Day 1 Part 1: The Grand Californian

Before I start the report I just wanted to point out that because I’ve lived near both Disneyland and Disney World, I tend to make experiential or cultural comparisons between the two. And while I have a west coast-centric point of view, growing up near Disneyland and living in the SF Bay Area for most of my adult life (as well as the Pacific Northwest), my Ohio and Florida living experience, my southern side of the family, and my northeast in-laws all give me a peek into life in the midwest, the northeast, and the south.

As a recap, the Food & Wine Festival at WDW is our favorite time of year to visit WDW so we had to try out the Food & Wine Festival at Disneyland this year – our first. And we’ll make comparisons along the way, but I think the biggest difference between Disneyland and Disney World is that Disneyland is so very local-centric and that influences the atmosphere. More on that later.

Anyway, we left our home in Las Vegas at 9:30 a.m. and arrived at the Grand Californian around 1:30 p.m. Traffic was heavier on a week day than on the Saturday we usually travel on. Our park-view room was not ready when we arrived, so we were checked in and given a number to call, and we waited in the lobby for a bit, logged into our netbook (enjoying the free wireless), and then moved over to sit in front of the fireplace. The weather was cool and cloudy, and the fire warmed us up. When we realized the room wouldn’t be ready any time soon, we headed for the pool.

Note: Our rooms at the other Disneyland hotels were always ready when we arrived because they have so many more rooms. It’s much easier to get a king room and to check in early. But the GC has a much smaller supply of rooms, and it was sold out and no king room with a park view was available so we had to settle for two queens. Two queens does give us an extra bed to store our stash of goodies we collect on the trip.

It was sunnier out by the pool – this is the only downside to the GC that we noticed – the Craftsman-style is very dark, and while WL and AKL may have dark hallways, the lobby area has big windows and that lets in more light. But we were thrilled to see that the GC has poolside service. We have never seen that at a Disney hotel and in this area – and in more to come – you’ll see that the GC compares quite favorably to Vegas hotels when it comes to service. A big thumbs up here. (We’re quite curious to try the GF on our next WDW trip.)

Rich ordered a Sunken Treasure (also available at the Yacht Club) from the nice CM who came by to take our order and I ordered a Mai Tai. We didn’t even think to take pictures – as is often the case with us – too swept up in the experience. I’m not sure it’s as much of a Disneyland experience as it is at Disney World – a lot of locals also stay at the GC. The time waiting for our room passed quickly while we enjoyed a frosty adult beverage.

Next: Day 1 Part 2 – The Winemaker’s Dinner

About Kathy

Novelist & Music Producer