Disney’s Grand Californian vs Disneyland Hotel

When it comes to planning your Disneyland trip, one of the most important things to decide on is where you will stay. There are an abundance of hotels surrounding the Disneyland property in Anaheim, California so you will have no shortage of options to choose from. Some hotels offer different amenities, park transportation, the ability to walk to the park and lower prices.

Disneyland Hotel vs Disney's Grand Californian
Disneyland Hotel” by HarshLight licensed under CC BY 2.0

There is nothing better than staying right in the middle of the magic when visiting the Happiest Place on Earth. Staying in a Disney hotel allows you to stroll the grounds, easily access the parks and enjoy all those awesome Disney perks which come with being one of their guests. 

This is why Disneyland hotels are almost always near capacity year round. Staying on the properties is convenient, comfortable and allows for fun outside of park hours. 

If you are looking to stay as close to the park as possible, the Disneyland Hotel or Disney’s Grand Californian are the best ways to do so. 

Both of these hotels are located on the Disney property, allowing you access to both parks and Downtown Disney District in just a few steps. So, when it comes to choosing between these two hotels how do you narrow down the one that’s best for you? We’ll take a detailed look at Disney’s Grand Californian vs Disneyland Hotel and discuss absolutely everything you need to know about both hotels—including prices, restaurants, amenities and more. 

Disneyland Hotel Reservations

At some hotels, it is never an issue walking in and getting a reservation that night, but this is not the case with the Disneyland Hotel. Getting a reservation for the Disneyland Hotel ahead of time is very strongly encouraged. This hotel is almost always at 80%-90% capacity, making it difficult to get a room at the last minute. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible, so if you have a last minute trip planned and were hoping to stay at the Disneyland Hotel, still give it a try. You may still be able to snag an empty room.

If you are planning your trip well in advance, be sure to make a reservation for the Disneyland Hotel as soon as possible. This will open the opportunity to choose the specific room that you like, whether it is a standard room or suite. You can easily make a reservation through the Disneyland Hotel website, a third party booking company, or over the phone. 

When making a reservation through their website, you will be able to browse prices and room options for the time you are planning to stay, as well as any special events that may be taking place. 

No matter how you choose to book your reservation, you will be able to choose the type of room you want to stay in based on availability. The Disneyland Hotel has four standard room options, including the Standard View, Deluxe View, Premium View, and Premium Downtown Disney View. All rooms sleep up to five adults and vary in price. Standard rooms offer a variety of amenities such as a mini-fridge, coffee maker and ice bucket. 

Additionally a desk, WiFi services, alarm clock, phone line and satellite TV will come in handy if you plan on working while on your trip. A hair dryer, crib upon request, bathroom amenities and much more will help you feel at home during your stay.

The next level of rooms at Disneyland Hotel are Club Level rooms which consist of the Standard View and Premium View. Both Club Level room options can sleep up to five adults and include all Standard room amenities plus even more. These additional perks include snacks from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M., wine and cheese reception from 5 P.M. to 7 P.M., continental breakfast each morning, and desserts during certain hours in the evening.

Disneyland Hotel
Disneyland Hotel” by HarshLight licensed under CC BY 2.0

DVDs are also available for checkout at the front desk. Another great thing about staying in a Club Level room is that with it comes exclusive access to the E-Ticket club, as well as the option to watch the nightly firework show from this location. Club level rooms are a great option for those who want a little more than the standard room offers without spending the money for a suite. 

When it comes to suites, the Disneyland Hotel has plenty of them to offer. These deluxe suites can sleep from 4 to 14 adults comfortably, depending on the specific suite that you choose. The One Bedroom Junior Suite is the smallest sleeping up to four adults, while the One Bedroom Family Suite and Signature Suites can sleep up to six adults. If you are looking for more room, connecting suites are a great option for larger parties. 

The Two Bedroom Junior Connecting Suite sleeps up to eight adults, while the Two Bedroom Family Connecting Suite can sleep up to ten adults, both great options for larger or multiple families traveling together. 

The largest suite that the Disneyland Hotel has is the Three Bedroom Family Connecting Suite, which can sleep up to fourteen adults. When it comes to a variety of options as well as a bunch of extra magic, the Disneyland Hotel suites have it all. These rooms include all amenities that a standard room would have, plus some magical decor. 

Disneyland Hotel Prices

Disneyland Hotel prices can be on the higher side, reaching up to $800/night for some of the nicer rooms during the busier times of the year. That being said, the typical price range for a room at the Disneyland Hotel is generally between $300-450. 

Though this can be a little more pricey than some people may be hoping for, the amenities are well worth the price. Along with an abundance of restaurants, the Disneyland Hotel offers an awesome pool area for both kids and adults, shopping for Disney favorites, parking and electric vehicle charging, and an awesome location. 

