In case you just popped in, “HPG” means “Haunted Parking Garage.” See previous post for details.
As a recap, this trip was planned on the spur-of-the-moment after returning from the Grand Californian during the Food & Wine Festival in early May, ostensibly to do the rides we didn’t do because we were so busy wine tasting. But as the trip got closer, we changed our focus to one of catching up on rides to living like a local. I grew up here but hadn’t lived here in years – and hadn’t spent any time as a local since we moved back from living outside the gates of Walt Disney World.
In case you’re regular fans of Disney World and thinking you’d like to move there, you may want to try renting a pool home instead of staying onsite so you can get more of a feel of living there. One thing we’ve learned with all of our moves is that you can’t really know what it’s like to live somewhere until you actually live there. But you’ll get a peek into the experience if you stay offsite – staying onsite only tells you what it’s like to stay onsite. Now on to the trip.
We left our home in Las Vegas at our usual 9:30 a.m. time on Saturday morning on June 20th. This was the first time we’d done the trip in summer and we noticed the heavier traffic. We did our usual gas/lunch stop in Barstow, which is about the halfway point, and then arrived at the Anaheim Hilton around 1:30 p.m. It was cloudy still, which is unusual because the summer morning coastal fog usually burns off by noon – especially in Anaheim.
We’ve become accustomed to valet parking at Disney resorts so we pulled up to valet at the Hilton. The porte cochere was a bit confusing, but eventually we found our spot, the valet got our bags, and we headed for the registration desk. We hadn’t stayed at the Hilton in years and had forgotten how humongous and impersonal this convention hotel is. There is a Disney desk, which we called a time or two to get information about park hours. But the front desk person was all business – our room wouldn’t be ready until 4 p.m. and she didn’t offer us any advice or give us a number or beeper or anything to check when our room might be available. Has Disney spoiled us or what?
We were in Disney withdrawal pain immediately. We headed for the nicely-appointed lobby bar and ordered 2 glasses of Echelon Pinot Noir. It was quite tasty, but I remember wanting to cry and thinking we had really screwed up our Disney vacation by staying off-site. But I also knew we needed to experience what it was like not staying onsite in case we decided to move back to Southern California. It was going to be a painful but necessary exercise. But I couldn’t help remember the last time we waited for our GC room by enjoying a tropical drink out by the pool. And the last wine we had on a Disney trip was at the Golden Vine Winery at DCA. The contrast was brutal. I told myself to stop being a baby – you know – put on my big girl panties and deal with it.
We started enjoying ourselves more with every sip of wine. Rich went back to the desk a couple of times to check on our room, but it still wasn’t ready. By the time we finished the wine, we decided to head over to the Starbuck’s just off the lobby near the registration desk. This was nicely-appointed, too, and we had some coffee and split a couple of sweet treats. Life was looking up. We were remembering the fun we used to have at business hotels – we had immersed ourselves so much in Disney for the past 5 years we had forgotten what the real world was like.
At about 10 minutes before 4 p.m. after we were finished with our wine and our coffee and our sweets, Rich checked on our room again. It was ready. Hooray! We took the slowest elevators ever up to the 7th floor, walked down a long hallway, turned the corner for another long hallway and got to our room – a King Corner room. The door was open and the maids were sitting around, thinking they had another 5 minutes before they “had” to be finished, I suppose. When they saw us, they quickly finished and were out of there.
Finally, we got to tour the room, a lovely newly-renovated large room with floor to ceiling windows on two sides, and a heavenly Hilton Serenity bed, which we could barely leave the entire trip. We love our bed at home and usually can’t wait to sleep in our own bed again, but this bed was even better! They’re available for purchase and we may have to get one.
There was also a nice desk with laptop connection, comfortable office chair, and safe big enough to store a laptop. It was a wonderful, wonderful room with a “Disney” view of Tower of Terror and other DCA attractions, the Matterhorn at Disneyland Park, and nightly fireworks.
From the artist renderings, it appears that the new rooms at the Disneyland Hotel will be similar to this room, but even nicer and we’re looking forward to staying there again after the renovation.