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“The hotel is mammoth!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

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Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Ranked #34 of 118 Hotels in Anaheim
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
197 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 149 helpful votes
“The hotel is mammoth!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 27, 2013 via mobile

I've been in large hotels before but wow! This one goes on and on, you'd think it was Vegas. That being said to manage a property of this size and keep everyone happy, well that's darn near impossible. Within those parameters they do an outstanding job here, and we greatly appreciated it.

The beds are extremely comfortable, rooms are reasonably quiet, balconies have nice views (well ours did anyway), just an overall good wxperience.

A couple of tips: 1. If you stay at a Disney property get up early for the extra magic hour (park is 1 hr guests only). Stay out til it gets hot (11-ish) then go back to room, pool, etc til it's cooler (around 4). Then hit park again. The extra hour is huge!! Also, if you're not sure wether to go to calif or Florida I'd take Florida. 2 additional parks and 3 extra magic hours!!! (1 in morn, 2 at night). Disadvantage of Florida is how spread apart the parks are (have to ride a bus, in calif you can walk from one to next).

Again, these places are huge but the overwhelming majority Of Disney workers do their absolute best to make your trip enjoyable. Have fun!!! :-)

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Jad16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,118)
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lawyerkelly
Level Contributor
20 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 27, 2013

Our 2-night stay at the Grand Californian was wonderful. The location was, in a word, perfect. You can go straight from the hotel INTO California Adventure. The other end of the hotel goes to Downtown Disney. It is SOOOO convenient to roll into your rooms after a long day in the hot sun and tired kids.

The room itself is pretty small (for what you are paying). Our room had a queen bed, with a bunk bed, and a pull-out trundle. Our 1-year old slept on the trundle, our daring 4 year old the top bunk. Any sleeping problems we anticipated were completely overridden by their sheer exhaustion from the park. :)

There were some minor problems preventing me from giving this hotel a 5-star. First, the hotel policy is VERY strict. They are inflexible!!! to a fault! When we were coming in from California Adventure, we saw a poor woman in a wheelchair, being denied access. The employees were literally reading her the handbook, and not letting her in.

Also, the hotel is SO incredibly strict about EVERYTHING. They don't let you check in early, or check out late. Check-in is 3pm. NO earlier. Check-out is 11, NO later. And they NEVER have upgrades, so don't even try the 20-dollar-trick here.

Also, at 9:30 pm on both nights, AFTER the kids were already sleeping, HOUSEKEEPING knocked on our door to do turn-down service!?!?!?!? HELLO!?!? This was incredibly rude. Young kids go to bed early. And turn-down is usually at 5pm! What is wrong with these people?

Anyway, I find this place to be incredibly overpriced...but i do think it's worth it if you plan to spend 2 exhausting hard-core days at the park. You cannot beat the location.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank lawyerkelly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pacific NW
Level Contributor
26 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 27, 2013

Just returned from a June stay at the Grand Californian. Our family's frequent Disney travelers and have stayed at several properties. This was our first time as guests at the Grand Californian. It was definitely worth the cost and we will only stay here for all of our future visits. There is a flat fee of $35 to John Wayne Airport by taxi or just $15 a day for self parking if you drive yourself. The pool is lovely with terrific poolside service for an afternoon cocktail which is so welcoming after a busy day in the park. We had the 1 hour early privilege and with the DCA entrance near Grizzly Rapids you just can't beat it. The other entrance puts you right downtown Disney which is super convenient for dining options. We are never a fan of the food in DLand and try to eat at any of the options downtown Disney. We were upgraded to the 5 th floor with a view of the pool. The story tellers cafe breakfast buffet was included with our trip. We enjoyed it more than the other character options but I wouldn't actually pay for it out of pocket.

Room Tip: They are all great!
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 01sunnytourist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
291 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 190 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 26, 2013

We really enjoyed our stay here. We had a standard lodge style room with a balcony overlooking the park. It was a little dark but very clean. It was great having direct access to the park. Its so nice being able to pop back in the afternoon for a rest and a swim.The pool area was very relaxing with a great slide for the kids.
We found the service generally at the hotel was friendly and helpful.
The only negative was the Storytellers cafe. Dinner was just about ok but breakfast was dire. The service was poor.
The fast food cafe( White Water Snacks) was also overpriced and not very good.
We found that the restaurants at The Disneyland Hotel were much better. Goofy's kitchen at The Disneyland Hotel for breakfast was fantastic and you get to see many more characters. Also preferred Tangaroa Terrace again at The Disneyland Hotel for lunch or dinner.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lucia2Uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
El Paso, Texas
Level Contributor
41 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 24, 2013

Okay, I will first start off by saying we took advantage of the military discount to stay at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel (DGCH) which helped tremendously on pricing. I am not sure we would have stayed without that discount, however, we decided to splurge this time.

