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Old 05-03-2013, 08:17 PM   #1
Royal Consort
And I thought a Park Hopper was just a Kangaroo in a native reserve.
 
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Disneyland Hotel or Grand Californian?

As every year, our plans change and what was meant to be a 'budget' trip ends up to be rather the opposite.

We were originally booked into the Best Western Park Place.... until we drove past our local Best Western in Melbourne and had a bit of a 'moment'.

We are now currently booked at the Grand Californian (there goes the budget out the window then). We've reconciled we're stupid idiots who spend a lot of money to stay at a Disney hotel - and although I convince myself staying on property is NOT important, I think I'm one of 'those' people who emotionally spends.

Now, to my question fellow Aussies and NZ'ers. We have looked at the rooms at the GC and ummm... they're not very impressive. Youtube videos make them look pretty basic too. Particularly for the price. I was expecting a little more 'wow'. Last year we stayed at the Disneyland Hotel. I loved the refurbished rooms there. They were just BEAUTIFUL. The downside was walking through Downtown Disney which I consider one of the 7 rings of hell. I love the WDW version, hate the oppressive Disneyland version. Therefore we thought the GC would avoid this walk of death. I'm still ok with staying at the GC for proximity but my partner is put off by the rooms and would rather return to the DL Hotel.

What do you guys think? If you've stayed at one or the other, or both - any advice?
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Royal Consort View Post
As every year, our plans change and what was meant to be a 'budget' trip ends up to be rather the opposite.

We were originally booked into the Best Western Park Place.... until we drove past our local Best Western in Melbourne and had a bit of a 'moment'.

We are now currently booked at the Grand Californian (there goes the budget out the window then). We've reconciled we're stupid idiots who spend a lot of money to stay at a Disney hotel - and although I convince myself staying on property is NOT important, I think I'm one of 'those' people who emotionally spends.

Now, to my question fellow Aussies and NZ'ers. We have looked at the rooms at the GC and ummm... they're not very impressive. Youtube videos make them look pretty basic too. Particularly for the price. I was expecting a little more 'wow'. Last year we stayed at the Disneyland Hotel. I loved the refurbished rooms there. They were just BEAUTIFUL. The downside was walking through Downtown Disney which I consider one of the 7 rings of hell. I love the WDW version, hate the oppressive Disneyland version. Therefore we thought the GC would avoid this walk of death. I'm still ok with staying at the GC for proximity but my partner is put off by the rooms and would rather return to the DL Hotel.

What do you guys think? If you've stayed at one or the other, or both - any advice?
RC - I think that sometimes YouTube and multimedia does not necessarily do a place or room justice. However, the price of Disney hotels are a tad excessive and as you said...it is an emotional spend.

Pick the one that you and your partner would be happiest in for the price you'd be willing to spend. Good luck with the decision.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:51 PM   #3
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Or, you could slplit your stay and try both, we are doing 6 nights in the DLH and then come back a few days later for 2 at the GCH.

If you don't have a break in between they will even move your bags
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:01 PM   #4
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I haven't stayed at DLH for about 20 years so I really can't compare that as it is very different now. But I have stayed at GCH a few times and a couple of those times were for 2 weeks so we had plenty of time to enjoy it.

I have to say that we absolutely LOVED it! We had a theme park view each time and the last time it was the best. It was in the newer section that was built for DVC (there is one hallway that is regular rooms in that wing). I like the rooms and the decor. They are sort of darker but that is the theming, it's not a modern theming it's a woody outdoors wilderness feel. The one and only complaint I have is that the walls are thin, so if you have someone in the room next to you (not above or below) you can hear them (and therefore they would be able to hear you), but we seem to have lucked out and been in quiet times mostly not had too much drama with that (just one noisy Aussie family! , the japanese on the other side were not noisy, I could just hear them on the telephone now and again).

