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View Full Version : First trip to DL: Grand Californian or Disneylannd Hotel?


UnderTheMistletoe
08-16-2006, 11:24 AM
We're totally stumped!

DH has been to DL twice and had stayed at DLH both times. This will be my first and we're really not quite sure what to do- he'd like to stay at the GC because it's new, but loves the DLH. We're not willing to hotel hop as we're hitting DL on the way back from Hawaii and are just not that interested in burning any time checking in and out. Pros and cons of each? Reviews? What are they similar to service-wise when compared to WDW (like GC similar to Wilderness Lodge or GF, for example)?

We're travelling March:
15th- leaving for Hawaii, arriving 16th
21st- Depart Hawaii, arrive LAX or Orange County airport and check-in DL for evening
25th- Departing Cali bright and early to get back to the East Coast at some half reasonable hour

As we see it, it's 3 full days and an evening. We intend to use every available minute to enjoy DL :goodvibes

So excited! That's so much!
xoxo

MATTERHORN
08-16-2006, 01:11 PM
We love the Grand Californian! It just cannot be beat IMHO, and if it is an option for you, I would definitely go fot it. That said, I do not care for the DLH so my ideas may not be on par with your DH's. The Grand is impressive and massive with a beautiful lobby, some good restaurants, we love the pool area, and the decor suits my style. Plus I just like things that are new, and I think the rooms and whole feel of it seems romantic.

Also location, location , location cannot be beat there. That is one of the main reasons we stay there. Whatever you decide, it looks like it will be a wonderful and memorable trip! I like how you are going to Hawaii and then ending the trip just the right way.


Andrea

got2gp
08-16-2006, 01:18 PM
Me too, I just love the GC. :goodvibes The Disneyland hotel is nice..., but given a choice, I'd go for the GC if it is within the budget. Only drawback is that the rooms are a bit on the small size, but with just 2 people that shouldn't be a problem.

ScooterL
08-16-2006, 01:50 PM
If the price isn't an issue, I'd go with the Grand Californian - it's an absolutely beautiful hotel.

The look is similar to the Wilderness Lodge, but the amenities and service are more like those at the Grand Floridian - for example, there are robes in all of the rooms and turn-down service is available in the evenings. In the lobby there's often someone playing the piano, and there's a nice fireplace area, too.

Napa Rose is an *excellent* restaurant, and White Water snacks is a nice snack bar-type place with a reasonable selection of food that's actually pretty good.

Laura

SilverCeladon
08-16-2006, 02:04 PM
I've only heard awesome things about the GC but it's very expensive. Now, if you have children, I've heard that the DH is much better with little ones-more to do and such. Good luck and I wish I was coming along to Hawaii with you!

teacherkaren
08-16-2006, 08:39 PM
The cost of GC is not much more than DLH and it is worth it! I love hanging out in the comfy lobby or on one of the balconys. I also love the turn down with chocolates on pillows. It is SO close to Cal. Adv. and very close to DL, too. If it is a choice for me it would be GC every time.

JenDisneylandlver
08-16-2006, 10:02 PM
We like both, as they are very different, it depends on what your looking for. GC has a more "resort" feel to it. The lobby is absolutely beautiful, and the park views can not be beat (we also could see the fireworks from our room). While there is some disney theming about the hotel, it isn't much. Location is wonderful, it's right there, can't get any closer. It is very pricey. For us it was A LOT more then the DL hotel.

DLH is where to be if you want disney theming. For us it's like we never leave the "magic" when we stay there. From the peter pan pool, to running in to Goofy in the lobby. All the disney theming in the rooms. The rooms are of good size, and can have some great views of the pool, koi ponds, or DTD Disney with fireworks. We also love Goofy's Kitchen, and was nice being right there. I don't care for the Characters at the GCH, we've never been Brother Bear fans.

So I would say both budget and what your looking for depends on where you should stay.

slp87
08-16-2006, 10:14 PM
I have stayed at both hotels within the last year and I prefer the GCH. The DLH was nice, although our room in the Bonita tower was much smaller than the room we had at the GCH. We were with a group, (cheap rates, if you can call it that), so our view was of the parking lot on the back side of the hotel. The lobby of the Bonita tower was very pretty and quiet, and the fountain/falls outside were beautiful, but if you're looking for the Disney feeling, I don't think you get as much of it unless you stay in the Marina tower. While the walk to the parks wasn't bad, I didn't like fighting the nighttime crowds through DtD. GCH definitely wins for location and I love the lobby and all the activity. The theming is great and I prefer everything in one building.

abby
08-16-2006, 10:41 PM
We have stayed at the DLH twice and loved it, but then I have a dd who is 6. We walked through GC last time, used it to enter CA, and I'd stay there with adults, but with kids, (and adults that are kids at heart) you can't beat DLH for the disney magic, that just wasn't there at the GC. All depends on what you are looking for.

