Paradise Pier Club Level

Reepicheep

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 28, 2014
Interesting they have switched to sugar cookies, how did you like them?
I've got two teenage daughters, you actually think I'll be able to try them??? They are wrapped in plastic wrap, complete with bar codes and ingredient list, and appear to be something which might be sold in the parks, although I can't recall seeing them before. I believe it is my daughters' intention to take the cookies back to Canada and build some sort of Disney shrine in our dining room, with the cookies at the place of honour.


"SWEET ENDINGS" - Tempting sweets and beverages

7:00PM to 8:00PM


No desserts were brought out until 7:25pm, although there were still chocolate chip cookies available. A relatively small number of guests were present for desserts. Starting at 7:25pm, desserts were brought out, two small plates at a time, with four small desserts on each plate.

There were a total of six different desserts.

There was a sweet brownie, which was available in large quantities. The other five desserts were brought out two small plates at a time, with 4 different desserts on each plate.

The five "rare" desserts were as follows:

(1) a slightly bitter brownie, probably better suited for adults

(2) a mocha (coffee flavoured) cream dessert, also better suited for adults

(3) a green cake, with some sort of custard between layers

(4) two different yellow custard desserts, with slightly different hard edible outsides (to give the custard form)

I tried all six of the desserts, all were very good. Alas, there were no chocolate covered strawberries.

No new beverages were offered.
 

CateinPhoenix

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
I've got two teenage daughters, you actually think I'll be able to try them??? They are wrapped in plastic wrap, complete with bar codes and ingredient list, and appear to be something which might be sold in the parks, although I can't recall seeing them before. I believe it is my daughters' intention to take the cookies back to Canada and build some sort of Disney shrine in our dining room, with the cookies at the place of honour.
haha! I hear ya! Thanks for the report regarding the strawberries!
 
  • Reepicheep

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2014
    Can you check tonight and see if they have brought back the chocolate covered strawberries? They previously had them out every night and it was a must for us! In fact, when they discontinued offering the chocolate strawberries, we stopped staying there!
    BREAKFAST UPDATE - Today's breakfast was essentially identical to yesterday's, except that the fruit tray has been present the entire morning. The tray contains watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, and honey dew melon.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, there are no longer chocolate covered strawberries in the evening. This morning, my wife took a bunch of strawberries off the fruit tray and smothered them in the chocolate sauce which is put out at breakfast. Not the same as the chocolate covered strawberries from years past, but she said it was still pretty good.

    Other than the chocolate strawberries, I can't remember exactly what the other desserts were that they used to serve. Overall, I think the quality of the desserts is better now than five years ago. But I do miss the chocolate covered strawberries...
     

    Reepicheep

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2014
    Your posts are great! I wish you could do the other two hotels too!
    I wish I could, too!

    We first stayed at the Paradise Pier in late 2008, at the start of the "financial crisis". As a result of the financial collapse, the prices at the Disney hotels were lowered to the point where I could actually afford to stay at the Paradise Pier. As I recall, our first trip was just before Christmas in 2008, and we got a "regular" room (non club, no park view) for something like $129/night.

    The last time we stayed here was August 2012, right after Cars Land opened. For some reason, there was an exceptionally low rate for Paradise Pier club rooms during the last week in August (something like $310/night, I think). Ever since then, I simply couldn't afford to stay here.

    We had a last minute change of plans on this trip, which resulted in us ending our holiday with non-park days. I booked three nights at the Paradise Pier for $585 plus tax = $684.45/night. This will, in all probability, be our last stay here. The way we are justifying paying this price is that we are basically staying at the hotel the whole time (no park time whatsoever), and taking full advantage of all the "free" food and free events (such as the morning Power Walk, which I'll be reviewing later today).

    We've investigated having a short stay at either or both of the Disneyland Hotel and the Grand Californian. Now that we have been spoiled by having club rooms at the Paradise Pier, we'd want to stay in a club room at the other hotels. The price of club rooms at the other hotels is too high for us to consider, although perhaps if we come to Disneyland during the extreme off season, it might be possible for us to stay in a club room at the Disneyland and/or Grand Californian hotels.
     

