Thursday, November 17, 2011

Disneyland Trip Recap Part 1: Hotels (and Not So Wordless Wednesday)

Welcome to another Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop!
Thanks to Focused on the Magic and the Info Mouse for hosting!

So the plan was to visit my little sister out in LA (which I suddenly LOVE after years of being an elitist East Coast snob (ok fine I'm still an EECS but I do adore LA now too)) and spend 3 days/2 nights in the Happiest Place on Earth. 

We drove down there and stayed in the Disneyland Hotel one night and the Grand Californian the second night.  I wanted to try each of those hotels and, having heard not great things about Paradise Pier, wasn't interested in staying there.  Plus the theme doesn't appeal to me (just as with the Boardwalk, Beach and Yacht Club; I live in New York so I am within a 2 hour driving distance of boardwalks, piers, beaches, and yacht clubs.  I don't need to stay in a hotel with such a familiar theme when I can get the real deal at home).  

The pool (too cold to swim in):

My fabulous travel agent at The Magic For Less scored me a discount on the hotel room AND a free upgrade at the DL hotel!  We had a FANTASTIC view of the pool from the 4th floor of the Adventureland Tower.  Since the hotel had recently had/is in the process of getting a renovation, I can officially state for the record that the DL hotel wins hands down for the better room.  It was new, it was clean, it was fresh, and it was PRETTY.  

My view from my giant, baller hotel window!

Have I mentioned that the headboard lights up AND plays "When You Wish Upon A Star" when you press a button on the middle bedside table?


The Grand Californian reminds me STRONGLY of the Wilderness Lodge.  I didn't dislike the decor at all.  Everything was extremely well-themed.  But the room was not as nice or new or fresh.  For one thing, the green and browns are deep and kind of depressing.  Not like the sharp silver, navy, white and gold accents of the DL hotel.   Plus, I am ALSO a 1-2 hour drive away from upstate New York where the Arts and Crafts architectural style is prevalent, so as it turns out, the GC (and Wilderness Lodge) are also "themes" I can get at home.

The other thing that weirds me out here is when there is a sink with carpet underneath.  I get that Disney does this to accommodate families piling into one room to save money, but I don't like it.  It's creepy to me.  It's like having a toilet with carpet underneath (wouldn't that be creepy?  That carpet area could NOT be clean!).  The DL hotel had a proper bathroom with a shower/tub, sink, and separate toilet area with a door that closed - all with tiles on the floor.

That being said, the Grand Californian wins hands down for theming.  The DL hotel is a hotel.  It's not an experience.  It's a very nice hotel, but that is the theme: hotel.  The Grand Californian makes you feel like you're being transported to the redwood forests up north.   

Another bonus to the Grand Californian?  Turn down treats!  I miss the tradition of a pre-bedtime turn down with chocolates on the pillow.  Lots of hotels (including Disney's) have done away with this nicety to save money.  Not so at the GC!  I ate my chocolates before I took a pic of them, but they were just simple chocolate disks with colorful metallic wrappers with classic Disney characters on it.  Kind of like gelt money.  It was SUCH a nice touch.  :D

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more Disneyland trip reviews!

Focused on the Magic


  1. What a great review!! I'm bookmarking it! I really need to get out west and see DL!

  2. Great recap! I just stayed at the DLH last month, and agree totally with your assessment. I also split my stay, but finally gave the Paradise Pier a shot (closer to the Half Marathon). I was pleasantly surprised!! (I must have read some of the same reviews.) It was bright, fun and cheery- and cheaper!