Eight Reasons We Love Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Disneyland Resort is currently the home for the Disney100 celebration.
While The Walt Disney Company’s 100th birthday party won’t last forever, it’ll always be The Happiest Place on Earth.
When you treat yourself to a Disneyland vacation, you’ll need a place to stay.
Disney owns and operates three resorts here. Today, I want to highlight the newest of them.
Here are eight reasons to love Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.
In 2001, Michael Eisner introduced what he’d intended to be the capper to the Disney Decade.
Sadly, financial shortfalls caused the opening of Disney California Adventure (DCA) to struggle.
While the park underwhelmed, its adjoining hotel excelled. Unexpectedly, what worked for one failed for the other.
Specifically, the theme park and the hotel embraced the same theme, the Golden State of California, in all its natural beauty.
Theme park fans weren’t wild about the idea of visiting a theme park based on a state, which is why DCA has evolved into a half-Pixar/half-Marvel space.
That same theme drives the popularity of the Grand Californian, one of the most beautiful Disney hotels ever built.
Disney hired Pete Dominick, the same architect behind two other stunning resort triumphs, to design the Grand Californian.
Dominick employed some of the ideas from Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and (especially) Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
You’ll notice them as soon as you enter the hotel’s majestic lobby, a picturesque setting with architecture comprised of stone and wood.
Imagine a cabin in the woods that happens to be a majestic mansion. That’s the Grand Californian.
When you visit here, you’ll feel like you’re staying at a grandiose national park lodge in a remote location.
That’s not the case, though. Even though the Grand Californian crafts the illusion that you’re in the middle of nowhere, the resort’s logistics are ideal.
This park resides just outside Downtown Disney. As proof, here’s a video you can watch:
At the 30-second mark, you’ll notice a sign with arrows pointing to Downtown Disney and Disneyland.
Twenty seconds later, the person passes through security and enters Downtown Disney.
That’s right, folks. This hotel resides less than one minute away from Downtown Disney!
Meanwhile, guests who prefer to visit the park will keep walking for another four minutes or so. That’s all it will take to reach Disneyland.
The Hidden Entrance
Remarkably, the walk to Disneyland takes longer than the one to DCA, and even that fact is a bit misleading.
As the video shows, you can exit the Grand Californian and reach DCA’s front gate in four and a half minutes. But that’s the slow way!
When Disney designed DCA and the Grand Californian, it built a back door.
You can exit the hotel lobby at the Grand Californian, turn left, walk 20 feet, and stand at the security gate for DCA!
Once you’re through security, you’ll enter DCA at Grizzly Peak.
Since the line at security is rarely long, you can exit your hotel and be inside DCA in three minutes.
I consider this amenity one of the best overall at any Disney resort in the world.
You’ll find three different exquisite pools at the Grand Californian, each of which offers something unique.
If you speak Spanish, you’ll quickly identify the theming for the Mariposa Pool. Yes, it features butterflies throughout the area! You can book a cabana here as well.
Meanwhile, the Redwood Pool’s name gives away its iconic feature.
Imagineers designed and built a 90-foot waterslide around the trunk of a redwood tree!
You’ll circle the tree as you gaze out at the hotel’s lovely campus.
My favorite part of the design is that the section underneath the slide also consists of wood.
Finally, there’s the breathtaking Fountain Pool, an area highlighted by stonework and trees.
You’ll know this one by the golden flagstone and also, you know, the fountain! It’s the memorable centerpiece of the pool.
All three pools will provide you with sunny relaxation in between park visits.
The pools at the Grand Californian are an escapism tourist’s dream.
GCH Craftsman Bar
What good would a pool be without a pool bar?
At the Grand Californian, I’m not even sure whether that’s the accurate description.
Imagine a lovely outdoor restaurant that happens to sit 15 feet from a gorgeous swimming pool. That’s the case with GCH Craftsman Bar.
So, you can grab a table or sit in a lounge chair and order a meal while you soak in the ambiance of the serene backdrop.
Live musicians sometimes perform here, and it’s intimately lit at night.
This place is perfect. Here’s a video that shows why:
PS: Don’t let the name confuse you. It’s a reference to the Craftsman architectural style, which should be apparent if you watched the video.
As I type this, there are approximately 500 restaurants in Anaheim, California.
The Grand Californian hosts one that is currently ranked as the #8 overall restaurant in the city. That’s…pretty good.
While you’re at Disneyland, you’ll appreciate this option. You’re on vacation and want to treat yourself to unforgettable experiences.
A meal at Napa Rose definitely qualifies. YouTube and TikTok are cluttered with videos of people recording their celebratory meals here.
Many would argue that it’s the best restaurant at Disneyland, and that’s the consensus of TripAdvisor voters as well.
This place is where you should go for an unforgettable fine dining experience.
A few years ago, Disney redesigned the stone here to make it more authentic to the culture.
The outcome is perhaps too realistic, as there was a weird controversy about its central feature, the Tenaya Stone.
While you should definitely explore the spa and admire its beauty, you’ll really visit for the obvious reason.
You want and deserve a spa day.
Disney will take good care of you here!
You need to refuel in between park visits. That’s a sure sign that a buffet is your best friend.
At the Grand Californian, you can obviously savor a fine dining experience, but a bottomless plate of food might make more sense on some dates.
That’s why you’ll love Storytellers Café, a buffet with character. I say this because of the breakfast and brunch options.
When you eat here in the morning, you can experience either Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Buffet Breakfast or Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Brunch Buffet.
Yes, the character experience is largely the same, but the menu items change from breakfast to brunch.
Pick the ones you prefer and relish the opportunity to hang out with Mickey Mouse and friends!
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Feature Photo: Disney