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Post updated June 2021.
We stayed at the Grand Californian Hotel on a Wednesday night in late May 2021.
Parking at the Grand Californian Hotel
We pulled into the Grand Californian Hotel parking lot at 8:30 Wednesday morning; they checked we were guests at the hotel and let us unload our luggage at the front door to the bell hop. We then had to self-park our car before going into the lobby and checking in. (Only hotel guests are allowed to park at the hotel parking lots).
When you enter the hotel, you are instantly transported into rustic luxury. The hotel is themed after the Arts & Crafts movement, and starts off right away with stained glass double doors. The lobby of the Grand Californian is gorgeous with a giant fireplace (where Santa is sometimes during the Christmas season). There is a grand piano, and beautiful details throughout. The front desk is off to the side so as to not take any attention from the grandness of the lobby, but is still very nice itself.
Our rooms were not ready yet, but they gave us room keys and said they would text us our room numbers once they were ready for us. The bell service would kept our luggage until our rooms were ready and we called down for them.
We had our strollers and backpacks ready for the day at the park (see my packing list here), so we walked through the hotel to their Downtown Disney exit (their special exit/entrance to California Adventure is also open again now, if you are visiting that park instead of Disneyland). They did a temperature scan (since discontinued) and bag check before letting us out right next to the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney (The entrance to reenter the hotel is in between Sephora and the Disney Dress Shop).
We played at Disneyland Park all day Wednesday (we thought we might go back to the hotel room to take naps but the kids ended up napping fine in the strollers), and got back to our rooms at 8pm (we loved how close the hotel was from the park entrance). We called down from our room to the bell desk for our luggage, got everyone dressed for bed, and went straight to sleep. We had brought a pack n play for our baby, and our toddler shared one of the queen beds with me. The rooms are beautifully decorated with a few subtle Disney touches. The Disneyland Hotel (with recently refurbished rooms!) has far more Disney theming than the Grand Californian. The Grand Californian heavily focuses on its Arts & Crafts style, rather than its Disney ownership. Our room had a sink area, a toilet/shower/bath enclosure, two queen beds, a small fridge, a coffee maker, a pull-out sofa, a TV, and a balcony with a view into Downtown Disney. I did a quick walk-through video of our room for Instagram which can be found here if you want to see more details of our room (I could have sworn I took more pictures of the room, but apparently did not).
We woke up in the morning and went downstairs for breakfast. The Craftsman bar and grill was open, and we grabbed some coffees and muffins then went back to eat in our room. Storyteller’s Cafe is also now reopen, and July 22 will be adding their character dining for breakfast again! There are also a few places open for breakfast (including Starbucks) in Downtown Disney, which is a very close walk.
Pools and Outside
The pools were open with limited capacity; you had to call down to the front desk to check capacity and so that they could radio for the pool gate to be opened for you. We almost went Thursday morning after breakfast, but at the last minute my toddler changed her mind so we played in the room until lunch instead (we had lunch reservations at Naples in Downtown Disney before we left for home).
The landscaping and outside is just as gorgeous as the inside – just walking to get our breakfast was so pleasant! There are a few paths and even a small amphitheater area that kids can run around in. There are lots of trees to go along with the rustic feel of the hotel.
Our next staycation at Disneyland will be at the Disneyland Hotel because I cannot resist the fun Disney theming and it will be far more fun for our toddlers, but this is an all-time favorite hotel and we will definitely be back one day (and that time we’ll swim!)
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