Grand Californian Super Thread Updated 11/7/13

traci

Doesn't want any Tags
Joined
May 31, 2005
So we ended up doing valet because it was easy and I felt lazy. Our room was perfection too. Walk out balcony, above monorail (5th floor) and we even saw the fireworks! I was (magically) shocked by that!! Thank you all for the advice :)
 

danceanddisney2010

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 17, 2010
We will be at the GCH next weekend.. so excited! Last time we stayed at the hotel was a year ago, so we haven't experienced the new White Water Snacks. I saw video from when it first reopened and it looked like it was lacking some of the stuff it originally had. Is this still true today? We used to use it as our little "grocery store" and get our bananas, kashi cereal, bagels, and such. In the video I saw it looked as though the cereal was missing .. only saw oatmeal.. and no bagels.. and overall it was looking a little more counter service than usual. Hopefully that was just the reopening phase and since then it has returned to normal.
 

franandaj

I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
In the video I saw it looked as though the cereal was missing .. only saw oatmeal.. and no bagels.. and overall it was looking a little more counter service than usual.
I went in there this past weekend hoping it would be more like the BCV Marketplace and they had hardly anything for use/heating in a villa. There were some frozen pizzas, yogurt, I saw the oatmeal. I was looking for Chicken Noodle soup and they didnt have that either.
 

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  • Version 6

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 6, 2019
    I have what is a completely random question.

    Say you are at DCA and wanting to leave the park for dinner. If you leave DCA via the main gate and head to Downtown Disney for dinner, and then back to DCA (or Disneyland Park for that matter), presumably you won't need to go through security again, because you haven't left the resort.

    But, if you were to leave DCA, head in to GCH for dinner, and then back into DCA will you need to go through security again? If so, are there security checkpoints at both the GCH entrance into DCA, and the Downtown Disney entrance from DCA?
     

    bluecruiser

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2008
    I have what is a completely random question.

    Say you are at DCA and wanting to leave the park for dinner. If you leave DCA via the main gate and head to Downtown Disney for dinner, and then back to DCA (or Disneyland Park for that matter), presumably you won't need to go through security again, because you haven't left the resort.

    But, if you were to leave DCA, head in to GCH for dinner, and then back into DCA will you need to go through security again? If so, are there security checkpoints at both the GCH entrance into DCA, and the Downtown Disney entrance from DCA?
    Yes, there are security checkpoints at both, going from the hotel into DCA and Downtown Disney.
     
  • Sunclytie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2017
    A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to stay club level at the Grand Californian. My family had a tough year this year, it was both my and my daughter Dot’s birthday, so we decided to save up our pennies and splurge on three nights at the Grand — November 9, 10, and 11th. This coincided with the beginning of holiday season, so we were super excited.

    I was inspired by @Reepicheep's fantastic and detailed reviews of the Paradise Pier club level, so I decided to do something similar for the GCH club level.

    Day 1: Saturday breakfast

    My daughter, who was turning 5 years old today, and my husband wanted to go straight to the parks and start riding Big Thunder Mountain. So I got the exciting task of checking in! We’d stayed the night before at the Residence Inn so we could get 3.5 full days in the parks, so I caught a Lyft to take me and the bags over to the Grand.

    When we arrived, a nice man met me out front, asked my name, and helped me get my bags to bell services. Then he whisked me upstairs to the sixth floor and left me with the concierge ladies to check in. All the arrangements were made, and then she took me into the lounge to explain the offerings, and give some previews of what was to come. This day, she noted, they were having a live churro-making demonstration at 5:30 PM!

    Here’s what was offered that day for breakfast:

    Make your own donut bar (plain donuts with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, Mickey sprinkles, nuts, and bacon)
    Croissants
    Mini danishes
    Oatmeal
    Toast
    Cheddar biscuits
    Deviled eggs
    Yogurt
    Fruit
    Coffee
    Tea
    Hot chocolate packs
    Mickey Mouse-shaped marshmallows

    I ate a croissant (very good), a cheddar biscuit (meh) and some strawberries (good) and a cup of coffee (actually really good).

    I should note that I am two months pregnant so there were (disappointingly) a fair number of things I couldn’t eat. I was really disappointed that I couldn’t have any of the mimosas or sparkling wine which were basically available from the moment the lounge opened in the morning to the moment it closed.

    After the coffee, I wrapped some croissants up in a napkin to take to my family and went to join them in the parks.
     

    Sunclytie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2017
    Day 1.5: Saturday tea, Grand Traditions, and dessert

    After a pleasant morning at the parks, and lunch at the Blue Bayou, we headed back to the lounge around 2:30. Here’s what was offered for teatime:

    Ham and Brie sandwiches
    Turkey sandwiches
    Blueberry scones
    Dulce de leche cookies
    Chex mix
    Spicy mix
    Wasabi peas
    Gummy bears
    Goldfish crackers

    We were totally stuffed after the Blue Bayou, but my husband and I had some Chex Mix and spicy mix combined, and my daughter had a dulce de leche cookie. I think there were fewer items available because we came in at the end of service. It was nice being able to hang out in the lounge and decompress.