The pool area is awesome, the restaurants are fantastic. The lobby, it is lovely to sit in there and watch the world go by or sit by the fire and read (nope, didn't do that, but did people watch). The bar is great too. It's a beautiful resort! I would stay there again in a heart beat and it's our first preference when visiting DL.
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:21 AM   #5
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I think you have to do the GCH at least once. Onsites,park views, amazing atmosphere , seperate entrance into DCA, pool and surrounds amazing.

However the price is a show stopper and I doubt we would go back even if we could get another 40% off deal . We have stayed off site and the difference in pricing ( once at sheraton and once at Hilton) paid our park tix and meals!!!!
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:39 PM   #6
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we have not yet had the pleasure (our dlh stay got cancelled) but my personal preference would be dlh with the newer, refurbished rooms and (ever so slightly) lower price point, but the walk through dtd would be the trade off.

having said that, gch is really quite lovely and if i had the extra funds and could afford to splurge, the gch is where i would stay... the proximity to the entrance to both parks, being able to avoid dtd, the tranquility of gch... these are all pointers in gch favour to me.

are you staying regular (retail) rooms, or dvc? if staying retail, perhaps look at renting dvc...the pricing is surprisingly cheaper than a normal room, and the dvc rooms are a lot nicer than regular. having said that, my understanding is a lot of the regular rooms are really quite lovely, just a little understated, whereas PPH and DLH are a little more in your face with the disney theming.

i guess it comes down to which do you prefer: quiet, understated elegance or modern disney theming?
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Old 05-05-2013, 01:08 AM   #7
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We have stayed in both and prefer Grand California. I feel like the GC is more of a whole of hotel experience, the lobby and bar are simply stunning. I am though a great fan of the Arts and Crafts movement architecture, and to fully appreciate the beauty of the hotel I would suggest finding time for the hotel tour, i find the whole environment very relaxing yet uplifting. Obviously the quick access to the parks is also a plus, and if you get wet on the Grizzly River Ride it is a quick skip home to dry off. We have 4+3 nights booked in Nov/Dec this year and did it through renting DVC points, so getting GC at a great rate.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:16 PM   #8
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I've never stayed at either, but will be staying at the VGC for two night in September through rented points I LOVE the Wilderness Lodge and have walked through the GC, which reminds me of the WL.

Very expensive to book any of the DL hotels retail though. I'd recommend looking into renting points.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:35 PM   #9
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we have stayed at GC coming up to our third later this year.

I love the back door entrance to DCA and the fact it opens up right in the middle of DTD. Last trip we went to dinner down at DLH and it is at the very end of DTD.

Our 2 DD loved the pool at GC especially the slide and the service was top class. Although I suspect service at DLH would also be superb.

Our rooms have been OK and quiet. Last time they came to fix our TV which turned itself on during the night somehow (I was the only one to wake up). They gave us some complimentary vouchers and fast passes for the inconvenience without us even asking. I was happy just to have the TV fixed.
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:45 AM   #10
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And I thought a Park Hopper was just a Kangaroo in a native reserve.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5ofus View Post
I've never stayed at either, but will be staying at the VGC for two night in September through rented points I LOVE the Wilderness Lodge and have walked through the GC, which reminds me of the WL.

Very expensive to book any of the DL hotels retail though. I'd recommend looking into renting points.
Thanks for your replies everyone.

I hadn't actually considered renting points. I'm not sure how I feel about it though actually. I know a bit about the process but it doesn't seem as secure as a Disney booking. I priced it out on David's Vacation Club Rentals and it does come out a lot cheaper - at half the price.

Hrm. Perhaps I just don't know that much about point rentals.

How many people have had experience with renting DVC points?
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:00 AM   #11
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I've not stayed at DLH but I have at the GCH and agree with the others about it being a magnificent hotel with that wilderness lodge type feel/styles - although it is a different theme.

re: the rooms - maybe I secretely got some upgrade but I booked a standard room - cheapest I could get. The room was HUGE - bigger than any other disney room I have stayed in (discounting 1 bd villas). I just stayed in a studio at SSR and this thing was easily that size maybe marginally larger, and with a wet bar area opposite that double sink open area Disney rooms have. The shower / toilet area was maybe 2 feet wider than other WDW bathrooms i've had. The rooms continue the arts and crafts theming like disney does in the light fittings and head boards etc.

