We stayed at the Grand Californian Hotel on a Wednesday night in late May 2021, but all the information has been updated as of September 2022.
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). Self-parking costs $35 a night, valet costs $50 a night, but if you are visiting the hotel just to eat, you get 3 hours free valet parking with Storyteller’s Cafe, or 5 hours free valet parking with Napa Rose.
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 in Downtown Disney).
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 opens early in the morning, and we grabbed some coffees and muffins then went back to eat in our room. Storyteller’s Cafe offers character dining during their breakfast/brunch buffet only, and reservations are strongly recommended if you want to eat there. It is very fun, and well worth it in my opinion. There are also a few places open for breakfast (including Starbucks) in Downtown Disney, which is a very close walk.
Pools and Outside
There are several pools, two waterslides, and a small wading pool that my toddler loved. The hotel checks your hotel key, gives you wristbands, and provides life jackets in various sizes.
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.
We also stayed at the Disneyland Hotel, which you can read about here.
If you need help planning your Disneyland trip, I can help! I have created a free spreadsheet in Google Sheets to help my email subscribers maximize their magical trip to Disneyland. Once you become an email subscriber (use the handy box on the right), you will receive an email with a link to my resource library with various Disneyland resources, including my PDF of tips, downloadable Google planning sheets, Disneyland scavenger hunts, and more! For a sneak peek and more info on my planning sheets, click here. You may also be interested in my posts on taking a toddler to Disneyland, packing a diaper bag for Disneyland, or my other Disneyland posts.