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Hip Hotel Review: Disney Grand Californian Hotel and Spa

Most of the hotel reviews we do here at HipTravelMama are to help parents find luxury hotels that are kid friendly. It’s a given that Disney Grand Californian Hotel and Spa caters to kids, but how does it do for adults with aching heads and feet from a long day at the park with kids? Spectacular. This was our fifth stay at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel and I now have the pleasure of sharing our experiences in this beautiful hotel. If you are considering a trip to Disneyland in the near future, a stay at the luxurious Disney Grand Californian will pamper you in grand Disney style.

Hip Room: With 945 beautifully appointed guest rooms, including 44 suites and the new Disney Vacation Club Villas, there are a lot of rooms at the hotel from which to choose. One of our kids’ favorite features is the in-room bunk beds. They can climb into the bunks and watch a princess bedtime story that runs every few minutes on a dedicated channel for little hotel guests. The bunks also have a trundle underneath so families of 5 who want to brave squeezing into one room can do so.

Craftsman Club Concierge Service: For around $50 more per night, you can add on concierge lounge access to your room.  Concierge level guests receive priority check-in, continental breakfast, evening wine and cheese, DVD players and complimentary movies for the kids. They also offer nightly bedtime storytelling and songs for families, with milk and cookies and exclusive viewing of the fireworks from the Craftsman Club balcony.

Suites: Similar to the hotel, the one and two bedroom suites (sleeps up to six) offer an Arts & Crafts architecture. They are well-appointed and generously-sized, offering the chance to stay in a retreat nestled inside Disney’s California Adventure Park.  Bunk beds are also available upon request.

The New Villas: During our trip, I was able to get a private tour of the new Disney Grand Californian Villas. They are beautiful and spacious and have large kitchens for cooking your own meals and living areas for families needing more space. Most of the villas are reserved for Disney Vacation Club members, however you can call to see if any of the villas are available to rent as hotel rooms, with availability offered up to 59 days ahead of time.

A Room with a View: Room views vary in the park. Our favorite view is overlooking the pool area with Disney California Adventure Park in the distance. Some of the hotel’s highest-end rooms are part of the recent expansion. They have a view of Disney California Adventure Park, many also have a view of the pool and some guests say they can see the new “World of Color” show from some of these rooms. 

Hip Property: There is so much to do here, but one of our favorite places to hang out and decompress in the afternoon is at the pool. With three large pools, a baby pool, two water slides and private cabanas including dedicated service, flat screen TVs and comfy couches, you can sunbathe, relax and almost forget you are in Disneyland. 

Private Park Entrance: One of the best things about the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is its convenience and proximity to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park. Guests have exclusive access to its private entrances to California Adventure Park. This can be a huge time saver any time of day, but especially now with the new World of Color show, because after 8pm or so, they block off access to that side of the park except to hotel guests and World of Color ticket holders.

Tip: If you want to beat the crowds, escape to the 6th floor Paradise Pier Terrace exclusively for hotel guests where you will take in amazing views of the park and can watch and listen to the World of Color show from above. 

Hip Spa: My husband and I made time to indulge in some spa treatments during our visit at the Hotel’s Mandara Spa. I tried out the new Bamboo Massage which was one of the best massages I’ve ever had.  According to Spa manager Ernest Sanchez, The Mandara Spa at the Grand Californian Hotel is the first of the Mandara Spas to offer the Bamboo Massage. The Mandara will also be revamping their menu soon, so stay tuned for more detail on some of their indulgent Spa treatments.

Hip Food: For those looking to escape the standard park food fare, the Disney Grand Californian Storytellers Cafe and Napa Rose Resturant offer great selections for both breakfast and dinner. Storyteller’s breakfast buffet has something for everyone, including delicious Mickey Mouse shaped waffles and a chance for kids to dine with Chip and Dale, Brother Bear and other woodland creatures. Napa Rose also offers parents a kid-friendly fine dining option with an extensive wine selection. If your kids won’t sit still for a nice dinner after a long day at the park, consider grabbing the cheese sampler and a bottle to go, relax on your balcony and enjoy the park view at night while your little ones slumber.

Do you have questions about the Grand Californian or Disneyland? We have answers! Post your question in the comments below.

Chek out our hip tips and fun trip ideas for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park with kids with a sprinkle of luxury pixie dust in between.

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