Anaheim Resort is Anaheim, Calif.’s newest way of growing and reinventing itself. The city has expanded the Anaheim Convention Center by 40 percent, bumping it up to 1.6 million square feet and making it the largest center on the West Coast. Disney recently added a second new theme park, California Adventure, and a new shopping, dining, and entertainment area called Downtown Disney District.
The combined 1,100-acre north Orange County site is now known as the Anaheim Resort, and the redesign has pumped nearly $5 billion into the area.
Why the vast expenditure? Charles Ahlers, president of the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau, says Anaheim was "an older destination in the ‘90s." Now it’s got pizzazz—as well as offering the space to accommodate large meetings and convention groups. Ahlers also noted that Anaheim has been rated by the FBI as the No. 1 safest midsized city in America.
It’s also prettier, with new palm trees and gardens lining the boulevards. A great area for strolling, the Anaheim Resort has a campus-like feel to it.
With 5,000 new rooms added in the last four years, there are now 22,000 hotel rooms within five minutes of the convention center, including the Hilton Anaheim, Anaheim Marriott, Sheraton Anaheim, Hyatt Regency Orange County, and West Coast Anaheim Hotel. Also nearby is Edison Field, home to the Anaheim Angels professional baseball team; and The Pond, home to pro hockey’s Mighty Ducks.
Disney’s most luxurious hotel, the new 751-room Grand Californian Hotel, is set within Disney’s California Adventure. Being inside the park makes it easy for attendees to quickly get from a meeting to an after-hours event within either Disneyland or California Adventure. From a banquet for 2,000 on "Hollywood Boulevard" to a dinner for 200 at the Soap Opera Bistro, the California Adventure has multiple venues for themed events.
The Grand Californian Hotel, done up in turn-of-the century Craftsman-style furnishings, adds 20,000 square feet of convention space to bring overall Disneyland Resort space to 186,000 square feet in three hotels. Group space in Disneyland's other two hotels includes The Disneyland Hotel, with 136,000 square feet, and Paradise Pier, with 30,000 square feet. —Harriet Modler