Judy from Boise
08-17-2006, 09:05 PM
GC is very nicely done, with a great location,landscaping, etc. But it just doesen't ring my bell. Maybe because it reminds me too much of my house, which is done in craftsman, and the hospital where i work, which has the same exact leaf wall paper!

The DLH on the other hand seems much more "Disney magic" to me. Of course the view does matter. I also agree that one drawback is the teen crowds at the end of DTD on weekends.

boscoj
08-17-2006, 09:24 PM
Another vote for GC! The location just can't be beat! Especially liked the DD view... :thumbsup2

victorandbellasmom
08-17-2006, 10:34 PM
The first onsite hotel we ever stayed at was the GCH (oct '05) and boy were we spoiled. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Dh even complained about the cost when we were planning our trip. He just couldn't understand why a hotel across the street wouldn't work. ( We were going to a family reunion and everyone else was staying at GCH.) DH was the biggest GCH convert.

If money's not an issue, stay at GCH. The proximity to the parks and the little special things like (turndown service with chocolates on night stand) are great. We have little kids so we did the scavenger hunt while our niece did the storytelling by the hearth. Dh and my dad did the brisk walk tour through DCA before opening. There are just lots of little things that are available to guests of GCH only.

If you don't think you'll be availing any of GCH's service since you'll be spending all your day in the park then DLH may be a good option of still getting the disney feel with the price tag of GCH. We stayed at DLH this past March and although our kids loved the Neverland Pool, dh and I thought GCH was definitely a better hotel (obviously newer).

We'll be at DL again next week. We're staying at hojo's for the first 4 nights and then moving to GCH. We talked so much about how much fun we had last Oct, my dh's mother, grandmother and sister are joining us at GCH.

Amy&Dan
08-17-2006, 11:14 PM
For two adults, who are going to spend lots of time at the park then I would say the GCH would be a good bet. You are literally inside one park and just steps away from the other. Personally, for my family of four which includes two kids (9, 11) we prefer the DLH and all its Disney magic and theming, especially the pool area. The DLH rooms are also nice size in almost all cases. However couples or singles frequently get put in one of the smaller rooms that while few in number do exist, so you might get one of those and then as another poster stated, you could end up in a smaller room than anything at the GCH. The DLH is special to us since we have stayed there and enjoyed our time there as a family several times now and we also like the fact we are guaranteed some sort of third bed, be it daybed or rollaway (this is all irrelevant to you but just posting my reasons for preferring the DLH a bit for us personally). But when we stayed at the GCH this past June, I suddenly realized what everyone is talking about with that location! It really can't be beat. The balcony was also a huge perk. If my husband and I ever went to DL just the two of us, we would totally pick the GCH since it has a more resort, upscale quality to it, perfect for couples. If you are used to the WDW deluxes, than I think GCH would be a great bet. Because it is newer and the only Disneyland Resort Hotel built by Disney, the lobby and common areas have that "wow" architectural feeling to them. You receive some nice perks like turndown service and the balconies are very nice for an evening cocktail or quiet time. It has the spa services right there as well. I would definitely classify the DLH as deluxe in amenities but not on quite the same level as the GCH. Someday when the kiddies are along, the DLH will be there for you!

MATTERHORN
08-18-2006, 04:15 AM
I was just reading all the replies! Are my kids the only ones that don't really care about the theming of the pool because they are too busy going down the slides a milion times to notice? DD thought the GC pool was wonderful. (and we have stayed at DLH also) As far as the theming, I guess I am also the only one who thinks the DLH lobby is a huge dissapointment when compared with the GC lobby. The DLH lobby looks like any other hotel to me! But when I walk into the GC lobby, I can't help but be excited to check in!

Yes I know there is the furniture in the rooms and the border at DLH. But honestly, we spend so much time in the park that by the time we get back, the kids are pretty much asleep so we don't even get to have the lights on long/bright enough to charge the Tinkerbell border. We have stayed there three times and have yet to see it glow!!

Also DLH is a huge drawback for us because you can't roll your stroller onto the monorail like at WDW. With a double and three little ones, it's too hard to fold it up and carry everything from the bottom and grab all three kids. So the walk for us ends up being farther than hotels across the street. Maybe when they are older that will change for us.

Not sure why I posted all of this, just seeing if I am alone in my thoughts on the DLH. I am always surprised when everyone says it is better for kids since my kids LOVE the GC almost as much as me.

Andrea

Amy&Dan
08-18-2006, 10:36 AM
I was just reading all the replies! Are my kids the only ones that don't really care about the theming of the pool because they are too busy going down the slides a milion times to notice? DD thought the GC pool was wonderful. (and we have stayed at DLH also) As far as the theming, I guess I am also the only one who thinks the DLH lobby is a huge dissapointment when compared with the GC lobby. The DLH lobby looks like any other hotel to me! But when I walk into the GC lobby, I can't help but be excited to check in!

