by Caroline Costello
One of three official Disneyland resorts in Anaheim, California set inside the park (along with Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel), the Grand Californian Hotel boasts an exclusive park entrance to Disney’s California Adventure, meals with Disney characters and sweeping views of Disneyland. Staying at the Grand Californian is the most luxurious option for families who want to sleep on Disneyland park property. The hotel’s stylish, rustic California lodge theme and upscale spa set it apart from the other in-park Disneyland resorts, as does the price — rates are nearly double those of the other two Disneyland hotels. Room charges do not include access to Disneyland, but hotel and ticket packages are available for all three Disney resorts.
Our Editor Loves
- Luxurious Disneyland resort
- Walk to Disneyland
- Evening kids' program
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Children Programs
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Rooms are decorated in the Craftsman style with a choice of standard guest rooms, Artisan Suites, Signature Suites and Club Level rooms. All rooms are non-smoking and include cribs, Internet access, TVs with Disney Channel and ESPN, and sleeping bags and cushions upon request.
Standard rooms sleep up to five and house king and queen beds, plus bunk, trundle or day bed options.
Suites and Club Level
The one- to three-bedroom suites with one king or two queen beds per bedroom, accommodating up to 12 guests. Club Level rooms are standard room or suite choices with extra amenities including complimentary snacks and beverages, a wine and cheese reception, continental breakfast, in-room movies, and priority check-in, as well as an exclusive lounge.
The four Signature Suites are themed as Arroyo, a rustic theme with leather chairs and dark woods, El Capitan, has a bright yet rustic feel with a light-stone colored fireplace as a centerpiece, Arcadia, has a bright and modern decor, and Mount Whitney, is decorated with luxurious woods but yet is still modern. The Signature Suites range between 1,600 to 1,990 square feet with a dining area to sit eight, living rooms, and offer views of California Adventure park and the pools. They sleep up to 12 guests.
The hotel. Is beautiful and the rooms are very spacious and updated. The staff was very friendly and accommodating and the theme park view from our balcony was amazing. It was also great that we were always able to get into California adventure with no lines! Would definitely stay here again if visiting.
Pulling up in the front of the hotel was just like many resorts we've been to, very clean , lots of room. Staff were helpful directing people.
I later was impressed how smoothly it was run after realizing the volume of guests coming and going at the resort.
Check in was quick and easy, the front desk staff wasted no time getting to know everyone by name and knew absolutely everything about the hotel, resort and parks. And we threw a lot of questions out there!
The room was equipped as a normal room would be, but had power outlets and USB charging absolutely anywhere you could think to put them, which was great for all our phones and devices we brought to make sure we were all connected while in the parks.
Pool area was very well kept and had a lot of different areas so kids could play, but quieter folks could still relax.
I was amazed at the detail in the great rooom. Notice when you go there that the ornate tiles in the floor meet up with the carpet but the patern doesn't change at all, the transition is seemless.
There was always something going on and we were fully entertained.
Food was great in all the restaurants we tried, the buffett was very well stocked and kept completely full at all times when we were there.
Top notch all around.
The hotel is classed as a four diamond hotel, I understand the only way to get a fifth diamond would be to have a golf course, however it has a Disneyland!!!
Well worth the additional diamond in my books.
With Disneyland just steps away, your kids probably won't be interested in spending too much time at the resort. However, if you need a brief break from the youngsters you may wish to take advantage of Pinocchio's Workshop, which is a supervised club for kids ages 5 to 12 that entertains young ones with crafts, games and Disney movies from 2 to 11 p.m. There is a per child fee for Pinocchio's Workshop and an additional cost for dinner if you would like to include it. This program is available to resort guests only.
Kids and parents alike will have a blast splashing and swimming at the resort's three pools. The Fountain Pool features a fun turtle fountain, and the Redwood Pool has a twisty tree-themed waterslide. The Mariposa pool is a more relaxing setting, and poolside cabanas are available at all pools, for an additional charge.
