If your idea of fun at a professional conference is walking through a suburban shopping mall watching sweaty fat people with mouse ears eat ice cream, then Anaheim is the place for you!
But let us ignore for the moment your contemptible tastes and objectively judge Anaheim as a conference venue. I don't know what ALA idiots chose that miserable location for a conference, but I assume, as with so many things, they have a special committee of idiots doing most of the work. It looks to me they were working from a checklist of what to avoid at a conference venue, but got confused. Some problems:
20,000 librarians without cars go to a "city" dominated by--cars! They got this one just right. Anaheim is incredibly pedestrian-unfriendly, but I suppose the bloated Disney tourists like it that way. As a pedestrian, it was a terrible experience. Long blocks with no shade. Everything made longer because of all the parking lots. Long waits at crosswalks because the 58 lanes of traffic all had to go first. The morons in the cars didn't even seem aware that there were such things as pedestrians. Twice I was almost run over by jerk drivers pulling so quickly into parking lots they didn't notice that there might be (gasp!) people actually walking on the sidewalk in front of them. At one point I was doing my Ratso Rizzo impression, pounding on the hood and yelling, "I'm walking here!" The effect, I might add, was considerably lessened by the sundress.
And then there's food. I'm not sure where to begin on this one, because the area surrounding Disneyland and the convention center is the most culturally barren wasteland I've visited since once being stuck in a small town in North Carolina for a couple of days (don't ask). If a restaurant doesn't have crayons and a children's menu, it doesn't pass muster in the greater Disneyland area. One could walk a mile without passing a coffeeshop or a deli, which is of course perfect in the morning when one wants a coffee or bagel before heading to a tedious meeting. As far as I'm concerned, anyplace where you can't get a decent bagel just isn't worth going to. Regarding the restaurants, if you want anything less bland than an Olive Garden you've got to go far afield, and even then your options are limited. I did manage to find a decent local Mexican place run by decent local Mexicans and an excellent Thai place run by decent local Thais, but that was about it. Local flavor? Interesting food? Forget it.
Drinks, you might ask? Well, obviously there are no interesting bars in Anaheim. The thought would offend the sweaty fat people wearing mouse ears and eating ice cream. Anaheim is nothing if not a lowest common denominator location. Thus, I was relegated to hotel bars. Fortunately, I like a good hotel bar. The bars at the Hilton and Marriott were aesthetically tolerable. The drinks? Eh. Take the advice of someone who has tried this many times--never order a martini at a Hilton. East coast, west coast, flyover country, it doesn't matter. Hilton bartenders wouldn't know how to make a martini if they were channeling Bernard DeVoto. A martini should be cold, cold, cold. It seems to be a policy of Hilton bartenders to serve warm martinis in large glasses so they get even warmer by the time one has finished drinking. Perhaps that's the way that vulgarian Paris likes them, but that's not how they should be done. The Marriott wasn't much better. Take my advice, when in Anaheim or other cultural wastelands, skip the martinis and order gin and tonic, or perhaps a glass of wine. It's harder to mess those up.
Not that I didn't have some good times at ALA. I saw some good friends, had some good chats, and definitely had some fun NOT in the sun. Unfortunately for you all, it's not the kind of thing I can talk about on the AL, so you'll just have to use your imaginations. Next ALA is in Denver, which is more or less an improvement over Anaheim, but then I've never tried Colorado in January. It doesn't sound very inviting.