The first thing Dimitri wants you to know is the suites are ginormous.
“The whole hotel is ginormous, Mom. But the suites are ginormous and amazing,” he tells me.
Full disclosure here: Dimitri is my 10-year-old son. I traded my usual investigative stories and 2020 political coverage for a take-your-kid-to-work day like no other. My assignment was to check out the new Cartoon Network Hotel in Lancaster County, a 159-room hotel next door to the Dutch Wonderland amusement park.
I know Cartoon Network, but I don’t know Cartoon Network. So, I decided to tell the story through the eyes of an expert and a proud member of the hotel’s target audience. Dimitri was thrilled with the opportunity to see the hotel — the first of its kind — before the Jan. 10 opening and had no idea what to expect.
He told me not to start this review at the beginning. People don’t need to know that he said “Wow!” or “Whoa!” each time he walked into a new space in the hotel, he said.
SEE INSIDE: See pictures from the Cartoon Network Hotel
These are the most important things people need to know about the new Cartoon Network Hotel, which opened Jan. 10, 2020, according to Dimitri:
1. There’s a TV on every bunk bed. Imagine falling asleep every night with a TV right at your feet, watching Cartoon Network or any other channel you want. “It was cool. It’s unique compared to other hotels, where there’s usually just one TV in the room. This hotel has a TV for each kid on the bunk bed and another one for the grown-ups.”
2. This is a hotel for kids. Other hotels, with their formal wallpaper and “grown-up lobbies,” are geared toward adults. “You can bring your whole family here, but it’s really to make kids happy. There’s an arcade, two pools, a bunch of food and a gift shop with toys. Usually gift shops just have protein bars and stuff.”
But because parents probably want to know about prices, they are $169 per night for a standard room with a queen bed and bunk beds or $359 per night for a suite. For more information on rooms or to book, go to cartoonnetworkhotel.com
3. There are virtual reality games where you get to be in the game. “You can make a hamburger or catch a squirrel. I didn’t actually do either of those things, but I tried.”
4. “There are more rooms than people think. It looks smaller from the road, but it’s huge, and there’s an indoor and outdoor pool.”
5. There’s so much to see. “I love all the art on the walls. It’s so cool. It’s like having cartoons all around you, even on the shower curtains. Most hotels have pictures of flowers or a city, but this place has a lot of cartoons. Kids will love it.”
6. The workers are really nice. “You know how at most hotels the workers always talk to grown-ups? Well, here they are really nice to kids and ask how you’re doing and if you’re having fun.”
7. Dutch Wonderland is next door. “I bet that will be really cool to stay here when the park is open. But even in winter you can see the big rides from inside the breakfast room at the hotel. It’s really cool.”
8. There’s a cafe and a kitchen. “There are basically two restaurants, and one of them has really good cake.”
Dimitri had some questions after he toured part of the hotel.
“What is the limit on staying here?” he said, in various forms, numerous times. At different points, he told me he wanted to stay for two weeks or two months. Erik Resnick, a senior vice president at Cartoon Network, said 300 days was probably a good limit to start with.
“Can you have birthday parties here?” The short answer is yes, you can have a birthday party in the Cartoon Network Hotel, equipped with themed cupcakes or cake. Sales Manager Jade Moser can give you the longer answers. She can be reached at 717-925-7834 or firstname.lastname@example.org. They’ve already had calls from as far as Alaska for birthday parties.
Another important thing Dimitri wants you to know is that he got to meet “the real artist” behind the hotel designs. Dimitri marveled at the black-and-white sketches on the walls and colorful shower curtains full of characters, and he loved learning more about them.
Tyson McAdoo, associate art director for the Cartoon Network, told Dimitri he found inspiration in the original sketches for the shows. Those are the sketches an artist makes before the show is fully brought to life. He used that early art to design the Lancaster hotel.
“I thought it was really cool because he was also around 10 when he liked Cartoon Network and got interested,” Dimitri said.
He said there’s just one more thing he wants everyone to know:
“Parents, let your kids come here.”
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