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“Not "Grand": 3 stars at best, definitely a rip-off”

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Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Ranked #34 of 118 Hotels in Anaheim
Calgary, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 184 helpful votes
“Not "Grand": 3 stars at best, definitely a rip-off”
Reviewed 24 December 2009

We just stayed here, for 4 nights. What a disappointment! We were repeatedly told by acquaintances "you have to stay at the Grand Californian ("GC") if you go to Disneyland ("DL"). Fine, so we splash out almost $600 per night for a peak season ordinary room. Now when I pay $600 a night, I expect the best - Wynn style. Not here. Disney's message: "Hi, I know we have you over a barrel: we are going to take your money and give you a crappy value back."

The (only) Pro:
1. Location, location, location... sort of. The GC has the best location in the whole DL area. Could it be better? Yes, for $600 /night, I expect premier access to DL, not just to the third rate Disney California theme park. In fact for $600 /night, I expect to be teleported anywhere I choose! Other hotels are brutally located, but with shuttles you can sort things out. A better system would have a regional monorail to move people around.

The Con's:
1. Bad Service - part 1. Let's start with Kevin at check-in. Surly crappy service. I was very nice, but finally had to resort to the "my room rate is not discounted, so nor should your service/attitude". Things shaped up a bit afterwards, but there was no Mickey Mouse happiness. Had to do the usual "wait for my room" after they tried jamming me in a Queen Room (I had requested a King). I was not alone.

2. Bad Service - part 2. Bell staff / porters. We step off the bus from LAX and I have to go out of my way to find a porter. He promises to bring my bags inside while they are stored. He tells me that another porter will bring them to my room. Then he puts out his hand expecting something. Sorry, I tip once service is complete, which means bags are in my room. But the way he was begging for money was pathetic.

And upon check out, you have to wait for the porter to show up to your room to take your bags so he can give you a receipt. A first for me - I usually call the porter, leave my room, and he picks up my bags and stores them at the entrance. Not here. So I took down my own bags...

3. The Rooms: These are plain and lame - they would just make the cut at an average Best Western. An (small) LCD TV does not a 5 star hotel room make. It's all looking tired, tacky. It'll impress people for whom Motel 6 is the normal hangout.

4. The Lobby: I read a few reviews that carried on about the lobby and how grand it is. Uh, not really. It is BIG, but so is a barn. It is drafty and downright freezing cold (apparently all year round, according to staff I asked) (bad design). Oh, and if you want tacky, check out the faux-papier-mache rock "fire place" or whatever it is. Geez, if you are going to build something like this, at least use real rocks!

5. Bar: How long do you have to stand at a bar to get service? I don't know, I left after 10 minutes of waiting.

6. Restaurant: To be fair, we did not try Napa Rose, which is supposed to be quite nice. However, we did try to get into several places in the hotel and Downtown Disney and each time it was 45 minutes minimum and in some cases we were told no room at all - and it was communicated with an "are you nuts to expect a table". Again, if I pay $600 /night, I should not have to fight to get food - indeed, I would expect to have front of the line access. It was embarrassing - it would have been easier to get a meal in the Soviet Union. When we did get in, the food in Downtown Disney was pretty mediocre, and was expensive at that. The old theme: "we have you over a barrel" so be quiet...

If you want to eat, outside the whole DL area is much better. They WANT your business.

7. Billing "mistake": i paid through Expedia - everything included. But on check-out I was informed of $14/day "resort fees". I called and protested, reminding them I had paid in full up front. They concurred and removed the charges. I wonder how many suckers don't bother complaining and getting it removed?

8. Noise! This place is an absolute zoo. There is no peace to be had in any common area. You might as well be in DL itself with another half million people waiting in line. There is no charm, no quaintness. This is NOT relaxing!


OVERALL: My advice? Go to Disney World, rent a house with a pool and forget DL in Anaheim with its lousy infrastructure, including its brutal Grand Californian hotel.

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled with family
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16 Thank Canucdude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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phoenix az
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 December 2009

Took my husband for his birthday to Disneyland Dec. 14th. We usually go every year and stay at one of the hotels across the street, but this year I got an exceptional deal and we stayed at the Disney Grand Hotel. It was amazing. Check in was extremely fast and well run. Upon telling the girl who checked us in, Billie, that it was my husband's birthday, she excused herself and went to the back. When she returned she had a "birthday button" with his name on it for him to wear, and an autographed picture of Mickey Mouse. How fun. Our room was on the 4th floor; 4137 to be exact. We got two beds, would have preferred one, but they were very, very comfortable, so it was ok. Very well decorated room, and a balcony with table and chair overlooking downtown Disney. We found out the second night of our stay, that we could see the fireworks from our balcony. Wish we had known that the first night when we stood in the crowds and the cold. The only negative thing I can say about the room was the shower wasn't the best. It had very little water pressure, but the setup of the bathroom was great. The lighted closet, with robes was a nice surprise. Our coffee maker didn't work and I left a note for the housekeeper, and we had a new one the next day. Everything else about the hotel was great. Everywhere we went in the hotel or either of the parks, employees told my husband happy birthday. It was fun to see him get embarassed like that. I love Disneyland, having been there the year it opened in 1955 as a child; yes I'm that old, but I am saddened that the prices for food inside the parks has gone so high. I don't know how families can afford to go. The quality of the food was not as good as it used to be; specifically instant mashed potatoes at one of the pricier places to eat. We opted to go across the street the second morning for breakfast at IHOP and spent $25 for two people for pancakes. Really!!! They charge as much across the street as they do inside the parks. If you go, and you have children, I definitely would take cold cereal and milk, since you have a refrigerator in your room, and save a little. Overall, we had a wonderful time, and will certainly go back again next year and hopefully to the Grand if at all possible. One other thing to know is there is a charge, in addition to the "resort fee" for valet parking. It is $17 per day. You can self park in a lot behind the hotel, on the same road you come in on, so go to the main entrance, unload your car,and got over to the self parking lot. Wishe we would have done that. We were told, but were too lazy to go move it. We will next time though. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS HOTEL TO RETIREES, FAMILIES WHO CAN AFFORD IT, AND SINGLES WHO WANT TO STAY IN A HOTEL WITH BEAUTIFUL ATMOSPHERE AND SPLENDOR, ESPECIALLY AT CHRISTMAS..

