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  1. #1

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    Grand Californian Hotel: Tips, Tricks and Recommendations wanted

    Hi!

    In late October my wife and I will be staying at the Grand Californian Hotel. This is our first stay at a Disney-run hotel. The keyword for our trip is "relaxing", so the GCH fit the bill in terms of being able to go back to the hotel mid-afternoon, napping or sunning by the pool, or just finding a comfy chair to read for a little while.

    If you have any tips, tricks, hidden secrets, or other recommendations to share, I would very much like to hear them. We've got four nights at the hotel and we plan to make the most of it. I'd love to hear about amenities we can take advantage of, or advantages that Disney hotel guests get in the parks, or anything you can think of.

    Thanks so much!

    -=Tim

  2. #2

    • Elk Grove Chris
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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel: Tips, Tricks and Recommendations wanted

    Overall, GCH is pretty cool; you should have a great time. Rooms are not huge, but the beds are decent and the pillows are goose down, so nice.

    You can enter DCA earlier than general admission. Get FP for WOC and Soarin. Ride Soarin and then line up at the rope to do TSMM. Wait is really not that long for Little Mermaid, so I wouldnít do that at rope drop.

    If you decide to ride the Grizzly River Run, you can skip back to your room to dry off fairly quickly through the hotel entrance.

    Coffee in the Hearthstone Lounge is not bad; they have lattes and such too. Generally there is someone there pretty early. Did not try any of the food served there but sounded pretty good. The great room is huge, but can get fairly crowded and noisy at times.

    I know you said relaxing, but gym is open at 6, right next to Spa. Whitewater Snacks is convenient next to the pool, but we were not all that impressed with the food. When we were there in December, there wasnít anyone outside in the afternoons taking food/drink orders. Not very far to walk to lounge and get a drink though.

    If it just the two of you, make a reservation for the Chefís table at Napa Rose-great food, awesome experience. The lounge is pretty nice for small bites and some wine too. Storytellers is pretty good, we stayed away from the character dining.

    Steakhouse 55 is great for breakfast at the DLH. We really like Ralph Brennanís and Catal at DTD but havenít tried too many others. DTD is nice to hang out and relax, usually live music in several different places.

    Cove Bar is nice place to relax in DCA for drinks and some pretty decent food. Good spot to people watch.
    Have a great time!
    They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. ~Edgar Allan Poe

  3. #3

    • MiceChat Round-Up Crew
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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel: Tips, Tricks and Recommendations wanted

    On the floors above the lobby are little seating areas as well. If the lobby is a little crowded, you can climb a floor or two and usually find a spot overlooking the busy lobby, but secluded from it as well.

    And the Hearthstone is a great little secret, NNL and I (as well as many MCers) love the food, but service is slow. It's especially empty in the afternoon for lunch so it's a nice alternative to run in there for a quick bite.
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  4. #4

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel: Tips, Tricks and Recommendations wanted

    Awesome tips, guys. Thanks much.

  5. #5

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel: Tips, Tricks and Recommendations wanted

    I've stayed at the Grand once before and will be staying there next week. The beds are very comfortable and the staff is helpful and informative.

    Here's a few tricks I've learned from other guests and by reading other forum posts.

    I've heard someone say that at 7AM you can meet at the DCA entrance and join an early morning Power Walk session through the park. I'm going to ask a Cast Member when I arrive because I think that sounds fun.

    Another tip- there's scavenger hunts everyday from 4-5 and if you win you can be the "Grand Guest" for a day. Ask about this as well, sounds fun to me!

    I've heard if you are a guest you can ride some rides (with a guide) by going through the exit or fast pass lane. This sounds awesome. I'm going to ask about it. I think it's an e-ticket service of some sort? It also features the most popular rides: Indiana Jones, Tower of Terror, Screaming, etc.

    The Storyteller's Cafe is awesome for breakfast. I eat here even when I'm not staying at the hotel. The breakfast buffet and other options are just incredible. Oatmeal, smoked salmon, fresh fruit, waffles, biscuits, omelets, bagels, pastries, cereal, eggs benedict, bacon, sausage, pancakes, coffee, tea, juice; nearly everything you can possible want. It's nicely laid out.

    HUGE RECOMMENDATION: Make reservations for as many restaurants as you can. This includes inside Disneyland park. I don't know how often you frequent the park but sometimes there are huge lines for good quality restaurants. I always call as far in advance as possible. Sometimes Storyteller's is empty but the last few times I was there it was full to capacity.

    Have a great time!

  6. #6

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel: Tips, Tricks and Recommendations wanted

    They also offer a free architectural tours of the hotel at 1pm on most Saturdays. You do have to sign up in advance, though. Call the front desk or concierge about it. You don't even have to be a guest of the hotel to take advantage of it, either.

    And let's not forget Whitewater Snacks as a great place for food without a large wait.
    Does anyone even bother with signatures anymore?

  7. #7

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel: Tips, Tricks and Recommendations wanted

    What time is early entry to DCA from GC? I guess I should say, is it one hour before park opening or 2?

  8. #8

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    Re: Grand Californian Hotel: Tips, Tricks and Recommendations wanted

    we had one incendent at the GCh. we left our do not disturb sign out when we went to dtd for dinner and we left our wet money on the beds to dry out-from Splash mt of course. Came back from dinner and our door wasnt shut all the way and the maid had done up our rooms. we had adjoining rooms with my parents too. So we could have been robbed with the door not being shut and my parents room also open with the adjoining door. We were just mad that the door was open, not when the maid came in anyways
    Having DL withdrawls

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