The biggest benefit, as others have mentioned, is the fact it is attached to Disney California Adventure (DCA) and Downtown Disney (DTD). Having been to Disney World (DW) several times, being able to TRULY park hop at this hotel was really, really cool. *I always found myself giggling when we did that...* (By the way, we always bought park hoppers at DW, but never really used them. However, when staying here, I highly recommend it.)

As far as the room- as always with Disney, it was very clean. We had a 'view' of the driving lane up to the hotel, but the hotel is also nestled in trees. We could also see the other two Disneyland hotels in the distance. We had a queen (I believe it was) with the bunk beds. It was the smallest Disney room we've experienced (having stayed in villas at Saratoga Springs and Old Key West and a large room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge), well you just can't compare to DW hotel rooms, but still it was sufficient and theme-related decor. The lobby is gorgeous!

Location of the hotel, besides the awesomeness of walking everywhere from there- It was the neatest thing to drive through busy town and then out of nowhere, you are lost in the Disney of it all. :-)

As far as restaurants in the hotel itself- The Whitewater Snacks opened early enough for us to take advantage of Extra Magic Hour and still grab a bite to eat before getting in line. (Early enough for Spring Break (SB)- Texas SB that is, and still we were one of the first few people in line for the turnstiles at the hotel's entrance to DCA.) Anyways, man, the breakfast burritos were HUGE. Next time we will just buy two and split between the 4 of us. The fruit plate was good, coffee good too. Worth it.

We ate breakfast character buffet at The Storyteller's Cafe once while we were there. Now, our kids are a few years older since our only other time doing a breakfast buffet, but I don't know how to put it- we just weren't "feeling it" as far as the characters. Again, probably because the kids are pre-teens now and think they might be too "cool" for that such a thing. it could also be that we went what Disney-files call "commando" on this trip and were gate busters, crack-of-dawn every single day...and this was our last day and we were all tired. Anyhoo, the buffet was plenty to fill us up, but comparing to Askerhus princess greeting/breakfast buffet at DW (Epcot), the food cannot compare! As always, it is a pricy meal, but still, we were full for most of the day until probably about 3pm.

For some reason, we had the hardest time finding the elevator every time we came back from the parks or DTD. Also had a hard time finding other things as well. I think they need more signs. The only thing I can think of is that they must do this on purpose so many non-hotel patrons won't swamp the hotel and upset guests. (They never once checked our room cards when we re-entered from the parks, etc.)

Okay, room/hotel tips:

1) As far as room location, well, try to get near the elevators.

2) View- well you always pay the difference in views when it comes to Disney. We didn't care on this trip because we did spend so much more time in the parks vs room time at DW. However, there are DTD and park views available....for a few extra $$.

3) Use the valet service. I rarely, if ever, use valet. But since you can walk to everything, why not just have them park the car and not have to worry about it.

4) If you haven't heard/read by now, the Radiator Racer Springs ride (in DCA) constantly breaks down. So, I recommend going to that park first...and making that your first ride if at all possible. Also, if being first in line to the park itself (or close to it) is important to you- don't use the DGCH entrance to DCA that morning- walk to the main entrance to DCA and walk, don't run (ahem) to where they rope you off near Carsland. You will be much closer, believe it or not, to that ride than the entrance in the hotel. Ride that first- don't assume it will be working later in the day or your trip.

5) When coming back to the hotel from the through DTD, the re-entry to the hotel can be hard to find. Just remember the Sephora store and it will be right there. Also, the private entrance when coming back from DCA is near-ish to the Grizzly River Rapids ride.

Random tips- Try a "Tigger Tail"...or 5. Can be found in the parks, but also in DTD at Marceline's Confectionary. What are they? Marshmellow-y heaven on a stick= Yum! Also, the Catal restaurant in DTD has really great food! (And sometimes you can luck out and sign up with them for a great deal/coupon- no fee to join.) Also, try signing up for any other DTD restaurants or ones nearby and sometimes you can get free birthday deals and others as well.

