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  1. #1

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    Grand Californian Hotel hints, tips, recommendations and tricks

    I am taking my wife and 7 year-old daughter to the Disneyland Resort in late August. We usually stay at the Disneyland Hotel and have been there over a dozen times. For a change of pace my ladies both said they'd like to stay at the Grand Californian Hotel this time.

    We stayed at the Grand Californian once about five years ago and noticed that the theming is much more subdued but overall we don't recall too much about our stay there.

    I will be booking with Disney Vacation Club points so I won't be going with anything in the Concierge or Suite range. I'm most likely going to try for something with a Park or Downtown Disney view.

    I have a few questions regarding what room location and extras to request. Any and all help, advice and anecdotes are appreciated.

    A.) We always love watching the Disneyland fireworks from the Park View rooms of the Disneyland Hotel with the fireworks soundtrack playing on the TV. Do any of the Downtown Disney or Park View rooms have a view of the Disneyland Fireworks?

    I've noticed that some of the rooms overlooking Grizzly River Rapids and Condor Flats are slightly angled toward Disneyland as can be seen at this excellent aerial view: Disneyland Resort at maps.live.com I know the hotel wing above the World of Disney store probably blocks the fireworks from all but the highest rooms but I'd love to hear about anyone's experiences watching the Disneyland fireworks from GCH.

    B.) I've heard conflicting stories on whether guests at Grand Californian can use the Neverland Pool at the Disneyland Hotel. Since we remember the Redwood Pool at GCH was unbelievably dull we'd love to still use the Neverland Pool. I know that the Neverland Pool gate is often finicky about accepting room keys even from Disneyland Hotel guests so Cast Members there are used to having to open the gate for hotel guests to get in, so I can probably use that technique if I have to but I'd like to know we're allowed.

    C.) We're thinking of taking advantage of having a room with bunk beds for our daughter but haven't made up our mind. Anybody have input on this? Are these beds comfy for the kids? Does it make the room seem a bit bigger since I've heard the GCH rooms are bit smaller than the Disneyland Hotel.

    Thanks. Sorry if this was lengthy. Any and all input, advice and shared experience is appreciated!
    Last edited by Darth Mickey; 05-27-2009 at 04:50 PM. Reason: Fixing a link

  2. #2

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel hints, tips, recommendations and tricks

    As far as the NeverLand Pool goes, yes, you can use it and the pool at the PPH all you want. In fact, when we do stay at the GCH, our kids prefer to go over to the NeverLand Pool to swim since the pool at the GCH is definitely "boring". LOL

    Enjoy!

  3. #3

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel hints, tips, recommendations and tricks

    Hello Darth Mickey!
    Here are my answers to your questions plus some personal experiences of the GHC:

    A.) We always love watching the Disneyland fireworks from the Park View rooms of the Disneyland Hotel with the fireworks soundtrack playing on the TV. Do any of the Downtown Disney or Park View rooms have a view of the Disneyland Fireworks?

    I've stayed in both Downtown Disney view (DTD view), and Theme Park view rooms and have only seen fireworks from the Downtown Disney view rooms. I've only had partial views of the fireworks as the hotel is not perfectly angled for viewing.
    If you choose a DTD view room, please be aware that even if the door is closed, you will hear the sounds of DTD. Now it does not bother me (or my husband for that mater), as I like to hear noise (sound), it comforts me. Others may find trying to nap a little difficult with "sounds". Just an FYI...

    I've noticed that some of the rooms overlooking Grizzly River Rapids and Condor Flats are slightly angled toward Disneyland as can be seen at this excellent aerial view: Disneyland Resort at maps.live.com I know the hotel wing above the World of Disney store probably blocks the fireworks from all but the highest rooms but I'd love to hear about anyone's experiences watching the Disneyland fireworks from GCH.

    I've read that many who request a corner DTD view room have had some really good views, of course the concierge has the best view… As for the Park view rooms and Fireworks, I have heard, but never seen them from any of the rooms I've had overlooking Grizzly River Run. One of the rooms I had if you strained a little (see photo here: http://micechat.com/forums/disneyland-resort/102044-november-2006-poto-tr.html)you) could see the top of Space Mountain. Oh, the GCH also has a TV channel that plays the fireworks Soundtrack. Which reminds me that the rooms in the GCH now have 42' flat screen televisions.

    B.) I've heard conflicting stories on whether guests at Grand Californian can use the Neverland Pool at the Disneyland Hotel. Since we remember the Redwood Pool at GCH was unbelievably dull we'd love to still use the Neverland Pool. I know that the Neverland Pool gate is often finicky about accepting room keys even from Disneyland Hotel guests so Cast Members there are used to having to open the gate for hotel guests to get in, so I can probably use that technique if I have to but I'd like to know we're allowed.

