Good Neighbor Hotel: Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel

You’ve probably seen it from I-5. A big brick castle that looks like the perfect place to stay as you approach Disneyland. As a kid I thought this was the place to be (the Castle Inn on Harbor being right up there too). But would it hold up as an adult?

The Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel is the former Sheraton and it has had some rough patches in the past. Despite its stellar location and top-tier past it struggled to make it as an independent hotel. But it has a lot to offer guests that make it one to consider if you’re staying in Anaheim.

The Hotel

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The castle exterior with vaguely alpine elements is familiar to many visitors to the Anaheim Resort. The hotel’s free shuttle picks up under the portico awning. 

Location is everything in Anaheim. Are you walking to the parks? Driving? A shuttle bus? How far are you willing to go within the Anaheim Resort away from I-5? While the hotels on Harbor can be alluring some people don’t care for the eternal hustle and bustle of park guests coming and going. The Majestic Garden has an advantage of being close to the park but apart from the main hotel drag.

The hotel offers standard hotel rooms, a small pool area (don’t expect anything like the Courtyard’s pool), two restaurants, a lounge, room service, an in-hotel Disney information desk, secure overnight parking, and a regular shuttle to Disneyland.

The exterior hasn’t changed over the years. It’s still the same castle, although it could use some TLC compared to some of the other hotels.

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A seating area off the main lobby. This looks like a cozy place for evening cocktails or a meeting place if a group is staying at the hotel but in different rooms. That fire is real, which wasn’t really necessary in May. 

The lobby is much darker than what I remember the Sheraton’s was like. Contrary to the more contemporary inclination towards bright, airy lobbies the Majestic Garden is all dark wood, bold tones, and strategically themed art.

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An example of the medieval themed art that’s found all over the hotel. See Mickey in the mirror? That’s the on site Disney kiosk where you can buy park tickets, make reservations, and ask questions. This is a great alternative to standing in line at the park ticket booths if you’re running low on time.

The hotel does allow for early check in, but it will cost you $25. If your room isn’t ready they can give you a blank key card so you can board the shuttle to Disneyland.

The shuttle leaves the hotel every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour. It departs Disneyland every 30 minutes at :15 and :45. The shuttles are more likely to make frequent pick ups at Disneyland as the night draws to a close, but keep an eye on the schedule. Shuttles run from 30 minutes  before park opening to 1.5 hours after closing. If you get stuck the hotel is within walking distance, but it is on the back side of the park so be prepared to hike. If you have an early entry ticket (select days in the week) the bus leaves 30 minutes prior to that early opening and you might need to present the ticket to the driver to board.

The Room

The hotel is laid out in a series of wings and can seem endlessly huge when you’re tires from a day in the park. We were able to book a Premium Room but that doesn’t mean it was any closer to the front of the hotel. What it does mean is a more spacious updated room.

The halls are a lighter color scheme than the lobby and are filled with art that keeps with the medieval theme without getting too kitschy. I liked that at the corners of each hallways were these walls and carpets telling a portion of the hotel’s very own fairy tale. If you have kids they’ll have fun finding the places mentioned in the story within the hotel.

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At the end of each corridor in the main building is another piece of the fairy tale. If you wanted a workout you could do a circuit of the building to read the whole thing. The hotel does have a koi pond just outside the main lobby, so kids can go there and other referenced locations to relive the story.

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We actually entered our room after a long day at the parks. It was a long walk to find the room but once we entered we were pleased to see a room as nice as some of the chain hotels that cost twice as much.

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Two comfy queen beds. I like the glam-meets-fantasy decor: not as much of a hard sell as the suits of armor in the lobby. The light grey walls are a nice choice versus the dark browns and tans in the lobby, too.

There’s a lot of room here. You could have fit two more beds in all the open space. I imagine if you needed roll away beds for more people they would easily fit in here.

I liked the design of the room: fantasy castle meets modern mansion. It’s enough to remind you that Disneyland is across the street (the backstage area, but still Disneyland) without hitting you over the head with theming (I’ve found that most places outside of Disney don’t do theming well). If you’ve seen the television show Once Upon a Time this feels like Regina’s house. Check out the forest silhouette wallpaper.

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Misty and spooky wallpaper. I want this in my bedroom back home.

At the front of the room was a little dressing alcove with a mirror and bench near the closet. Another full length mirror is on the side of the closet, so there should be no fighting for the mirror.

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Dressing area with the entrance to the bathroom. I imagine small children might play with the mirror like it’s a magic mirror.

The bathroom was a little disappointing after the rest of the room. It’s pretty much a standard hotel bathroom, but our shower did get good water pressure, which is a plus. The sink has a spray-type faucet rather than the typical solid flow so there’s a splash zone of sorts around the sink.

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Standard hotel bathroom. It is a little smaller than other hotels in the Anaheim Resort but it has been updated so no old toilet or leaky faucet.

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The beds are firm and comfortable. At the end of our day we needed to charge all our various electronics and were prepared to plug into the outlets near the television when we food these on the sides of the bedside table. There’s even a USB port for charging if you have cord but no plug.

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Built in outlets in the bedside table. These are on each side so no person has to run out of juice. I like the USB port for charging my external battery but I wouldn’t plug in anything with information that could be siphoned off it. Call me paranoid but I don’t know if that port is just for electricity or if someone could tamper with it. Better safe than sorry.
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Express breakfast menu. $10.75 seems a bit steep for a pastry with some beverages. That had better be the most awesome juice, coffee/tea, and milk available. 

The hotel offers room service with an Express Breakfast option. While the standard American breakfast is a comparable price to other full service hotels the Continental seemed overpriced. There’s a restaurant in the lobby that serves  breakfast too. For our part we ate at the parks.

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The various notices and brochures in the room are all themed too. 

Overall we were very pleased with the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel. The staff was friendly and courteous, fees were laid out clearly when we booked, and the hotel itself was a definite value for comfort, atmosphere and price.

Good: Free shuttle to the parks; quality accommodations at a reasonable price; fun theming; easy parking; courteous customer service; easy access to I-5

Not So Good: Sprawling layout; pricey room service; long waits for shuttles at night; some dodgy sounds in the elevators (they have been inspected recently so it can’t be too bad can it?); loud noises from the ice machine (our room was next door so every hour or so it sounded like someone was knocking on the wall)

Best Moment: Finding the extra outlets in the bedside table (you try charging a phone, an iPod, and an external battery!)

Forgettable Moment: Using a different elevator and subsequently getting lost (our room is around the corner… no, this corner… maybe this one?)

Budget Range: Value Resort- We got a special deal on our trip but you can expect around $100-175 per night on average. This hotel is classified as a VIP+ Hotel on Expedia, which means free upgrades if they’re available.

Summed Up As A Song: “Here’s a thought: perhaps there’s something there that wasn’t there before.” Something There (a couple of years ago I wouldn’t have considered this place, just based on reviews. What a difference time and better management make!

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