CVII All About Anaheim - Airports, Hotels, Parks, & More!

Discussion in 'FanForce: Star Wars Celebration Anaheim' started by Miana Kenobi, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    Hi folks! So I will do my best to make a large overview of pretty much everything you're going to need to know about Anaheim. Several of us are intimately familiar with the area, so we are here to answer any and all questions about Anaheim.

    Now I know it's too early to book hotels and plane tickets, but I know lots of you, like me, are already thinking ahead.


    Anaheim, CA

    [IMG]

    Anaheim is roughly 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles. What started as an empty orange grove has boomed into one of the largest tourist destinations in California thanks to a little place called Disneyland.

    You're going to see me mention Disneyland a lot. Well, that's because when I say that Disneyland is just across the street, I'm not joking. Disneyland is LITERALLY ACROSS THE STREET.

    [IMG]

    So not even joking.


    The Anaheim Convention Center itself is the largest convention center on the entire West Coast. I know people were worried about space, but remember that this is a place LARGER than the San Diego Convention Center, which hosts over 130,000 people a year for Comic-Con. So trust me, we're good.

    TRANSPORTATION

    There's a handful of airports relatively close to Anaheim, but sadly none IN Anaheim.

    Your best bets for airports are either LAX - Los Angeles International, SNA - John Wayne Airport Orange County, or ONT - Ontario Airport. For all international flights, LAX will be your best bet. John Wayne is much smaller, but also closer. ONT is a bit further out of the way, but don't let that fool you; it will probably take less time to get there than from LAX due to Los Angeles traffic.

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    For anyone wanting to go by train, you're actually in luck! There's an Amtrak stop just about a mile away, next to Angels Stadium.

    http://www.amtrak.com/home

    Now, the smartest thing to do would just be to take the train from the airport to the Anaheim stop, right? Well that'd be too logical and sadly Southern California transportation doesn't work that way. There is no train or railway that stops at LAX. Or John Wayne, for that matter.


    Getting from Airports to Anaheim

    There's a handful of ways you can get to Anaheim. You can get a taxi (pricey) or private shuttle service, you can rent a car, OR you can take advantage of the fact that Disneyland will be our next door neighbor.

    Buses run daily from LAX and SNA to the Disneyland resort and Anaheim hotels. They use Greyline Anaheim and are quiet affordable. By affordable, I mean round-trip to and from the airport will only be $30.

    Here's information on the Disneyland Express shuttle:
    http://graylineanaheim.com/docs/DRE Brochure.pdf


    You also can use Super Shuttle, which includes Ontario airport.

    http://www.supershuttle.com/Locations/DisneyLandAirportShuttle.aspx


    Anaheim Transportation

    Getting around Anaheim is actually very easy.

    The Anaheim Resort Transportation (or ART) has a very nice, very thorough service that runs to all major Anaheim destinations (Disney, the malls, Knotts, Angel's Stadium, etc). It also conveniently stops at the Amtrak stop, so you have that option if you train in.


    HOTELS

    Celebration's already opened up their hotel reservations. but here's the main ones.

    Right next to the Convention center are the main 4-5 hotels:

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    During other conventions, I've stayed at both the Hilton and the Marriott. Convention rates are usually like $130 a night, so that's a major plus.

    Disneyland Resort also has their own hotels, which are a bit pricier, but also really nice.

    [IMG]

    You've got three: The Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier, or the Grand Californian. All are nice, but pricy. They're about a 10-15 minute walk to the convention center (like 10 from Paradise Pier, 15 from the Disneyland Hotel).

    Then there's all the smaller hotels and motels to choose from.

    [IMG]

    You've got options.



    RESTAURANTS

    Harbor Blvd. & Katella both have tons of options for dining out. Fast food, cheaper meals, and even much more pricey expensive places. Katella has Gardenwalk, which is full of some of the nicer chain restaurants like CPK and Cheesecake Factory.

    Plus, there's also Downtown Disney, which has a huge variety of restaurants, shops, and entertainment.

    So with that, let's plunge into Disneyland.


    DISNEYLAND

    So here's where I get to put in my disclaimer as to why Disneyland is an important factor in this entire convention:

    Disneyland Resort DAILY has about 40,000-60,000 guests. That's more people than most of the Celebrations brought in. So that being said, all hotels, restaurants, parking, and just space in general will ALSO be occupied by people just going to Disneyland. This isn't Orlando in August when there's nobody around; we're competing with amusement park guests for space.

