To most people, Anaheim, California is better known by another name: Disneyland. For 50 years, Walt’s mouse house has been synonymous with the city.
This year, it’s also home to another US institution: Pow Wow. The show for US tourism business and destinations hits town from April 21-25 – if you’re going, get the most out of it with our handy guide to the area and our round-up of the best Pow Wow parties.
Anaheim is situated in Orange County, midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. To the west lies 42 miles of dramatic Pacific coastline and sandy beaches, while the north is a mix of orange groves and vineyards.
In contrast, the south is dominated by the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains and the Cleveland National Forest and leads up to Saddleback Peak – the highest point in the county.
This huge variety of landscape is blessed with a warm Mediterranean climate. And it has a sophisticated side, too, with pretty seaside towns bustling with markets, boutiques, restaurants and idyllic beach homes.
Where to stay
The original Disneyland Hotel has 990 rooms, and its Never Land-themed pool is close enough to the main gate to satisfy any Mickey-mad child or adult.
The Doryman’s Inn is a romantic 11-room bed and breakfast on the oceanfront of Newport Beach, full of elegant antiques, gas-burning fireplaces and sunken marble bathtubs.
Anaheim Marriott is a 1,031-room tower two blocks from Disneyland and next to the Anaheim Convention Center. A £7 million renovation was completed in December 2006 and it’s now completely non-smoking and benefits from upgraded bedding and extra space in the communal areas.
Luxury spa hotel Fairmont Newport Beach has 440 rooms and is situated on Newport Beach. Its £16 million upgrade has created an extra 8,000sq ft of space. Rooms feature oversized baths, Egyptian cotton linens and toiletries from Miller Harris.
Forget blueberries and all your other superfruits, when you’re in Anaheim you have to tuck into boysenberry pie.
Named after its creator, Rudolph Boysen, it’s a blackberry-raspberry-loganberry cross. Every boysenberry in the world today can trace its roots back to Knott’s Berry Farm where it was first commercially grown.
Disneyland celebrated its 50th birthday in 2006, and to show it hasn’t lost its touch the park is about to open its new Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Plus, you can now stay inside the new Mickey Mouse Penthouse and take advantage of a ‘Dream Fastpass’ that allows guests to customise their Disney experience more than ever before.
Back in the real world, California is the land of convertibles, and driving one down the 42-mile coastal road from Seal Beach to San Clemente allows you to take in the best of Orange County, ranging from Long Beach to Laguna Beach, Huntingdon Beach and Dana Point.
The town of Temecula is about an hour and a half from Anaheim and produces some of the best wine in California. Better still, many of its vineyards run tasting sessions.
Anaheim boasts two top-class sporting facilities: Arrowhead Pond (now the Honda Center), home to National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks, and nearby Angel Stadium, home to Major League Baseball’s Anaheim Angels – winners of the 2002 World Series. Both stadiums hold evening games.
For something more genteel, consider The Queen Mary. Now a permanently docked hotel, the transatlantic liner has 365 original hotel rooms and a number of award-winning restaurants, making it a romantic setting to enjoy a meal amid wood panelling and art deco glamour.
For some true California glam, head for the beaches of LA. Venice Beach underwent a makeover recently and is now safer and more relaxed than ever, but it still retains its edgy, alternative feel. Meanwhile Santa Monica’s trendy boutiques and top-end restaurants makes it the ideal place to walk off your feast.
Who: American Airlines flies from Heathrow to Santa Ana, Orange County via Chicago. Prices for May start at £472, including taxes. United Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines and US Airways also fly to Orange County.
Flight time: 12 hours.
Transfers: Connections can be made at Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Atlanta or Phoenix.
Currency: US dollar. $1 = 50p.
Time difference: GMT -8 hours
Weather: Yearly average of 21C with mild winters and summers full of hot days and cool evenings.
Funway offers seven nights’ bed and breakfast at Anaheim’s Carousel Inn and Suites from £685 per person this November. The price includes Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow, seven days’ car rental and an 11% discount shopping card at Macy’s.
Travel 4 offers seven nights’ room- only at the three-star Anabella Hotel in Anaheim for £589 per person this November, including direct American Airlines flights with flights from Heathrow and one week’s car hire with Alamo.
North America Travel Service offers a three-centre break in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Anaheim from £995 this November. This includes three nights at the Grand Hyatt Union Square, San Francisco; two nights at the Hyatt Orange County, Anaheim; two nights at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills; four days’ car hire in Los Angeles and flights.