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“Awesome but bad service, too expensive” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

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Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Ranked #33 of 118 Hotels in Anaheim
Certificate of Excellence
Petaluma
Level Contributor
198 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“Awesome but bad service, too expensive”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 December 2013

This is an absolutely amazing property. We went in December before Christmas and spent a lot of time in the lobby hanging out listening to the choirs singing carols. Our daughter took pictures with Santa Claus. We got drinks from the nearby bar and relaxed after a tiring day at Disneyland. Its the closest hotel to either of the Disneyland attractions, and of course early entry is always nice.

BUT... its just crazy expensive. We paid nearly $600 a night. Seriously, this is crazy territory for a hotel like this.

AND service is mediocre at best. You'll spend a long time on hold if you need anything at all. It took an hour and a half to get room service. We waited over an hour for a bellman to pick up our bags. I had to wait in a line 15 people long and over a half hour to get a couple of drinks from the bar when it got busy. The lines at the hotel restaurants were so long we didn't even bother trying to eat there.

BTW we were initially assigned a room at the end of a corridor on the fourth floor that seemed very nice at first. Yet we quickly realized that there were jackhammers that were building the new Downtown Disney Starbucks location and these would be going on all day. We immediately requested a different room and were assigned one. Of course this meant another trip to the lobby and wasted an hour or so of our time, which is precious since it happened to be when our daughter was napping and we had hoped to relax for a bit. Watch out for this.

BTW, no musty smell anywhere. Not sure what people are talking about. And this is during rainy season--it rained on us during our stay.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Fanfoot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Level Contributor
53 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 December 2013

Stayed here with family in December 2013. This hotel has an amazing ambiance especially in winter with roaring fires in main reception area, festive music and even christmas carollers entertaining guests in main guest area.We had two connecting rooms with bunks for the kids. The rooms were clean, spacious and ours had views of the fire works at night.
Highlights-
-within very close walking distance to Disney land park
- private entrance into California adventure park
- down town Disney right at your door step
-quick check in
-character breakfast downstairs at storytellers cafe
-knowledgable staff
-comfortable bedding

We loved this hotel and would recommend it to any one who wants to be in the heart of it all with a touch of class.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Cindi95
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Castle Rock, Colorado
Level Contributor
186 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 December 2013

You’re at Disneyland, and yes it's expensive. The Grand Californian Hotel is probably the best location for all of Disney, and you'll pay for it. They do a great job and you'll get to enter the park 1 hour before the general public. Is it worth it? I don't know. I guess you do it for the kids, but it was difficult considering the cost. However, I'm a sucker and we’ll go back.

Quick notes:
- If you are there for a weekend, don't bother getting a car. Take a taxi or arrange for a driver.
- Make the most out of the day and especially the 1 hour you are given before the wave is let in.
- Early entrance to the park is at 7:00 AM; however, the Fast Pass lanes are not opened till 8:00 AM. We let the kids ride while a parent waited in a preferred attraction in order to get a Fast Pass. Some of the key rides will sell out early.
- Make reservations. All of the restaurants were booked so plan accordingly.
- The 8:30 World of Color show ends about the same time as the firework show. So you may want to do the later show if you want to see the fireworks.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank kmaconsulting
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Washington
Level Contributor
21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 December 2013

The best thing about this hotel is truly the location. You're so close to Downtown Disney, California Adventure and Disneyland. The hotel, especially the lobby and grounds are beautiful, especially around Christmas time. The rooms are nice, but nothing terribly special. They are clean. Lots of people have been disappointed by how dark and small the rooms are, but I found the room to be adequate sized for my husband and I. We had two queen beds (they don't have many kings). The hotel/rooms are done in the Craftsmen style, and is a lot like a national park lodge. There's very little Disneyland touches in the hotel/rooms. Everyone was very nice and helpful. We had a view of the Bressa Courtyard with the monorail outside the window. It was very nice. Very quiet too, considering the monorail went by our room. You could hear folks in the hallway and neighboring rooms, but it wasn't constant. We were able to nap during the day without any issues. It is extremely expensive, but the location is fabulous. We ate at Storyteller's Café for lunch, and while the food was good, half of our party didn't feel too great afterwards. Could have just been coincidence.... Also, the lobby is always very busy. It's a hub for the different areas of the park, so don't expect to go there and relax in the lobby by the fire. It is beautiful and you have to see it, but it is busy! The hotel is huge, and it took us quite a while to walk from the lobby to our room. Might be a good idea to request a room by the elevators if you don't want too walk far.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Smellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Las Vegas
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 December 2013

