What's New in Anaheim and Orange County
Discover New Hotels, Attractions, Dining & Entertainment, Shopping & Transportation
Hotels on the Rise in the Anaheim Resort district™: Anaheim Resort district ‘s hotel construction and development is moving at an exciting pace. In 2015, five hotels opened their doors and in 2016, three more are expected to open bringing in a total of 1,800 additional guest rooms and suites to the area. Here is a detailed look at the properties that opened in 2015 and those anticipated to open in 2016:
- Five Hotels Opened in 2015:
- Courtyard Marriott Anaheim Hotel & Waterpark - 221 guest rooms
- Opened July, 2015
- Holiday Inn Express - 96 guest rooms
- Opened August, 2015
- Homewood Suites by Hilton - Anaheim Convention Center/Disneyland® Main Gate - 215 guest rooms
- Opened November, 2015
- The Hyatt House Anaheim Resort - 262 guest rooms
- Opened December, 2015
- Courtyard Marriott Anaheim Hotel & Waterpark - 221 guest rooms
- Three Hotels to Open in 2016:
- GREAT WOLF LODGE* – 600 guest rooms
- Set to open February, 2016
- Residence Inn - 296 guest rooms
- Set to open Summer, 2016
- Staybridge Suites – 126 Rooms
- Set to open Summer, 2016
- GREAT WOLF LODGE* – 600 guest rooms
* Great Wolf Resorts Water Park Hotel Comes to Orange County: Located two miles south of the Disneyland® Resort, the first Great Wolf Lodge® Water Park Resort in Garden Grove is currently under construction. This new family entertainment resort will offer 600 guest rooms in an all-suite resort that includes a three-acre indoor-outdoor waterpark, extensive retail shops and family entertainment options. Additionally, there will be 30,000 square feet of meeting space. The property is set to for completion by early 2016. GreatWolf.com/southerncalifornia
FOUR DIAMOND HOTEL DEVELOPMENT IN ANAHEIM
JW Marriott Proposed in Anaheim: Plans have been submitted to the City of Anaheim to build the first four-diamond hotel outside of the Disneyland® Resort. The luxury hotel will be built on adjacent to the Anaheim GardenWalk and would rise 12 stories with 466 guest rooms.
Second Luxury Hotel Proposed to Replace Anaheim Plaza Hotel: Plans for the second luxury hotel, outside of the Disneyland® Resort, has been proposed for approval by the Anaheim City Council. The plans submitted to the City in November 2015, show the 580-room property having 25,600 square feet of retail and 50,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel brand for this project has not been announced.
HOTEL RENOVATIONS & REBRANDING
Ramada Maingate – At The Park Has Announced Plans for Independent Flag and Rename: Located across the street from Disneyland® Park, Ramada Maingate – At The Park announced that it will become an independent hotel named Grand Legacy At The Park on February 2, 2016. In addition, the property is in their final phase of a $10 million redevelopment project. Their newest building will boast luxurious rooms and suites with fantastic views of the Disneyland® Resort, along with a new lobby, breakfast room, meeting space, retail shops, and a spacious rooftop bar and lounge. The 5,000 square foot bar will showcase the best view of the fireworks outside the Disneyland® Resort. Set to open in early 2016. GrandLegacyHotel.com
Sheraton Hotel Assumes Independent Status as Majestic Garden Hotel: Located on 13 acres off South Disneyland Drive, the newly transformed Majestic Garden Hotel assumed independent status this past year. The 489-guest room property is investing $6 million in renovations and improvements, giving guests an enchanted forest experience. There’s more than 26,000 square-feet of meeting and outdoor function space, a full service restaurant and bar, and a bistro and marketplace, plus the hotel also offers free shuttle service to the Disneyland® Resort. MajesticGardenHotel.com
St Regis Monarch Beach: One of Southern California’s top resort properties, the St. Regis Monarch Beach completed its extensive $30 million renovation in June. Upgrades include a rejuvenated look, new indoor and outdoor furniture and in-room technology for their 400 rooms and suites. Guests can also look forward to a new menu at one of the properties eateries, Motif. StRegisMB.com
Westin South Coast Plaza: This Costa Mesa property recently finished renovating and redecorating their 394 guest rooms including 17 suites. WestinSouthCoastPlaza.com
Star Wars-Themed Land Coming to Disneyland® Park: Allowing guests to visit “a galaxy far, far away,” Disneyland Park has revealed plans for a new 14-acre Star Wars-themed land. The expansion is part of the recently announced $1 billion investment back into the park, which includes new attractions and a parking structure. Disney’s single largest themed expansion to date, the Star Wars-themed land will be situated in the presently occupied Big Thunder Ranch location and will feature two jaw-dropping signature attractions’. A thrilling battle experience and an adventure aboard the Millennium Falcon space ship. In true Disney fashion, guests will be transported to a never-before-seen world, where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life. Disneyland.disney.go.com