    OSM has already answered this question for you ~ glad too, as I only use the "Dull and Boring" Fountain pool and love it! I also like the Redwood Tree waterslide! I also don't have children, so I'm all for a Dull and Boring pool...

    C.) We're thinking of taking advantage of having a room with bunk beds for our daughter but haven't made up our mind. Anybody have input on this? Are these beds comfy for the kids? Does it make the room seem a bit bigger since I've heard the GCH rooms are bit smaller than the Disneyland Hotel.


    Sorry again, never had a room with bunk beds… In regards to the size of the rooms, I think they are fine. My favorite room type is a King room with a sofa, but alas the two Queen beds are a good room too! I mean, I don't feel claustrophobic or anything, I would think if four or more people were in the room I'd have an issue…

    Now for some other GHC stuff:


    One of my favorite features is that guests of the GCH, have a private entrance into Disney’s California Adventure Park. We liked going through security there, and walking across the esplanade into Disneyland. That way we bypassed the long security lines in Downtown Disney. The hotel is absolutely beautiful, it’s styled after the Arts and Craft movement, the hotel looks somewhat like the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite. I also love the fact that all the rooms at the GCH are non-smoking.


    I have never had a bad room, every night there is turn down service, and they leave Disney chocolates on your pillow! Beds are comfy, free in room High speed Internet, if you don’t have a laptop/computer with you, you can logon to one in the business center if you need too! There is a small in room safe (you take the key) for small valuables; it’s big enough for jewelry and prescriptions you don’t want left out! Staff are very friendly, and willing to help you. I called house keeping for an extra box of tissues, I expected a long wait, but not more than five minutes they were at my door with tissue box in hand! This hotel has a great location; especially after a long day in the park it’s a short walk back to your room.


    My two favorite places to eat at the GCH are Storytellers Café and Whitewater Snacks! At breakfast Storyteller's has Chip and/or Dale (with a few other characters) that walk around and greet everyone at their tables. They also have a structured activity (follow the leader) for the little ones. Whitewater has cheap good food ~ nuff said!


    The GCH also offers storytelling every night for the children, adult offerings include power walking in DCA before it opens, as well an offered Craftsman tour of the GCH.


    Anyway, hope you enjoy your stay at the GCH!

  4. #4

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel hints, tips, recommendations and tricks

    Great information already, but to add to the bunk beds, my family and I go to the GCH two or three times a year to relax and hang at the parks. Before we got used to concierge suites, we would absolutely use the bunks in the rooms, and the kids loved it. What's nice about the bunks, with three kids, two would be in the bunk bed, but then a third bed would slide out from the bottom, so we had a queen or king sized bed plus three beds for the kids.

    If you ever get a chance to upgrade to the concierge privileges, I would 100% recommend it. We use the room to grab waters and sodas for the park, coffee and breakfast in the morning, adult beverages in the evening, and snacks/mini-meals throughout the day. During Christmas, they have Christmas carolers come in and host a little show with singing and dancing in the concierge room, and it is a blast. They also have night-time storytelling and book-reading. It definitely is quite a special experience. On one of your visits, definitely look into the concierge services, I think you'll enjoy it.

    At any rate, I have never had a bad experience at this hotel, and my family and I agree that it is the premier of the three hotels. Enjoy your visit!!

    Kyle

  5. #5

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel hints, tips, recommendations and tricks

    I completely agree with the above: Storytellers and Whitewater are great, and the concierge level simply cannot be beat. The extra level of attention given at the concierge level is worth every penny. And if you like to watch the fireworks, they have their own private balcony to do so, with it's own music and everything! In addition, they give (yes, GIVE!) you cookies and milk to eat while watching the show.

    As for a room, there is nothing like watching a parade from your room overlooking the park. My first experience was seeing the Electrical Parade after not having seen it for years, and it was truly a magical experience.

    I also had a friend who was a manager at the time, and when we went to check in, we didn't even have to stand in line (I think people thought we were some sort of celebrities, and believe me, we don't look like celebrities). Overall, the GCH goes way above and beyond to fulfill the magic that one wants to have as a guest at a Disney park.

    Hope you enjoy!

  6. #6

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel hints, tips, recommendations and tricks

    this thread makes me want to spend the night there even though i live an hour from the park!!!

  7. #7

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel hints, tips, recommendations and tricks

    We will be there in 5 days from Australia!!! We are so excited, I will leave a trip review for you if you would like. Our 3 children will just love disneyland, but I think the two parents taking them will love it just as much!

  8. #8

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel hints, tips, recommendations and tricks

    Great questions. I've moved to our "Hotel" section as a resource to others.

    Thank you all for your thoughts and advice!