    Reepicheep

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2014
    Sitting in the club lounge right now (12:25pm), and I just learned something interesting. From 5pm to 7pm, lounge employees go table to table and ask guests if they would like an alcoholic drink, but drinks are given all day upon request. A lounge employee just told me that, for example, some guests like having mimosas for breakfast. I asked for an "Angry Orchard Hard Cider", and it was delivered to me a minute later. I'm drinking it right now, very good and highly recommended to those of you who like cider (5% alcohol).

    POWER WALK REVIEW

    We left the Paradise Pier at 5:30am, to be certain that we arrived at the California Adventure "side entrance" before 5:45am. We had no trouble entering the Grand Californian via the west entrance. There was a constant stream of employees arriving for work, and one of them held the gate open for us without asking why we wanted admittance. We were the first people to arrive at the California Adventure entrance, other guests trickled in until 5:55am or so, at which point the two Disney employees responsible for the walk arrived.

    One guest was there for some type of "morning stretch in the park", the rest of us (13 guests total) were there for the power walk. The power walk leader explained that the walk was totally booked (20 guests), and that guests are given until the last second to arrive. At 6am, we all signed waivers (with my wife signing on behalf of our 15 year old daughter) and were given vests. I suspect it is not uncommon for guests to decide, at 5:30am, to skip the walk.

    The leader then gave us a short description of what we could expect. He said that the Power Walk has been offered for over 18 years, and that it is the oldest "guest activity" which is offered at Disneyland. He also said that, until a few years ago, people knew what the Power Walk involved, but recently more and more people have signed up for the walk, thinking that it was a leisurely stroll with lots of opportunities to take photos and wander around.

    The leader made it very clear that the walk was going to be strenuous, and he gave us an opportunity to abort. All 13 guests decided to take the walk. Before the walk started, the leader stated that the maintenance staff were 100% in control of the park, that they all had duties to perform, and that we were to do our best to not interfere with them (we saw numerous vehicles during our walk).

    The actual walk proceeded as follows:

    - we walked, at a fairly brisk pace, from the Grand Californian entrance of California Adventure, past Soaring, and to Carthay Circle; the pace at this point was equal to my maximum walking speed, so I knew I was in for a challenge (we were going maybe 3 miles/hour)

    - at Carthay Circle, we switched to "power walk mode" (4 miles/hour) and headed north to the main gate, back to Carthay Circle, and over to Guardians of the Galaxy where we had a 3 minute break; I was tired at that point, and much appreciated the break

    - after the break, we power walked back to Carthay Circle and onward to the vineyard ("Blue Sky" building), where we rested for perhaps 1 minute

    - back to power walk mode: past the Ariel ride, past Goofy Flight School, and stopping in front of the new "Emotional" ride (the Old Flik's Flyers); I barely managed to finish that segment (the trailing employee actually asked me if I was OK)

    - another short break, then the final power walk took us past the Incredicoaster, up the hill, and stopping in front of the Lamplight Lounge; I was at the end of my endurance by then, so I was thankful that the worst was over; after another short rest, we walked at a brisk pace (but slower than power walking) past Soaring to the exit to the Grand Californian, at which point the horrible punishment was over.

    To put this walk into perspective, I am 60 years old, forty pounds over weight, and am in terrible shape. So, it is not surprising that the walk was challenging for me. My wife and daughter, and most of the other guests, didn't have any serious difficulties with the walk. There was one lady (fortyish) who seemed to be having some difficulty, but not as much as me. On two occasions during the power walk, we encountered wet sections where the pavement had just been washed (by miniature street cleaners) and we had to slow down for those two sections. I don't think I would have been able to complete the walk, if we hadn't slowed down for those two segments.

    So, in conclusion: the walk was interesting, and I'm glad I did it, but because of the horrible shape I'm in it was all I could do to finish. As long as guests are in reasonably good shape, and know what to expect, I think they would enjoy this walk.

    EDIT: one of the guests had some sort of "fitness monitor"; we covered 1.73 miles in 33 minutes, including approximately 5 minutes in breaks.
     
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  • Reepicheep

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2014
    DAY 2 FOOD UPDATE

    SNACKS (11am to 4:30pm)
    - the food was the same as day 1, except different sandwiches (ham and cheese, cucumber dill, and "grilled vegetable crostini"); all three sandwiches were surprisingly good

    A MOMENT IN PARADISE (5pm to 7pm) - the hot entrée was "southwestern quesadilla", with salsa and guacamole; also quite good
     

    Skjhjb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2012
    Thanks so much for the Power Walk review!!

