Grand Californian Hotel
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is the best of the best. It’s Disneyland’s top hotel and one of the most sought-after places to stay for vacationing families. We’ve stayed here over 100 nights and have lots to say about it so settle down and get comfortable.
The Grand is an experience in and of itself. When you pull up to this Craftsman Era Hotel you can’t help but get excited. From the moment you step out of your car you’ll immersed into this arts and crafts style world and never want to leave. So soak it in and enjoy it.
The lobby of the Grand is one of its most mesmerizing features. “Grand” is certainly the right word to describe it. The wood work with it’s beaming pillars, the roaring fire to rest by, the decor inspired by the outdoors of Northern California and of course a grand piano playing some of your favorite Disney songs. It takes a minute or two to take it all in.
Check-in shouldn’t take long because the lobby desk is massive. They pride themselves on keeping this process short and simple. Of course they’ll answer all the questions you may have about park hours, room service, pools, and Spa services. Ask away!
The rooms at the Grand are decorated beautifully and you can expect to find subtle hints of Disney movies and hidden Mickey’s here and there in your room. Your standard room will include 2 queen beds or 1 king bed, a desk, and a television stand with clothes drawers. You’ll have a balcony looking somewhere (more on that below), a closet with the most comfortable bath robes, a double vanity/sink, and a bathtub/shower. The rooms should also include a pack n play for infants and a small fridge.
Your room location is based on what room type you purchased. They are several including Standard View, Woods and Garden View, Pool View, Theme Park View, and Downtown Disney View.
The standard room is the cheapest room and typically faces you towards a parking lot or the west side of the hotel. The Woods or Garden View rooms will have you facing towards the inside wooded areas of the hotel including where the monorail runs through. Some Woods View rooms do face towards the theme park but your view is “blocked” by all the trees.
The Pool View rooms face you towards anyone of the pools. This would be considered your medium-priced room.
Theme Park View rooms will give you some sort of view into Disney California Adventure Park. The higher up you are the better. Most of these rooms are villas from Disney Vacation Club. Lastly, the Downtown Disney View Rooms are just that. These rooms can have great views of the fireworks but they can also be loud as they are right above all the Downtown Disney crowds (sometimes there till 2am). These last two are considered premium rooms and you’ll pay top-dollar for them
It’s all about what you want to see and experience from your room. We personally love the pool view rooms. Great views plus when the pool closes it’s very tranquil.
Any room can have a concierge service added to them. Is it worth it. No; but for some people yes? It gives you access to a concierge lounge where you’ll be able to eat breakfast in morning, snacks such as peanuts, pretzels, water and soda throughout the day, and typically a wine and cheese platter in the evening. They also offer “personal” service via a Cast Member in the lounge who can do anything for like buying tickets, booking dining, and reserving Spa treatments. This will typically add an additional $150-$200 per night, per room.
The Grand Californian Hotel features 4 different pools including one children’s pool and three all-age pools. The Redwood pool features two waterslides, the first is the bigger of the two and kids must be able to go down by themselves and exit the pool. The 2nd one is much smaller and is for kids who need help once they reach the end. Parents are allowed to catch them at the end.
The main swimming pool is much larger and is surrounded mostly by pool chairs. The 3rd pool is actually a big hot-tub pool. It’s one big, warm, circular pool. One of our favorites. Finally the kids pool which is just a few feet deep and is perfect for smaller children and infants.
The Grand Californian Hotel pool was recently refurbished (Summer 2017) and looks even better than ever now. One thing to keep in mind is that the pool now requires guests to get a wristband before they go swimming in the pools. Use your room key to access the pools then look for a stand in the middle of the pool area to get a wristband.
One of our favorite things about the pool is the chair-side service. Try the lava-smoothies. Amazing.
For parents, if you forgot to bring those swim diapers, no worries. The pool provides them for free.
The Mandara Spa at the Grand Californian Hotel is a luxurious spa center for hotel guests only. It’s also very expensive. You can get almost anything done here from couples massages to nose waxing. Haircut and a shave? Yep! Be sure to call ahead to schedule your service. You can do this even before your arrival. (714) 300-7350.
Dining at the resort hotel can be magical, delicious, and entertaining. They offer everything from quick service meals to $$$ dining.
Whitewater Snacks and the Grand Californian Hotel is located by the pool on the east side of the hotel. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. Hot and cold meals. It’s all relatively cheap. They also offer drinks from their Coke Freestyle machine, milk, eggs, bacon, cereal, juice, bread, and a variety of snacks. Many DVC members come here to stock up on groceries for the week.
The Hearthstone Lounge and the Grand Californian Hotel is located right off the main lobby in the southeast corner. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well with a smaller menu. It’s a bar so think drinks mostly but they do offer snacks including flatbreads, cheese, ribs, and sliders. All very good and served fresh. If you want a great cocktail this is the place to come.
The Storytellers Cafe and the Grand Californian Hotel is probably the most popular place to eat at the hotel. It’s mostly because it has a character dining option in the morning for breakfast. It’s a buffet and it’s pricey but your kids will love the experience with choosing their own food and enjoying some one on one time with the characters. Lunch and Dinner are just al la carte dining. We’d put the price range around $20-$27 per person. Their appetizer options are amazing!
Lastly we have the Napa Rose. The creme del la creme. The $$$ menu pricing and a dress code. Our per person is about $40-$45. However, you will enjoy a 5-star meal and you will enjoy the atmosphere and you will enjoy the amazing evening and you will enjoy……everything. It’s only open for dinner and reservations are highly recommended. Everything here is seasonal so expect a different menu when you come. The other thing we love about this place is it’s farm fresh to table. Big difference in taste!
The hotel does feature a merchandise store with shirts, jackets, polos, purses, some snacks, medicine, sun block, drinks, pins, charms, keychains, etc. The list goes on. AP holders and DVC members receive 20% and 10% discounts respectively. This store is located right off the lobby north east.
One of our favorite things to do that not many people know about or take advantage of is the 6th floor balcony looking over Disney Californian Adventure Park. It’s big, it has bathrooms, it’s heated, and it has the best view ever! We mainly go there at night to watch World of Color but anytime of day will give you a great view! 6th floor of the hotel, south west corner. You’ll need an active room key to access it.
And of course don’t forget your own personal private entrance into Disney Californian Adventure Park. Hotel guests only so have your room key ready. You still have to go through security here so be prepared for that as well. In the morning for Extra Magic Hour, we would suggest going to the main entrance instead of this entrance. The line gets realllllly long and it takes a long time to get through because of their limited resources. It’s honestly faster to walk to the main entrance and go in unless you’re close to the first person in line…
So there you have it! Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa can enhance your vacation by 1 million percent and you’ll get to enjoy some great recreation and dining.
As to images © Disney