All-in-all it was a pleasant, but busy stay while there. I hope to be able to return when it isn't Spring Break and we won't feel so rushed.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jcfromnc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
116 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 24, 2013

This hotel is very very dated, the staff couldn't care less and almost you can sense they wish the guests would just all go away.

It took us 5 hours to finally check in. We arrived jet lagged from a 15 hour flight from Sydney and got given a dreadful room, were treated like muck and had to call a manager. Only then did we get another room, yes it was OK, but for a booking "with a view" it overlooked the car park.

The staff are simply un-interested. It basically destroys anything you have heard about "Disney = Good Customer Service".

We tried to order room service and were told it is always a minimum wait of 60 minutes plus. All we wanted was some hot milk for our child.

The 3 day meal plan we booked, wasn't 3 meals, it was breakfast, a snack and a $15 voucher for dinner - we still haven't been reimbursed.

We tried to book the "flag ship" restaurant Napa Rose and 3 times Guest Services told us they would sort it out. By the 4th call, we were told we could eat there as it was closed that night for a private function anyway. Why we couldn't have been told that in the first place, beggars belief.

Carry photo ID at all times. The jobs worthy staff like to ask you for it, just to pee you off. Even to get in the pool area. Your room key isn't enough.

The food by the pool is disgusting, the breakfast made us all get terrible stomach upsets. No one cared at all.

It is a total shame, that this run down place exists to service Disney and markets itself as 5 star.

Bad bad bad hotel and bad for Disney.

Room Tip: I have no idea. - When we checked in, 2 other families were asking for different rooms and we had to...
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
18 Thank FBendall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tempe, Arizona
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 24, 2013

My wife and I stayed at the Grand Californian with another couple. We booked at the same time for the lowest tier of standard room. To our surprise they gave us adjoining rooms next to each other on the 4th floor. I walked out to the balcony, and to my surprise it was overlooking downtown Disney. Score! I thought we had to pay extra for that. The room was quiet at night. I am a light sleeper and I didn't hear anything around us. Sometimes a screaming kid blazing down the hallway but that was short lived.

The room itself was nice. Very small and they only had rooms available with (2) queen beds instead of 1 king. I already knew what to expect in regards to the room size. You are paying for the location. Staying in the Disney themed resort is a magical experience even to a couple in their early 30s. I was worried it would only be geared towards little kids and I wouldn’t enjoy it. I was wrong, we absolutely loved it.

I read a lot of complaints about the early entry at California adventure being too crowded. I was expecting the worst, but they moved that line in minutes. We were at the back of the crowd, and found ourselves through the gates running to the Cars ride in 5 minutes. Not bad at all.

The grounds of the hotel are nice and the restraints are great. We ate at Napa Rose which was pricey and fancy, but the food and wine selection were totally worth it. Breakfast at Storytellers café was my favorite. I ate the best omelette I’ve ever had in my life, and the mickey mouse waffles were delicious! Eating with the Disney characters seemed like a gimmick but it wasn’t. We were at a table of all adults in our 30s, with no kids. The characters still came to our table and interacted with us, posing for pictures and such. Also the Hearthstone lodge is a cool bar with reasonably priced appetizers and drinks. I had my first ever Strawberry Julep there…followed by another :) It was so delicious I couldn’t resist!

Overall we had a great time at the Grand Californian. It’s a wonderful experience for travelers of all ages.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank talyler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Property: Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Address: 1600 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802-2317
Location: United States > California > Orange County > Anaheim
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Anaheim
#3 Luxury Hotel in Anaheim
#6 Business Hotel in Anaheim
#9 Romantic Hotel in Anaheim
#17 Family Hotel in Anaheim
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 1019
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This stunning hotel offers premium accommodations and rich dining experiences in American Craftsman style and elegance. With its world-class spa, an impressive array of amenities and impeccable Disney service, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa defines grandeur in every way. Located in the heart of Downtown Disney District, this hotel is just steps away from exceptional dining and entertainment. And with your park ticket, enjoy an exclusive entrance to Disney California Adventure Park. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Californian Hotel
Grand California Hotel
Disney California Hotel
Disneys Grand Californian Hotel
Disney Grand California Hotel
Disney Grand Californian Hotel
Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel
Disneys Anaheim

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