Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Phone (714) 635-2300
4 stars from 4 reviews
Address 1600 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802
The best Disney hotel in the Disneyland Resort area with the best location.

Features
• Building: Lanai / Balcony • Building: Low Rise
• Building: Resort • Property: Business Center
• Property: Club Level • Property: Dining On Site
• Property: Laundry On Site • Property: Stores On Site
• Room: Coffee Maker • Room: Hair Dryer
• Room: Iron & Board • Room: Mini Fridge
• Room: Room Service • Room: Safe
• Recreation: Hot Tub • Recreation: Kids Club
• Recreation: Pool • Recreation: Water Slides
• Internet: Free In Lobby • Internet: Free In Room
• Parking: Paid Self Park • Parking: Paid Valet
• Disney: Deluxe Hotel

Matt Anderson's Take
Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is a beautiful hotel and, in my opinion, the best of the three Disney hotels here. The room prices prove my theory as well with the Disneyland Hotel being the middle tier and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel be the more budget friendly option (relatively speaking). The theming here is top notch and based on a 19 century arts and crafts style. It reminds me a lot Disney's Wilderness Lodge hotel in Florida's Disney World.

The hotel really celebrates the great outdoors and has a very warm and cozy feeling inside with its dim lighting, fireplace, and dark wood all around. The lobby is massive and the attention to detail is amazing, but also exactly what you'd expect from Disney. The staff here are always friendly and helpful.

Location
One of the best things about this hotel is it's location. Sure, any of the Disney owned hotels are all very close to the Disney parks but the Grand Californian is closest to both Disneyland Park and California Adventure which means less walking. In fact, the Grand Californian has it's own entrance right into California Adventure that is for Disney hotel guests only and makes getting to and from your room much easier.

One area where Disney dropped the ball in a big way is with the monorail. The monorail comes right through the middle of the Grand Californian property and yet doesn't stop here. Imagine how awesome it would have been to walk from your room to the monorail to head right into Disneyland Park where you could get off at the Disneyland Monorail - Tomorrowland Station. Unfortunately, somebody at Disney didn't think this through very well and while they built the hotel right around and over the monorail track they didn't put in a station. Those imagineers had a huge lack of imagination, or budget as I would bet was the case.

Rooms
The rooms are pretty typical of most hotels these days but a decent enough size since you likely won't be spending much time in them when you aren't sleeping. Some of the rooms will overlook the Downtown Disney District and may fetch a premium price. We got an upgrade to one of these before and weren't at all impressed since you get a lot of noise from Downtown Disney that comes right through your closed patio doors. It was so bad we asked to move to another location and they happily accommodated us, even hinting that our request was somewhat common. If you stay out late you won't care about this, but if you come back early with small kids you might.

We've had other rooms in other locations without any other noise issues, though in some cases you have to walk quite a bit to get from your room back to the main lobby area. This is a fairly large property and you tend to do a lot of walking to get around the hotel or out to the other areas.

Dining
On site dining options include Napa Rose and the Napa Rose Lounge, Storytellers Cafe, Hearthstone Lounge, White Water Snacks, and then you have super easy and quick access to everything that Downtown Disney has to offer as well.

Pool, Spa, & Recreation
The pool area here is pretty good, but not great. It's fairly large and has three main pools, a small kids splash pool, and two hot tubs. It also has a pretty fun slide that kids, and even adults, will enjoy. They offer a lot of lounge chairs but it's the usual ridiculous game of not being able to find a place to setup because everyone else grabbed twice as many chairs as they'll actually use.

There is a poolside drink and food service which is always handy but seems to always be really slow as well. We've been here many times and I can't remember ever once having reasonable quick service. You might be better just walking to White Water Snacks which is right next to the pool and offers up the same food.

