View Full Version : I'm in love with GC! (Part 5 of 5...LONG)

10-17-2001, 04:22 PM
Day 5 (Day of Departure:( ): Friday, October 12, 2001

How sad, our last day at the Grand Californian! The next time we stay there I'd like to stay on the concierge floor. We were tempted to walk up there, but there were signs on the stairway from the 5th to 6th floor (concierge is on the 6th floor) saying "concierge guests only."

On our last day we had a reservation for the breakfast with Chip, Dale, and Pluto at Storyteller's Cafe. We had vouchers with our package which included either the full breakfast buffet or an entree off the menu, a beverage, and tax and gratuity. We gave the vouchers to our server who closed out the check immediately since the costs were all taken care of. We received excellent service here.

Chip, Dale, and Pluto were in the entryway greeting the kids (I think we were the only childless adults in the place, but it was fun anyway). Dale was especially "playful," making rounds around the restaurant after greeting those in the entry. He came by us and made a funny face. This seemed like a great place for kids, they round them up and go around the restaurant with the characters.

I really enjoyed the food here. I think the buffet is normally $18.95. There was eggs benedict, some Mexican-type thing on an English muffin (I wanted to try it, but was too full!), scrambled eggs, potatoes w/ onions, bacon, sausage, an omelet station (looked really good-again, didn't have room in my tummy), fruits, muffins and breads, ad some desserts including a really good chocolate cake which I made room for! We had orange juice which was refilled. We were also offered coffee.

We took some pictures in one of the courtyards, as well as the Great Hall, hopefully one of them will be our Christmas picture! We then headed back to World of Disney to buy the things we had put on our list the night before, along with some extra items! There were these really cute Mickey-shaped soaps for $1.00, which I plan to put in little Christmas gift baskets.

Checkout at the hotel is 11 a.m. We called the front desk to check out at around 10:30 and kept our keys as souvenirs (they allow you to do that). We then called bell services, and Aaron went to get the car. They were at the room in about 5 minutes. He was very friendly and helpful (Donald). We then drove to Knott's for shopping only in the Marketplace (note: there is free 2 hour parking in the Marketplace area if you are shopping only). After that, we headed back to Vegas, stopping in Barstow for shopping.

Overall thoughts on the Disney portion of our trip:
1. The Grand Californian is GORGEOUS and great in every way. Any complaint I might have is totally miniscule in the grand scheme of our stay. One nice surprise was that we received turn-down service every night. The attention to detail when they created this hotel is absolutely amazing. If you stay here, sign up for the tour.
2. The package was worth it, and Dreams Unlimited Travel was excellent. I plan to go with DU for all future Disney trips! I forgot to mention that the package also included a coupon booklet. We used a few of them, like a free popcorn with purchase of one. There were few that were meant for families (i.e. free child admission with adult, etc.). It was really nice to have everything paid for (30 days ahead). All we had to take care of was meals and souvenirs.
3. We ate a LOT, and I was extremely impressed with the quality of the food everywhere we ate (with the possible exception of ESPN, which wasn't "bad," just not as good). Highly recommend Storyteller's Cafe, Y Arriba Y Arriba, Whitewater Snacks, and Naples.
4. For those of you who might be worried about security, don't give it a second thought. I was really amazed at the presence of both Disney security and Anaheim police. They seemed to be everywhere. Also, most of you probably already know this, but all the rides and attractions have TONS of security cameras, it's just that they're not obvious.
5. I was really amazed at the amount of people there. It wasn't crowded like a summer day, but considering the recent events, I thought it was pretty busy. Waits were not long though, usually no more than 10 minutes, except for Indy and Soaring which were, at times, longer. GC seemed very crowded, and there was a convention being held there.
6. Airport check-in wasn't that bad, but we did use a small Hawaii-based airline. We flew out of Honolulu and into McCarran in Las Vegas. Leaving Honolulu, we got there about 2 hr. 45 min. in advance. Checking in took about 15-20 minutes, and only because there was only one guy checking people in. It took about 10-15 minutes to go through the security checkpoint. They did NOT look through our carryon's there, but they did in the terminal, but it was for an agriculture check, not security. Leaving Vegas, we got there 2 hours ahead (our flight left at 5:35 a.m.), and the agents didn't arrive until 1 hr. 15 min. before the flight was scheduled to leave, making our flight late by 30 minutes. Again, they did not look through our bags. The main thing is to have your I.D. ready to show at any time, and arrive early (2-3 hours ahead), even if it means you'll have to wait after check-in. Had we not arrived early, we may have cut it pretty close to our departure time.

I'm sure I am forgetting many things, there were so many things about this hotel that I could discuss! It was a terrific trip, with many great moments. Feel free to ask questions!

Mary Jo
10-18-2001, 02:51 AM
<font color=navy>What a great read! Thank you so much for your report. I'm surprising my rascals with a weekend at the GC the 2nd weekend in December, and really liked all the detail you put into your report. The tour sounds really interesting, too. I'd like to take it.

I took the Walk in Walt's Footsteps Tour, and agree with you - I think the tourguide has a lot to do with how enjoyable the tour is.

I've also been to Y Arriba Y Arriba, and enjoyed it. The entremeses that you had sounds like the Spanish tapa that is served - you got jamón serrano (the cured ham), green olives-yum, queso manchego-sheep cheese & very good, anchovies-they were okay, and cold Spanish tortilla-which is nothing like the real thing (potato & egg "omelette"). I've been there twice for dinner, and recommend it also, especially for the singing and dancing that goes on.

