If you are looking for the most luxurious place to stay for your vacation then Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel is the perfect choice. The Grand Californian is Disneyland resort’s premier hotel and was designed by Peter Dominick in the Arts and Crafts style of the 1900’s. You truly do feel as though you have stepped into a bygone age when you enter the lobby of the hotel. Aside from the outstanding design and comfort of the hotel another major advantage is that it is located within Disney California Adventure Park – you even get your own private entrance to the park! You really cannot be more conveniently located than in Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel. It gives very easy access not only to the California Adventure Park but also Disneyland and Downtown Disney.
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The atmosphere of the hotel evokes images and feelings of a National Park Lodge such as the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. Whilst the hotel has 745 rooms the lobby feels cosy with its spectacular six-story high atrium with a huge welcoming fireplace with comfy chairs – the perfect place to take a break from the parks.
The hotel was built in 2001 and the new Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel Villas have recently been added to give even more choice for those wanting larger, more flexible accommodation.
Disney Grand Californian Hotel Rooms
The original building has 745 hotel rooms and suites. Each standard room is 353 square feet so certainly larger than most hotel rooms in the Anaheim area but not exactly huge either. Rooms have either a King size bed and sleeper sofa, 2 Queens (some with an additional daybed). The most popular rooms are the Queen sized bed with a bunk bed set and a trundle-bed. These bunk bed rooms are the perfect solution for a family of 5. Room types can be requested but are not guaranteed.
The rooms have a split bathroom so that the sink and vanity is located outside of the bathroom. This is an added convenience when traveling with a family.
One and two bedroom suites are also available at the Grand Californian Hotel. These will give you plenty of additional room as they range from 694 to 1990 square feet.
If you are looking for a ‘Disney’ feel to the rooms then this may be a disappointment. The design really is the Arts and Crafts theme and for the kids (and of course) some adults the rooms may lack those special Disney touches that you are looking for. Some guests feel that the rooms are rather small for the price and somewhat dark. I have stayed in this hotel many times and do agree that for a family of 5 the rooms do seem a little small. But for me the location wins every time if the price is right compared to the other hotels of Disneyland resort. You do pay a price for convenience but sometimes I wish they rooms lived up to the expectation of the lobby architecture a little more!
Concierge Rooms are also available at the Grand Californian Hotel. These are all located on the fifth and sixth floors of the hotel. The Craftsman’s Club concierge lounge is located on the sixth floor and has snacks available from 6.30am to 10pm. A particularly nice feature is that you can see the fireworks from the patio. Is the concierge service worth the extra money? The standard rooms are the same as on the non concierge floors and of course you do pay quite a large premium for access to the lounge, priority check in and concierge services. Only you can make the choice as to whether it is worth it but if you really have to think about whether it is worth the splurge then perhaps it really isn’t worth it. Many feel that the benefits offered are not that great.
There are various views on offer at the hotel. The best and of course the most expensive are the theme park/pool views. These are particularly spectacular at night. Downtown Disney views are also available. These can be interesting for people watching but some, particularly on the lower floors, can be a little noisy. Standard views look out over the entrance or the interior courtyard.
One great feature of the Grand Californian Hotel is that it has its own private entrance to California Adventure Park. So you are literally steps away from the park. This entrance can be used by any Disneyland Resort Hotel guest. Early in the morning the security people do check your room key ID but later in the day this seems to be overlooked. It is also useful to be able to exit the park in this way. If you are a non Disney resort guest and want to use the restaurant or other facilities at the hotel then you can leave the park by this exit. Rarely is ID ever checked on the exit and it can prove to be a nice short cut.
Disneyland Grand Californian Vacation Villas
The recently added Grand Californian Villas are the only Disney Vacation Club rooms available at Disneyland. There are open to everyone, not only Disney Vacation Club Members. There are studios, one bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom villas available.
The Studio Villa is 379 square feet and sleeps up to 4 guests. Each has a Queen bed and Queen sleeper sofa. There is a kitchenette with a microwave, refrigerator and toaster. The room also has a small dining table with 2 chairs. Each room includes a television and DVD player. Also all the villas has either a patio or a balcony.
The One Bedroom Villa has a very generous 865 square feet of space. This is a great option for a family of up to 5 guests as is includes a King bed, a Queen sofa bed and a pull down bunk bed. Another great feature is that the villa has 2 bathrooms one of which has a whirlpool tub. This villa has a full kitchen with full size appliances. Having a kitchen is a great time and money saver. You can prepare and eat a quick breakfast and hit the parks earlier in the morning!
The Two Bedroom villas are a One Bed and a Studio connected together. They offer 1,257 square feet of space with 2 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. These villas will sleep up to 9 people very comfortably.
