A high-end hotel with a cozy fireplace in an oversized lobby, a top-notch spa, a fancy restaurant, private cabanas by two of three pools and a concierge-level floor with exclusive perks would be like this. Imagine a hotel at Disneyland Resort that has a private theme park entrance, an on-site character buffet, and an extravagant three-course princess breakfast.
The Disneyland Hotel has been around since the 1950's, but Disney's Grand Californian is a newer addition that has its own charms.
This is the fanciest of the three Disneyland resort hotels. If you're familiar with Disney's Wilderness Lodge at Disney World Resort, then the vibe of this resort will likely remind you of it, as Disney's Grand Californian was also designed to look like a park lodge.
If you're planning on staying at Disney's Grand Californian, you may be wondering if it's worth the cost. Fortunately, the company is here to assist.
Disney's Grand Californian is the most expensive option at Disneyland.
Disney's Grand Californian, Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel are all expensive, but Disney's Grand Californian is the most luxurious of them all. You should expect to pay a pretty penny when you stay here.
Cash rates start at $700 or $800 per night for a standard room, but can go as high as $1,000 a night when you choose an accommodation with a special view. This may seem excessive, but it is not uncommon. The Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance hotel charges a lot of money.
Fixed-value credit card points and Bilt rewards can be used to pay for a room at this hotel. You can use discounted Disney gift cards.
Renting Disney vacation club points is the best option. It can help you save up to 50% on the retail price if you do it on certain dates.
You can sign up for our newsletter.
Points from services such as David's Vacation Club Rentals can cost as much as $23 per point. You would spend between $357 and $391 per night at Disney's Grand Californian if you paid with cash. It's an added perk that you won't have to pay $35 a day for self-parking.
Credit cards that can be used for Disney and Universal vacations are related.
Disney's Grand Californian is located between Downtown Disney and Disney's California Adventure Park and is a great place to stay. You can get into Disney's California Adventure Park from the grounds of the hotel in a matter of minutes.
If you want to get to Disneyland's other top destination, the original Disneyland Park, you can either walk for five to seven minutes or take the monorail from Downtown Disney.
The line to clear security from the hotel to get into Downtown Disney can take some time to work through, but it usually moves quicker than you think. We waited in line for about 15 minutes each morning when we were here.
The Point's Gully is named after Summer HULL.
From the moment you walk into the lobby, you'll feel like you're at a retreat in the woods. Massive pillars made of boulders, thick wooden arches fixed to the ceiling and decor in various shades of outdoorsy colors make for a nice take on a Disneyland vacation.
The reception desk is located near the back of the lobby. The cast members are here to check in guests.
Kids can watch cartoons in a small area with a built-in TV and chairs and rockers while they check in or sit in the lobby.
If you're checking in late or just want a place to soak up the special atmosphere, be sure to lounge by the piano, where a pianist plays a number of Disney tunes.
There are nine real-life destinations that inspired Disneyland.
The rooms at Disney's Grand Californian are simple but comfortable, with beds that are high enough to hold luggage.
There is art on the wall that pays homage to both California's orange groves and Disney characters. You won't find as many outlets at Disney properties.
If you choose a standard room with two queen-size beds but need a little more sleeping space, you can rest easy knowing that some accommodations also have sofa beds, which are some of the best in the business. Don't forget to request one of the rooms that don't have this sofa bed arrangement during the booking process. Up to five people can be accommodated in a room with a sofa bed.
My youngest was happy to use the sofa bed even though we only had four people in the room.
A child step stool with its own version of a Hidden Mickey can be found inside the bathroom.
There is a selection of Disney H2O+ bath amenities at the long Vanity with two sinks. A separate room with a toilet and a walk-in shower could be found just beyond the Vanity Area.
There was a set of wooden hooks on the wall.
I was surprised that there wasn't a tub in this room. If your kids are younger, you'll want to request a room with a tub since it's not a standard feature.
There is a way to save money at Disney.
There are a variety of restaurants at Disney's Grand Californian.
The GCH Craftsman Grill is located near the pool and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The seating is available indoors and outdoors.
The Point's Gully is named after Summer HULL.
One day, we ate here for breakfast and loved it. Eggs, bacon, potato bites, salsa, and more are rolled into a flour tortilla and an $18 huevos rancheros breakfast flatbread. The latter was expensive and messy, but it was a delicious combination of fried eggs, chorizo, black bean spread, roasted salsa, avocado drizzle, cheese and tortilla strips large enough to feed a lot of people.
The Storytellers Cafe is a buffet restaurant where characters parade around the venue and you can meet them at your table.