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank arizonanative46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level 6 Contributor
145 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 December 2009

You will not find a hotel closer to the Disneyland parks!

Check in was a breeze, didn't take more than 5 minutes and that included getting our park hopper tickets for the parks. The lobby in this hotel is beautifu and spacious! If you are a fan of the early 20th century arts and crafts design you will love this lobby!

The room was nicely laid out, we had a standard room with 2 queen beds. Nothing super special about the furnishings pretty standard. The beds were very comfortable. The bathroom was nicely appointed. I will say the bath amenities were better than expected. I love when you get an actual full size bar of soap.

The main draw of this hotel is that it is adjacent to the California Adventure park and can enter the park directly from the hotel. This was super convenient! The hotel is also adjacent to the Downtown Disney district which expands your dining options dramatically.

We enjoyed a very nice dinner at hotel signature restaurant Napa Rose. The food was amazing and unexpected for a Disney hotel. Not really a place for kids, the menu is definitely aimed at foodies using more unusual ingredients which I loved.

I will definitely stay here again on my next visit to the Disneyland Resort.

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank nbk5276
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amman, Jordan
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 December 2009

We arrived at the Grand Californian at check-in time only to be told that they did not have our room ready. We sat in the lobby for 4 hours waiting for our room. Once we were given a room, we discovered that it had only been partially cleaned. It was missing towels and soap and the previous occupant's clothes were hanging in the closet.

My polite request to remedy these problems resulted in us being visited by a very angry maid who treated my wife with hostility. Then, for some inexplicable reason, a different maid entered our room without knocking at 9:30 PM after we had all gone to bed.

The hotel is nice but the service seems to reflect Disneyland's overall attitude towards its guests - we were treated like cattle with money. Our relatives stayed at the Super 8 across the street and had a great experience for a third of the price. I recommend trying them first.

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank tecall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fratspin
Level 5 Contributor
31 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 December 2009

Possibly the most overpriced hotel I have ever stayed in. However, it is by far the closest, most convenient hotel and is located practically inside the park The room itself is VERY small. We stayed in the brand new wing of the hotel (only 6 weeks old) and yet the style and condition of the room would lead one to believe that it was much older than this. Furthermore, there were some mistakes with my reservation. We had reserved a room with a King sized bed and a Parkview, but apparently had been assigned a room with 2 Queens and a Parking Lot view, which is still somehow $425 a night. We ordered room service at around 9 PM on a Thursday night and we were literally on hold for 30 minutes (watched TV while we waited for call to go through). When the food finally arrived, they had forgotten the dressing for a salad we had ordered. The alarm clock radio in the room did not work, and there were no Bath Robes in the room as there should have been. We called housekeeping for 2 robes, and it took another 2 phone calls and about 90 minutes before they finally came.

Overall, the hotel is a HUGE rip off, but you really don't have any better option if you're going to Disneyland.

On the plus side: Food was surprisingly good in downtown disney! and the park was in fabulous shape!

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank FortMason4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nebraska
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 December 2009

We just returned from a week trip with my family - we traveled with our 8 year old twin boys and also my parents. We had a 2 bedroom suite at the Grand Californian and the accommodations were wonderful. There was more than enough room for the 6 of us. We over looked the pools and Californian Adventure Park. The room was extremely quiet and beds were comfortable. We also had conceirge access. The lounge was great with drinks and food throughout the day. The boys loved the story time and sing along at night along with the great view of the fireworks from the balcony. The conceirge was more than willing to accommodate our every request and booked us private transportation to the Queen Mary and Harbor Cruise and were more than willing to print our boarding passes for our flight home. The close proximity to the parks can't be beat and we were only a minute walk back to our suite for a clothing change after getting wet on the rapid ride at California Adventure Park. We were also able to eat at both The Storyteller's Cafe for breakfast twice and at Napa Rose for dinner once - the food at both of these restaurants was wonderful! Yes, this hotel is pricey - but you get what you pay for - I woudn't stay anywhere else when at the Disneyland resort. All the cast members made my twins first Disney experince magical - way to go Disney!!!

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mom2twins0829
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clinton, NJ
Level 6 Contributor
136 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 December 2009

We stayed here for 2 nights the week before Thanksgiving and had a great time. We have 4 kids so we got connecting rooms which worked out great. The staff was wonderful, everywhere from check in to check out. The location was perfect for going to both parks. It was so nice not having to walk very far or take a tram.
The pool area was also very nice. I would def. stay here again. We book about a month before on expedia and got a GREAT rate.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ria H
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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