We just got back from an awesome stay. From check in to check out there is not one thing I would complain about other than we had to leave and come home. Christmas time at the Grand Californian is like no other place. In the lobby the tree was beautiful, the decorations classy and the live music wonderful (both piano and carolers). Our room was fantastic, maybe a little bit smaller than our last visit, but cozy, clean and very comfortable. The location of this hotel is by far the best of all the properties of DLR. And the cast members are all outstanding everyone from reservations to bell service to security guards, everywhere you went it was smiles and hellos. I cannot wait to go back again!!!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Michael A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colorado
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 December 2013

This was our family of 5's (3 boys ages 18, 15, and 12) second stay at a Disneyland property during the Thanksgiving Holiday. Our first stay was at the Paradise Pier back in 2004 I think it was. We had walked through the Grand Californian to go to California Adventure, and ate at one of the restaurants and thought it was beautiful. This trip we wanted to stay in the Grand Californian to be closer to the parks and just see what Disney's "top of the line" hotel was like to stay at.

We checked in at about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. Timing was good, because there was nobody in line when we walked up, and then suddenly a large line formed right behind us. The person helping us check in was efficient and helpful. I knew from when I had made the reservations that the hotel did not have a large number of rooms that could actually accommodate 5 people with actual beds - there are some rooms with bunk beds and a day bed but apparently not many (I was told when I made the reservations that there was no guarantee that there would be a room that would have 5 places to sleep, which I find odd that they can't accommodate this with roll away beds - I'm still unclear what you do if you have 5 people in your family and they don't have a 5 person room available - do they have sleeping bags for rent????); anyway, the receptionist said they had a room with two queens, but that he could get us into a room with the bunk beds and day bed, but it was not ready yet, which was not a big deal to us, as we were just heading over to California Adventure. We left our bags with the bellman, and went to California Adventure via the direct park entrance that is at the hotel.

I won't go into the decor (you can look it up on the internet), other than to say the lobby/atrium is indeed on a "Grand" scale. It is not really Disneyfied all that much. It was tastefully decorated for the holiday season, with a massive tree in the lobby area, and piano music playing. There is a TV with chairs in the lobby playing Disney cartoons and movies, with chairs for the kids. The lobby was very busy most times during the day and evening. Finding a place to sit on a couch or chair would be a challenge. We didn't try. (I will say it was completely empty at 4:15 a.m., which is when we checked out to leave - the cartoons on the TV were still playing though).

After returning from the park, we went directly to our room. The room we booked was a "Courtyard/Woods View." I had read somewhere in my research that the only rooms that were 5 person daybed type rooms overlooked the front parking lot, so I was not hopeful about our view. However, the room (4th floor) was indeed a Courtyard/Woods View, looking over a heavily-treed courtyard, looking across to the other side of the hotel, and one cool thing about this courtyard is that the Monorail track actually goes right through the courtyard, so when we were in the room, the Monorail trains would pass by every 10 minutes or so, which is not something you see every day at our house. The weather was beautiful, so we had the sliding glass door open to the patio that had two chairs and a small table and would sit in the sun in the afternoon. One thing a little odd about our patio was that you could see the next patio over. I think I scared the neighbor when she looked over and I was there sitting and said hello. I can't imagine that there is much crime here, but he sliding doors do lock.

The rooms are not Disneyfied either. The only way I would have known this was Disney (other than the Monorail) was by seeing Bambi on the shower curtain. That as far as I could tell was the only Disney feature in the room.

The room we had was an average size room. Nothing spectacular so beware if you are looking for a room that is big, this room was not. There was a desk and chair. No sitting area or coffee table. I have no idea if any rooms other than suites are larger that this one. The room had a bunk bed with a daybed underneath. The bunk beds are not huge, so beware if you have a taller family. We do not, so the 15 and 18 year old were fine in the bunks. The daybed pulled out from under the bunks and it was SMALL. Fortunately, our youngest is on the small side, so we were all fine with sleeping. The room had a small fridge which was handy and a 40+ inch flat screen TV on a nice dresser. When we arrived we could not find the remote for the TV. We called and a remote was promptly brought up. (We also called and our bags were brought up within 15 minutes). The bathroom area had two sinks and was separate from the toilet and tub/shower area. The toilet/shower room was just that. Toilet and shower, and just enough room to turn around. There was a closet and some space for bags.