For those looking to pamper themselves, check out the Mandara Spa that's located here and offers a full line of massages and treatments to take all that accumulated stress from the parks away.
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Matt Anderson
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awesomeness
Joined: May 2018
Reviews: 25
Likes Received: 0
When you first arrive it looks like a massive cabin and the inside looks it as well. The rooms are very nice but they are still hotel rooms that are dirty. Otherwise it is very nice overall. And the pool is big and has two areas and two nice slides.
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Matt A
Joined: Feb 2013
Reviews: 803
Likes Received: 108
I've stayed here many, many times over the years since it opened. It's always been my go-to hotel option for Disneyland because it has the best location with the shortest walks to both parks. The bonus entrance to California Adventure is a massive perk, or at least it used to be. Now, this hotel is absolutely packed so full of people that using that special entrance often takes long than walking around to the front gate!

The bag check system slows the line down to a snail's pace and even if you have zero bags you're stuck in the line. Then they have a metal detector system that some adults, but not all, have to go through. What good is a metal detector if we're not all walking through it? And why a metal detector here if I never once had to walk through one going through the front entrance? Makes zero sense.

As for those "magical mornings", you can now expect a very long wait. Took us over 45 minutes in line after the park opened for early magic hour and we came down to get in line 20 minutes before the park opened. Basically, almost everyone gets the magical morning which is why there is such a line here.

Back to the hotel. It's aging and doesn't feel like Disney is maintaining it to the level that it needs to be maintained. The pool area shows age, the lobby shows age, the rooms show age. The room service, while fine at keeping the room clean (for a hotel anyhow), is all over the place in terms of what time they clean your room. Might be early one day and late afternoon the next.

The check-in procedure is ridiculous even if you've done the online check-in. This too creates a line that takes forever to get through. The place is packed pretty much all the time now and the prices keep rising (supply and demand at work). It's just gotten so expensive with a level of service that is fading away that I don't think I'd stay here again, even with the best location. Most of the Cast Members I saw or interacted with seemed annoyed or were just flat out rude. Not all, there were nice CM's but too many seemed pissed off to be working here. Even worse, too many seemed underqualified to be working here.

Back to the pool area. Beyond aging poorly, it's almost impossible to find a chair to put your stuff on during a hot day. As usual, a family will come in and grab a chair for every person in their group even if 75% of them will never be out of the water. Disney does nothing to deal with this problem so you're basically just out of luck. The poolside service is bad and has been for years. It's too slow. You're better off walking 20 feet and getting your own food and drink in 5 minutes unless you want to wait 30 minutes or more.

It seems like the only thing Disney knows how to do is to throw more bodies at this resort. Meaning, more Cast Members. They're everywhere and most just stand there doing nothing or chat with each other. They have a daily pool part at the pool where 5-8 CM's come down and "party". It's hit or miss, one day 6 kids joined in and had fun. The next day maybe 1 or 2 kids. Either way, there are 5-8 employees on the clock jumping around like fools. Ditch the pool party and let's use that money to drop the rates or fix the place up a bit.

Bottom line, this isn't what it used to be and each year we visit we're more and more disappointed so I suggest you go elsewhere.
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Beth
Joined: Jul 2013
Reviews: 383
Likes Received: 14
Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is an beautiful place to stay while you are at Disneyland Resort. The staff are all very friendly and helpful. The rooms are nice and themed like you are in a cabin in the forest. By far my favorite hotel here.
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Sarah A
Joined: Apr 2015
Reviews: 43
Likes Received: 1
I'm a huge fan of the Grand California hotel. Huge, huge, huge fan. This is often my choice of places to stay when we visit Disneyland. I've never had a bad experience and the staff is always amazing.

The theme here is so well done that I enjoy just sitting in the lobby and reading a book to soak it all in. Obviously, having the entrance to DCA is a huge perk and being so close to DP is also a big deal. When you're hungry DTD is right outside with tons of places to eat. Then walk off that food with some shopping.

The pool area here is pretty nice too. Fairly large, several pools and hot tubs as well as a slide. It does get busy on hot days out there. Too bad there aren't more slides maybe. Still, I love it.
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