    -Dusty
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  9. #9

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel hints, tips, recommendations and tricks

    Thank you all soooo much for the feedback. Angelica Gracey and Puck2DaHead I owe you both 10 free internets for such specific replies. That is exactly the information I was looking for.

    I do love the Grand Californian entrance into DCA. During our stays at the Disneyland Hotel we would usually go to Disneyland in the morning, come back to the DLH room for a swim and a nap then head over to Whitewater Snacks at GCH and then use the GCH entrance into DCA.

    I was surprised the first few times that they didn't stop us from using the hotel park entrance for being DLH guests and not being GCH guests. I guess the resorts seem to be pretty generous sharing resort amenities.

    I love the thought of going straight from DCA to rest in the room or going straight from the Redwood Pool to Grizzly River Run.

    My wife and I do prefer to use the monorail at Downtown Disney to go into Disneyland Park. I find it funny that the monorail station is about the same walk from the GCH as it is from DLH.

    When we stayed at Disneyland Hotel about six weeks ago they were testing Monorail Orange on the track with no passengers and each time there was a glitch they shut down both monorails for all traffic for several hours. For people who plan to use the monorail to get back to their hotel you can guess what a pain in the rear that was. This does seem like another good reason to stay at GCH.

    And I can't say enough great things about Whitewater Snacks. That's got to be one of the best kept secrets in the resort. It's got the most varied menu, the lowest traffic, the best price, a great location and a very mellow & comfortable atmosphere. I think I had a freshly made french dip sandwich there with fries for about the same price as a cheeseburger at Hungry Bear.

    I'll see what I can arrange for a Downtown Disney view. I don't think the DD crowd noise and musicians would bother us as we stay in the parks until we get so tired we have to crawl out on our hands and knees.

    Our decision on the bunk bed will mainly depend on whether Granny joins us or whether it's just our daughter and her cousin or friend. Did I hear that the bunk beds have a length of 63 inches or something along those lines?

    Thanks again for the great info dump. I really appreciate it. I love this site. It makes me feel like I live a lot closer to DLR than I really do up here in Seattle.

  10. #10

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel hints, tips, recommendations and tricks

    Sounds great Darth, but what are 10 free internets, and how can I claim them?

  11. #11

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel hints, tips, recommendations and tricks

    Quote Originally Posted by Puck2DaHead View Post
    Sounds great Darth, but what are 10 free internets, and how can I claim them?
    10 free internets are better than 100 super bowls. Just keep checking your mail. They'll get there one of these days. ;-p

  12. #12

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel hints, tips, recommendations and tricks

    Love, Love Love the GCH. Service is always wonderful.

    My youngest likes sitting in the rocking chairs by the fire(even when it's warm out ) to take a break from running around.

    When we were there on Mother's Day we sat in the Hearthstone Lounge for quite awhile the flatbread was fantastic and our server was great. She chatted up with the kids and was informative and just wonderful.

    We've had had rooms with bunks, two queens, two queens and a daybed and a corner shaped suite & a regular suite and theyve all been good. The bunks don't seem to make anymore room that the regular two queen rooms do.


    We've never had a problem with noise, I guess we're hard sleepers and we've had all the view types available.

    Last June my son used the pool daily and to offset the "boredom" of the pool each day he tried to do more rides on the slide than he had the previous day. Needless to say, he slept well every.single.night.

    Have a fabulous stay!



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  13. #13

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel hints, tips, recommendations and tricks

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Mickey View Post
    10 free internets are better than 100 super bowls. Just keep checking your mail. They'll get there one of these days. ;-p
    All right! I'll keep checking the mail. I'm still waiting for my free car from Obama, so the internets will probably be in the same shipment, right?

  14. #14

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel hints, tips, recommendations and tricks

    Thanks for all the advice. We have booked 4 nights at the Grand Californian Hotel with a Park View and have asked for the one queen bed and a bunk bed. We'll be there at the end of Summer and will be happy to share my first trip report on here. Thanks for all the good advice!
    Disneyland Trips: 76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 83, 84, 86, 90, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 09, 10, 11

    Disneyworld Trips: 08, 10









    Disney Resort Area hotels visited since 2008:



    Disneyland Resort: Disneyland Hotel - Grand Californian Hotel - Hilton Anaheim Convention Center - Hyatt Regency Anaheim/OC - Crowne Plaza Anaheim/Garden Grove - Holiday Inn Anaheim on Manchester - Holiday Inn & Suites Anaheim on Walnut - Hilton Garden Inn Anaheim - Marriott Fairfield Inn Anaheim



    DisneyWorld: Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort - Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village - Port Orleans French Quarter



    If you have any questions about Disney vacation logistics, travel planning or hotel experiences feel free to ask me.

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