Star Wars Season of the Force Debuts at Disneyland® Park: To get ready for the upcoming Star Wars-themed land, a bevy of new interactive entertainment have arrived in Tomorrowland. film Star Wars: Force Awakens. The Season of the Force Star Wars experience includes:
- Star Wars Launch Bay: An interactive exhibit space in the newly named Tomorrowland Expo Center
- Star Wars: Path of the Jedi: Offers a cinematic overview of the Star Wars saga
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue: Takes guests to one of the locations from the latest film in the Star Wars saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- Hyperspace Mountain: A reimagining of the classic Space Mountain Attraction
- Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple: Enhances this popular show with new characters and a new villain.
Frozen the Musical Coming to Disney California Adventure Park: Disney’s blockbuster musical “Frozen” has inspired a new theatrical production coming to Anaheim in summer 2016. Taking place in the Hyperion Theater, the new show will transport guests to the magical world of “Frozen.”
KNOTT’S BERRY FARM
Ghost Town Will Celebrate its 75th Anniversary With Two Major Offerings: The centerpiece of the summer 2016 celebration is the interactive entertainment experience, Ghost Town Alive!, which immerses guests in new stories and adventures in the familiar town of Calico. Construction is underway on a new Calico Stage, which will open across the train tracks from its current location, in the area Screamin’ Swing formerly occupied. The stage, themed after an old abandoned mine, will feature an all-new show for summer 2016. Knotts.com
GhostRider- the Longest, Fastest and Tallest Wooden Rollercoaster on the West Coast Returns in Summer of 2016: Since September 2015, work has been in progress to completely restore and preserve this classic wooden rollercoaster. The project is a partnership with Great Coasters International and includes re-profiling and a complete wooden re-tracking of the entire 4,533 ft. long track. Knotts.com
Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant Undergoes Refurbishment: Profected to open in spring 2016, the reinvestment will refresh and preserve the original “tea room” dining room and bring cosmetic and thematic upgrades throughout the restaurant’s other dining areas.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOODSM
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ Coming Spring 2016: From magical spells to magical creatures, dark villains to daring heroes, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood spring 2016. Explore the mysteries of Hogwarts™ castle, visit the shops of Hogsmeade™, and sample fare from some of the wizarding world's best-known establishments. Plus experience pulse-pounding rides and attractions that transport you into a world of magical thrills and excitement. UniversalStudiosHollywood.com/harrypotter
Universal Studios Hollywood Introduces Three All-New Annual Passes: New Annual Passes will provide guests with an array of privileges reserved for pass holder membership, including access to Universal Studios HollywoodSM over a 12-month period to enjoy the park.
- The Gold Pass, available for $299, includes 312 select days of fun.
- The California Resident Plus Pass, available for $199, invites members to enjoy 244 select days of fun
- The California Resident Pass, available for $139, includes 182 select days of fun.
LEGOLAND® CALIFORNIA RESORT
New LEGO® NINJAGO™ Land Coming in 2016: Debuting in February 2016, LEGOLAND® California Resort will open a new LEGO NINJAGO Ninjaland, based on the LEGO story of four young ninja heroes trained in the ancient martial art of Spinjitzu. LEGO NINJAGO The Ride will feature never-before-seen technology where guests can control the outcome of their adventure with hand gestures, 3D imagery and high-tech sensors that blast animated fireballs lightening, shockwaves and ice as riders master their skills before heading into battle. In addition, the new land will offer visitors LEGO building stations, interactive games and experiences, Asian cuisine and a new shopping venue. California.legoland.com
Alaska Airlines Announces Daily New Flights: Alaska Airlines will add new service from John Wayne Airport Orange County (SNA) to Santa Rose/Sonoma County, California (STS) and Reno/Tahoe, Nevada (RNO) starting in March, 2016.
