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“Awesome location but worth the $$$?”

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Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Ranked #32 of 119 Hotels in Anaheim
Reviewed April 6, 2014

After months and months of researching on where to stay for our inaugural Disneyland vacation, we took the plunge and stayed at the Grand Californian. The question most people ask is "is it worth the additional cost to stay here?" I can definitely say with confidence, a definite.... maybe.

Here's the thing, for us it was worth the extra cost. I had my three children aged 9, 7 and 4 and the convenience of just popping into our hotel for lunch or a rest was extremely beneficial. We swam in the pool basically everyday near lunch time and it was a good break from the busyness of Disneyland. Yes, hotels outside of Disneyland are very close, but not Grand Californian close. For our first visit and with the age of our kids, it was worth the extra cost.

But really, the only extra you get is the location. Otherwise as most other reviews have stated, the room itself and even the hotel is not any fancier then any other and you don't get too many extras. The added magic mornings were good but again, we didn't use all of them because it would have just been too tiring waking up early every day.

As far as the exclusive entrance into California Adventure, the lines in the morning were long as there are only 2 line ups, but they do funnel you into the park just outside of the hotel to gather until the official magic morning starts. This entrance was great during the day to get back to the hotel for sure.

Staff were helpful and polite, didn't have any issues there. The concierge service was good also to help with the bags and for extra cost of the tip, it was well worth it.

Apart from the 5.1 earthquake we felt while we stayed there, the experience was a good one. Next time, if we ever go back, we will stay off the resort as our kids will be older and can do the walk back to the hotel if needed.

I posted a picture of the size of fridge in the room as we stocked up on groceries to have during our stay for breakfast and lunch. Gives you sense of how much you can actually store in the fridge.

One other tip is we rented a car and was going to return the rental to the Alamo in Downtown Disney. We checked in and was allowed to leave the car until we settled into the room which was convenient. The Alamo parking lot is shared with the Grand Californian self parking lot.

Lastly, as a comparison, we also stayed at the LEGOLAND hotel in Carlsbad and the room there was much better for the kids compared to the Disneyland room, but you can see my review of that hotel to see the details.

Room Tip: I called ahead to make sure we had the room with the bunk bed as we had 5 people in the room. I sus...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank pank
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 4, 2014

I love all things Disney, and when it comes to vacation planning, I often chose a Disney related one.
I grew up in Southern California and did my fair share of Disneyland visits. These were day trips for the most part as we lived less than 1 hour away. Now that I live out of state, I have to think about where to stay if I am visiting Disneyland. I've always opted for nearby "Good Neighbor" hotels as the Disney properties are, for the most part, out of my reach for price. This time I was lucky enough to go with a large group and swing a group discount!
I have always wanted to stay at Disney's Grand Californian but thought that I never would. I've stayed at many of Walt Disney World properties and loved them all. This time I got my wish in Anaheim.
The Grand Californian is cerainly just that. Grand in many ways. On the out side it has the strong Lodge feel. Then you walk inside and feel like you are transported to a sprwling lakeside lodge in the pines! The lobby is massive and hosts a stone wall with fireplace and lots of seating options. Be sure to grab a hot cocoa and sit a spell like I did. You'll even find an outdoor fireplace complete with rocking chairs!
I was exteemly impressed by the attention given to us as we approched the reservation desk. Everything was handled quick and smooth. Friendliness abounds here! We felt very welcome and comfortable here.
I will say that the room was very nice, clean and well appointed, but I expected a little stronger theme in the room decor, but the beds were very comfy!
A big plus when staying at the Grand Californian is the private entrance into California Adventure. Not only did this make going back and forth from the room super easy, but with park hopper tickets it was even easier to head into Disneyland this way. When staying at a Disney resort you also have extra magic hours to enter the park 1 hour before other visiters.
Although the weather didn't lend itself to using the pools but they too look lovely.
I did not get a chance to enjoy any of the resorts restaurants (I hear they are wonderful) but I did frequent Whitewater Snacks where I found they had a fantastis breakfast burrito (big enough to share) and many other quick service offerings at reasonable prices. Downtown Disney area provides ample dining options too.
I would recommend Disney's Grand Californian to anyone looking for a special stay. Be sure to take time to explore the resort and enjoy the ambiance!

Room Tip: Rooms on the NE side would be closest to the California Adventure entrance.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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3  Thank tkittymomma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2014

This hotel was beautiful and the location was perfect for visiting Disneyland. Such a short walk to get to the theme park. We stayed only one night because of the price. We were unexpectedly upgraded to the 6th floor which has its own concierges and rooms to watch the fireworks. The room was large and clean with a balcony big enough for a table and 2 chairs. We overlooked the pool and Adventureland. The bathroom was spacious with 2 sinks, making getting ready in the morning easier. I would love to have stayed here longer but it was cost prohibitive for us.

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank Snowlover81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2014

If you want complete convenience to the amusement parks this is the place to stay. With this hotel and the atmosphere in a good portion of the new California park Disney has taken the feel of the northern part of the state and transplanted it down here to a SoCal version. The in the woods, lodge feel is what they were seeking and achieved somewhat. The let down is in the rooms. Considering the least expensive accommodations are over $400 a night they could have made the rooms a little more spacious and had a little more of the Disney "magic" in the decor. The hotel's check in and staff are ernest in their efforts to make you feel welcome and be helpful. We had breakfast in the hotel's Storybook Cafe and it was wonderful food with Chip and Dale coming to the table to pose for photos.

Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
Thank TheMaven2u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2014

If you are looking into one of the three onsite hotels at Disneyland, I take it you have kids and don't expect a relaxing or romantic trip by any means and it is convenience with a tad bit of bonus quiet time that you are seeking. If that's the case, Grand Californian Hotel is the best out of the three that will offer you that chance of bonus adult/quiet time. We have stayed at all three (Paradise Pier, Disneyland Hotel and Grand Californian) and Grand Californian has by far the most kids programs on hotel property and most amenities to keep the children busy and content! On top of that, there is a spacious, tranquil full service spa that will allow you to get away for an hour or two while your children are participating in the kids programs or if they are lining up at Cars Land with your spouse. I know I absolutely treasured having the spa at the hotel!

The hotel offers a back entrance to the Disney California Adventure and as a hotel guest (for all 3 hotels) you will have a bonus hour, allowing you to enter the park early, collecting all your key fast passes for the day! The walk from Grand Californian to Disney California park was brief, much shorter than the walk from Disneyland Hotel to the theme parks and Paradise Pier.

As with any Disney restaurants, I always appreciate the care and attention the staff and chef pays to food allergies. In fact, at this point, after having been to so many types of Disney vacations, my son has a file and Disney proactively asks if a gluten-free option is needed and discusses the dining options with me. I love that attentiveness and it just gives me one less thing to worry about.

Rooms are moderately spacious, clean and sufficient for a family of 3. It's not overly themed or decorated. Hallways are loud as expected in any Disney hotel but room walls seem to be fine. At least we were not bothered by our neighbors.

I would stay here again, over the other two hotels. This is the option for you if you want a hotel that is more than just sleep time....this hotel will give you better dining options, day time programs, and ahh...the spa for any parents in need of just an hour of rest! It's not for families who want to do and see everything from park opening hour to closing time-- it won't be worth it spending the extra $$ at this resort if that's what you are seeking. If that's the case, Disneyland Hotel or Paradise Pier are both great options.

Room Tip: Skip any upgrades for 'views' or high floors...you're at Disneyland, everything is man m...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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Thank sklo2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2014

We stayed at the Grand Californian one time before in 2002 when our first born was only 8 months old. At that time, I remember being absolutely in love, as the location could not be beat. It was so convenient when having an infant, when I frequently needed to go back to let her rest, nurse, etc. I also remember it being worth the money we splurged to stay there back then. 12 years later, we finally returned with our now 11 year old and 4 year old daughters. We had a free night from a contest we won and we paid for another night to extend the trip. We got in to the hotel early in the morning at about 9:30 and did not expect our room to be ready, but it was, so that was fantastic. The guest service was phenomenal for our entire stay. I cannot complain about anything there. From check-in to check-out, the employees there were wonderful, from valet to bell-hop, housekeeping, and concierge. Our room was not nearly as nice as I remembered from our first visit, so that was a slight let-down. The bathroom was very small and dated and the rest of the room just average- definitely did not feel like a 5 star resort. The sliding door and tiny balcony was nice though for fresh air. The beds were quite comfortable though. However, I did not get to enjoy my sleep as much as I would have liked due to the fact that the hallway noise was ridiculous. I was shocked at how loud everything in the hallway was. You could hear every person/family as clear as if they were in the room, which was okay if you were going to bed late which we did, but not if you wanted to sleep in past 7:00 or if you wanted to take a nap (as we did each day since it was pouring rain while we were there). Those are the two things that keep this from being a 5 star review. If we had paid the $360 for each night, instead of just for the one, I would have been far more upset, as I honestly believe that when you pay for a 5 star hotel, it should be a 5 star hotel in every way- not just in service. We also ate breakfast at Storytellers while we were there, and that was a fantastic meal and experience as well. In the end, the location and service cannot be beat- if the rooms, comfort and price can be. With older kids, I do not know that it is worth it for us to spend the money to stay here again though. We would rather have the money to spend in the park and stay at another nice hotel in vicinity, which luckily we have stayed at many so have plenty to pick from.

Room Tip: A location at the opposite end of a hallway. Though it may be a walk, would hopefully be fewer peopl...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank Me0611
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2014

The hotel is beautiful the grounds are so well kept, just like the park. We are Vacation Club members so we stayed in the Villas. The amount of room and the accommodations in the villas is very nice. The only issue is the fold out sofa. It is a little hard and my daughter chose just to take the cushions off the sofa and sleep on the unfolded bed, it was more comfortable that way. We were able to make our own breakfast and lunch which is a much cheaper for anyone who has bought food in the park. Did not use the pool this time but have in the past and it is very enjoyable area. The location is second to none and the fact you don't have to "see the real world" while you're staying there is great.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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Thank Chip144
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

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
#2 Luxury Hotel in Anaheim
#6 Business Hotel in Anaheim
#9 Romantic Hotel in Anaheim
#17 Family Hotel in Anaheim
Price Range: $523 - $1,062 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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