The Grand Californian, built in the rustic stone-and-timber style of the grand national-park lodges, is the flagship property. Newer, more elaborately themed, and closer to the theme parks and Downtown Disney than the other two on-property hotels, the Grand Californian is without a doubt the best place to stay...if you can afford it.
The Grand Californian hotel is the crown jewel of Disneyland Resort’s three hotels. With its shingle siding, rock foundations, cavernous hewnbeam lobby, polished hardwood floors, and cozy hearths, the hotel is a stately combination of elements from Western national park lodges. Designed by architect Peter Dominick (who also designed the Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World), the Grand Californian is rendered in the Arts and Crafts style of the early 20th century, with such classic features as “flying” roofs, projecting beams, massive buttresses, and an earth-tone color palette. We strongly encourage visitors with an interest in architecture to take the fascinating (and free) hour-long Art of the Craft walking tour of the resort, offered several times each week through the Guest Services desk. Most reminiscent of the Ahwahnee hotel at Yosemite National Park, the Grand Californian combines rugged craftsmanship and grand scale with functional design and intimate spaces. Pull up a vintage rocker in front of a blazing fire, and the bustling lobby instantly becomes a snug cabin.
The hotel's main entrance off Disneyland Drive is primarily for vehicular traffic. Two pedestrian-only entrances open into Downtown Disney and DCA; this last makes it a cinch to return to the hotel from DCA for a nap, a swim, or lunch. Walking time to Disneyland Park is about 4 minutes.
The features we like in the 945 guest rooms include excellent light for reading in bed, more than adequate storage space, a two-sink vanity outside the toilet and bath, and, in some rooms, a balcony. Views from the guest rooms overlook the swimming pool, Downtown Disney, or Disney California Adventure theme park.
Ranging $475–$980 per night, guest rooms are the most expensive at Disneyland Resort. The Grand Californian, like the other two Disney-owned hotels, charges guests $15 a day for self-parking (up to two vehicles, free for Disney Vacation Club members) or $22 for valet (☎ 714-635-2300). On the plus side, none of the hotels charge a resort fee, and all provide safes, mini-fridges, coffeemakers, and free Wi-Fi (supposedly high-speed, but don’t plan on streaming Netflix) in rooms and public areas.
Disney’s time-share condo enterprise, the Disney Vacation Club, premiered its first West Coast property as part of the 2009 expansion of the Grand Californian. The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian consist of 48 two-bedroom equivalent villas and two Grand Villas. Equivalent is the term used to describe single units that can be sold (or rented) as studio suites or combined to make two- and three-bedroom villas. All villas except studio suites include kitchens, living rooms, and dining areas, as well as washers and dryers. Master bedrooms offer a king bed, while other bedrooms provide two queen beds. Studio suites come with a single queen bed. All bedrooms have a flat-panel TV, private bath, and private balcony. Though studio suites don’t have full kitchens, they do include a small fridge, a microwave, and a coffeemaker. Two-bedroom villas consist of a one-bedroom villa joined to a studio suite. Three-bedroom Grand Villas are two-story affairs with the living area, kitchen, and master bedroom on the lower level and two bedrooms on the upper level. Rates for various villas range from $359 for a studio suite during the off-season to $5,000 for a three-bedroom Grand Villa on New Year’s weekend. Other elements of the Grand Californian include a swimming pool for the villas and an underground parking garage.
Inspired by Napa Valley cuisine, the Napa Rose restaurant is the Disneyland Resort's premier fine-dining venue. Situated in a stunning room overlooking DCA, Napa Rose is very expensive but still a very good value . Just a notch down in price and formality, but likewise located in an exceptionally lovely (albeit more rustic) room, is the Storytellers Cafe, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant's name is drawn from period murals depicting tall tales set in early California. The fare consists of house-specialty wood-fired pizza and hearty home-style comfort food.
The resort's pool complex, beautifully landscaped with rocks and conifers in a High Sierra theme, includes a lap pool, a Mickey-shaped pool, and a kids' pool with a 100-foot-long twisting slide. The on-site Mandara Spa is one of Disney's best, offering a wide selection of treatments and a state-of-the-art fitness facility. Rounding out the Grand Californian's amenity mix are two clubby lounges and a child-care center for children ages 5-12.
Disney's Grand Californian Hotel Dining
- Grand Californian Private Dining (Table Service)
- Hearthstone Lounge (Bar or Lounge)
- Napa Rose (Table Service)
- Napa Rose Bar (Bar or Lounge)
- Storytellers Cafe (Table Service)
- White Water Snacks (Counter Service)
|Park||Commuting Times||Resort Transportation|
|California Adventure||2 min|
|Quietness of Room||B|
|Shuttle to Parks||No|