Grand Californian Super Thread Updated 11/7/13

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.

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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.
 
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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.
 

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  • 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.
     
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    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!
     

    Rayray650

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 6, 2012
    Thank you for the detailed review. We are staying there for four nights in a couple of weeks and can’t wait 😀 Will definitely plan to find out about story time.
     
  • dmar

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2013
    Ok, just got back from GCH today.

    A few things for some peeps (I'm sure it's been mentioned before a lot but I'm a bit lazy and don't want to go back and re read all the pages of this thread).

    White water snacks is renamed Craftsman Grill. The free coffee in the morning also includes Hot tea and Hot cocoa. The coffee is the normal drip coffee and tea was just get hot water and grab the assorted tea bags by the cashier. Hot cocoa was from the machine as well and tasted fine, kids enjoyed it. You can get a tray for your cups and was located below the table that had the creamers (they also had assortment of milk, skim, low-fat, whole, half-half). One cm asked for my room key but didn't take any info down, the other days they didn't even bother, just asked what I got and jotted down on a piece of paper (I guess quantity?). There was quite a few patrons that were surprised the hot drinks were free still. Also the free drinks were till 11 am which the breakfast menu is over

    We did a split stay and had one night in Paradise Pier, three nights in GCH (had to modify our dates/plan) The bell desk moved our bags over from there to GCH without a hitch.

    At check in, small candy canes were by each cm checking you in...

    Gingerbread house was amazing, even better was the Chip and Dale right along side it.

    Stayed at room 4311. Had a slight view of downtown Disney (close to Starbucks). and monorail... was upgraded from standard view to that one with a little pixie dust as they tried to move us closer to our friends on that side. That was a bonus,

    Also we were able to request late checkout today. Normal checkout was 11, but they added another hour so we left by 12. You can request late checkout depending on availability and occupancy rates no earlier than 6pm the night before.

    The morning it was raining today, coming back housekeeping staff gave us clean dry towels to dry off when walking the hallway from Downtown Disney before entering the lobby and had umbrella bags as well. That was a nice gesture.

    Only complaint with the room as always is the toilet paper... wish they would use something softer and thicker but that's just me lol.

    Just a little tidbit I wanted to share
     

    soopermummy

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2019
    I didn't know you could get free coffee/tea at white water previously - missed out there!! 6 of us going next year (4 nights) so we will really make use of those extra hot drinks in the morning - I assume just help yourself and show key card if needed?
    Thanks for the tip
     

    Kittyskyfish

    Ohio Dis Fans!
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2009
    We arrive in a couple of weeks! We have been blessed to stay at GCH before, but not since the refurb. Are there coffee pots of any sort in the rooms? Mini fridge?

    Thanks!
    There is a Keurig machine and coffee supplies in the rooms, as well as a mini fridge. I use Starbucks instant packets instead and use the Keurig for hot water. Works out well for me!
     

    gerilyne

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 14, 2013
    We arrive in a couple of weeks! We have been blessed to stay at GCH before, but not since the refurb. Are there coffee pots of any sort in the rooms? Mini fridge?

    Thanks!
    I think the mini fridges are smaller after the remodel just FYI (at least how it felt when we were there in Aug).
     

    dmar

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2013
    Yup just in the mornings till 11 at the Craftsman Grill (previously known as White Water Snacks). Just go to the machine and then walk to the line with the cashier. They may or may not ask for your room key but one day they did and the other two days we did not. They were different cm's manning the cashier, so bring your key just in case. They also told distomers in front of me that it was complimentary to guests. I also saw some people walk in and walk out after serving themselves coffee but don't think that is the protocol. If you're not sure, just ask the cm there.

    Yeah it's a little trek to get there (and cold) since you have to go out of the hotel towards the pool. If you're close to the elevator by Napa Rose, it makes the trek that much better and closer. Wished they would just put the coffee/tea in the lobby similar to other hotels that we've been too. They could've done that at Hearthstone Lounge.
     

    Aurora0427

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2014
    I’m trying to decide between staying at the GCH or the DLH in late April for my birthday. We’ve stayed at the DLH and loved it, but I’ve always wanted to try the GCH. However, after several visits to the lobby, common areas and restaurants, I find the hotel to be very dark and the lighting is yellow. My question is this.... are the rooms bright and airy or dark like the lobby and the rest of the hotel? With the room discounts offered we could get it for a “reasonable” price and we’ve always wanted to try it!!!
     
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    DLgal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2013
    I’m trying to decide between staying at the GCH or the DLH in late April for my birthday. We’ve stayed at the DLH and loved it, but I’ve always wanted to try the GCH. However, after several visits to the lobby, common areas and restaurants, I find the hotel to be very dark and the lighting is yellow. My question is this.... are the rooms bright and airy or dark like the lobby and the rest of the hotel? With the room discounts offered we could get it for a “reasonable” price and we’ve always wanted to try it!!!
    They were renovated and are now pretty bright. There is a LOT of accent lighting, including along the ceiling border and it offers plenty of lighting options. Not sure what you mean by "yellow" light in the lobby. It is a warm color palette, but I never felt like it was yellow. I find the DLH rooms to be pretty drab lately. They just look tired, worn, and depressing. They desperately need a refurbishment. I'd go with GCH.
     

    jfk4

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2011
    I haven't been impressed with the upkeep of the DLH based on my recent stays. The furniture and carpets in the rooms have seen better days and frankly need to be refurbished. Even with the price differential I'd much rather stay at the GCH.
     


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