New Direct Flights with Southwest Airlines: Southwest Airlines added new routes into John Wayne Airport Orange County (SNA). On June 1, Southwest started to offer new nonstop service to JWA from Austin (AUS), Chicago (MDW) and Seattle (SEA). In 2015, service began to Portland (PDX), Kansas City (MCI) and St. Louis (STL). OCair.com
Anaheim Resort Transportation
Anaheim Resort Transportation (ART) Starts New Route to San Clemente: From participating Anaheim Resort district hotels, visitors can board the ART line heading for Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), a hub for Southern California transit systems. From there, guests can hop on the Metrolink train and in less than an hour, visitors are at San Clemente Pier and at the beach. RideArt.org
Anaheim Resort Transportation (ART) Begins Service to Downtown Santa Ana: Visitors can take route 19 from the Anaheim Resort district to hip downtown Santa Ana, an independent and unexpected urban center in Orange County, where visitors can enjoy the cutting edge of Orange County’s emerging arts, farm-to-table restaurants, craft beer and cocktail scenes. RideArt.org | Downtown-SantaAna.com
Anaheim Resort Transportation (ART) Opens New Route to Luxury Shopping Destination: South Coast Plaza defines the luxury shopping experience with high-end brands, personal shopping service and upscale amenities. South Coast Plaza is internationally known for its unparalleled retail collection and award-winning restaurants. RideArt.org
Trolley Transports Visitors between Two Hip Downtown Anaheim Locations: The free trolley, affectionately named “Polly the Trolley,” whisks visitors between the Anaheim Packing District and Downtown Center St. Promenade. Trolley available Friday – Sunday from 12 – 9 p.m.
RETAIL & RESTAURANT CENTER DEVELOPMENT
- Anaheim House of Blues Relocation: The House of Blues, located at Downtown® Disney, will move to a larger venue at the Anaheim GardenWalk. Set to open in 2016, the new House of Blues will take over the UltraLuxe Cinemas space. HouseofBlues.com
- Pacific City: Situated on 31 acres along overlooking the Pacific Ocean is Huntington Beach’s newest shopping, dining, and lifestyle destination, Pacific City. Pacific City captures the dynamic energy of Huntington Beach’s surf culture by curating unique retail and dining that appeals to visitors from across the globe. Pacific City includes the 250-room Paséa Hotel & Spa and 516 luxury apartment homes. Opened late fall. GoPacificCity.com
- Outlets at San Clemente: Outlets at San Clemente is the first and only ocean-facing outdoor outlet shopping and dining destination in Orange County. Shoppers can enjoy a mix of more than 70 retailers and restaurants including Calvin Klein, Cole Haan, Columbia Sportswear, GUESS, H&M, Levi’s, Nike, PUMA, Tilly’s, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour and White House Black Market and popular fast-casual brands: Panera Bread, Ruby’s Diner and Starbucks. The final development plan includes more than 12 restaurant and dining options, including four restaurants with scenic ocean views. Additional stores and restaurants will open throughout 2016. Opened November 2015. OutletsatSanClemente.com
- Lido Marina Village: Revitalizing 116,000 square feet of boutique, retail, restaurant and creative space, Lido Marina Village is currently undergoing a pedestrian-friendly transformation. The project will include 47-slip marina with docks and decks overlooking Newport Harbor. The collection will embody a “luxurious but laid back” style and all merchants will be indie concepts, run by experienced entrepreneurs. Set to be completed by July 2016.
- The Source: Opening in Buena Park in 2016, The Source is a 450,000 square-foot urban center featuring world-class shopping, diverse dining options and cutting edge technology. The space is designed to reflect the digital energy of Times Square, the visual energy of Tokyo and the avant-garde of Seoul. Visitors will have the opportunity to see some of their favorite musical artists at the 2,000-seat performance venue presented by YG Entertainment. In 2016, phase two of the project will see the construction of a 150 all-suite hotel that will feature meeting space, dining and a roof-top pool and bar. Sourceatbeach.com
CULINARY & LIBATIONS
Anaheim Brewery Scene: Anaheim savors a deeply rooted German and beer history, with the first fifty colonists hailing from Bavaria and breweries frequented by locals in the 1800’s. Now, with the full support of the Mayor and City Council, Anaheim’s craft brewery scene is booming. Los Angeles Magazine recently hailed Anaheim as “Winning the SoCal Craft Beer Game.” With six breweries already open (Anaheim Brewery, Backstreet Brewery, Bottle Logic Brewery, Golden Road, Noble Ale Works, Phantom Ales & Cellar), five more are anticipated in winter 2015 through early 2016.