    That being said, Disneyland is pretty much the coolest place ever.

    https://disneyland.disney.go.com/

    Disneyland is divided into 3 areas; 2 parks and Downtown Disney.

    Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure are the two parks where I can seriously guarantee that you'll have an amazing time. There you can ride Star Tours, explore Cars Land, meet Mickey Mouse, and just spend an amazing few days.

    If it's your first time at a Disney Park, I'd recommend taking 2 days to explore everything. April usually isn't too crowded, and if you go during the week, it's pretty nice (unless that week is Spring Break still...).

    Downtown Disney is absolutely free to explore and is filled with dozens of restaurants, shops, and nighttime entertainment.

    https://disneyland.disney.go.com/destinations/downtown-disney-district/

    I could write a book on Disneyland, so whatever questions you have about the place, I'd be more than happy to answer.


    Other Amusement Parks

    Southern California has a lot to offer.

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    If you're looking for Roller Coasters & Attractions, you'll want to check out Knott's Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain (a bit further up on the map), and Universal Studios.

    If you're looking for a place to take your younger children, then Legoland is in the north part of San Diego.

    If you want water parks, then check out Knott's Soak City, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Raging Waters, or Aquatica.

    If you're looking for animals and Aquariums, then you'll want to check out Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, the LA Zoo, San Diego Safari Park, the San Diego Zoo, and SeaWorld.

    However, GETTING to some of these places may require a car. Unlike Orlando, all of our parks are unfortunately not close to each other. On the map above, the distance between Aquatica and Six Flags is 168 miles.

    There's shuttle buses that can take you to the big parks, like SeaWorld and Universal, but anything else may require a car.


    WEATHER

    April is one of the weird months where the weather is extremely bi-polar and just does whatever it wants. However, the drastically changing weather is drastic by California's standards. Which, for the rest of the world, means it's just really nice weather.

    Here's a chart of what this year's April weather looked like in Anaheim. The average is the mid 70s.

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/anaheim-ca/92805/april-weather/327150

    As you can see, the weather can sometimes go from being in the high 60s to the 80s and 90s just a few days later. The weather will also drop back down to the 50s or low 60s each night, so layering is necessary for weaklings like myself and other Californians who get cold below 68 degrees.

    The good news, though, is that even if it ever does get muggy or humid, it will not nearly be as bad as Florida. Most of the time we have a dry heat, and when we do have humidity, it's not too bad.

    It might rain. It might not. Again, our version of rain is not equal to hurricane rain.




    That's it for now! Any and all questions are welcome!
    Last edited by Miana Kenobi, Aug 8, 2013
  2. lovelucas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2004
    star 4
    You're like an Orange County encyclopedia! Will save this and checking back....annually.
  3. Jlowe235 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 11, 2013
    Awesome! Thanks a ton! See you there
  4. klingklang Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 1999
    star 5
    Thanks a lot for posting all that helpful info. I wasn't aware of the bus service in Anaheim called ART (I only knew OCTA, the Orange County bus, but ART seems a lot easier).
  5. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Nov 4, 1998
    star 7
    Thank you so much for this, it's going to be great to have someone with local knowledge on the forum.
  6. HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2001
    star 6
    Wow! Great info! Thanks so much for posting this!

    The info about getting from the airport to the Anaheim area was especially helpful at this point. I didn't really want the expense of having to rent a car and it looks like I have some options (plus, LA area traffic...ugh...I had to go through that on a family vacation a couple of years ago and I'd rather not deal with that again).
    Last edited by HanSolo29, Aug 1, 2013
  7. ffluff73 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2013
    very useful - thank you - and making the temptation to go oh so much stronger.......
  8. jedinightwing Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2009
    star 3
    Awesome info here. Thanks for the effort in this. It helps a lot considering I'm going to be going there from Chicago and I havent been out to LA/Anaheim in about 14 years. really looking forward to it.
  9. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4
    Is there any new construction in the area of the Convention Center? 2 years from now is awhile, so there could be new places/facilities/whatever by then.
  10. SithLordPat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2005
    star 4
    Well. This thread is going to be invaluable. CVI was 10 minutes up the road for me. Anaheim is across the country. Will definitely be using this to plan as the time gets closer.
    Padme501st and jedinightwing like this.
  11. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    There's the giant chunk of land next to Angel's stadium that Disney supposedly purchased recently and happened to coincide with their announcement about wanting to build a Star Wars theme park.

