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View Full Version : First Time at Grand Californian....any tips/hints?



jsilkey
08-22-2011, 07:38 AM
We are staying in a studio from Sept 5th to 10th. We have mom, dad and 9 year old son. This is our first stay on property at Disneyland and our first stay as owners. Does anyone have any hints or tips about perks, hotel offerings, etc.?

Thanks in advance :)

carolinakid
08-22-2011, 09:49 AM
There's a power walk through DCA before the park opens that we do every day of our stay that it's offered. It's a lot of fun to walk through the closed park and the CM who takes you around is happy to answer any questions and comment on rumors.
The Hearthstone Lounge is a great place to have a drink and relax opposite a roaring fireplace. Very often they have live piano music in the lobby to relax to.

jsilkey
08-22-2011, 12:22 PM
Great! Anything else? Especially anything for the kiddo? Thanks!

stan2u
08-22-2011, 02:05 PM
When we were there we thought the location of the GF was the biggest perk of all. You have your own entrance into CA, But both Downtown and DL are just a short walk outside the front door. It is SO UNlike WDW!! We would do Grizzly peak, get soaking wet, then stroll over to our rooms for a quick change, and back into the park. Same thing in the evening: So easy to go out of the park and to the hotel or one of the area restaurants, then back into the park.

Disneylandprincess
08-22-2011, 06:09 PM
The studios are great! My advice, if you drink coffee bring some filters and pre-ground coffee because they only stock one pot worth and it's much less expensive to bring your own than to buy it there. Also, the last time we went we got groceries delivered from Vons.com and it worked out great! We got snack foods, water, sodas, bagels with cream cheese and other breakfast food, pretty much whatever you want, just keep in mind the fridge is small but big enough for a few days worth of refreshments. We did learn, if you order alcohol you have to be there to sign for it, otherwise they can leave your groceries at the bell desk.

They have a great kid's club for your son if you want to do a nice meal, just the two of you, the Napa Rose in the hotel is a fantastic treat. You pay per hour for the club and they have all sorts of crafts, video games, movies, board games, I've wanted to go in there myself but it's only for kids :)

A great perk of staying on site is you get to enter California Adventure park early to get your World of Color tickets before everyone else, the concierge desk at the hotel is fantastic and can answer any question you have and help you get reservations as well.

Have a fantastic time, and keep an eye out for characters in the lobby they sometimes have a bit of an animal problem... :)

BGLeduc
08-23-2011, 05:50 AM
There is a viewing deck on the top floor of the DVC wing that faces DCA. It affords a great view of WoC. They even pipe the music in. I would still recommend that you follow Disneylandprincess's suggestion and get a WoC ticket and see it up close, but it is fun to watch the show from on high. Things may have changed, but when we were there in March, we did not have to enter the park to get the WoC tickets. There were CM's present by the hotel's DCA entrance that handed out as many passes as your party needed.

It is also a nice place to go during the day, and it provides a pretty unique view of DCA, including the Carsland construction. Be aware that you will need your room key to access the observation deck. As I mentioned, we were there in March, and I took a ton of photos of both WoC as well as the state of DCA construction at that time.

Brian

jsilkey
08-23-2011, 05:56 PM
We did the WOC dining package at Ariel's Grotto last Sept and again in March. I don't know if we will do the fast pass for it, but maybe the different perspective would be fun to see. We are not doing the dining there this time....for the price, the food isn't THAT good :) We all liked the tri-tip meal there.

Since we have never stayed on-site, I am really looking for the things that make on property different from off property and all the Disney details at the hotel. Are there characters sometimes? We have been through the lower level some, but have never seen any. We didn't really like the character breakfast at Storytellers. I much prefer lunch or dinner at Goofy's Kitchen. We don't have ressies anywhere except Carnation Cafe this trip, but we are doing a breakfast and a lunch there...it is a favorite.

I thought about the kid's club, we are there one night that DL closes at 6 pm, so that seems like a good time to try the club for him. DCA is open until 8, so thought we might wander around there for a couple hours while he plays.

We are staying at another time share on the Northern California coast on the way home, where we are doing the groceries in the unit, so I think we are planning mostly on park food for lunches and dinners, with only do breakfast in the room for this part of the trip. We are at GCH for 5 nights, but our trip is 16 nights total.

Toocherie
09-01-2011, 01:52 PM
They have a great kid's club for your son if you want to do a nice meal, just the two of you, the Napa Rose in the hotel is a fantastic treat. You pay per hour for the club and they have all sorts of crafts, video games, movies, board games, I've wanted to go in there myself but it's only for kids :)






I thought about the kid's club, we are there one night that DL closes at 6 pm, so that seems like a good time to try the club for him. DCA is open until 8, so thought we might wander around there for a couple hours while he plays.



I second the suggestion about Napa Rose--even if you don't want to do a full dinner there, an appetizer or dessert in the lounge with some type of drink (alcoholic or not) would be a lovely treat--and since it will likely be warm, the outside patio is nice too. Your son will be well looked after in Pinocchio's Workshop while the two adults relax.