Their pool area features two large wading pools and a pool with two large Monorail Waterslides that are replicas of the original Mark 1 Monorails. This fun retro-themed Disney pool area even has smaller two lane water slides for younger children to enjoy, as well as pop-up jets, a cascading waterfall and some unique fountains. This pool area is one of the things that makes the Disneyland Hotel stick out amongst other nearby resorts.

The Disneyland Hotel is located on the west side of Downtown Disney, extremely close to both park entrances. This means that you can walk out of your hotel and be at the gates of Disney California Adventure or Disneyland within a matter of minutes.

If you are hoping to grab a bite to eat or stroll through some retail stores, Downtown Disney is the place to do it. The Downtown Disney District is filled with delicious restaurants of all cuisines, dessert shops for ice cream and more, and retailers for clothing, kids toys and specialized items. The doors to the Disneyland Hotel open directly to this fun area which is filled with live music and awesome light displays. 

Another great amenity of staying at the Disneyland Hotel is Extra Magic Hour, which allows guests of the hotels access to either park an hour before they open to the general public. This is a great way to extend your day and get in some extra rides before lines become long. 

While Disneyland Hotel may be on the pricier side, it’s also bursting with amenities and perks. Overall the Disneyland Hotel is worth the price and, if within your budget, is highly worth checking out.

Disneyland Hotel Restaurants

The Disneyland Hotel is bursting with delicious restaurant options to grab a meal from while there. They offer a variety of cuisines, atmospheres and menu options for all diets. 

If you are looking to dine with your favorite Disney characters, check out Goofy’s Kitchen, which is located inside of the Disneyland Hotel. Here you can dine on a delicious breakfast or lunch alongside Disney characters of all types.

Another unique and fun restaurant to visit inside of the Disneyland Hotel is Trader Sam’s. This tiki bar experience offers world class drinks of all types and flavorful dishes to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Their menu also features vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. 

Casual dining is well loved amongst families and all other guests, making the Tangaroa Terrace a perfect destination when staying inside of the Disneyland Hotel.

This outside dining atmosphere serves up tropical-inspired dishes that you can even take to-go, allowing you to enjoy their delicious food poolside or while relaxing in your room. 

Everyone loves an upscale dining experience, and who says you can’t have that at Disneyland? Steakhouse 55 and Steakhouse 55 lounge are located inside of the Disneyland Hotel and serve a variety of delicious, classy meals. The elegant old Hollywood decor will make you feel like a movie star dining in one of the most magical places on earth.

Sometimes a cup of coffee on your way to the park is an absolute necessity, making The Coffee House a must-go for many Disneyland Hotel guests. This cute coffee shop serves a variety of delicious beverages and snacks that are perfect to fuel you up before your big Disney day.

When it comes to restaurants and dining, the Disneyland Hotel has no shortage of options. No matter what type of meal you are looking to enjoy, you are sure to be satisfied by all of the delicious spots located within the hotel. When comparing Disney’s Grand Californian vs. Disneyland Hotel, both have an abundance of tasty restaurants to choose from.

Grand Californian Reservations

The Grand Californian is an extremely popular resort, with good reason. This expansive hotel is themed after the Arts and Crafts movement that was popular in the 1900’s. Surrounded by pine trees, guests can feel like they are in a wood cabin off in the mountains when staying at the Grand Californian.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel
Grand Californian” by HarshLight licensed under CC BY 2.0

Reservations are highly recommended when staying at this resort. The Grand Californian is well known and loved, making it busy all throughout the year. Reservations for this hotel can be made through their website, with third party booking companies and over the phone. When making a reservation you will be able to choose from a variety of room options. 

Standard rooms include the standard view, woods-courtyard view, Downtown Disney view, and premium view. All standard rooms come with either a king bed, two queen beds, or one queen bed and bunk beds. These rooms are great for families with kids or couples. Amenities that come with a standard room include a smart TV, WiFi, a safe, balcony and evening turn-down service. 

Club level rooms are also available with some extra perks, such as continental breakfast, afternoon tea, and wine and cheese reception in the evening. Cookies and dessert are also available from 8 P.M. to 10 P.M.. These rooms offer standard view or premium views, depending on your preference. Club Level room guests also gain exclusive access to the veranda, where they can watch the nightly firework show. 

There are a variety of suites offered at the Grand Californian, ranging from one to three bedroom options. These are great for sleeping both small and large parties, as well as offering some additional amenities. Each suite offers a DVD player, free WiFi services, and a wet bar. If you are looking for something even more comfortable than a suite, villas are a great option as well. 

Villas are offered in different varieties, such as a deluxe studio all the way to a three-bedroom grand villa. One great thing about villas is that they come with a full kitchen, whirlpool bathtub and washer and dryer. These villas can sleep five to twelve guests depending on which villa you choose. 

Any room you choose to stay in can be booked easily with a reservation, depending on availability. To secure the specific room you want, it is recommended to make a reservation as early as possible when there are more options available.