The Point's Gully is named after Summer HULL.
We didn't eat here during our most recent stay, but I peeked inside to see the characters dressed in cute hiking outfits as they chatted with guests. The food was good for a buffet and the service was great. Reservations are recommended so that you can eat at your preferred time, as meals will set you back up to $51 for adults and $29 for children.
There is a special occasion or a more formal meal that can be enjoyed with the wine.
Offering both a princess breakfast experience that costs $125 per person for everyone 3 and up and a dinner service that's dressier but still accessible to families, the restaurant is a crowd pleaser. It isn't a good place to go after a busy day at the parks.
I wouldn't eat here with young kids as it's a restaurant meant to be enjoyed and the recommended attire for dinner is dress pants, jeans in good condition, collared shirts, dress shorts, sweaters, blouse, dresses and lifestyle shoes. I didn't go to Disney's Grand Californian because of that.
On a previous visit, I enjoyed the spring harvest salad and wood-fired pizzetta that were on the starter menu.
The main course of Scottish salmon was not necessary due to how large the starter were.
Disney's Grand Californian also has room service, so if you prefer to stay in your room, you can. It's a luxury to have on days when you're looking for a bite to eat before or after visiting the parks.
Before we went to the parks, we had Mickey waffles, pastries, bacon, a yogurt and hot chocolate. The food was great and we were surprised by how busy the line was.
The room service became available at 6 a.m., but we couldn't get through until more than 10 minutes had elapsed. Our park plans were affected as we didn't get our food until 7 am. Once we scarfed down our $100 breakfast, got through security and made it into Disneyland Park to take advantage of the early entry perk we received as Disney resort guests, we only had a short time to enjoy the park before it opened to the public.
I'm happy that the hotel has real room service when so many don't, despite the delays with ordering and receiving food. It may not be that much of a time-saving perk. Room service is a delicious and decadent treat that you should definitely work into your schedule if you have a morning when you aren't rope-dropping.
There are great restaurants at Disneyland.
Disney's Grand Californian has a lot of ways to pass the time. The themed pool complex at the property has a waterslide, lifeguards, loaner life jackets and padded lounge chairs.
You can take a dip in the hot tub if the pools are not warm enough for you.
The bicadas are available to rent by the pools, but they go for a lot of money. You can get access to a 32-inch TV, some lounge chairs with umbrellas, bottled water and a fruit platter if you choose to treat yourself to one of the cabanas.
There are a couple of amenities that focus on the health of the body.
The fitness center has treadmills, ellipticals, and other fitness equipment for guests to use. There are a range of options.
The Tenaya Stone Spa is able to accept appointments online. I didn't want to spend more than $200 on a treatment, so I passed. I think I would enjoy a spa service here, especially after running around the parks all day, based on how impressed I was with other parts of the property.
Disney is known for its service, but it was even better here. The cast members were very kind and went out of their way to make us feel special.
One example of this is when a child lost a tooth in the park. It was late by the time we got back to the resort, and since we were outside of our normal tooth fairy's jurisdiction, I was worried that there would be some under-the-pillow disappointment the next day. The front desk staff knew how to help when I stopped by to see if there were any tooth fairies. There was a little magic from the fairies the next day.
My family and I return to Disney because of these moments.
Disney is above average when it comes to accessibility. The same is true at the Grand Californian.
There are pathways in the parking lot.
There are lifts in the pools.
Wheelchair or hearing accessible rooms can be reserved.
Do you want to plan an accessible trip? Travel resources can be helpful.
When visiting Disneyland, staying at Disney's Grand Californian is a must. It is a high end option that will elevate your typical theme park vacation and make it much more enjoyable.
You'll be close to Disneyland's two theme parks, as well as having great on-site amenities. Having a private entrance to Disney's California Adventure is one of the main reasons to stay here, as you can quickly get into the park if you want to. As a Disney resort hotel guest, you'll get an additional 30 minutes inside the parks, which will help you get on more rides.
The new look of the hotel is starting to show signs of wear and tear, but it's still an eye-catching and comfortable place to stay.
Room rates are close to $1,000 per night, which is the main challenge in staying here. It can be difficult to feel like you're getting your money's worth at Disney's Grand Californian if you're spending every day of your stay in the parks, so if budget is a concern, consider limiting your visit to just two nights. If you're staying longer, you can offset some of the cost of this resort by staying at a more budget friendly hotel. You can get a classic Disneyland experience at a price you can afford.
Do you want to go to Disneyland with your family? More resources can be found here.