Yes I know there is the furniture in the rooms and the border at DLH. But honestly, we spend so much time in the park that by the time we get back, the kids are pretty much asleep so we don't even get to have the lights on long/bright enough to charge the Tinkerbell border. We have stayed there three times and have yet to see it glow!!

Also DLH is a huge drawback for us because you can't roll your stroller onto the monorail like at WDW. With a double and three little ones, it's too hard to fold it up and carry everything from the bottom and grab all three kids. So the walk for us ends up being farther than hotels across the street. Maybe when they are older that will change for us.

Not sure why I posted all of this, just seeing if I am alone in my thoughts on the DLH. I am always surprised when everyone says it is better for kids since my kids LOVE the GC almost as much as me.

Andrea

I see your points because with little ones the GCH's location would probably be better than any amount of Disney theming the DLH can offer! My borther and his wife are making the GCH their new Disneyland choice because their girls are five and that location (and the fact the monorail is down for their next visit) is great for kids that age who need naps and for parents who can hang out on the balcony while the kids do so. My kids thought the slide at the GCH was boring compared to the DLH's and many of the WDW resorts we have stayed at (we had just stayed at the Boardwalk in WDW two months earlier, so maybe that tainted their slide judgement!). In fact in the slide area, Paradise Pier wins for them but since the pool itself is so boring and small, the slide doesn't add enough to sway our overall decision. And for me the paying parent, the difference in room price between the DLH and GCH is a factor because over seven nights it adds up. Just like you, we spend so much time in the parks, and paying so much more per night hardly seems worth it even with that phenomenal location. My biggest factor for preferring the DLH for my kids is the bed scenario. Since GCH only has a limited amount of bunk bed rooms and daybeds, that sleeping bag they offer up (I have a boy and girl, too old to sleep together) if you don't get a bunk bed or daybed is not going to cut it. And my son won't even be able to fit into those bunkbeds in a year or two tops since he's almost 12. At the DLH you get a free rollaway worst case scenario that is long enough to hold an adult or larger teen quite comfortably. I agree the lobby at the DLH is not nearly as dramatic as the GCH but my kids love the cheerful nature of it, love seeing Goofy (which we often do) and didn't appreciate the northwest theming of the GCH which while beautiful and awe inspiring didn't make us feel we were at Disneyland. And the lobby is a place for us to check in and walk through on the way to the parks. My whole family also missed the landscaping, arcade (arcades are a big thing for 11 year old boys ;) ) and waterfalls at the DLH. The GCH is definitely one of the nicest place we have stayed at and I know we will stay there again, probably several more times. But the DLH with its light and bright, oversized rooms, has some sort of magic for my family we really missed and since we can save money in the process that makes for a win situation.

MATTERHORN
08-18-2006, 03:35 PM
I see your points because with little ones the GCH's location would probably be better than any amount of Disney theming the DLH can offer! My borther and his wife are making the GCH their new Disneyland choice because their girls are five and that location (and the fact the monorail is down for their next visit) is great for kids that age who need naps and for parents who can hang out on the balcony while the kids do so. My kids thought the slide at the GCH was boring compared to the DLH's and many of the WDW resorts we have stayed at (we had just stayed at the Boardwalk in WDW two months earlier, so maybe that tainted their slide judgement!). In fact in the slide area, Paradise Pier wins for them but since the pool itself is so boring and small, the slide doesn't add enough to sway our overall decision. And for me the paying parent, the difference in room price between the DLH and GCH is a factor because over seven nights it adds up. Just like you, we spend so much time in the parks, and paying so much more per night hardly seems worth it even with that phenomenal location. My biggest factor for preferring the DLH for my kids is the bed scenario. Since GCH only has a limited amount of bunk bed rooms and daybeds, that sleeping bag they offer up (I have a boy and girl, too old to sleep together) if you don't get a bunk bed or daybed is not going to cut it. And my son won't even be able to fit into those bunkbeds in a year or two tops since he's almost 12. At the DLH you get a free rollaway worst case scenario that is long enough to hold an adult or larger teen quite comfortably. I agree the lobby at the DLH is not nearly as dramatic as the GCH but my kids love the cheerful nature of it, love seeing Goofy (which we often do) and didn't appreciate the northwest theming of the GCH which while beautiful and awe inspiring didn't make us feel we were at Disneyland. And the lobby is a place for us to check in and walk through on the way to the parks. My whole family also missed the landscaping, arcade (arcades are a big thing for 11 year old boys ;) ) and waterfalls at the DLH. The GCH is definitely one of the nicest place we have stayed at and I know we will stay there again, probably several more times. But the DLH with its light and bright, oversized rooms, has some sort of magic for my family we really missed and since we can save money in the process that makes for a win situation.


