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Our Stay at Disney's Grand California Hotel

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  • Trip Report Our Stay at Disney's Grand California Hotel

    We stayed at the grand california hotel back in early June, we came all the way from Australia. I did promise a trip report and I am so sorry guys that it has taken me this long!
    We loved it, the hotel was just beautiful. Staff happy and very helpful. It was worth the extra money. We have a two year old so going back to the hotel for day time naps was a must and it was great to be so close to everything. To be honest it would have been hard to stay anywhere else with the whole day time nap thing!
    I had many questions answered for me on this site and wanted to thank you all for giving up your time to answere them as best you could.
    Our stay at disneyland was magical and we all talk about it everyday still! My husband was dreaming about it for a week after we returned to Australia. It was the holiday of a life time.
    We are now thinking of going to walt disney world in a few years time. Does anyone have any advice about that, is it really different to disneyland or the same. I have heard different things about that?
    Any questions about the hotel or our stay feel free to message I am only to happy to help as you guys all did for me.

  • #2
    Re: Our Stay at Disney's Grand California Hotel

    I'm glad you enjoyed your trip! The Grand is so lovely & a wonderful place to take a break during the day.

    WDW is MUCH different than the DLR. There are similarities especially between the Magic Kingdom park and Disneyland, and there are some "clone" rides in the different parks, but it's an entirely different experience. I would highly recommend going there at least once, although you'll never be able to do everything in just one trip. You'll definitely end up wanting to go back again!


    • #3
      Re: Our Stay at Disney's Grand California Hotel

      I grew up going to Disneyland and started planning our first DisneyWorld trip about one year ago.

      Disneyland planning is so straightforward that my first look at all the choices for DisneyWorld was TOTALLY overwhelming. 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 20+ on-property hotels, even more off property options plus SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Kennedy Space Center and considering getting to the ocean.... That's a LOT to think about. If you've had that experience already don't worry, you aren't alone.

      Once I started to pace my research by doing it in small chunks and sharing the research and planning with my daughter it became much less overwhelming.

      I would say that all of the on-property Disney hotels are all going to be comfortable and fit your needs so don't necessarily force yourself into thinking you HAVE to go with the 5 star luxury and price tag of the Grand Floridian. With so much to do your hotel room is mainly going to be a place for a mid-day rest and a good night's sleep.

      On the other hand if you've already spent the coin on the Grand Californian and that's the level of minimum resort you expect then you likely are going to want something like the Grand Floridian, Contemporary Resort or perhaps one of the Deluxe Villas.

      We stayed at the Port Orleans French Quarter and had a great time. My daughter fell in LOVE with their huge sea-serpent waterslide at this hotel's pool so that weighed heavily on our decision. LOL

      As long as the room is clean and the beds are comfortable most rooms are all the same to us. I'm sure we would have been just fine even at the Value POP resorts.

      I saved about 40% on the room by booking with Small World travel as mentioned on These days the Disney promotions might be the best deal but I'd definitely compare the Disney quote with what a specialty travel agent can quote you.

      I LOVED the frequent and convenient free-buses that go to all the different resorts. not having to rent a car was a big plus to us. My wife really didn't care for the bus though and really wished we'd stayed at the Contemporary Hotel so that we could take the monorail to Epcot and Magic Kingdom instead of the bus. No matter where you stay though you'll do a fair amount of bus riding if the waterparks or Animal Kingdom / Hollywood Studios are big in your plans.

      As far as the parks Disneyland packs a LOT more into their limited property if you do a direct Disneyland to WDW Magic Kingdom comparison. Disneyland has the Matterhorn, Submarines, a REAL Toontown, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Pinocchio ride, Alice in Wonderland dark-ride, Casey Jr ride, StorybookLand canal boat ride while WDW Magic Kingdom doesn't. Disneyland also has Star Tours in the park while WDW puts it in their Hollywood Studios park.

      There also is no comparison between Disneyland's Fantasmic and WDW's at Hollywood Studios. Disneyland's Rivers of America provides a much grander stage than the smaller amphitheater used in Florida.

      On the other side of the ledger though the Cinderella Castle in WDW Magic Kingdom is simply enormous and stunning. I knew it was 189 feet tall but that still doesn't prepare you for the experience of walking around it and through it.

      Epcot is a really great experience. The Nemo ride, Turtle Talk with Crush, the aquarium, are all outstanding experiences. Soarin at Epcot isn't any different from DCA's version but it's fun to be able to go on this excellent ride even in Florida. I really enjoyed the high speed and steep banks on Test Track too.

      Walking around the world pavillions at Epcot is a blast. My 7 year-old daughter STILL talks about how awesome the Norwegian area was and how mind-blowing it was to see the Terra Cotta warrior display in the Chinese pavillion. As a parent that factor alone was worth the whole trip!

      I could go on and on about what a great time we had at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios and we never even made it to the water parks. However by now I've rambled on quite enough.

      Good luck with your research. Don't let the planning experience overwhelm you. You'll have a blast no matter where you stay and no matter what you do. We made our first WDW trip in November 2008 and I'm planning our next trip to WDW in February 2010 (Bay Lake Tower here we come! Woo-hoo!) so a lot of this is fresh in my mind.
      Last edited by Darth Mickey; 07-10-2009, 08:11 PM.
      Disneyland Trips: 76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 83, 84, 86, 90, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 09, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15

      Disneyworld Trips: 08, 10

      Disney Cruise: Disney Fantasy 13

      Disney Resort Area hotels visited since 2008:

      Disneyland Resort: Disneyland Hotel - Grand Californian Hotel - Hilton Anaheim Convention Center - Hyatt Regency Anaheim/OC - Crowne Plaza Anaheim/Garden Grove - Holiday Inn Anaheim on Manchester - Holiday Inn & Suites Anaheim on Walnut - Hilton Garden Inn Anaheim - Marriott Fairfield Inn Anaheim

      DisneyWorld: Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort - Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village - Port Orleans French Quarter

      If you have any questions about Disney vacation logistics, travel planning or hotel experiences feel free to ask me.