- Black Sheep Brewing – R.A.D. (Research and Design): This nano-brewery will create small batch specialty and unique brews at Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC). The Research and Design Nano Brewery will allow them to test flavor combinations and style specific brews. The menu will be a gastropub, with a selection of burgers, fries and meat pies. Open date: TBD ArticInfo.com
- Bruery Terreux: Sour beer brew specialists at The Bruery of Placentia, are debuting a new brand and tasting room in Anaheim called Bruery Terreux. The new brand will focus solely on farmhouse-style ales fermented with wild yeasts as well as oak-aged sour ales. The tasting room is expected to open 2016. TheBruery.com
- Hoparazzi Brewing Co.: Hoparazzi Brewing Company is a newly launched craft production brewery that will provide high quality, unique craft beer to the local Southern California market. With a focus on creating simple and enjoyable craft beer, their initial beer menu will include ten ales. As the business grows and brand recognition increases, Hoparazzi Brewing Co. will expand the brewing capacity and the number of ales in their portfolio. Open date: TBD Hoparrazibrewing.com
- Legends Brewery: Owner Jay Talley of Legends Beverage, Inc. is opening up his first public brewery & tasting room in Anaheim. Legends Brewery is known for their highly successful beers: gold-medal winning “American Lager” and “Double Karma IPA.” The new space will allow capacity to experiment with new styles and higher production volumes; there are plans for six new recipes on tap when the facility opens. Open date: TBD Legendsbeer.com
- Unsung Brewing Company: Unsung Brewing Company will open a tasting room brewery in Anaheim next to the Anaheim Packing House. The space will have a nano-brewery to brew experimental and other interesting beers. There will also be educational opportunities available for those who are studying to become a Cicerone with "beer smart" classes, such as off flavor tasting, style profiles, malt identification, and hop profiles and also for beer-enthusiasts looking to further their understanding of beer. Set to open TBD.
Orange County Food Halls: Orange County is leading the charge with today’s trending culinary experience: the contemporary food hall. Typically located in revamped warehouses, innovative and local merchants are opening up small kiosks within these spaces to showcase their chef-driven concepts and artisan crafts.
- Anaheim Packing House: Discover the renovated (and former 1919 Sunkist Packing Plant) two-level Packing House, featuring a large central atrium with communal dining surrounded by two dozen merchants and kiosks of varying sizes, located in Anaheim’s historic district. AnaheimPackingDistrict.com
New at the Anaheim Packing House:
- New Accolade: Anaheim Packing House will be placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
- Urbana: With Chef Ernesto Alverado at the helm, guests can expect fresh ceviche and tacos paired perfectly with wide selection of tequilas. Now open.
- Pandor Bakery: Owners Tiffany and Raffi Septijan are bringing authentic French fare to “the house” including their famous breads, delicious pastries and salads and more. Now open.