You are right, location is the big thing for us with a 5, 3 and 9 month old. We don't do naps in the room since the kids nap great in the stroller! But even though we are not in the room much, when we stay at DLH I always walk past the GC saying "If we had stayed here, we'd be at our room by now".

Your kids are lucky, mine have mean parents(me!!) I don't let them do the arcades or the midway games when we are there. I tell them (really the oldest DD, the other 2 are too young) I spent money for the tickets and we are gonna hang in the arcade and spend $20-$30 more for games we could play at home? Nope!

About the beds, you are right there. My older two are girls so they will be able to sleep together forever, but even if their brother bunks with them, that's okay too. I still had to share beds with my brother in a once in a while situation and it was no big deal. We're family! If it is a problem later, than I will sleep with both girls and DH and DS can sleep in one bed together!

Thank goodness Disney provides a variety for all families. That is one thing I love about it. No matter what your preferences are, you can ususally find something that works for almost all families! :thumbsup2

Have a great day!

Andrea

Amy&Dan
08-18-2006, 04:42 PM
Your kids are lucky, mine have mean parents(me!!) I don't let them do the arcades or the midway games when we are there. I tell them (really the oldest DD, the other 2 are too young) I spent money for the tickets and we are gonna hang in the arcade and spend $20-$30 more for games we could play at home? Nope!

About the beds, you are right there. My older two are girls so they will be able to sleep together forever, but even if their brother bunks with them, that's okay too. I still had to share beds with my brother in a once in a while situation and it was no big deal. We're family! If it is a problem later, than I will sleep with both girls and DH and DS can sleep in one bed together!

Thank goodness Disney provides a variety for all families. That is one thing I love about it. No matter what your preferences are, you can ususally find something that works for almost all families! :thumbsup2

Have a great day!

Andrea

You know Andrea, I used to let my kids sleep in the same bed. I did with my brother until I was maybe 10 and he was 14. I had a relative who found out about that and acted like me and my kids were perverted so I stopped doing it when they were only about 7 and 9! Its one of those things that once she said something it weirded me out, not that it was any of her business! But frankly, I don't see anything wrong with it until they feel funny about it. And the arcades are something they do with their own money. Grandpa will frequently give them change to lighten up his pockets and they get allowance. They save that change all year for Disney, no way after I shell out airfare, tickets and hotel am I paying! And like you, every time we walk back to the DLH I look at the GCH and think, if only... And now that we stayed there this past June, I'll think it even more. It might be interesting for my family to see if we still love the DLH above all others now that we have stayed at GCH and some of the WDW deluxes. I hope so, if not then we'll have to change our minds! Have a great day!

MATTERHORN
08-18-2006, 08:07 PM
You know, it's not that I don't like the DLH. I have definitely taken advantage of the old $89 AP rates before. I guess it's because all growing up, we never stayed onsite. I built this image in my mind of the DLH and always asked my parents if we could stay there. Even as a kid, I looked at it longily, always wondering about the inside. I think I held it to a standard no hotel could have lived up to. It really is not it's fault!!!


Andrea

MATTERHORN
08-18-2006, 08:12 PM
Meant to say too, that's so silly about your friend. I guess I am weird, but if I was ever stuck somewhere and had to share a bed with my brother/mom/dad/aunt, I wouldn't think twice. It's not like we would snuggle or anything, it's just a bed. Now a twin bed, maybe not, but there's plenty of room in the beds. I don't even think about stuff like that.

To go way more off topic, lol, there was a debate on another of my boards the other day about a mom that thinks it is gross to kiss your kids on the lips since it should only be reserved for DH/lovers. I thought that was funny, we kiss our kids on the lips all the time. Our whole family does. Why does everything have to be so sexualized now a days. I would never have even thought anyone would think that was a bad thing! Funny!


Andrea

pigletgirl
08-20-2006, 02:56 PM
GC definitely!

UnderTheMistletoe
08-20-2006, 08:48 PM
Thank you all so much!

I've been out of town for several days- my little brother just graduated Army bootcamp :teeth: We've just finished the budgeting for our October trip to WDW and will start in on Hawaii and DL either tonight or in the coming days.

I'm most interested in the Grand Californian but am sure that either resort will suit a first timer as it will all be so new and special. This trip is our honeymoon, so we're saving wisely and early to do all the things we want to do. Plus, if I whine and complain that I want to stay in the other hotel we'll go back. At least that's my plan. :rotfl:

I am sure I'll be back asking for dining recs and everything else! I'm so excited to get out to the real house of the mouse! Again, thank to so much for the insight on the resorts!

xoxo