    We definitely wanted to see the live churro demonstration, so we went back to our room to change for the evening and then went back to the lounge. Here’s what they offered for “Grand Traditions”:

    Charcuterie (duck prosciutto, salami)
    Smoked cheddar
    Fromage blanc
    A cheddar-like cheese
    Accompaniments (toast, breadsticks, fig jam, quince paste, mustard)
    Crudite
    Chips
    Queso
    Carnitas
    Raspberry tarts
    Green apple cheesecakes

    They wheeled in a churro machine to make the churros, which consisted of putting them in the machine to warm them up and then rolling them in the flavored sugar. There were two flavors, cinnamon sugar and Froot Loops, and the nice lady gave us the most enormous plate of churros.

    I’m glad I tried the Froot Loops churro, but it was pretty terrible.

    454594

    After that we headed out to watch Fantasmic, which my daughter absolutely adored, but it was a little bit late for her, so she fell asleep in my husband’s arms on the way back. We both agreed we would stop by the lounge and get us some sweets and a beer for him. But with the lounge near closing, they didn’t have much left for dessert:

    Espresso coupes (nobody liked these, there were tons left)
    Chocolate covered strawberries
    Raspberry beignets

    I got a beer to go for my husband and filled up a napkin with strawberries and beignets for a feast in our room that night.
     
  • Sunclytie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2017
    Day 2: Sunday

    I was excited because we had absolutely no reservations today – we were totally free and could do what we liked. It was tough getting everyone out of bed for Extra Magic Hour, but thankfully the lounge was there for COFFEE!!

    Here’s what was offered for breakfast:

    Pastries
    Cheddar biscuits
    Cold cuts
    Fruit
    Yogurt
    Cereal
    Bagels
    Lox
    Juice
    Oatmeal
    Toast
    Coffee

    Note: the build your own doughnut bar is only available every other day. Sad. I thought things were a bit lackluster today, but I got some pastries and fruit. My daughter tried Lucky Charms for the first time and thought it was the greatest thing ever, but wasn’t so thrilled about having to brush her teeth right afterwards.

    Sunday teatime
    Because my husband and daughter could ride more rides than I could, I went back to the lounge while they decided to ride Big Thunder Mountain again and again. Here’s what we had for Sunday tea:

    Chipotle egg sandwiches
    Goat cheese caprese toasts
    Turkey sandwiches
    Potato chips
    Crudite
    Palmiers
    Blueberry scones
    Raspberry filled cookies




    The chipotle egg sandwiches were DELICIOUS and I ate way, way too many of these. The potato chips were also homemade and were really good. The goat cheese caprese toast was not good. The raspberry cookie was nice but the white chocolate piece on top was really sweet.

    Every day they had two flavors of “spa water,” which I assume is water infused with various fruits. The watermelon spa water was excellent, and I liked the pineapple-orange spa water as well. They had sparkling wine or mimosas, and a full selection of wine and beer, you just had to go to the bar and ask for it.

    Sunday grand traditions
    I thought this was the best of the early evening offerings. Here’s what they had this day:

    Charcuterie (salami, duck prosciutto)
    Brie, cheddar, humboldt fog (one of my favorite cheeses!), quince paste, honey, fig jam
    Festival of the potato:
    Tater tots, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, Demi glacé
    Crudite
    Breadsticks, olive bread
    Toast
    Peanut butter chip cookies
    Chia pudding
    Chocolate pate

    The tater tots were mixed – some were hot and crisp and some were cold and bleah. The mashed potatoes were excellent. I loved the peanut butter cookies.
     
    Last edited:

    Sunclytie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2017
    Day 2.5: Sunday dessert and a surprise

    After such a long day yesterday, we wanted an early night, so we got back to the lounge about 8:15. A full set of desserts were on display:

    Chocolate strawberries
    Chocolate Raspberry tart
    Macaron
    Peanut butter bar
    Hazelnut beignets

    Around 8:30, a very nice CM came up to us and said that she and “a friend” would be reading a bedtime story in a minute and did we want to join in? Of course we did! My daughter and one other little girl came to the sofas, and the CM, who was absolutely delightful, read them “The Little Man of Disneyland.” About 5 minutes into the story, the “friend” joined in – it was Pluto!


    He was great, acting out all the parts of the story, and let all the kids hug him and pet him afterwards. It was so nice. I’m not sure if this is something they do every day but I would definitely try to be in the lounge around 8:30 to see!

    One nice thing about the Disney hotels is that they have a “bedtime” channel, where actors read Disney stories as bedtime stories. We had Frozen read to us and then went to sleep.
     

    Sunclytie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2017
    Day 3: Monday

    Finally! The Do It Yourself Donut bar! I got everyone out of bed with the promise of custom donuts, and they did not disappoint.

