Five Reasons to Stay at Grand Californian

You’ll always love shopping for your (next) Disney Vacation Club resort because the choices will satisfy even the most critical tourist.

In fact, your hardest decisions will be which Home Resort to choose and where you’ll stay during each of your dozens of DVC vacations! I’m here to help you with that.

Here are five reasons you should pick The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and one reason to look elsewhere.

The Lobby and Theming

Are you familiar with the concept of mid-century architecture? This style of craftsman design proved popular during the era when Walt Disney lived.

For this reason, this throwback design aesthetic has proven popular among Disney fans in particular.

At the Grand Californian, you’ll discover a celebration of late 19th-century and early 20th-century California design and style.

You’ll find odes to many of the trees in the California national parks and forests as well.

Five Reasons to Stay at Grand Californian | The Lobby. The Theming. The Location.

The theme here melds these approaches into a singular look and vibe that remains decidedly Disney.

You’ll know this the moment you enter the hotel lobby, which will feel strangely familiar with DVC members who favor Walt Disney World.

Disney hired the same architect who designed Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Like those two resorts, the Grand Californian’s lobby will take your breath away with its majesty and grandeur. It’s quite a sight to behold.

Even better, when you roam the hotel campus, you’ll discover all the other forest touches that make it clear the Grand Californian loves the Golden State.

The Location

Unlike Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort resides in a small area. Walt Disney himself could only afford 160 acres of land at first.

While the Disneyland campus has expanded greatly over the years, it’s still a small footprint relative to what Walt Disney World fans expect.

For this reason, all three of Disney’s official resorts possess exceptional logistics.

The Grand Californian will prove ideal for tourists planning to spend time at Downtown Disney.

When you exit the hotel lobby here, you’ll reach a security checkpoint, and voila! You’re at Downtown Disney. The whole walk takes maybe two minutes!

From there, you just keep walking to visit Disneyland Park. In another three or four minutes, you’ll be at the entrance gate!

So, when you choose the Grand Californian as your home base, you’re a short walk from Downtown Disney AND Disneyland Park. And…

The Unique Amenity

I previously mentioned the location, but I skipped one essential detail.

The Grand Californian stands as the ONLY property in the DVC collection with a specific theme park-related amenity.

Disney built this hotel in tandem with Disney California Adventure. Some clever architects tweaked the design to give the resort something special.

The Grand Californian operates a private entrance to Disney California Adventure (DCA).

You’ll exit the hotel lobby and walk maybe 40 steps to arrive at the DCA admission gate. Note that you won’t enter the park the typical way.

So, when you walk into DCA, you’ll be close to Grizzly River Run, but that’s a feature, not a bug. You’ll avoid the early morning crowds at the main entrance!

While other DVC properties like Disney’s Beach Club Villas and Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort reside close to entrances, they can’t claim this amenity.

Only the Grand Californian entitles guests to private theme park access!

The Pools

You’ll find three quaint but impressive pools at the Grand Californian.

Most guests will hang out at the Redwood Pool, the main pool at the resort. The name comes from the trunk of a Redwood.

Five Reasons to Stay at Grand Californian | The Pools

Imagineers cleverly designed this area to look like a mountain stream. You’ll even find a waterfall to perfect the theme. It’s breathtaking.

DVC members often choose pools with smaller crowds, though. The Mariposa Pool is a garden pool with a serene garden backdrop.

However, you’ll likely prefer the quiet pool, the Fountain Pool, which is ostensibly for DVC members.

You’ll recognize the pool because it has a fountain. If that seems too obvious, the Mariposa’s name literally translates as butterfly.

You won’t notice the connection unless you look at the pool floor, which features a butterfly design.

The remarkable part about all three pools is how stylish they are. You’ll walk across gorgeous stone flooring and sit in luxurious lounge chairs.

Even by DVC standards, the features at the Grand Californian feel plush.

The Spa

Speaking of plush, you may need a spa day while on vacation. If so, the Tenaya Spa is just the ticket.

In September 2021, Disney unveiled this new spa at the Grand Californian, which replaced the former Mandara Spa.

Management wanted the most authentic spa experience possible and lovingly crafted a more modern facility, one with a stunning showpiece.

The Tenaya Stone comes straight from Lake Tenaya, which makes it a big deal. It shouldn’t even be possible, as outsiders taking anything from this lake is a federal crime!

“According to Disney’s Native American Cultural Advisor and Imagineer Dawn Jackson, the rock was gifted to the park by the elders of the Ahwahnechee-Miwok tribe, who are direct descendants of legendary Chief Tenaya.”

Five Reasons to Stay at Grand Californian | The Spa

As for the spa services, they’re the gold standard in the DVC lineup. The Tenaya Spa covers 6,000 square feet and provides a relaxing ambiance everywhere.

They’ll help you become one with nature as you enjoy massages, body treatments, and other spa services.

You can find the full list of services on the official site. They all look so good that it’s a definite, “Shut up and take my money!” situation.

Reason Against: No Longer the Only Game in Town

When the Grand Californian joined the DVC lineup in 2009, it filled a unique niche in the program.

Before 2009, Disney hadn’t held any presence at Disneyland Resort, the first theme park on the planet.

You can imagine how popular the Grand Californian became over the years as the only game in town, and that statement remains true to this day.

Alas, in September, The Villas at Disneyland Hotel will open to the public. At that point, DVC members who favor Disneyland will enjoy something new.

Owners can choose where to own/stay at Disneyland Resort for the first time ever! And you may prefer the new hotness to the longtime favorite!