The Grand Californian Hotel is the flagship Disney hotel at the Disneyland Resort in California. It is a luxury, deluxe resort built in 2001 in the manner of Grand Floridian and Beach Club resorts at Walt Disney World. We love the Grand Californian Hotel! Our favorite things are its location, proximity to the parks, and its architecture. Read on to see what the Grand Californian Hotel has to offer.
Arts and Crafts Architecture
The Grand Californian Hotel demonstrates the California Arts and Crafts style of architecture that was popular around 1900. Arts and Crafts design uses natural materials such as wood, stone, and brick, and displays intricate details with natural colors. Often compared with Wilderness Lodge at WDW, closer inspection shows definite distinction. Whereas Wilderness Lodge has rough-hewn logs, the Grand Californian Hotel design is much more modern and refined with polished woods and stained glass. The exterior, interior, and landscaping are all hold true to Arts and Crafts design. I highly recommend that when you stay here, you take the time to tour the entire resort to fully appreciate Disney’s attention to detail.
The compactness of the resort is one aspect of Disneyland that we favor over Walt Disney World. No busses are needed! Everything is within walking distance. The Grand Californian Hotel actually has an entrance directly into Disney California Adventure! You enter straight into Grizzly Peaks. The Arts and Crafts architecture and landscaping blend seamlessly into Grizzly Peaks. You are only about 1/4 mile from Soarin’ Over California and maybe 100 yards from Grizzly River Rapids. You get drenched on Grizzly River Rapids. It is so much fun, if you are in the right clothing. Our son wore swim trunks and a t-shirt down to the ride, used the Single Rider Line, and rode this wet and wonderful attraction 6 times in hour! It was then a short walk to the room to dry off. The Grand Californian Hotel also opens directly into Downtown Disney with loads of shops and restaurants from which to choose, as well as street performers at night. The walk to the entrance of Disneyland Park is only about 1/4 mile: NO BUSSES!
Disney Deluxe/DVC Resort
The Grand Californian Hotel is a deluxe Disney Resort with all the features that you expect. It has a small contingent (not nearly large enough!) of rooms for DVC members. It may seem confusing that the Grand Californian uses the name hotel instead of resort. At Disneyland, the entire complex (parks, hotels, Downtown Disney) is called Disneyland Resort. So this is actually less confusing.
As with the WDW deluxe resorts, everything is detailed and beautiful. This is luxury! The lobby is expansive with a massive fireplace and vaulted ceiling. There are several shops from which to browse. The Mandara Spa is a full service spa with multiple treatments, and there is a well-equipped fitness room. There are several pools, all with Arts and Crafts theming, and a great waterslide. The cast members (staff) are friendly and helpful. There are four dining options in the hotel (right outside the door in Downtown Disney are loads more!).
Napa Rose is an upscale, table service restaurant with a menu focused on fresh California fare. With beautiful Arts and Crafts details and a wine country feel, it overlooks Disney California Adventure.
Storytellers Cafe’ is a family-style, table service restaurant with Arts and Crafts details, but a more laid back, playful feel. We had a character breakfast here and loved it! The food, the decor, and the Disney characters made for a wonderful experience.
Whitewater Snacks is the Grand Californian Hotel quick service option. It has a campground feel with a wide selection of more hearty options than I expected.
Hearthstone Lounge offers drinks, cocktails, and “snacks.” The snacks are full meals like flatbreads, sliders, etc.
The Arts and Crafts details flow into the rooms, too. The Disney presence is subtle, but there is enough to make you smile. Some rooms have views of Disney California Adventure, but all of the views are nice. The rooms are large and comfortable.
The Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland Resort in California is the best place to stay on your Disneyland vacation. With all of the amenities you would expect from a luxury resort, the location with its access to the parks and Arts and Drafts style make the Grand Californian Hotel arguably the best Disney Deluxe Resort. If you have the chance, I highly recommend that you stay here.