    My daughter's donut:


    My donut:


    My husband's extremely sensible breakfast:


    Here’s what else that was offered for breakfast:
    Croissants
    Cheddar biscuits
    Fruit
    Smoked salmon and gravlax
    Cold cuts
    Deviled eggs
    Toast
    Oatmeal
    Yogurt

    I am sorry to say that we did not go to Monday teatime, as we went to the Napa Rose princess breakfast, and while it was a fabulous experience, I never wanted to eat anything ever again afterwards. Oh my goodness.


    I passed out in the room while my husband and daughter went swimming.
     

    Sunclytie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2017
    Day 3.5: A lost day

    We reconvened in time for Monday Grand Traditions:

    Chicken, beef, vegetable skewers
    Cheese (cheddar, port salut, purple moon)
    Charcuterie
    Breadsticks, olive bread
    Crudite

    The cheese and the breadsticks were very good.

    I didn’t take notes on what the desserts were. Clearly the Princess Breakfast messed with my brain. We also didn’t stop by the lounge for dessert, as we had all the leftover princess desserts in our fridge. Monday was a bit of a lost day.
     

    Sunclytie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2017
    Tuesday: The Grand Stretch

    There are two exercise classes that everyone staying at a Disney hotel at Disneyland can participate in. One is the Power Walk, which is a really fast walk through DCA before the park opens, and the other is the Grand Stretch, which is a light yoga class also held in DCA before the park opens. I snagged a spot in the Grand Stretch class on Tuesday morning. We were to meet at the Grand Californian’s DCA entrance at 5:50 AM to sign waivers and so forth, and the class would begin promptly at 6.

    There were two of us in the class, and the teacher was a very cheerful yoga instructor from LA who brought mats, towels, and water bottles. She gave lots of background information about the park and the Christmas decorations as we walked to the Redwood Challenge area. The class was held on the fort’s second level.

    If you have the chance, I highly, highly, highly recommend you do this. I didn’t realize how much of a toll walking around the parks for three days takes on your body, but she designed the class to compensate for that activity, so there were lots of gentle hip stretches, back openers, and shoulder openers. It was a very, very gentle class – not quite restorative but I did not work up a sweat — but it just felt so good. I don’t think you’d need to have any background in yoga as she explained most of the poses, though she did take child’s pose and downward dog for granted.

    The class lasted about forty minutes and then she walked us back to the entrance. We rolled up the mats for her and said goodbye.

    This class is really popular, so make arrangements in advance!

    When I arrived back at the hotel, they’d put up the Christmas tree! According to the yoga teacher, it took 8 full-time Disney cast members plus a team of contractors to get it in place. It was huge!

     

    Sunclytie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2017
    Day 4: Breakfast on check-out day

    I texted my husband to meet me in the lounge and headed there for breakfast and coffee. Here's what they had:

    Alas, no do it yourself donuts today:
    Cinnamon rolls
    Pecan danish
    Croissants
    Cold cuts
    Smoked salmon
    Hard boiled eggs
    Deviled eggs
    Gravlax
    Fruit
    Oatmeal
    Toast
    Coffee

    I had the cinnamon roll (good, but not as good as the ones at Napa Rose), a croissant, fruit, hard boiled eggs, and coffee.
    My husband really liked the gravlax.

    And that was the end of our time at the Grand! We were told that we would have lounge privileges until 3 PM on checkout day, but we didn’t use the lounge any more, mostly because we wanted to try the new Craftsman Bar and Grill (verdict: good. The outside area is nicer than the inside area).
     

    Sunclytie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2017
    A note on beverages:
    Every day at breakfast there was coffee, various types of Twinings tea, hot chocolate packets, sugar packets, and Mickey Mouse shaped-marshmallows. The hot drink setup disappeared as the day went on, but there was always the extremely fancy coffee machine that made lattes and cappucinos. Water came from a machine that provided still or sparkling.

    In the mornings there were glass carafes of juice (orange and cranberry), which was replaced by spa water. There was always lemonade and iced tea. Finally, there was a refrigerator full of sodas and juices.

    Alcoholic beverages were always available behind the bar. You just had to ask.
     
    Last edited:

    Sunclytie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2017
    Was it worth it?
    From a pure value perspective — not really. I don’t think we made up for in what we ate the upcharge over the room. But there were a few things that were really great — the lounge itself was just a pleasant place to hang out, and it’s hard to beat bedtime stories with Pluto. I did feel really special being taken up to the sixth floor for check-in as well. So I would definitely do it again, but the value came as a feeling of being spoiled a little bit rather than pure value from the food and beverages.

    The ladies at the concierge desk were always friendly. They helped us make a few arrangements. I was hoping that there would be a treat for my daughter’s or my birthday, but we didn’t luck out there.

    The room we got was pretty great, though. Here’s the view:



    One thing I will criticize GCH club level on is that the offerings in the lounge got really repetitive. It was basically the same thing over and over — it’s clearly designed for a one-night stay, certainly not a three-night stay. But with the extremely steep upcharge over non-club rooms, you’d think they’d be a bit more imaginative.

    It was a great trip! I love staying at the GCH.
     

    DizMe

    Here we gooooo...
    Joined
    Jun 4, 2007
    Wow! Great review. It sounds like you had an exciting time and I love hearing about the lounge. Thanks!
     


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