by Gary Dickson
Having previously enjoyed a stay at the Disneyland Hotel with my family some years ago, on this trip, travelling solo, I booked into the Disneyland Grand California Hotel & Spa.
The first advantage, I noticed, is that you’re even closer to the entrances to the parks themselves as they offer exclusive access to Disney’s California Adventure Park. In fact, on specific days, guests are offered access to the park before it opens to the general public!
Constructed and decorated in the Arts & Crafts style, just about every single thing is kept true to this theme, from the stained glass doors to the dark timbers used throughout. An Art of the Craft tour offers guests the opportunity to learn more about the Arts & Crafts movement and how it reflects on the interior décor.
The spacious lobby is dominated by massive stone columns; a closer look and you realise these columns are a castle entry, complete with mock gates, and beyond is a cosy seating area with roaring fireplace where stories are told on a regular basis throughout the day.
A pianist tickles the ivories – the tunes are all familiar and will have you singing or whistling along before you know it. Families gather before heading to the parks, others are heading to the pools, and all the while staff are smiling, affable and always on hand.
With a total of 751 guest rooms, there are always people heading in one direction or another. I love that the monorail passes right through the central courtyard.
My Standard Room offered a view of the courtyard and pool, and looked across Downtown Disney and Disney’s California Adventure Park. There’s 24-hour room service, complimentary wireless and wired internet, comfy robes and all the other mod cons. American Craftsman style furnishings were in keeping with the hotel theme, tasteful and fun at the same time.
Those seeking more space, the one and two bedroom suites would be the way to go, while the Villas offer a home-away-from- home type experience with fully equipped kitchens and laundry facilities. A Grand Villa will sleep up to 12 guests so would be perfect for large groups. Need just that little bit more pampering? Why not ask for a room on the Concierge Level – these offer the same elegance as the Standard rooms and suites, but with attention from the concierge staff, plus perks such as priority check-in and an exclusive lounge where you can enjoy a Continental breakfast, breakfast bar, cold drinks and fresh fruit, and wine and cheese receptions in the evenings.
A character wake-up call in the morning could be just the thing to set both big and little kids’ pulses racing … imagine Goofy or Donald knocking on your door! And don’t forget to ask about the Key to Magic card which enables you to purchase meals and other items and charge them back to your room, plus you can make use of Package Express which will see your purchases delivered directly to the hotel.
There are three pools for cooling down in – Fountain is an oasis complete with turtle fountain, the kids will love Redwood with its themed waterslide, and Mariposa’s four private cabanas and hot tub will ensure the adults have a great time too. ??Between the Storyteller’s Café and the fitness centre is the Grizzly Game Arcade where kids can play to their hearts content while mum enjoys a soothing massage at Mandara Spa and dad gets back to nature enjoying a relaxing coffee at White Water Snacks, designed like a campground pavilion.
In 2008, the Napa Rose was named Orange County’s most popular restaurant in the Zagat Survey, and it’s easy to see why … an award winning wine collection and exquisite fine dining.
I left with only one small regret…that my kids are now too old to be of that age where Disney is king, and they haven’t quite hit the age where nostalgia brings that enjoyment back.