Updated 9/16/18. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa recently went through a complete renovation updating all of the common spaces and redesigning the hotel rooms.
This massive Grand Californian renovation 2018 is the largest refurbishment since the hotel opened in 2001.
Here’s our Grand Californian Hotel review as we dive into the best aspects of the updated hotel.
You know that the Grand Californian was already one of the best hotels near Disneyland, but now with this renovation they have upped their game once again.
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Disney Grand Californian Hotel Room Improvements
The new Disney Grand Californian rooms have all the best improvements you would hope for in a renovation. The rooms are open, airy, beautiful, and most importantly functional while remaining luxurious.
The bed is now lifted a couple feet off the ground so that you can store your bags underneath. This is a system made popular on cruises and fits well in these rooms where storage was semi-limited in the previous version.
The latest in technology was added into the Grand Californian Hotel rooms with a 55-inch smart television, Keurig Coffee maker, built in USB chargers, and lots of outlets for all of our devices.
The bathrooms also feature high water pressure showers and beautiful new countertops.
“Our renovation adds more luxury to this iconic Southern California hotel, while staying committed to its signature Arts & Crafts design,” shared Dan Coleman, General Manager of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. “We want our guests to feel they are staying in a Disney hotel that’s distinctly situated in beautiful California. The revitalized design helps convey this feeling and allows us to continue exceeding guest expectations.”
Hidden Grand Californian Hotel Room Details
The new room design takes inspiration from the woodland Disney creatures and the Craftsman style seen throughout the entire hotel. In the headboards, made of quarter-sawn oak wood, you will find Chip n’ Dale hiding among the designs. Some of the rooms have hideaway murphy beds that open to reveal Bambi artwork.
These characters were fun, but for me, as the author of Disneyland Secrets: A Grand Tour of Disneyland’s Hidden Details, I really appreciated the wide variety of discreet historical touches found throughout the room’s artwork. There are a couple of posters which pay tribute to the different origins of Disneyland.
One poster features the Dominguez Grove Oranges in honor of the Dominguez family who owned much of the land. Ron Dominguez was a teen when Disneyland opened and went on to become a high ranking Disney executive and was named a Disney Legend in honor of his many years of service.
You’ll also see a sign promoting Silver Lake Citrus in honor of the Los Angeles neighborhood that was home to the Disney Hyperion Street Animation Studio.
Next you’ll see my favorite two posters honoring Walt Disney’s roots. The first shows the Wonderful California Limited railroad going through an orange grover to honor the Disneyland Railroad.
The second of my favorite and final painting is of the Griffith Park carousel where Walt Disney dreamt of Disneyland watching his daughters while they rode the horses. He wanted a place where the children and adults could have fun together and that was the impetus of the idea for the incredible place that is now Disneyland.
If these poster prints were for sale I think that they’d make my list of the best Disneyland souvenirs in 2018!
The countertops in the room incorporate glass pieces from wine bottles in keeping with the Napa Rose (this is one of the nicest Disneyland restaurants) upscale Wine Country feeling throughout this Disneyland hotel. There is also copper texturing above the coffee bar paying homage to the early Arts and Crafts style houses in Pasadena built by Greene and Greene.
Disney Grand Californian Hotel Concierge Level Perks
My favorite change with the renovation was the update to the concierge level amenities.
Now when guests book a Grand Californian Hotel concierge level room they can proceed directly to the 6th floor to avoid the regular check in front desk. There they will find two Cast Members ready to greet them in a seated luxurious check in process.
Also on the 6th floor is a fantastic change to the Grand Californian Hotel concierge lounge, officially called The Veranda. The new lounge features updated decor, more comfortable seating, and a much better food selection.
The lounge also provides a fantastic view of the fireworks and monorail track that passes through the Grand Californian. I could sit there all day and watch the world go by if it weren’t for the fact that I could be in Disneyland.
The design of the new updated lounge is inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a leader of the Arts and Crafts movement. The Grand Californian space specifically takes inspiration from the Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow. One key aspect taken from the Tea Rooms is the open bright decor with big windows.
Unlike the rest of the resort which features work done completely by Californian crafts people, the lounge has art pieces completed by artisans from throughout Europe to honor Mackintosh. Seen above is a set of painted ceramics themed to the iconic Redwood Forest from the Brother Bear film.
Grand Californian Hotel Public Spaces Update
While not as stark of a change as the rooms themselves, the lobby of the hotel was updated with a change in design and a refresh of the flooring and furniture. There are great new benches that slip underneath the low coffee tables for extra seating.
The pool has also been through a retooling with new hardscapes featuring a wide variety of different stones.
The Grand Californian Hotel and Spa feels brand new and ready for you to come visit! The hotel is in a great position to be equally as desirable as the new Disneyland hotel that opens in 2021.
Here’s a video tour Grand Californian Hotel review:
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