We are longtime fans of the Howard Johnson Anaheim or the HOJO Anaheim as we affectionately call it. It’s our favorite offsite Disneyland hotel. Read on to learn five reasons we love the Howard Johnson Anaheim and maybe a few reasons we don’t.
We have been HOJO Anaheim super fans for the past 20 years and have stayed there many times. Early on you could get ridiculously low rates because the property had a super 70’s vibe and needed renovations. We always found the property comfortable though and you couldn’t beat the location with a short walk to Disney California Adventure and the Disneyland Park.
They have been updating the renovating the hotel for the past 10 years or so starting with the addition of the super fun waterpark and then renovating all the rooms. The room styles still retro and fun but much nicer now. It went from a great place to stay to an awesome place to stay!
Let’s chat about 5 reasons we love the Howard Johnson Disneyland hotel.
#1 The Howard Johnson Disneyland Location
The Disneyland Resort is very different form Walt Disney World, in that it has a lot of offsite hotel options close by. In fact the hotels directly across the street from the entry crosswalk on Harbor are debatable just as close as the Disneyland and Paradise Pier Hotels. There are plenty of accommodation options beyond official resort hotels when planning a trip to Disneyland.
One of Disneyland’s Good Neighbor Hotels
The Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel is not directly across from the crosswalk but a few minutes down Harbor, about 5 minutes from the crosswalk. It is still considered across the street from the Disneyland Resort and one of the Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels.
In fact you can watch the monorail go by from some rooms and the waterpark area. Plus you conveniently passed a Mimi’s Cafe, Panera Bread, and McDonalds if you need to grab a bite to eat before you enter or after you exit the park.
Why don’t I stay at one of the few hotels closer on Harbor blvd? The HOJO Anaheim is worth it an extra few minutes of walking. I estimate at a brisk walking pace its about an 8-minute to 10-minute walk from the Howard Johnson Hotel to the security lines at the Disneyland Esplanade.
#2 Howard Johnson Hotel Amenities
Beyond being next door to Disneyland, The Howard Johnson offers some awesome amenities including a gift shop, guest laundry room, pool, hot tub and splash pad.
Main Street Market is the gift shop located in building one the main tower of the HOJO. Beyond plenty of souvenir options, it offers a good selection of food, snacks and other vacation essentials like clothing, sunscreen and batteries. We typically like to pick up groceries when we drive in (or you can order delivery) but you could definiltey get by with some convenient food options from the gift shop including milk, water and soda.
I am a fan of hotels with laundry rooms. When the kids were little it took the pressure of overpacking in case they made a mess of their clothes. And now that they are older, we sometimes only pack for half the trip if we have limited luggage. We can only do that if a laundry facility is available. The laundry room is now located in building 2.
Howard Johnson Anaheim Private Themed Waterpark
One of the biggest perks at the HOJO is Castaway Cove, a pirate playground and splash pad complete with a 30-foot pirate ship, water slides, water cannons and a toddler wading pool. The water play area is perfect for young kids to tweens. There is also a whirlpool spa in the same area, perfect for adults to use while supervising the kids.
The pirate-themed water playground is not likely to entertain older kids/teens for very long, its definiltey geared for little ones. They might want to stand under the drench buckets a few times though, even my teens enjoy that still. There is also the garden pool near building 2. It’s a good sized pool and they typically have music playing over there.
#3 HOJO Room Types
The Howard Johnson Anaheim offers a wide variety of room types perfect for families, accommodating up to 5 people depending upon the room type. All hotel guests will enjoy free wi-fi and a flat-screen cable TV.
Buildings 3-6 (The Bungalows)
There are 4 bungalow style buildings at the center of the 7-acre property, these are buildings 3-6. There are a couple things to note about these buildings. First these buildings haven’t been renovated yet. They are only 2-story buildings but there is no elevator and the only room types offered are 1 King or 2 Double Beds. You can request a rollaway and connecting rooms, when available.
Deluxe and Premium Rooms
The deluxe and premium rooms come in a variety of types including 1 King, 2 Queens, 1 Queen with Bunk bed and 2 Queen connecting rooms. These are in buildings 1 and 2.
Building one is 7 stories tall and is the main tower next to the lobby. Some of the rooms on the higher floors facing the Matterhorn have a fireworks view. Rooms on the other side faces the freeway.
Building two is the big building towards the back of the property and is 4 stories tall. The front faces the regular pool area. The back faces the highway/parking lot.
Both buildings have 2 elevators when you walk in and while we typically don’t have problems, during busy times there can be a wait to go up or down.