    I'm now confident I can definitely manage it - I'm 50, but I run 3 times a week, usually a mile or two, and when I have my treadmill set to a 15 minute mile I can manage the full 2 miles without stopping. So I really appreciate the detailed feedback!

    Now I'm super excited to do it!
     

    Reepicheep

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2014
    DAY 2 FOOD UPDATE, "SWEET ENDINGS", 7PM TO 8PM

    Unlike yesterday, there were no "sweet" brownies. The other five desserts I described yesterday were available starting at 7PM in much greater quantities than yesterday.

    Around 7:20PM, a batch of new desserts appeared: a bunch of mini-parfaits (with two or three layers) which were mousse based (chocolate, chocolate/coffee, various fruit based, maybe 5 different types total); all were excellent. I'm very impressed by the desserts that have been offered these first two days.
     

    Reepicheep

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2014
    POWER WALK REVIEW
    ...
    One guest was there for some type of "morning stretch in the park", the rest of us (13 guests total) were there for the power walk...
    Since the "morning stretch" is one of the events that takes place within the park, I thought I'd repeat the description as given in the hotel literature. It is interesting that only one person decided to take part in the event, it is apparently not very popular.

    "RISE AND STRETCH IN THE PARK"
    6:00 AM
    offered Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
    reservations required

    "This is a 45 minute early morning stretching experience, inside Disney California Adventure Park, before it opens. Instructor will meet Guests at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, at the theme park gate entrance. Please arrive by 5:45AM to sign in with instructor. Guests will be escorted by instructor to an in park location. Guests must be able to move easily from standing to sitting. A fitness mat will be provided. Contact Hotel Guest Services, as space is limited."

    ***********************

    There is another activity which my wife and daughters took part in this morning. I'll give the "official" description, then my comments.

    ANIMATION ART CEL
    PPH - 3rd floor pool deck
    9:30 AM
    offered Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday
    reservations required

    "This activity offers a hands on experience and nod to the early days of animation. Guests will leave with their very own animation cel. This activity is recommended for 6 years and up and children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Please inquire at the Guest Services Desk or Dial "0" from your in-room phone to reserve your space for this activity."

    MY COMMENTARY:

    First, an aside. The correct term is "animation cel" and not "cell". I never knew that.

    My wife and daughters took part in this event this morning. They were the only 3 people registered for the event, although half way through the event a passing guest asked if her daughter could take part, which was allowed. The event takes place on the "lower deck" and not at pool level.

    There are four different pre-printed cels to choose from: Steamboat Willy, Minnie, "Sorcerer Mickey", and "Birthday Mickey" (a more recent Mickey incarnation from the recent cartoons). Steamboat Willy would be the least interesting to color, since the only color used is various shades of grey. My wife and daughters chose to do the other three images.

    After a guest chooses their image, the Disney employee created a custom color palette for the guest (there are colored images of each of the four cels available to use as a guide). One hour was allowed for this event, and my wife and daughters finished within the allotted time. The painting is done on the reverse of the cel, once the cel has dried and been turned over, it actually looks pretty good. Suitable for framing.

    The employee had a copy of a very large, thick book about female Disney animators (the majority of the people employed to paint the cels were female). Over the course of the hour, the employee gave an informal talk/lecture, with many references to photos in the book, about how cels were painted in "the olden days".

    Three thumbs up from my family members.
     
  • Reepicheep

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2014
    DAY THREE FOOD UPDATE

    SNACKS (11am to 4:30pm)
    - the sandwiches today were open face salmon and chicken tarragon curry, both quite fancy and both quite popular; I preferred the chicken to the salmon

    A MOMENT IN PARADISE (5pm to 7pm) - the hot appetizer was "cheeseburger egg roll" with ketchup, unusual but tasted pretty good.

    I have read reviews where people complain that too many of the appetizers served here are deep fried. We had deep fried appetizers on 2 out of 3 days.

    ***************************

    TUESDAY NIGHT TRIVIA CONTEST

    For the past few months, the Paradise Pier hotel has been having a trivia contest each Tuesday evening in the club lounge. The contest runs from approximately 6pm to 7pm, although much of that time is used to get organized. Every table in the lounge was taken for the contest, which made it slightly difficult for guests who just wanted to eat (there were a few small family groups who were forced to take their food "to go").