It also had extras that one normally gets in CL level - robes, free newspapers, turndown service, big range of toiletries incl toothbrushes and shower caps (oh how I love a shower cap!

AND they were tripping over themselves to give me the best service. On check in the CM said that i had been so nice and so she gave me a cluster of 3 helium mickey balloons!! Since when do reception give the guests balloons for politeness?

So I had the best stay at a disney hotel at the GCH. However I have to admit that I cannot offer any comparative advice with the DLH.

RE: RENTING points. I have done this through DVC store - and there are a number of these available beyond Davids. there is also the DVC Rental Store. I believe these brokers have all just put up the per point rental rates so watch for the latest prices.

The brokers in effect partner you with an owner. So the owner actually does the booking etc and you pay the broker. Once they have made the booking they do not want to change. Davids refuses to change.

the issue with DVC points at CGH is that there are so few villas (less than 80) that they book out very quickly. It would be preferable to have a broker who has VGC owners available so they can book way out months in advance. Always try asking though - never know when your dates are fine. be aware that David's charge $91 to check availability unlike the others who will check for free.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:05 AM   #12
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We have stayed at the Disneyland Hotel since its upgrade, I loved it, the kids loved it. The rooms are magical with their lovely big beds and light up headboard. We were lucky enough to be able to catch a glimpse of the fireworks from our room and with little kids, being able to watch those with piped-in music at night was just magical. Staff were wonderful, there was fresh squeezed lemonade in the lobby which we especially appreciated at check in, my girls also received beautiful balloons from lovely staff who could see how tired they were, right on the edge of tears after two or three hours sleep in 32 hours. The experience was magical. Did I say magical enough lol?

I'm not terribly worried about the Downtown Disney walk, I love that DD and I loved being close to the monorail.

That being said, our next trip we have booked at the Grand Californian by renting David's points. It has worked out cheaper than the Disneyland Hotel. We've walked through the GC lots (using the back entrance after a day at California Adventure - we probably did this every day over five days so got to know the twists and turns well lol) and it's a cool atmosphere, but my heart would actually pick DLH first if I wasn't at all thinking about money. However, I haven't *stayed* at GC yet, so chances are I will end up loving it just as much, or more, than DLH. Will definitely miss the headboards singing "When you wish upon a star" to my kids though, that was pretty special! But am excited to be staying at GCH.

The Davids rental thing has been without problem so far - it took a couple of weeks until points were available, but certainly no issues and I can see the booking in my name on my WDW website login.
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:51 PM   #13
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I have always wanted to stay at the Disneyland Hotel in California, because it is THE real Disneyland Hotel! Plus, I just love the new rooms with the musical headboards that light up. I am now a DVC member which includes the accommodation at the Grand Californian, which I don't mind to stay at - it is after all meant to be the more luxurious of the 3 Disney hotels there. But having said that, I may still stay at Disneyland Hotel for a night or two on our next trip - just so I can say I have been! I can feel more of Mickey's presence in the pictures of it
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Old 05-21-2013, 06:02 AM   #14
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And I thought a Park Hopper was just a Kangaroo in a native reserve.
 
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I have always wanted to stay at the Disneyland Hotel in California, because it is THE real Disneyland Hotel! Plus, I just love the new rooms with the musical headboards that light up. I am now a DVC member which includes the accommodation at the Grand Californian, which I don't mind to stay at - it is after all meant to be the more luxurious of the 3 Disney hotels there. But having said that, I may still stay at Disneyland Hotel for a night or two on our next trip - just so I can say I have been! I can feel more of Mickey's presence in the pictures of it
I really loved the DLH rooms too! I just found Downtown Disney so oppressive!
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