So, true confession time. I really have never had the desire to go to Disneyland. Honestly, no interest in flying across the country when we can be in Disney World in 2 hours. Plus you know flights have to be outrageous, right?
Well, once I started considering it for my (cough cough) 50th (cough cough) birthday, I took a look at flights, and found they were NOT as bad as I thought. In fact, some were less expensive than flights to Orlando. So, that put California on our radar.
Now that we are leaning in that direction, we had to pick dates, which was easy because my birthday is December 8th, so our dates will be 7 nights around that date.
Next, we have to choose a resort. Now, keep in mind, Disneyland is MUCH more condensed than Disney World. I mean MUCH MORE CONDENSED. There are only 3 onsite resorts to choose from: The Grand Californian (a California craftsman-style elegant resort), The Disneyland Hotel (a luxuriously themed resort paying homage to the original lands of Disney, with an ultra-modern design), and Paradise Pier (seaside-inspired theming that reflects beachfront pavilion hotels of the 1920s).
When I say condensed, I mean it. Walt Disney didn't take into account that hotels outside his beautiful park would spring up and surround it the way they did. He corrected that mistake and purchased enormous amounts of land in Florida, so that is NOT and issue in Walt Disney World. Since it is the case at Disneyland, Disney has partnered with select high standard hotels off-property, called Good Neighbor Hotels. Many are within walking distance and can save you a lot of money as far as accommodations go.
Disney World has spoiled us and we are now resort snobs. LOL We have decided to go big or stay home. The Grand Californian is the place we want to be. Not only that, but my husband has become a club level snob, so we have to add that to our requirements.
What sold us on The Grand Californian (GC) Resort & Spa:
(FYI the SPA part is closed for now . . . maybe it will return by December 2020??)
- The Location - It is literally located IN Disney's California Adventure Park. Guests staying here have their own entrance to the park. It is also steps away from Downtown Disney. I just can't even wrap my head around being IN A PARK at my resort. My feet will thank me for this.
- The Theme - Look, I absolutely LOVE Disney's Wilderness Lodge in Disney World. It is beautiful. I mean I could sit in that lobby all day long. The interior of The GC is so very similar. It is gigantic and detailed and just rustically perfect. Craftsman intricate designs are around every corner. I literally can't wait!
I will definitely go over to the Disneyland Hotel (DH) while we are there because I hear the theming there is not to be missed. The resort is divided into 'lands' and there is also memorabilia to check out. We may also want to dine at Steakhouse 55, located inside DH, which is a fine dining experience that looks delicious.
I will discuss dining in another blog, but I will say, what I have learned about Disneyland is that it is very different from Disney World in the dining department. Not only are there less option in all areas, not just character dining experiences, but also, there is not a dining plan like you find at Disney World.
This is another reason we are opting for club level. We can grab a delicious breakfast on our way to the park and since we are SO CLOSE, hop in and out during the day for snacks and such, then end the night with yummy sweets that we can take back to our room and enjoy on our premium view balcony.
For now, we have decided on 5 park days, which is more than necessary, but allows us to go at a leisurely pace and return to the rides we find we love. This will give us 1 down day to perhaps do sight seeing around California, but I haven't decided firmly upon that as of yet.
We will include Maxpass, which is similar to Disney's fastpass system, except it cost $15 per person per day, but also includes the photo package. DL does have a 'free' fastpass system without Maxpass, but you have to go to kiosks and get a paper ticket. With Maxpass, you can book them on your smart phone using the Disneyland App. No booking 60 days in advance, but you can book a fastpass upon entering the park, and every 90 minutes thereafter, or as you use the Fastpass.
We will also include park hopper because well, we like to park hop. This will allow us to go to both parks every day as much as we want.
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