    There were ten questions, each worth 1 point, with the possibility of earning 1.5 more bonus points, so the total score was out of 11.5. Cell phones had to be turned off during the contest to prevent cheating. I am pleased to report that team "Three Beauties and a Beast" (my family) won the contest, with a score of 9.5. My youngest daughter saved the day for us by knowing the name of Maleficent's pet raven. Most of the questions were easy (name the seven dwarfs), with three or four toughies thrown in. Second place prize was a medium size stuffy of Sulley, first place was a medium size Disney backpack full of merchandise and treats (Donald Duck stuffy, a couple of chocolate rice treats, bag of caramel popcorn).
     

    Reepicheep

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2014
    Just a couple more things I wanted to say about our stay.

    On our last morning, we took part in the following activity. First the official description, then my comments.

    WASHCLOTH CREATIONS
    DLH - ADVENTURE TOWER LOBBY
    8:15AM, Wednesday and Saturday

    "Learn firsthand from our Housekeeping Cast Members how to make fun shapes out of a simple washcloth. Not only will you learn how to make your very own washcloth creation, but you will get to leave with one, too."

    We arrived at the Adventure Tower lobby around 8:10am. There was an empty table set up in the lobby, but no employees. Around 8:15am two employees pushing a cart arrived, and started putting stuff on the table. At this time, there were six guests present, three of us and another family of three. The employees put out quite a few very elaborate washcloth animals, and they invited each of us to take one. We picked out a teddy bear, a bunny, and a dog. All three were very complicated, complete with eye stickers and decorations made from ribbons. In each case, there was a ribbon which seemed to be holding the animal together, and additional places on the animal where transparent scotch tape was used.

    The two cast members continued to do prep work for a few minutes (cutting up ribbons, cutting washcloths into strips, etc.). After a few minutes of watching, we went back to our room. When we returned to our room with our animals, our older daughter (who had earlier decided to skip the event) changed her mind and decided to go. I walked back with her, and by now the two cast members were assisting guests in making their own bunnies. There were still a few pre-made animals which guests could take, so my older daughter grabbed a snake (probably the only shape I would be capable of making myself).

    I had assumed that this activity would involve creating a swan shape, or something similar, that we have seen at other hotels. These animals were much more complex and (I suspect) very difficult to make correctly. I'm glad that we had the opportunity to take home a variety of the pre-made animals, instead of making our own bunnies which in all likelihood would not have turned out very well.

    For completeness, I'll list the other hotel events which we decided to not take part in:

    LEARN TO DRAW (offered three times a week at 9:30am; learn how to draw Mickey Mouse)
    GRAND MORNING STRETCH (offered twice a week at 8am at GCH)
    MAT PILATES (offered twice a week at 8am at GCH)
    ART OF THE CRAFT TOUR (offered 4 times a week at 1pm; guided tour of the GCH)


    FINAL THOUGHTS


    There have been some subtle cost cutting measures taken since our last stay at the PPH (in 2012).

    During our last stay, free copies of USA Today were everywhere (by the front desk, in the lounge, and by the elevators on each floor). Now, there were a handful of copies in the lounge, and some kept behind the counter at the front desk. I was able to get a free newspaper each day, but I had to ask.

    Likewise, PPH pens were very rare this trip. There was one pen in our room when we checked in, but it wasn't replaced. During our 2012 stay, there were also pens available by the computer in the lounge, and elsewhere in the hotel. Now, not only are there no pens in the lounge, there is no computer, either.

    Most of you are probably familiar with how the PPH elevators work. There are four elevators, you go to a panel and enter a floor number, and it tells you which elevator to go to. Approximately 60% of the time, we were assigned "elevator D" which is the outdoor glass elevator. They must have the system programmed to give preferential access of the glass elevator to concierge guests (floors 13 and 14 are the main concierge floors). A nice touch, but unfortunately the glass elevator can get quite warm during the day.

    My final conclusion: since we did not go to the parks for the three days we stayed at the PPH, we were able to take maximum advantage of the lounge offerings (both food and drink (especially alcoholic drinks)) and hotel events. Plus, this trip will likely be our "final farewell" to the PPH club level, since it has become too expensive for us to justify. I think, for a typical stay, where we spend most of our days in the parks, it wouldn't make sense for us to pay for PPH club level.
     

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