Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa
What We Love
- This is the only hotel to offer direct entrance into a Disney theme park
- A relaxing massage at Mandara Spa after a day of Disney family fun
- Dining with Disney’s fave characters at Storytellers Café
What To Know
- The resort offers separate facilities for adults and children
- Parents looking for a night alone can leave children ages 5 to 12 at Pinocchio's Workshop, a licensed child-activity center, for an additional fee
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Disney’s Grand Californian is the first hotel to be built inside a Disney park, and the American Craftsman hotel combines luxe amenities with family fun — and function. Case in point: Guestrooms can be configured for every type of family, including one configuration with a double bed plus bunk beds with a trundle. The hotel also provides sleeping bags (rather than rollaways) for kids, so that a standard-size room will sleep the whole brood. It’s worth upgrading to a room with a view of the park for a constant reminder of that you’re in “The Happiest place on Earth.” When it’s time to relax, the hotel offers a number of adult-only escapes, including the Mandara Spa where you can decompress with nary a mouse, duck or princess in sight. Parents looking for a night alone can leave children ages 5 to 12 at Pinocchio’s Workshop, a licensed child-activity center and enjoy a romantic dinner at on-site Napa Rose where the wine cellar is sure to impress.
In the Area
Hey, you’re in “The Happiest Place on Earth,” so if you’re doing anything other than Disneyland, well, you’re doing it wrong. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of the park. First, get up early! If you want to avoid lines, book The Magic Morning package offered to guests of the three Disneyland Resort hotels that lets you into the park an hour before the official 8 A.M. opening. Another time (and money-) saver is The Park Hopper ticket, which lets you visit both Disneyland and California Adventure. And if waiting in line isn’t your bag, you better get a Fastpass — go to a Fastpass ticket machine, buy a ticket for your fave ride for a specific time and then return at the time marked on the pass. You get to hop on the ride without a wait.
How to Get There
We have stayed at all the other Disney hotels in California so we decided this time to splurge and do the Grand Californian. The location to California adventure can not be beat. The best part was being able to go back to the hotel put on our swimsuits and cover ups, then run out and ride the Grizzly river ride 3 times in a row! However, you have paying a premium for that adventure. They have opened a new pool bar/restaurant called the Craftsman grill, a cheeseburger is $22, you are really better off eating the park. They got rid of the white water snacks, so there are no reasonable priced restaurants at the hotel. The hotel has under gone a remodel, the rooms are very nice. We had a standard view which included two queen beds and a sofa which folded into a single bed. It fit our family of the 4 perfectly, sisters did not have to sleep together. We stayed on the 6th floor which had a view platform for the World of Color show at California Adventure. The did decide to get rid of the spa but they still have a nice fitness center. They also offer some interesting classes if you can get up for them. They offer a yoga at the park at 6am and they did offer Pilates at 8am. Overall it was a great experience but I am not sure it was really worth the added price.
My wife and I vacation to Disneyland in Anaheim twice every summer, having opted to stay at the Grand Californian every time. We pay extra for rooms on the 6th floor because of the access to their veranda and (occasionally) some great views of the park. However, the rooms don't always have the nice view they guarantee that they will, and also feel like they're ten miles away from civilization. It's nice to have access to the veranda, but it isn't convenient at all to spend twenty minutes away from your room just trying to get a snack or a beverage in there. Or feeling as if you're walking through a never-ending set of hallways to get to the elevator you need. I understand that sometimes things happen and there is no way to control where you place your guests, but it happens to us 100% of the time. It doesn't seem to matter if we ask for something closer. It's all subjective, and whomever is responsible for our placement claims to not have any clue about where we stayed during our previous visit, so sometimes we actually end up further away from the veranda than we were the time before. That's really unfortunate at $1200 a night, I think. My biggest complaint about this hotel, though, has little to do with the hotel itself. It's the security staff that stands between this hotel and the entrance to the park. Never in my life have I come across a group of people who are so amped up on what little power they have, that they use it indiscriminately as if their entire sense of self worth depends on it. You can't evade them, there's no way to get around this (what I consider to be) most aggravating obstacle every single day, potentially multiple times a day. I'm not sure who they work for - if it's the hotel, or the park. But regardless, it influences my decision about where I am going to stay the next time I plan a trip to Disneyland. The hotel is beautiful, and the location of our room is not a deal breaker for me. But these jokers are. If I'm paying as much money as I am to stay in this hotel every night on a 4n/5d vacation.. I certainly don't expect this much harassment and/or attitude from the rent-a-cops stationed at the entrance to the park, especially when it's entirely unprovoked and unnecessary. There's no reason for me to bother speaking to them anymore; even a simple 'hello' seems like reason enough for them to scoff and give me some odd, dirty look. It's.. truly baffling. I'm not one for reviews, ever, but it's hard not consider this part of the "package" when staying here. There is no way around it, after all, unless you want to walk all the way around to some other entrance outside the park. But if I'm going to do that, I'll just stay somewhere else. It certainly wouldn't cost me any more money than this place does, that's for sure.
We've stayed at the hotel and it was great (see other review), but hands down, the timeshare was the best. We rented it from an owner, but treated like an owner every minute of our stay. We rented the 2 bedroom 3 bath timeshare for 9 people and it was the perfect fit (We even split the cost). The space and location can't be beat. You can walk right into California Adventure Park or to Downtown Disney. The pool was open this time and really nice with the refurbishments that were done to it. Given the price of the rental, it also paid off to cook almost every meal during our stay. We could come and go from the park for a nap, lunch or dinner. It was worth all that extra cost!