Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa

1600 S. Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, California | Tel: (714) 635-2300

Classic styling coupled with modern amenities at Disney's Grand Californian. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

With Disney Cruise Line now sailing frequently from the Los Angeles port of San Pedro, it stands to reason that at least some passengers will be looking to spend a pre-or-post cruise stay in the Los Angeles area.  And where do you stay if you’re ship of choice is a Disney ship?  Anaheim, of course – the long standing home of the Disneyland theme park.

While hotels on the Disneyland grounds are nothing new, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa is the only hotel to have been designed, built and managed from the ground up by The Walt Disney Company.

The stunning lobby, as viewed from the 6th Floor. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

It’s also an incredible hotel in terms of architecture.  The sweeping, multi-story lobby is an impressive space to say the least, and guest rooms, corridors and public areas all boast the same unique whimsical styling that fans of Disney have come to expect.

Disney Grand Californian does a great job of inspiring both adults and children alike with a variety of little touches. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

While there’s no shortage of families with children – in fact, lots of children – the hotel does an excellent job of catering to adults as well, and makes a natural choice for those embarking on a Disney cruise from San Pedro.  For families, running the kids ragged in Disneyland just might ensure a more relaxing, subdued cruise vacation.

HISTORY

Built in 2001, the Disney Grand Californian Hotel and Spa is the flagship Disney hotel property, with a commanding location nestled in between Downtown Disney and Disney’s newer California Adventure theme park.  The hotel underwent an expansion in 2007 that saw an additional 200 rooms added, along with an additional swimming pool.

While the hotel is gargantuan with over 1000 rooms, traffic is mitigated by having several different wings, each with their own elevator banks and lobbies.

ROOMS

Comfortable beds adorn each guest room. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

The Disney Grand Californian has over 1000 guest rooms, all of which are designed to be family-friendly.  Lower bathtubs, separated sink and toilet areas and large closets make these rooms ideal and practical.  All amenities are on par with the quality you’d expect from an upscale property, and the beds are as comfortable as anything served up in more “adult” hotels.

AMENITIES

The hotel boasts an expansive pool area. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

  • The Lobby is a great place to rest and relax, though it can get busy here during check-in and check-out times.  Kids can sit in little rocking chairs and watch Disney movies next to the adjacent fireplace.
  • Mandara Spa: if you enjoy the treatments offered onboard cruise ships, you’ll enjoy the Mandara Spa at the hotel, offering a wide array of relaxing treatments and services.
  • Three Different Pools offer guests a chance to cool off in one of the largest pool areas we’ve ever seen.
  • Napa Rose Restaurant has been consistently awarded for its culinary delights, and is one of the best dining establishments on-site.  Reservations are recommended.  It’s not the cheapest option on-site, but it is more than worth the price of admission for the adult couple looking for a true fine-dining experience.

HIDDEN GEMS

Incredible toiletries are another unique "adult" touch at the Disney Grand Californian. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

  • Whimsical Design: if you love Disney, you’ll love your stay here.  Everything about the hotel is whimsically designed, from the elevators to the guest rooms.  The hotel is also remarkably classy and devoid of bad taste.
  • Hearthstone Lounge: Continental breakfast with specialty coffees are served here in the mornings, and at night a wide menu of drinks and late-night snacks can be had.  It’s an incredibly cozy space to relax and get away from the little ones; our only complaint is that it can be difficult to find a free spot here in the evenings.
  • Helpful Staff: In typical Disney tradition, staff here know how to look after both kids and adults.
  • Fireworks: being so close to the action means most guests have a great view of the nightly Disneyland fireworks display.

WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE…

Downtown Disney, in addition to the theme parks themselves, are just steps away. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

  • Disneyland: that’s right boys and girls, Disneyland and its newer cousin, Disney’s California Adventure, are mere steps from the hotel.  A dedicated entrance even allows access to DCA directly from the hotel.
  • Downtown Disney: filled with shops, restaurants and more, this bustling area separates the two parks that make up Disneyland.  Its proximity also means it’s incredibly popular, and long waits (beyond two hours) are normal for restaurants here almost every evening.  If you want to dine here at night, try to make reservations that afternoon.
  • Coco’s: an excellent spot to have a good, quick, cheap breakfast.  Located at 1100 West Katella Avenue, just a five-minute walk from the hotel.
  • Car Rental: You’re likely to need a car to explore much beyond the hotel area itself.  Anaheim’s city blocks are gargantuan.  A rental car allows greater freedom, and day or even afternoon trips to nearby Huntington Beach, Long Beach, and even Santa Monica aren’t out of the question.  Alamo Rent-a-Car is closest to the hotel, at 1565 South Disneyland Dr.  Cross through the Disneyland Hotel guest parking and hang a right to find yourself there.

AIRPORTS AND CRUISE PORTS

  • From LAX: approximately 50 minutes
  • From John Wayne Airport: approximately 15-20 minutes
  • From Long Beach Airport: approximately 25 minutes.
  • To San Pedro Cruise Terminal: approximately 40 minutes.
  • To Long Beach Cruise Terminal; approximately 30 minutes.

USEFUL LINKS

 

 

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