Grand Californian Restaurants

There is no shortage of restaurants at the Disneyland Hotel with options for all meals and atmospheres you may desire.

The Storytellers Cafe is a buffet style restaurant where you can dine for breakfast or brunch with your favorite characters. A dinner buffet is also available at this restaurant, though it is not a character dining experience. This stop is perfect for kids and adults who want to meet their favorite Disney characters face to face and enjoy some delicious food in the process. Given the popularity of Storytellers Cafe, it is a good idea to make a reservation ahead of time.

If you are looking for some upscale dining inside of the Grand Californian, Napa Rose is the spot to go. This craftsman inspired restaurant offers a view of Disney California Adventure while you dine on some mouthwatering dishes. They are open for dinner and serve a variety of high-class plates. Napa Rose Lounge also offers some delicious plates in a more casual setting that has both indoor and outdoor seating.

When hoping for a more relaxing atmosphere, Hearthstone Lounge has you covered. This restaurant offers a wide variety of drinks as well as some flavorful dishes. Whether dining with children or your significant other, Hearthstone Lounge is sure to please.

GCH Craftsman Grill offers a large menu of delicious plates for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are a number of to-go items that can easily be enjoyed while walking to whichever park you plan to visit that day. Overlooking the pool, this restaurant is great for anyone who wants delicious food and an amazing view.

The GHC Craftsman Bar is another option for guests of the Grand Californian when looking for a delicious spot to dine at. This location has a separate menu from the GCH Craftsman grill that features appetizers, lunch and dinner items. This spot is perfect for anyone hoping to grab some mouthwatering food and enjoy the pool area.

Grand Californian Prices

When it comes to price, the Grand Californian is on the higher side of all of the resorts around the Disney properties in Anaheim, California. While the Disneyland Hotel can cost between $300-$450 on average per night, the Grand California is typically between $475-$980. Prices can depend on the room you plan to stay in and the time of year. During busier times of the year, prices are typically at their highest. 

While the Grand Californian may seem pricey for some, it does come with some awesome benefits. One of these is the location of the hotel. The Grand Californian is actually located inside of Disney California Adventure, with direct access to the park from the hotel. Guests can walk directly out of the hotel doors and be inside of the park, right next to the Grizzly Rapids ride. 

This is a great feature for guests who want to get inside of the park early, or for when you need to run back to your room very quickly. There is also another entrance to the Grand Californian inside of Downtown Disney

Getting to and from either of the parks is a breeze when staying at the Grand Californian. This is especially useful when you want to enter the park early through the Extra Magic Hour, which is also available to Grand Californian Guests.

Another major perk of staying at the Grand Californian is their awesome amenities, one of which being the pool area. This pool area consists of the Fountain Pool, Redwood Pool and Mariposa Pool. The Fountain Pool is surrounded by walls made of stones and boulders, making it feel like you are taking a dip in a natural pool.

The Redwood Pool is perfect for thrill seekers with a 90-foot water slide, a kid’s pool and hot tub. The final pool, the Mariposa Pool, features butterfly details all around the pool. All three pools offer cabana rentals, which are a great way to relax and enjoy the sun.

In addition to the pool area, the Grand Californian has a variety of shopping options. If you are looking to enjoy a movie, catch one on the hotel grounds. Tours of the Grand Californian are available to learn more about the craftsmanship behind this beautiful hotel. Show your knowledge through trivia games and scavenger hunts around the property. 

And if you are looking to unwind, take a visit to the Tenaya Stone Spa for some relaxation and rejuvenation. 

With all of these great amenities, as well as a park-front location, it is no wonder the Grand Californian is so popular amongst Disney lovers from all over. 

Conclusion

When deciding where to stay during your trip to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, it is important to look Disney’s Grand Californian vs Disneyland Hotel comparisons in order to make a well-informed decision. Both of these world-renowned properties are bursting with amenities and perks that are only available to guests of the hotel. 

Delicious restaurants and character dining can be found on both properties, giving guests the perfect opportunity to taste all of the mouthwatering food that Disney has to offer. If you are looking to go for a swim, both hotels boast expansive pool areas equipped with waterslides and all. Both kids and adults can lounge by the pool and make a splash in these unique swimming areas. 

When it comes to price, The Grand Californian and Disneyland Hotel are relatively similar to one another, though the Grand Californian is slightly more expensive. This is an important thing to note when trying to decide between the two hotels. Regarding location, both hotels offer park-front rooms that are only minutes from the gates of both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. 

If you are planning to stroll the Downtown Disney District, you can easily do so directly from the doors of either hotel. This is a great perk of staying on the Disney property. No matter what hotel you choose to stay in, whether it’s the Grand Californian or Disneyland Hotel that you land on, you will be nothing short of amazed. Staying in a Disney hotel during your trip is something no one will ever forget. 

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