Suites at the Howard Johnson Anaheim
There is also 3 suites at the HOJO. A King Suite in building 1, a Kids Suite in building 1 and the House of the Retro Future Suite in building 2.
Howard Johnson Anaheim Kids Suite
We have stayed in the Kids Suite twice now. We stayed when they first created it over 10 years ago when the kids were really little and loved it. It’s basically two rooms converted into a suite which means two bathrooms! It faces the highway so there is no fireworks view.
The main room has twin bunk beds and a twin sofa sleeper and the 2nd room has a king bed. It’s definiltey enough space for a family to spread out and not being living right on top of each other. We stayed there again last year with a tween and teen and it was still awesome. I haven’t edited or uploaded a better video yet but you can see my cringey video from our first stay here. Don’t laugh please, just appreciate that you can get a good idea of the layout from it. 🤣
Howard Johnson Anaheim King Suite
We haven’t stayed in the King Suite yet. It’s also located in building 1 but it faces the fireworks which would be super cool. It has a king bed and sofa sleeper. If you request a rollaway it can accommodate a family of 5. It only has one bathroom.
House of the Retro Future Suite at the Howard Johnson Anaheim
The House of the Retro Future Suite is a really cool 2-room suite in building 2. Its on the 4th floor and faces the pool. It has 2 queen beds and you can’t have a rollaway, so it will only accommodate 4 people. The mid century design and decor is inspired by the The Monsanto House of the Future that was featured at Disneyland in the 1960’s. I toured it a few months ago and will upload a video soon.
#4 The Howard Johnson Anaheim is a Great Value
Obviously rates vary by the time of year, type of room and how busy they are but in general it seems like you can book a room for $300ish and up. I think this is a great deal for an awesome hotel on Harbor with a short walking distance to the theme parks and Downtown Disney.
The only additional charges you could incur is for parking or a rollaway. There is no resort fee.
#5 Hojo Is Just Extra
We have found that the HOJO Anaheim is just extra fun. The front desk, housekeepers, lifeguards and groundskeepers are always friendly. The lobby often has fun extras for the kids like pirates hats or balloon pirate swords.
They are a TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Winner for 2023. Because people love staying there and their friendly staff is awesome at customer service.
If you follow them on Facebook, you can get a peek into the parks during their Mattercam Monday videos.
And let’s not forget about this ridiculously large but extra fun HOJO chair you can find on the property for silly pictures.
3 Reasons You Might Not Love The Howard Johnson Anaheim
To keep this fair and sort of in line with the same format on Disney World Resort reviews I’ve done before, I’ve come up with a few things we don’t love about the hotel.
#1 No More Free Parking
Parking used to be free at the HOJO but that has changed recently. Parking is now $25 + tax each night. Additionally you can only park until 12 noon on your day of check out. Thankfully they don’t require a resort fee for random amenities. You only pay a parking fee if you park a car.
#2 No Free Breakfast
This isn’t a deal breaker for me because while I do seek out free breakfast hotels in general when traveling, it’s not worth it at Disneyland. I don’t usually love the free breakfast options and simply see it as a bonus if its offered. We do just as well with cereal, bagels or something simple in our room. Most of the rooms offer a mini fridge and microwave at the HOJO and the Main St. Market offers many breakfast items for you to buy on site.
In fact there is no room service or dining on site other than what you can buy at the gift shop. But don’t worry there are dining options right next door like Mimi’s, Panera and McDonalds.
#3 Small Water Park
Again I am really trying hard to find things to ‘not like’ so this comment is really for families with older kids. The water park is perfect for smaller kids to take a break from the park or even chill out on a non Disney day but it will not hold the attention of teens or young adults for very long. They can probably max out their water canon shenanigans and silliness within 30 minutes and be done.
It doesn’t have multiple outdoor pools for kids like a Disney Resort Hotel nor does it have the more intense water park that Great Wolf Lodge or even the newer hotel next door has. Honestly I am there for Disney, not water though so it really isn’t a deal breaker for us at all.
Discounts at the Howard Johnson Anaheim
Are you ready to book your stay the Howard Johnson Anaheim for your next Disneyland trip? I have a couple of options to help you get the best deal
The first option is to book directly with the Howard Johnson Anaheim if you use my affiliate link here and then the promo code: 1000022077 you can save 15% off. I often book direct when staying at the HOJO.
The second option is also great, especially if you are buying Disneyland tickets. My partner Get Away Today can create a package that includes a stay at the HOJO and discounted Disneyland tickets. Whenever there is a sale, they can usually honor it and they have a layaway program too.
Disclosure: We have stayed at the HOJO Anaheim many times over the years paying regular customer rates but have also received a media rate on a couple stays as well. As always, all opinions are my own.