As another school year comes to a close, we started our summer vacation off with a bang! We spent a week in Anaheim, flying into Orange County, Anaheim arriving at John Wayne Airport (SNA) for the first time (as we usually fly into LAX). I was pleasantly surprised at the overall pleasant airport experience. The smaller airport is much easier to navigate through and the arrival was quick and straightforward. WestJet is the only Canadian airlines that flies into John Wayne Airport (SNA) from Vancouver so it is easy to connect with WestJet from other cities.
After a few nights at the Disneyland Hotel, we headed over to Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, an uber luxurious and embodiment of California coziness. As you enter the lobby, the "grandness" of the space invites you in a warm and intimate setting, oozing sophisticated comfort.
Head towards the Downtown Disney District and it is less than 10 minutes to walk to the entrance of the parks. Head out the private entrance into California Adventure and you could be in the queue to Grizzly River Run in less than 10 minutes. Got wet afterward the ride?? Head back to your room for a quick change of clothes and be back in the park in 15 minutes. Being this close to the park, having the early morning access where there are virtually no lines in the morning makes the premium price worth the convenience! We could easily take breaks throughout the day and go back and forth as needed.
But you can't stay at the Grand Californian and not take the time to enjoy the resort as well!
The pool loungers have got to be one of the most comfortable and most luxurious pool loungers I've ever enjoyed! This is the kind of comfort in the sun I can live with!
Overall, we enjoyed the food and the atmosphere although it felt much more upscale for a poolside lounge!
Staying onsite at the Disney Resort Hotels was an absolute treat and made our overall Disney vacation so much more magical! We were completely immersed in the experience and could take advantage of all the benefits that came with a Disney hotel stay, including mobile ordering and the early magic morning access as just a couple of my favourites!
All three of the Disney Hotels are priced as deluxe hotels because of the limited availability of the Disney hotels. And choosing which one to stay at has always been the toughest choice! I love the classic and nostalgic charm of the Disneyland Hotel, but the cozy and sophistication of the Grand Californian and its proximity to the parks is a benefit that is unmatched!!
You may have noticed I have only discussed the Disneyland Hotel and the Grand Californian Hotel but there is also a third Disney hotel option - Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. It is the the entry level Disney hotel option to consider for an onsite Disney stay at Disneyland to take advantage of all the benefits of staying onsite. It's a smaller property that books up quickly because of the affordability (when compared to the other two Disney hotels) and not as many rooms available to choose from.
For the difference in cost though, I generally recommend spending the extra money to stay at either the Disneyland Hotel or the Grand Californian.
- Paradise Pier is located the furthest away from the parks. You do have to walk up towards the Disneyland Hotel, and then through Downtown Disney to get to the park entrance. It can be about a 15 - 20 minute walk (not including the time it will take to get through security to get into Downtown Disney) so it you have young kids, it can be quite the trek, especially after long park days when you've already walked a lot!
- Also, while they do have a sit down restaurant, PCH Grill, and it has a character dining experience, there is no quick service restaurant option at the hotel. Sometimes you just need a quick bite or something to eat quickly and not having a quick service restaurant at the hotel or even close by can be a huge inconvenience!
There is always something for everyone at Disneyland and choosing your hotel stay is the same. Let me know if you have any questions or would like any assistance in planning your trip to Disney! I would love the opportunity to help you make it as magical as it can be!