The Grand Quest
Young kids, ages 3 to 12, can participate in a self-guided scavenger hunt throughout the hotel. Kids receive a special prize when they find all the answers to the clues. Instructions and clues are available at the Guest Services Desk.
Art of the Craft Tour
The hotel's beauty can be explored and discovered through a special tour, lasting from an hour to an hour and a half. The tour focuses on the hotel's forest theme and the California Arts and Crafts movement.
Night at the Movies
On select nights, Disney movie screenings take place at Parkview Terrace. Bring a snack and drink and enjoy a Disney classic.
At Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, guests can dine at any of two restaurants, two lounges and one snack bar.
Hearthstone Lounge offers a continental breakfast in the morning, and in the evening families can relax in the lounge and play checkers while enjoying an impressive view of Disneyland.
Napa Rose is an upscale restaurant that serves gourmet dishes made from Californian agriculture, dairy and seacoasts, paired with classic Napa Valley Californian wines. The restaurant has an adjacent lounge where guests can relax with appetizers and drinks, while overlooking the Disney California Adventure Park. Reservations are recommended; resort casual dress is also recommended.
White Water Snacks
The resort's poolside snack bar, White Water Snacks, sells finger food, sandwiches, hotdogs and some breakfast items. Kids' meals are available.
Check out Storyteller's Cafe for an interactive Disney dining experience -- wake up with Chip 'n Dale at the Storyteller's Cafe breakfast buffet, where the famous giant rodents dish up sing-a-longs and dancing with pancakes and eggs. The Cafe's breakfast options include a healthy all-you-can-eat farmer's market buffet in addition to menu items like Mickey Mouse waffles. For lunch, chow down on pizza, grilled sandwiches, and other kid-friendly fare in the Cafe's colorful setting.
Both Hearthstone Lounge and Napa Rose offer children's menus with items like pasta, pizza and fish.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The Grand Californian Hotel does not offer any on-site childcare services other than the Pinocchio's Workshop. Guests who require additional babysitting can take advantage of a childcare referral service through the concierge (parents who use this service must sign a waiver, as the babysitters provided are not resort employees).
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel's common spaces, as well as in rooms.
Key to the Magic
Your Key to the Magic card is your room key, resort charge card and parking permit. You receive the card at check-in and can use it to purchase items, meals or tickets at the hotel or theme parks. Cast members hand out balloons and "first visit" or "birthday" pins to the kids at the front desk.
Using the special entrance, guests can enter and re-enter Disney California Adventure Park.
No need to carry those souvenirs with you all day long. Items purchased at the theme park can be delivered right to your hotel at no charge. And you can pick the item up at the Bell Service desk when you return.
Credit and debit cards can be used at the 24-hour laundry rooms.
The Art of Smart Timing
Timing a Disney trip to avoid crowds is difficult. The resort is most crowded times in the year: during the summer, again, when kids are out of school, Christmas Day through New Year's Day and Thanksgiving Day into the November weekend (although the Monday and Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving is fairly safe.) During early fall, the weather is gorgeous, and the crowds are smaller.
Disneyland Resorts are located in Anaheim, California, about a 40-minute drive from Los Angeles International Airport, but more easily accessible via John Wayne Airport or Long Beach Airport, both in Orange County.
There is a fee for both self and valet parking, per night. Free parking lot trams bring guests to Disneyland Park and Disney's California Adventure Park, and a Monorail operates between Downtown Disney to the Tomorrowland area of Disneyland Park. The best thing about Disneyland Resort is everything is in very easy walking distance from each other, and guests can walk right out of the hotel to Disneyland, Downtown Disney, Disney's California Adventure Park and the two other Disney properties, the Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel.
For Mom and Dad
The Mandara Spa provides massages, skin treatments and other salon services in eight private treatment rooms. Relaxation lounges and separate sauna, steam room and changing areas are available for men and women, and a couple's pavilion brings mom and dad together for dual services. Children under 18 are not allowed without a parent or guardian.