- Vitaly: The owners of Vitaly are serving authentic and down home Italian dishes, just like mom used to make. The café menu will include their signature Piadina Italian flatbread sandwiches, salads and a limited menu of espresso drinks. Open date: TBD. Vitaly.net
- Good Food Hall: Situated in the heart of revitalized Center St. Promenade in Anaheim, Good Food Hall offers a vegan restaurant, juice bar, organic beer and wine bar and Mexican eatery. CenterStreetAnaheim.com
- 4th Street Market: Located on the east end of downtown Santa Ana, 4th Street Market features fifteen thoughtfully curated vendors, 10 incubator kitchens and space for three hundred guests. 4thstreetmarket.com
- Lot 579: Opening up at Pacific City in Huntington Beach, Lot 579 will be an artisan market inspired by California cuisine, offering locally sourced food experiences, demonstration, and unique retail all under one roof. GoPacificCity.com/lot-579
- OC Mix: Orange County’s first modern food hall at SoCo in Costa Mesa. The OC Mix is home to locally owned specialty food spots and boutiques. ShoptheMix.com
- Union Market
- Tustin: Located at The District, Union Market features restaurants and retail space, giving patrons a handpicked selection of independent purveyors. Now Open. UnionMarketTustin.com
Dining Hall at The ARTIC: A landmark for multimodal transportation, ARTIC is a glowing architectural achievement under the Southern California sun. It serves residents, businesses, commuters and vacation travelers with the convenience of OCTA, Metrolink, Amtrak, ART and public/private transit all under one roof. There’s more than 12,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space for travelers to enjoy exciting and innovative cuisine in transit. Set to open in 2016 are the following: The Lost Bean Organic Coffee and Tea, Mission Market, Ritter’s Steam Kettle Cooking, nano-brewery Black Sheep Brewing, Hive Bar, Auntie Anne’s/Pinkberry and Oyster Bar. Articinfo.com
VISIT ANAHEIM NEWS
Visit Anaheim Rebrand: The Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau (AOCVCB) is now Visit Anaheim. After more than 20 years as AOCVCB, the destination marketing organization streamlined its name and introduced a fresh and contemporary new brand, look and logo that invoked the past, present and future of the destination. VisitAnaheim.org
Anaheim Convention Center Expansion: The Anaheim Convention Center recently broke ground on its seventh expansion, since the center’s founding in 1967. The new building located on Katella Avenue and Hotel Way will be two levels, spread over 200,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space that will include 100,000 square feet of column-free space; a 10,000 square feet outdoor balcony; 25-foot ceilings; 1350 parking spaces. In addition to an impressive new main entrance on Katella Avenue, a climate-controlled pedestrian bridge connecting to the existing facility, new loading docks and an improved vehicular entrance. The completion date is projected for summer 2017, with a portion of the building functional for use in spring 2016. Accexpansion.com
NEWPORT BEACH RESTAURANT WEEK
Jan. 18 – 31, 2016
Newport Beach Restaurant Week is Orange County’s longest running Restaurant Week event. The 14-day dining event showcases Newport Beach as Orange County’s premier dining destination, offering a wide variety of culinary experiences. Participating restaurants offer special prix-fixe menus with lunches available for just $10, $15, $20, or $25, and dinners for $20, $30, $40 or $50. Dinenb.com
NEWPORT BEACH JAZZ PARTY
Feb. 11 – 14, 2016
Four nights and three days of music at the Newport Beach Marriott® Hotel features more than 30 concerts, 2 jazz brunches, outdoor pool sessions, Valentine’s dinner and show, and nightly ballroom presentations. NewportBeachJazzParty.com
LAGUNA BEACH MUSIC FESTIVAL
Feb. 10 – 14, 2016
This celebration blurs the line between artist and audience with meet-the-artist events, salons, open rehearsals and lively discussions. LagunaBeachMusicFestival.com
Feb. 12 – 14, 2016
For the Vietnamese-American community, the Garden Grove Tét Festival is a vibrant showing of ceremonies, customs and delicious traditional foods in one of the largest festivals of its kind in the U.S. Tetfestival.org
IRVINE PARK RAILROAD ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Feb. 20 – 21, 2016
The 20th anniversary celebration will feature activities and concessions including train rides, carnival games, bounce house, face painting and panning for gold, all for original 1996 prices. IrvineParkRailroad.com
DANA FESTIVAL OF WHALES
Mar. 5 – 6 & 12-13, 2016
The Dana Point Harbor Festival of Whales celebrates the round-trip migration of the California gray whale from Alaska to Baja California and includes sailing instruction, an art show, street fair, parade, sand sculptures and whale watching tours. FestivalofWhales.com
OC RESTAURANT WEEK
Mar. 6 -12, 2016
This treasured culinary event features discounted prix-fixe menus from 100+ restaurants located in all corners of the county. OC RestaurantWeek.com
SAINT JOSEPH’S DAY AND THE RETURN OF THE SWALLOWS CELEBRATION
Mar. 19, 2016
St. Joseph’s Day and the Return of the Swallows Celebration is a world-renowned tradition celebrating the annual return of the famous swallows to Capistrano. This tradition was started by Father O’Sullivan in the 1920’s and features a non-stop day of festival fun. MissionSJC.com