Well, I really enjoyed your report, and the detail you went into. Thank you so much! :sunny:

10-18-2001, 09:58 AM
Kendra, What a fantastic trip report. Thank you so much for posting. :cool:

10-19-2001, 11:29 AM
I enjoyed your reports and I'm glad you had a great trip. We really liked the Grand Californian - a really nice atmosphere. Thanks for the all the details. Happy future travels!

10-19-2001, 06:11 PM
Thank you so much for the time you must have spent giving all of us such a wonderfully detailed trip report. Those details really help those of us planning future trips. My one question, in your first post you mention that you could book dining reservations 30 days in advance, but your package (or something else) said you could book 60 days in advance. Which is it, and did you find it necessary to make reservations for most of your meals, or were there some that you could just wander in? I'm particularly interested because when we fly in our first night cross-country, I know my group will be tired and I'm hesitant about booking something then, but don't want to end up without a good meal because of it (I'm thinking of Hook's Point). Any feedback would be appreciated, and thanks once again for your wonderful attention to detail!

10-19-2001, 09:10 PM
Thanks for your wonderfully detailed trip report. It was a joy to read!

10-20-2001, 10:08 PM

The documentation I received from WDTC said up to 60 days for dining reservations, so my guess is that would be the more up-to-date info. (I read 30 days here on DIS, but that info has been around for a while, so maybe they increased it to 60 days since then.

The only 2 restaurants I made reservations for were Blue Bayou and Storyteller's Cafe. I arrived on a Monday, and made my reservations then for BB on Tuesday, and Storyteller's Cafe breakfast on Friday. We just walked into all the other places and didn't have any wait except for ESPN Zone, which I wouldn't really recommend anyway.

If you plan to go to BB, I would definitely make ressies farther in advance than one day like we did. I don't think one day is enough. I'm not sure how they do the seating, but we were #29, I'm not sure if that means we were the 29th party who had a ressie for that time, but that's my guess. I know we weren't the 29th party checking in, because they put our card in the middle of what appeared to be in numerical order (rather than at the end).

Storyteller's breakfast was pretty crowded, but not nearly as overwhelming as BB. I would still make a ressie for breakfast, but I don't think it's as important to make a ressie too far in advance.

Except for BB and the character breakfasts (if you have your heart set on a certain time), I don't think it's necessary to make ressies during the non-peak season. If you really have your heart set on a certain restaurant, it wouldn't hurt to make a ressie, but if you're flexible, I don't think you'll have a problem finding a place to eat, especially since there are so many choices with DD open now! Hook's Pointe never filled up. Also, keep in mind that my visit was during weekdays (Mon-Thu), which might be a factor.

We actually planned on making more ressies, but I'm glad we didn't, since this was a really "go-with-the-flow" kinda trip. I should mention one thing though...the DD restaurants, seem to get crowded when the parks close, which is kinda early during the weekdays (it was 6 for DCA, 8 for DL when I was there). We got to Y Arriba around 7:00-7:30, and got in right away. By the time we got out of there, there was a wait. Storyteller's (dinner) got a little crowded after the park closed, but didn't fill up all the way.

Happy planning!

10-22-2001, 08:32 AM
Thanks for the additional info, that's great to know. I'd also like to "go with the flow" for a lot of the trip and think I will now plan on booking in advance things like BB and maybe Goofy's Breakfast or Storytellers and not planning every meal in advance. Thanks!

Judy from Boise
11-03-2001, 09:55 PM
I enjoyed your reports. It looks like you have stayed at many of the Harbor blvd motels....how much better did you like GC ? Would you chose 3 nights at GC over 5 nights on Harbor blvd ???

11-05-2001, 01:31 AM
Hi Judy!

Because I've been to DL so many times, I probably would pick 3 days at GC over 5 days on Harbor. But as I explain below, it depends on the focus of my trip.

If I could afford to stay at GC each trip, I would! But, unfortunately, I can't afford to do it all the time. There is absolutely no comparison between GC and the hotel/motels across the street. Before I decide on the type of hotel (i.e. cost), I ask myself what the focus of the vacation is. This trip it was relaxation, and we were only going to do Disney.

I usually stay somewhere on Harbor for a longer period of time, because we usually do non-Disney things as well, but want to stay close to Disney. I stayed at GC this time for many reasons: (1) last year we didn't take a "real" vacation (just visited w/ relatives in Vegas), (2) I wanted to check out GC, (3) we were only planning to do Disney at a leisurely pace, and (4) I could afford to at this time in my life.

If I was planning to do other parks too, like Knotts, Universal, Magic Mountain, I would probably just stay at HoJo or someplace like that. Because this was a Disney-only trip, we had the extra time to really enjoy the resort itself, and it was extremely convenient since GC is pretty much as close as you can get to DD and the parks.

I really did enjoy my stay at GC, and I think for future trips I would make an effort to save the $$ to be able to stay there. Another thing I would do (and I've done before with DLH) if I were trying to save $$$ is to stay at HoJo for the bulk of the trip and maybe one night at GC.

If you're considering a stay there, I think you'll enjoy it!! I've found it pretty comparable to staying at the Wilderness Lodge at WDW, but with a few more amenities in the room.

Judy from Boise
12-28-2001, 04:13 PM
How funny ! I had obviously read your reports before....but just enjoyed them again !:D

12-30-2001, 03:07 PM
Thanks so much for the report! I'll be staying at GC concierge in March and you are getting me all excited for it!! Thanks again!