numerous outlets and separate vanities - both bonuses for families. One unique feature about their outdoor area is that they have a salt water pool, kiddie pool and hot tub. With both standard rooms and suites available, you can't go wrong at the Hampton Inn & Suites.
Embassy Suites Hotel Anaheim South
Next, we stopped at Embassy Suites Hotel Anaheim South. If you love the Embassy brand, you'll love the Anaheim South location. Each suite gives you plenty of room to spread out, plus the signature cooked-to-order breakfast is always to die for. We especially love the safari theme in the lobby - including a life-size lion that roars on the hour. If you want to feel like you're in a home away from home on your Disney trip, the Embassy Suites Hotel Anaheim South is a wonderful choice!
Residence Inn Anaheim Resort
The Residence Inn Anaheim Resort was up next. You know you're in for a great trip as soon as you see the "magical memories" wall when you walk in, filled with post cards from happy guests. The all-suite property offers spacious suites with full kitchens as well as separate vanity areas in the bathroom. Free breakfast is just another reason why we love the Residence Inn Anaheim Resort!
Homewood Suites by Hilton Anaheim Maingate
After, we headed over to the Homewood Suites by Hilton Anaheim Maingate. This is another family-favorite, since it offers roomy suites with full kitchens. On top of offering free breakfast, this Homewood Suites also offers an Evening Reception Monday - Thursday, with free drinks and snacks. And they like to hold movie nights at the same time, so that both the kids and grown ups have soemthing to do. The hotel also houses one of the larger pools in the area, making it great for any mid-day swims.
Sheraton Garden Grove & Delta Hotels by Marriott Anaheim Garden Grove
We took some time to tour the Sheraton Garden Grove Anaheim South before heading to the Delta Hotels by Marriott Anaheim Garden Grove for a site tour and delicious dinner. We loved getting to eat out on the lighted patio at the Delta and get a preview of its upcoming renovation. We loved the Delta before and know we will only love it more, once the updates are finished in summer of 2019.
ALO Hotel by Ayres & Ayres Hotel Orange
To finish off the night, we headed to the ALO Hotel by Ayres and Ayres Hotel Orange. These sister properties were fantastic to not only host us for the night, but also treated us to a great breakfast Tuesday morning as well.
The ALO Hotel by Ayres has an old-time charm that hasn't been lost in any of its updates. The rooms are more than comfy, and the in-house restaurant always has great food. The Ayres Hotel Orange offers modern and deluxe rooms, with a free breakfast that never disappoints. ART stops at the ALO for both hotels, making it a quick drive to the Disneyland Resort.
The Anaheim Hotel
After a hearty breakfast, we jumped on ART and made our first stop at The Anaheim Hotel. The Anaheim Hotel offers a great value for those looking to stay within walking distance of the park and not break their budget. The retro theme is too cute, and the Olympic size swimming pool is always a hit with the whole family. Plus, the Pizza Press is housed right in the hotel, making it easy to get a quick bite to eat whenever you need.
Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort
Our group walked to the Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort next, where we got to tour and meet with our partners there. This has always been a guest favorite, with a prime location across the street and amazing staff always ready to help. We love the lobby and fun check-in area, and the rooms are always bright and clean. Nothing beats being right across the street, either. Plus, the in-house marketplace is there in case you get hungry and they always have a few specials.
Staybridge Suites by Holiday Inn Anaheim Resort
With another short ART ride, we arrived at the Staybridge Suites by Holiday Inn Anaheim Resort. We loved touring this property, as its another popular one - especially the two-bedroom suites that fit up to eight. Every room is comfy as can be, and they all offer kitchens; a win-win. You can't beat the free hot breakfast buffet, either!
Holiday Inn Anaheim Resort
We hopped over to the Staybridge's sister property, the Holiday Inn Anaheim Resort, for a tour and absolutely delicious lunch at their in-house Burger Theory Restaurant. The Holiday Inn is just as great, with standard rooms that fit up to four per room. The hotel also offers a free breakfast, plus you can get meals later in the day from their in-house restaurant, Burger Theory. If you have the chance to dine here on your trip, we highly suggest it; it's too good not to!
Knott's Berry Farm
America's first theme park, Knott's Berry Farm, was next. Knott's Berry Farm is always an adventure, with roller coasters for the thrill seekers and Campy Snoopy for the littlest ones. The newest addition, HangTime, is meant to get your heart pumping. It's California's first dive coaster, with a drop that is greater than 90 degrees! Your tastebuds will love Knott's Berry Farm just as much, whether you indulge in Mrs. Knott's famous chicken or their scrumptious huckleberry treats.
Holiday Inn Buena Park
Holiday Inn Buena Park is a great hotel if you're planning a Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm trip. We absolutely love the beautiful gardens and courtyard area! Plus, it has the largest outdoor heated swimming pool in the area. Knott's Berry Farm is only a block away and Disneyland is five miles, making it the perfect home base to go between the two. And you'll save by eating at the in-house restaurant, where kids 12 and under eat free for every meal!
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa
If you're looking to spend more days at the beach on your next trip, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa is one of the best choices. Located right on the beach, it's a beautiful hotel with deluxe amenities and furnishings. You'll want to make sure you spend some time at the pool area, too. There's a lagoon style pool as well as water playground with waterslides. They have an in-house grocery store and a shuttle to Disneyland (included in the resort fee). It's such a gorgeous property, we wouldn't be surprised if you had a hard time leaving!
Fairfield Inn Anaheim Hills
The last hotel was the Fairfield Inn Anaheim Hills. This is another great property for families looking to visit multiple locations during their Southern California trip. It's newly renovated, with comfy rooms that are spacious and bright. We especially love the free breakfast each morning, which is always a great value for families traveling.
Outlets at Orange & Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa
The day didn't end there, though! Our team got to spend a few hours shopping at the Outlets of Orange. We had a blast gaming away at Dave & Buster's, plus got to visit some of our favorite stores.
After we all scored a few great deals, we were off to Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. The Disney magic began as soon as we checked in, with a dinner at Catal in Downtown Disney. It was absolutely delicious, but the real treat came after. Our entire team experienced The Void: Secrets of the Empire, a virtual reality Star Wars-themed experience. We won't spoil the plot line, but will say you have to be ready to infiltrate a ship of Storm Troopers. Better start practicing your aim now!
We had the option for a few hours at the park after, which only left us more excited for our Disney days to continue on Monday and Tuesday! Don't forget to follow us on our Instagram, Facebook and blog posts as we explore Anaheim and San Diego this week. If you want to experience any of the great hotels we toured this weekend, head online to book your vacation package now. You're sure to have a great time at any of these wonderful properties!