Anaheim & Orange County _ A Successful Meetings Destination

SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS May 2007 As Anaheim celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, the party is just getting started in Orange County. The business and entertainment possibilities for meetings continue to expand, including close to $300 million in hotel renovations in Anaheim, along with new boutique hotels, new meeting space, and dozens of new restaurants, retail outlets, and attractions throughout the county. Just as the Orange County Performing Arts Center's $200-million expansion opened last fall, Anaheim became one of the largest cities in the country to offer a wireless network. And the long-awaited new outdoor shopping and dining experience of Anaheim Garden Walk is in the final stages; it's set to open Phase I this fall.

Essential Tool Box
Convention Facilities: Anaheim Convention Center, 865,000 sf of dedicated exhibit space; 130,000 sf of meeting space.
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Hotel Rooms: 50,000 countywide
Rooms Close to the Center: 4,000
Average Daily Business Travel Costs:* Hotel $145.43 F&B $74.41 Car Rental $83.06
For More Info:
Anaheim/Orange Co VCB
Newport Beach CVB
Costa Mesa CVB
Huntington Beach CVB
*Source: Business Travel News 2006 Corporate Travel Index

The Big News
The Anaheim Convention Center's 8,700-seat arena recently wrapped up a $7-million modernization that blended the 39-year-old arena with the redesigned Anaheim Convention Center. "We are creating a seamless environment where indoor and outdoor meetings and special events can thrive," says Greg Smith, executive director of the center.
Interior improvements on the arena included reupholstering the 5,500 permanent seats; 2,500 new floor and riser seats; a new ceiling and HVAC system; a new roof; remodeled food service areas; and new carpeting, paint, signage, and lighting. Exterior upgrades included a new courtyard, which can accommodate up to 5,000 for a reception; enhanced pedestrian walkways and landscaping; a new signature fountain at the entrance; and updating of the original building exterior to complement the existing convention center design.

Two complementary projects that finished in Feb made improvements along Convention Way, a key entrance on the center's campus-like setting, and spent $4.1 million to re-landscape and create a new courtyard at the Katella Avenue entrance to the convention center and the arena.

What's New
ANAHEIM Orange County-based Makar Properties, which acquired the 1,572-room Hilton Anaheim in Apr, announced a $55-million renovation launched this spring that gives the property a whole new style. Phase I will update public space decor and upgrade technology in the meeting rooms; Phase II will begin a guest-room renovation early next year.
* As part of The Walt Disney Company's new food guidelines to promote healthier kids' diets, the company has plans to eliminate all added trans fats and improve the nutritional value of its food in Disney-operated restaurants and kiosks by the end of this year.
* In April, the 1,031-room Anaheim Marriott finished a $14-million project that renovated the property and added the 25,600-sf Platinum ballroom, bringing the total meeting space at the property up to 80,000 sf.
* The Anaheim Fantasy Inn is now the America's Best Value Inn & Suites.
* The former Days Inn & Suites is under new management as the Cortona Inn & Suites.
* Last year, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel opened a new, larger spa operated by Mandara Spa.
* The 252-room Doubletree Guest Suites Anaheim Resort/Convention Center opened last year with 7,200 sf of meeting space.
* The Holiday Inn Anaheim at the Park has become the Anaheim Palms Resort.
* The 240-room Hotel Menage opened this spring as a complete transformation of the former Holiday Inn. The hip boutique hotel includes 4,700 sf of conference space.
* The 490-room Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort opened after Starwood Hotels & Resorts spent $32 million to transform the former Coast Anaheim Hotel.
* The 289-room Wyndham Anaheim Park will complete the redesign of its lobby, restaurant, and guest rooms by Dec.
HUNTINGTON BEACH The Strand, a 157-room boutique with 3,000 sf of meeting space, is scheduled to open summer 2008.
NEWPORT BEACH The 444-room Fairmont Newport Beach completed a $23-million project in Jan that renovated the property and introduced its new, 8,000-sf Willow Stream Spa.
* Last year, the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa wrapped up a $70-million transformation that included revamping the property's public space, 332 guest rooms, and 41,000 sf of indoor/outdoor meeting space, and opening Pure Blu spa.
IRVINE Last July, the Hilton Irvine/Orange County Airport completed a $10-million project that included a complete redesign of guest rooms, a $1-million refurbishment of the 7,320-sf Crystal Ballroom, the creation of an executive-level floor with concierge lounge, and the renovation of Newport Bistro restaurant.
Elsewhere The 654-room Hyatt Regency Orange County will spend $11 million over the next year to revitalize public space, ballrooms, and guest rooms.
* This month, the 228-suite Embassy Suites Hotel-Brea completes a $4.5-million renovation to its suites.
* A $15-million renovation is nearly complete at the 173-room Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa. Its 11,000-sf spa and executive boardroom suite, with space for up to 16, debuted in Mar.

Groups Should Consider these recommendations from Successful Meetings Home Team experts. Top choices include the 500-room St. Regis Monarch Beach and the 517-room Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach.

For off-site events, groups of less than 100 will find that the Catal restaurant and Uva bar at Disney, and the Dawson Cole Museum in Laguna Beach, are great venues. The museum can hold up to 75
people inside a gallery for dinner. There is also have a courtyard perfect for a cocktail reception or sit-down dinner. For groups of up to 300, the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin will fascinate attendees with its exotic cars and motorcycles. Part of the proceeds go to organizations that help protect abused children. For larger groups, try the famous San Juan Capistrano Mission, more than 225 years old and with beautiful gardens and outdoor space that can accommodate up to 1,000.

Contributors who informed this section include Home Team members Beth Cooper-Zobott; Michele Stevenson (PRA/GEP) and William Youngs. Contact them at [email protected]

Disney Institute Goes West
After more than 20 years of success at Florida's Walt Disney World, the series of Disney Institute professional development seminars launched on the West Coast this spring, starting with "The Disney Approach to Leadership Excellence" program at Disneyland.

Customized to the setting and style of the California park, the program includes fresh content, case studies, and field experience, but will remain basically the same popular experiential program. The immersive three-and-a-half-day experience takes participants inside the Disney operation, including visits to onstage and behind-the-scenes locations and into meetings with a broad cross-section of Disney leaders.

In June, this program will be joined by another three-and-a-half-day seminar, "The Disney Approach to Quality Service," which focuses on people management, loyalty, and organizational creativity.

The new resource at Disneyland is intended not only to expand the overall capacity of Disney Institute, but make the programs more easily accessible to participants from the western United States and the Pacific Rim. "Our clients have been asking for it and are excited that we can now offer these programs on both coasts," says Bruce Jones, Disney Institute programming director. - HWB

9 Great Places for Group Meals in Orange County
The restaurants below have group facilities and were selected from the Zagat Survey of Orange County. The list was determined by Zagat's food and service ratings of 23 and above and a price of up to $65 per person (without alcohol):
Name, Location, Type of Food
Pinot Provence, Costa Mesa, French
Napa Rose, Anaheim, Californian
Tradition by Pascal, Newport Beach, French
Anaheim White House, Anaheim, Italian
Bayside, Newport Beach, American
Bistango, Irvine, American
Ritz Restaurant & Garden, Newport Beach, Continental
French 75 Brasserie, Irvine, French
La Vie en Rose, Brea, French
For more information on these and other restaurants in Orange County, please click on

Readers Recommend
Our subscribers gave Pinnacle Awards to the following:
Anaheim/Orange Co VCB
Newport Beach CVB
Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa
St. Regis Resort Monarch Beach
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