    [IMG]
  12. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    Someone brought up something I didn't include (and will edit into the top post):


    WEATHER

    April is one of the weird months where the weather is extremely bi-polar and just does whatever it wants. However, the drastically changing weather is drastic by California's standards. Which, for the rest of the world, means it's just really nice weather.

    Here's a chart of what this year's April weather looked like in Anaheim. The average is the mid 70s.

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/anaheim-ca/92805/april-weather/327150

    As you can see, the weather can sometimes go from being in the high 60s to the 80s and 90s just a few days later. The weather will also drop back down to the 50s or low 60s each night, so layering is necessary for weaklings like myself and other Californians who get cold below 68 degrees.

    The good news, though, is that even if it ever does get muggy or humid, it will not nearly be as bad as Florida. Most of the time we have a dry heat, and when we do have humidity, it's not too bad.

    It might rain. It might not. Again, our version of rain is not equal to hurricane rain.
  13. jedinightwing Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2009
    star 3
    I'm from Chicago. Mother Nature can bring it. Either way, I'll be in Anaheim for CVII
  14. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    I can't emphasize enough that "by California's standards" means "we expect it to be 75, slightly cloudy, and slightly breezy every single day and if it's not, then the weather's terrible." :p
  15. jedinightwing Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2009
    star 3
    :p Come check out the Windy City in November. We have football...er...wait...maybe they'll be good this year....Hockey? yes...We have good Hockey and Museums. Museums are cool.
  16. Airdave Jedi Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2013
    Thanks for the info! That will come in handy. I'm planning on making Celebration 2015. I'm sure the Celebration website will post travel tips and hotel/airfare info at a later date, but it's always good to have some extra info. I know I'll be picking the brains of people who have attended Celebrations as we get closer to 2015.
  17. Rogue501st Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 2010
    star 1
    Thanks for all the great information! I know nothing about the Anaheim area, other than Disneyland is there. Didn't think about having to arrange for transportation from LAX. Average temp of 70 sounds great right now! I've got a heat index of 100+ outside my door in Florida right now. Looking forward to visiting the West Coast!
  18. lovelucas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2004
    star 4
    Bookmarking this page. Thanks for all of this. Are we all really ready to book for 2 years out? Tomorrow?
  19. Newey Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2013
    It's hard to tell looking at the maps. I have a Disney Vacation Club membership and can stay at the Grand Californian. Is that within a decent walking distance of the convention center. On the map it looks like it's just around the corner, but I know that can be deceiving. Especially after a long day at a con and potentially carrying a lot of bags. Just curious what those of you familiar with the area think. Thanks for your input!
  20. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Ontario International Airport may be a good one to fly into and out of as well. Only about 30-40 minutes from Anaheim taking the 60 and 57 freeways.
  21. EmeraldJediFire Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2012
    star 4

    I'm from Chicago myself, but I've lived in Texas for most of my life...so it will be a welcome change for me as well. AND it's freakin' 100 in April at times...so whatever California wantsoot dish out..I say bring it as well,


    Note: I have been to California several times.
    Last edited by EmeraldJediFire, Aug 6, 2013
  22. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    The Grand Californian wouldn't be bad walking distance; probably like a 10-15 minute walk or so. When I get home tonight I can chart out the Disney resort hotels. :)
  23. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    I thought about including Ontario, but the Disney shuttles don't go there, if I remember correctly. I was putting in airports that would be easiest for folks to get to.

    I can double check transportation from Ontario and work that in though!
  24. Matsemitsu Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 1
    Miana, thanks so much for posting all of this info. Just reading this gets me excited about going to California for the first time. CE2 was a ten-minute train ride away from where I live, so Anaheim is not just across the country, but across half the WORLD for me, so there's a certain adventure factor there.

    Good thing it's still almost two years out. Gives me time to save up. But considering that I was estimating some $150 for transportation from/to the airport, it appears your alternative has just made my trip $120 cheaper. Thanks! :)
    Last edited by Matsemitsu, Aug 7, 2013
  25. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    I can't promise prices will stay that low, however I'll keep an eye if prices ever increase. Even if they do, I doubt they'll go up much more.