If you are looking for the very best then you can choose from one of just two available Three Bedroom Villas at the Grand Californian Hotel. They are two storeys high and at 2,426 square feet are the size of the average house in the US. The first bedroom has a King bed and the other two bedrooms each have a Queen. The villas will sleep up to 12 guests plus a child under 3 in a crib. All 3 bedrooms are masters with the first bedroom having a master bath with a whirlpool. The total number of bathrooms is 4. There is a full kitchen and even a washer and a dryer. So if you are looking for the largest, most comfortable option in Disneyland, and of course money is no object, then this has to be your best choice!
The Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel Villas are part of the Disney Vacation Club. Although they can be booked by non DVC members they are the only Vacation Club rooms in Anaheim so they are not always available as they are often already booked.
Parking for both the Hotel and the Villas is charged at $15 per day for self parking or $17 for valet. The self parking facility is located across the street – not a great feature as this is a busy road to cross.
All of the hotels of Disneyland Resort now charge a resort fee. This fee does not include parking. It is $15 per day and covers newspaper delivery, local calls, internet access. I am not a big fan of parking charges and resort fees. I wish that hotels would just be honest and have a room price reflect the rate they actually want to charge you!
Grand Californian Hotel Restaurants
There is a good choice of places to eat at the resort ranging from Quick Service to the finest restaurant in Disneyland, Napa Rose.
If you are looking for a fine dining experience then be sure to make reservations for the ever popular Napa Rose which is located inside the Grand Californian Resort. The menu is distinctively Californian cuisine and the decor is just beautiful Arts and Crafts style. The menu is seasonal and the 4-course prix-fixe tasting menu changes every week. The award-winning Napa Rose is thought by many to be the finest in Orange County. Even if you are not visiting the Mouse then this restaurant is well worth a visit. Perfection comes at a price though so expect to pay around $40 for an entrée. The 4 course prix fixe menu is $85 without wine pairings. The wine flight is an additional $45 with no alcoholic pairings available for $15. There is also a children’s menu available.
Storyteller’s Cafe offers a character breakfast with Chip and Dale as well as lunch and dinner. The lunch menu offers favorites such as pizzas and burgers. Dinner is either from the menu or the buffet table. I have to be honest about Storyteller’s Cafe as I have eaten there on many occasions. Usually because I am tired after a long day at the parks and I just happen to be in the right place! The food is OK and they do offer good gluten-free options which is great because my family has food allergy issues. The restaurant is styled wonderfully and should be a really pleasant place to be. However over the past couple of years the service has just been bad. Really bad on occasion. The wait staff just don’t seem very helpful or well-trained. More than one could be described as grumpy to say the least! The wait for tables is often very much longer than you are told and then service is very slow. The food seems to be kept under the warmer for way too long. Getting the idea that I have had numerous bad experiences here? For me Storyteller’s Cafe misses a big opportunity as it really should be very good indeed. The decor is fabulous, the menu is fine. Just the service is terrible.
If you just want to pick up a quick bite to eat then head on over to White Water Snacks which is located next to the pool. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner this is a counter service eatery which serves the usual cereal, breakfast items, pizza, sandwiches, ice-cream and snacks.
Recreation at Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel
There are 3 swimming pools side by side at the Grand Californian. The Redwood Pool has a slide, the Fountain pool is next to this with a small children’s pool shaped in the classic Mickey Mouse head design.
The Mandara Spa offers the usual spa services and also a special YSPA Teen Program. If you need a rest from the stresses of the theme parks then this is a great place to relax for a while. There is also a small fitness facility which offers aerobic and weights machines.
Is Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel Really Worth It?
Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel Review
This is the most expensive of the Disneyland resort hotels and whilst sometimes you may see a discount you will usually pay at least $300 for a standard room per night. Demand tends to exceed supply in the Disneyland hotels so bargains are rare. Sometimes seasonal or Disneyland Annual Passholder discounts are available.
Is is worth it? The location and pure luxury feeling of this hotel are simply not available anywhere else in Anaheim. It is just stunning. Peaceful and relaxing. The rooms are nice – they could be better but they are of a very good standard. The location is unbeatable and this can mean a lot when you are visiting the Disneyland parks. You do get a lot more out of your visit if you can spend some of your time relaxing. And you simply get more time in the parks as you are not spending any time traveling to them! So if yu can then the Disneyland Grand Californian really should be experience at least once in a lifetime. And then you will want to return!
Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel address
1600 South Disneyland Drive
Telephone 714 635 2300
If you are thinking about staying in a Disneyland Hotel then you may also want to look at this guide to Disney Paradise Pier