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Dodie
04-02-2001, 07:59 AM
DH and I are just back from a four-night stay at the Grand Californian, and visit to both parks. I am going to break my trip report into three parts:

1. General overview and Grand Californian comments;
2. Disneyland experience; and
3. Disney's California Adventure experience

Part 1 of 3: General overview and Grand Californian comments:

We flew into to Las Vegas on Friday, spent two nights there, and then drove to Anaheim on Sunday. As I had read on these boards, the traffic was pretty heavy from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on Sunday, with everyone returning to LA from their weekend in Vegas, but we got an early start and didn't mind it at all.

The drive was a beautiful one. Some had said that it would be boring, but those folks must just take gorgeous desert scenes and beautiful mountain vistas for granted. It took about 4 and hours, with a couple of stops and a lunch break. Not bad. We arrived at the Grand Californian at about 2:00.

Everyone had said that we couldn't miss the Disneyland exit, and THAT was correct. However, once you get off of I-5, I wouldn't say that the signage is very clear to the individual resorts. We ended up in the giant parking structure, trying to get to the Grand Californian. If you are used to the very specific signs at WDW, you'll need to prepare yourself for general directions like "to Disney hotels" instead of specific signs for the individual resorts. That said, we found the Grand Californian (finally) and pulled up at the entrance. All I can say is AWESOME!!!!! I am a sucker for craftsman or arts and crafts style architecture, so this place was built just for me!

Our only bad experience at the GC happened at this time. When we pulled up, the bellman put a tag on our windshield, helped us unload, and told us that our car would be going to valet parking. I asked, very specifically, "Is there any other option to valet parking? We would rather just park our car." To which he replied, Don't worry ma'am, you will be able to access your car whenever you need it." Pretty vague, 'eh? I of course assumed that this meant that there was no option, so we turned over the car and grumbled to ourselves about having to pay for valet parking when we didn't want it.

Upon check-in, the CM asked, "Will you be using our valet parking? It's $6 per day." I immediately responded, again, "Is there any other option to valet parking? We would rather just park our car." His answer: "Of course. There is a self-parking lot just across the street." When I told him of our earlier conversation with the bellman, he apologized and called for our car to be redelivered to the entrance immediately so we could repark it ourselves, no charge. Maybe it was just a misunderstanding, but I felt like someone was trying to take advantage of us. Very un-Disneylike, but corrected in a very Disneylike manner. [NOW I read in another post that Michelle says valet parking is included in all packages - yet the CM at the desk was going to charge us $6 per day. Maybe EVERYONE was trying to take advantage of us...]

We weren't able to get the king-bed room that we had requested, because none was ready, and we really needed a room that was ready so we could change into warmer clothes for our trip to the park. We ended up in a room with two queens, which was perfectly fine. It was on the fifth floor. The balcony overlooked the courtyard where the monorail cuts through the hotel and a portion of Downtown Disney. DH was mesmerized by the monorail passing. I dread to see how many pictures he took of the monorail going through the courtyard below us!!!! Although I had heard complaints about noise, and although there was (loud) music playing in Downtown Disney from early morning until late at night, you simply couldn't hear it inside the room when the balcony door was closed.

The ability to simply walk out of your resort into DCA, or through Downtown Disney a block or so to get to Disneyland was unbelievable! We had drinks a couple of nights in the Hearthstone Lodge, which is beautiful and relaxing. We grabbed breakfast each morning in the little snack shop (sorry, the name escapes me), which also worked out well. It was not in the budget to dine at either of the sit-down restaurants in the resort, although they both looked lovely.

We headed straight to Disneyland once we were checked into the GC and had changed our clothes. We ended up spending two half-days and one full day at Disneyland and one long half-day (9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) at DCA. I will give you details about that in my trip reports about the two parks. We also spent one day away from Disneyland, visiting the Petersen Museum, touring Hollywood, and going to a taping of "Everybody Loves Raymond" in Burbank.

More later!

GeorgeY
04-02-2001, 09:44 AM
We are staying at the GC in June. We have standard room view. Now that you have been there, if you went back what area of hotel would you request to be placed? I was thinking about requesting the monorail courtyard over the Disneyland hotel view.

Thanks
George

SimonV
04-03-2001, 04:17 PM
Excellent description for all Grand Californian's future guests!

simon.veness@virgin.net

FairyGodfriend
04-05-2001, 07:58 AM
I really enjoyed your trip report! We'll be going for the first time in early June and it was helpful to read about another "first-timer". Only 4 hours (more or less) from Las Vegas to Anaheim is decent. Glad you and your husband had a fun trip. Thanks!

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luvdsny
04-05-2001, 07:45 PM
Dodie, this was very well written...I look forward to reading your other reports. :) Thanks. :)

<font color=red size=4>HAVE A DISNEY DAY</font>

<font color=navy size=3>M-I-C...see you at The DIS Convention, K-E-Y...why? Because we LOVE Disney, M-O-U-S-Eeee...</font>

Marla Hellwig
04-09-2001, 06:36 PM
Your trip is off to a good start. I too have done that drive from Vegas to LA - Love it. Thanks for posting!

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