A few weeks ago, I was in Anaheim, CA for the American Library Association’s Annual Meeting. I can’t say I’d recommend it as a vacation destination (unless of course you are going to Disney, which I did not), but oddly enough I still felt like it was kind of meh as a conference destination. Better than Dallas, mostly just because there were more food options close by, but not as good as Seattle.
Stayed at: I won’t get into why, but I spent most of my nights at the Anaheim Marriott, and then one night at the DoubleTree Suites. Both were fine. The Marriott had more food options, including a small food court, and that gave it a bit of an edge. But my room at the Doubletree had a fridge. Both were nice hotels, in good shape and quite clean. Staff were very friendly as well. The Marriott is right next to the convention center, and the DoubleTree is just a couple of blocks away.
Ate at: I ate at a couple of the restaurants at the Marriott – Cafe del Sol for a lovely lunch on the patio (which is, kind of oddly, around the pool, so if you’re annoyed by kids running around and yelling and doing pool stuff, sit inside) and then a late, light dinner at Degrees Wine & Patio Bar. Which as far as I could tell, those two shared a space and were basically the same restaurant, so I’m not sure how they really distinguish them. But, whatever. The food was good and the service was friendly. I also got room service one morning, which was fine but OMG expensive. Oh, and the baristas at the very busy Starbucks off the lobby have a good system, so don’t let that long line deter you.
I also ate at Mix Restaurant at the Hilton one night with my coworkers, and I was not particularly impressed. The service was friendly but disorganized, and the food was nothing special. I wouldn’t say to avoid it, but I wouldn’t seek it out either. What I would say to avoid is Tangerine Grill & Patio at the Annabella Hotel. I had a horrible experience there for a group dinner. My review on Yelp will tell you specifically why I won’t be going back, if you’re curious.
Two little hole-in-the wall restaurants were excellent and well worth the walk. I had lunch with a friend at Mi Casa Mexicana, which was very yummy. They have minimal waitstaff, so things were a little disorganized but they were all very friendly and moved quickly to refill water, or take care of anything else we asked. This is just a couple of blocks from the convention center and got busy at lunch. Slightly further away, but not a bad walk at all if you’re a walker, is Thuyen Vien, a delicious vegetarian thai restaurant. The service was awesome – the gentleman waiting on us even explained how to eat some of the things we ordered – and the food was amazing. A great meal, though it’s not quite close enough for most people attending ALA to hit for lunch. Mi Casa Mexicana is, though.
Overall there are a lot of chain restaurants around the convention center, for better or for worse. There’s also a lot of stuff at Downtown Disney, which I did not visit.
Getting Around: I didn’t really leave the area of the convention center. There seemed to be a good amount of cabs if you were near the convention center area, but we waited a while for one at the Disneyland Hotel after a meeting. When I arrived, I took a $10 SuperShuttle to my hotel, which is the regular pricing for a huge list of hotels near Disney. The cab ride to the airport the day I left was I think over $40 after tip, so if you have to count your pennies more closely than I do for these things, the SuperShuttle is the way to go.