Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel – Baby and Kid Friendly!

Kelsey P. Gonzalez December 2, 2010 1 Comment

Grand Californian Hotel Disney with Family

My sister and her daughter, my Dad, my son and daughter, and myself at Disney's Grand Californian.


We stayed at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa and found it to be a truly beautiful hotel with all the amenities of a resort.  Though my sister did have to make a quick run for more baby formula (the Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks do sell formula in their baby centers but only carry one brand), we were able to obtain everything else we needed without ever having to leave the Disney property.  The hotel contains two different shops where a variety of toiletries, over-the-counter medications, clothing items, and food can be purchased.  Each guest room also has a small refrigerator which was perfect since we were able to buy milk and a number of other refrigerated items to keep on hand for our 3-year old’s meals and snacks.  

Guest Laundry Grand Californian Hotel

Guest Laundry room at the Grand Californian.


We also found a number of other amenities that made staying at the hotel as comfortable (if not more so), than being at home!  At the end of our hall we discovered a guest laundry room complete with washers and dryers (for those who would rather not use the hotel’s laundry service), a small room with large guest trash cans (perfect for all those diapers!), and a room containing ice and vending machines.  Nearby we also found a set of doors leading to a beautiful courtyard with two barbeques and umbrella-covered tables.  One of the little restaurant/stores—White Water Snacks—sold a variety of items that would be perfect for an evening barbeque.  It also had a selection of food that could be cooked either in one of their guest-use microwaves or in the kitchen of one of the larger guest Villas.  

Storyteller's Cafe

Photo courtesy of disneyfoodblog.com.


When we weren’t interested in eating in our rooms, the hotel had two different restaurants to choose from.  The one that we ate at most often was the Storytellers Café; it was more casual and definitely more “kid-friendly” than the upper scale Napa Rose restaurant.  Though I have to admit that most of the dining options on the Disneyland property are pretty expensive, the food was quite good.  The Storytellers Café will run you between $15-20 a plate but unfortunately that’s pretty common at the Magic Kingdom.  The great thing about that particular restaurant however, was that the pricing for the a la carte items was not much less than the pricing for their all-you-can-eat buffet which was extremely good.  Our son was young enough that he was allowed to share food with us without having to order his own plate so the buffet worked out well.  Though Storytellers does take walk-ins it’s best to call Disney Dining (either before your trip or direct from your room) to make a reservation, especially if you’re traveling with a larger group like we were.  The night we checked in I called and made reservations for that same evening and our table was ready for us when we arrived.  

Chip Character Breakfast Storyteller's Cafe

My husband, son, and daughter with Chip at the Character Breakfast in the Storyteller's Cafe.


We also ate at the Café before checking out on our last morning there.  Since it’s one of the Disney restaurants that offers Character Dining, we figured our son would enjoy one more Disney experience before going home.  That particular morning there were seven different characters present, all making the rounds while everyone ate.  They stopped at each table, taking time for pictures and hugs and our 3-year old loved watching to see which one would come over next.  He especially loved seeing Chip and Dale!  About half way through our breakfast (we’d opted for the buffet again), a Disney Cast Member acting as a nature guide had all the kids line up for a parade around the restaurant.  Joined by several of the Characters, the kids skipped, jumped, and danced through all the tables.  Our son thoroughly enjoyed being part of the show!  At the end, they handed out buttons to everyone who had participated.  There was no extra cost to participate in the Character Dining option and the experience was definitely worth it!  I have to admit the adults in the restaurant seemed to be enjoying it every bit as much as the kids; I know that’s how it was in our group anyway! 

 Storyteller's Cafe

My sister and her daughter, my mom with my daughter, and my son with Kenai (Brother Bear) at the Storyteller's Cafe.


In addition to all the great food at the Grand Californian, the hotel also offers a variety of entertainment options.  There’s a tour of the hotel highlighting the Arts and Crafts style workmanship, a scavenger hunt which takes place inside the hotel every day at 4:00pm, (though we were never able to attend one I was told they were great for families), a full arcade, and a licensed babysitting facility called Pinocchio’s Workshop for parents who’d like a night out.  This service is available every evening for children ages 5-12 and provides them with art projects, Disney movies, games, and food.  On certain evenings, there are sing-alongs or camp stories around the beautiful indoor fireplace.  

Pinocchios Workshop Babysitting service

Babysitting service at the Grand Californian


Our son enjoyed stopping one night to listen to the performer singing while playing his guitar.  At one point, he even invited all the children in the group to come up and sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” with him.  Then there’s the large flat screen television just outside the check-in area that plays a constant stream of original Disney cartoons.  A group of kid’s sized chairs and rockers sit around the television and together they offer the perfect distraction for the children of tired parents who just want to sit and enjoy the beauty of the magnificent lobby. During the day, a pianist sits at the Grand Piano near the fireplace and plays all the favorite Disney songs for those taking a break on one of the comfortable couches or chairs, or for those just passing through. 

Grand Californian Hotel Grizzly Game Arcade

Arcade at the Grand Californian.


The Grand Californian also has three large pools to choose from—including one with a water slide—and two Jacuzzis.  The pool facilities offer complimentary float vests for children who aren’t quite swimmers yet, as long as they’re accompanied by an adult.  I tried one of the Jacuzzis the second night we were there and found they kept them at about bath temperature which meant younger children could enjoy them too.  I had our son come out to join me and we had a great time splashing around with all the bubbles while watching the light from the World of Color show going on at the California Adventure theme park next door! 

Grand Californian Hotel Lobby Cartoons

My son enjoying the cartoons in the lobby of the Grand Californian.


Finally, for adults who would like a break, the Grand Californian Hotel and Spa does indeed have a spa.  The Mandara Spa offers a variety of services, therapies, and massages to relax muscles worn out from dashing to rides all day.  And if being dragged across two different theme parks isn’t enough exercise, the hotel also offers fully equipped exercise facilities as well. 

From start to finish our stay at the Grand Californian was absolutely wonderful.  Their customer service was exceptional and lived up to the standards one would expect from Disney.  It was probably the most kid-friendly resort I’ve ever stayed at and certainly made the whole Disney experience much more relaxing.  At the end of a long day, we were able to simply walk across the park and straight into our rooms for a comfortable night’s sleep before doing it all over again the next day.  It is an experience we definitely hope to repeat soon! 

Grand Californian Hotel and Spa Pool

Photo courtesy of disneyland.disney.go.com.


For more information on Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, please visit their website at Disneyland.disney.go.com, then select the Grand Californian Hotel and Spa from the “Places to Stay” tab.

avatarAbout the Author:

Kelsey lives in Southern Utah with her husband, their 3-year old son, and their newborn daughter. They enjoy the adventure of exploring new places together and love building memories through family travel.

Tags: , Reviews, Travel Excursions
One Comments to “Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel – Baby and Kid Friendly!”
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