On Nov. 9, 2017, Visit Anaheim and 26 partners touched down at the Cascade Casino in Langley, just outside Vancouver, to share news and new developments with travel agents from across the Lower Mainland.
“Canada is a very important market to Anaheim and to Southern California,” said Kathy Nishimura, manager, international programs for Visit Anaheim. “We bring everybody up here and do a mini trade show just for travel agents, because we really believe that the best way to make those connections is to come up in person.”
And business has been good, she noted in an interview with PAXnewsWest. Numbers from 2016 show 566,622 Canadians visited Anaheim last year, a nine per cent increase over 2015.
The city opened a new building at its convention centre and that has kicked off new hotel development. Anaheim is set to welcome four 4-diamond properties over the next five years.
The Disneyland Resort is adding its first new hotel in almost 20 years, with a 700-room property set to open in 2021. The hotel will feature two pools, premier concierge service and a rooftop restaurant that offers a front row seat to the Disneyland Park fireworks.
The first JW Marriott in Orange County is set to open in 2021 in the GardenWalk district with 466 guest rooms near the Disney parks and the Anaheim Convention Centre.
The first Westin in the city, the Anaheim Convention Center, Westin Anaheim Resort on Katella Avenue is scheduled to open in 2020 with 613 rooms and 3,900 square metres of meeting space.
The brand behind the development to replace the Anaheim Plaza Hotel & Suites is still a secret, but the 580-room property will boast two signature restaurants and 4,645 square metres of meeting space when it opens in 2022.
The House of Blues has a new home at the GardenWalk. It’s doubled in size, housing not only a restaurant multiple concert venues, hosting acts ranging from big ticket productions to local artists.
• Disneyland Resort announced the Canadian Resident ticket offer is back. Clients can save 25 per cent on advance purchase of three-day or longer Disneyland Resort Theme Park Tickets purchased through February 28, 2018 for travel through December 31, 2018. New attractions in Disney California Adventure Park include Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!; Soaring Around the World; and Frozen at the Hyperion Theatre. In Carsland Luigi’s Rollicking Roadsters is new, while Disneyland Park sees the return of classics like Disneyland Steam Train and Mark Twain Riverboat after a two-year absence. MaxPass is a new add-on to the FastPass system. At $10 per person per day, clients have the option to book FastPasses on their phone through the Disneyland app, as well as enjoy unlimited PhotoPass downloads for the day. MaxPass is only available inside the Park gates.
• Knott’s Berry Farm offers a unique combination of word-class thrill rides and traditional family attractions and shows. New in 2018 is the HangTime, the first dive coaster on the West Coast of the U.S. that boasts a vertical lift of 15 storeys and a 96-degree drop. The best option for clients is the two-day, two-park Ride and Slide ticket, only available through wholesalers, offering one day in Knott’s Berry Farm and one day in Soak City.
• Legoland offers more than 60 rides, shows and attractions, including Lego Ninjago, The Ride that allows riders to control fireballs, lightning, shockwaves and ice; The Lego Movie 4E, A New Adventure; Lego Miniland and the Legoland Water Park with more than “10 million gallons of fun”.
• SeaWorld’s Ocean Explorer is an all-new, kid-centric realm that features five children’s rides and three animal encounters. The Orca Encounter is the park’s revamped Orca program that is a back-to-the-basics show that is education based. Clients can also learn about SeaWorld’s rescue program that has saved more than 33,000 animals over its 53-year history.
• Last year Universal Studios Hollywood opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Walking Dead Attraction. In 2018, the park opens Dreamworks Theatre with a live stage show. Ticket options include Front of the Line tickets, a one-time front of the line access to each attraction, including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter; and the VIP experience, an all-day, guided experience with unlimited Front of the Line access to rides and attractions, exclusive reserved seating at all shows, a gourmet lunch and valet parking.
• ART, or Anaheim Resort Transportation has 23 routes that serve five cities carrying nine million people a year. The hop-on/hop-off service travels 22 interchangeable routes that offer daily services to 75 area hotels; Disneyland Resort; Anaheim GardenWalk; Knott’s Berry Farm; Medieval Times and Pirates Dinner Adventure in Buena Park; Santa Ana; the Outlets at Orange; Garden Grove; Costa Mesa hotels and South Coast Plaza. Ticket options include one-, three- and five-day passes.
• Karmel Shuttle Service offers airport transfers, point to point transfers and private transfers to and from all major airports, cruise ship terminals, all Los Angeles/Orange County hotels and theme parks. Karmel’s Extreme Tours offer out of the ordinary sightseeing experiences like horseback riding near the Hollywood sign and zip lining on Catalina Island.
• Lux Bus offers daily sightseeing tours, including admission tickets, to popular attractions like Universal Studios. The tours start earlier so clients will arrive as the park opens. There is also the opportunity to upgrade to Front of the Line passes.