Overall, this was simply an average size room, with average features. The decor was in line with the rest of the hotel, though it maybe time to start updating this hotel. For the outrageous price paid for our 4 night stay at this hotel, I would have liked to have had a bigger, nicer room, and even a view of the parks. I suppose we could have shelled out even more money for a suite or a view, but we really didn't stay at this hotel so we could sit in our room and look outside. We stayed at this Hotel for its location next to the parks. And that did not disappoint.

The Hotel's entrance to California Adventure is a great convenient feature, whether leaving the hotel or coming back to it.

The Hotel's side entrance to the middle of Downtown Disney, with a very short walk to the front entrances to Disneyland and California Adventure was a huge bonus to staying at this hotel, again whether leaving the hotel or coming back. Very convenient.

The hotel is large, and as some reports state, there is a lot of walking from the elevators to some of the rooms (like ours). It would have been a long walk for us from our room to walk to the elevator, then to the hotel entrance to California Adventure. We were lucky however, because we used the stairwell that was right next to our room that conveniently led directly to the courtyard below and to the entrance to Downtown Disney, where we would would just walk down to the parks' main entrances. When we came back to the hotel though, we would have to go to back to the elevator near the lobby, with the long walk to the room. If you have mobility issues, you need to make sure you have a plan for getting a room close to the elevators and have a plan for getting around the hotel and the Disney properties.

We ate at the Storyteller's Cafe in the hotel for breakfast one day and had the buffet. It was a pretty good buffet with an extremely high price tag, so be prepared ($160 for the five of us). There were Disney characters wandering around the place, which was great for all the little kids, and they even messed around with our older boys, who took it in . The other days we went to the Starbucks just inside the entrance to California Adventure, which again was a short convenient walk as we exited the Hotel.

Checkout was a breeze at 4:15 am. We did not charge anything to the room, so there was no bill.

We did not use the pool facilities. They looked nice. Had we had a longer stay, we would have probably used them. This trip was about going to Disneyland and California Adventure.

The service from all the employee "cast members" was good. Friendly and prompt. Housekeeping was great. There was a nightly turn-down service. They left chocolates. I like chocolate. So that was nice.

Am I glad we stayed at this hotel? Yes. It's a nice, grand hotel, with many great features found at nice hotels. The convenience factor was the best reason to stay here.

Was it worth the cost? Hard to say. I don't feel like we got ripped-off, but I also don't think the room was quite worth the money spent. Maybe we are stupid for traveling at one of the most expensive times of the year so we have no choice but to spend that kind of money to stay at the "nicest" hotel at Disney.Would I stay here again? Yes, but not at the price paid.

Overall, good job Grand Californian. We had a great family vacation.

For future visitors, read the reviews to understand this property, as I think it is probably a unique property and your expectations need to be tailored to what this property really is and why you should stay here. In other words, if you think your room will be a Four Seasons room (or even a Westin room) because you are paying a princely sum for a non-suite, non-view room at Disney's top hotel, reality may be disappointing. Maybe you can get a room here like you can at a top-tier hotel, but I think you would have to pay a lot more than you would expect in order to get it at the Grand Californian (or perhaps you can go during low, low, low season, if there is such a thing). And just remember, you are going to Disneyland!

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank ColoTravelingMan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 December 2013 via mobile

We had a double queen room although small nicely and subtly furnished in craftsmen style, the location is key if your near meltdown in the park stop by take a quick swim or soak in the hot tub and recharge! The staff are very accommodating to each and every guest I recommend getting the club concierge snacks all day long wine and beer well worth the cost for this family. I can't wait to stay here again.

Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank JON N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Property: Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Address: 1600 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802-2317
Region: United States > California > Orange County > Anaheim
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Anaheim
#3 Luxury Hotel in Anaheim
#6 Business Hotel in Anaheim
#9 Romantic Hotel in Anaheim
#17 Family Hotel in Anaheim
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 1019
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This stunning hotel offers premium accommodations and rich dining experiences in American Craftsman style and elegance. With its world-class spa, an impressive array of amenities and impeccable Disney service, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa defines grandeur in every way. Located in the heart of Downtown Disney District, this hotel is just steps away from exceptional dining and entertainment. And with your park ticket, enjoy an exclusive entrance to Disney California Adventure Park. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Californian Hotel
Grand California Hotel
Disney California Hotel
Disneys Grand Californian Hotel
Disney Grand California Hotel
Disney Grand Californian Hotel
Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel
Disneys Anaheim
Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa Anaheim, California

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