Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Grand Californian Resort & Spa

As soon as Jewelscent announced their annual convention would be in Irvine in January, I knew Francis and Lilly were coming with me and we were going to Disneyland! I am working on a Disney Land & Sea vacation for a group right now, and one of the times I called to change a reservation, I asked to talk to Disneyland on a whim just to see what the military discount is like for the Grand Californian in January. They quoted me a price for 2 nights that was equal to one night in peak season, and Francis said, "oh, this is a once in a life time opportunity. We have to." Well... this was our second time staying in a Deluxe Disney resort, and I'm afraid now there is no going back.

Staying in a Disney Deluxe resort is an endorphin rush with no comparison. The more of them I stay at or visit, the more I am sure there is some kind of psychological trick to the grandiose scale and forced perspective of the lobbies. I asked on Facebook and a brainstorming session revealed that all Disney Deluxe hotel lobbies are built like cathedrals, where a vast, open space 8-10 stories tall says to your brain, "I belong here." The lobby has many intimate seating groups in a large space, there is huge fireplace, and there is also a seating area with tiny chairs for wee ones to watch cartoons. A cocktail bar completes the swanky but comfortable atmosphere. As soon as I walk in I know this is the lifestyle to which I am accustomed (it's not).

At the Grand Californian, you have several restaurants to choose from. We ate at Storyteller Cafe for lunch, which is off a menu, and dinner, which is both menu and buffet. They also have a Character Breakfast buffet. The food here was delicious! Before baby, our dinner choice would have been Napa Rose, the Signature Dining option, and maybe we will have the opportunity to check it out on a future visit. For all your Mickey Waffle and quick service breakfast and lunch needs, check out White Water Snacks.

The rooms at Grand Californian are spacious and clean, and our room had a balcony, and a shower that was like a full body massage. The H20 toiletries included a foot scrub and solar relief, and we had turndown service with chocolates in the evening. They even laid out Lilly's blanket every night, which melted my heart. One thing I always notice at Disney hotels: Housekeeping staff always smiles and says, "Hello, how are you today?" and when you need to call them for something, they greet you by name and know what room you are in.

The real key to staying in two different hotels two time zones away from home: Lilly slept in the Pack n Play in our room at home from the minute I learned about this trip. Voila! She slept "in her own bed" on vacation. We also brought our white noise machine/projector along. Our room connected to the neighboring room, which created a convenient spot to dump our luggage, and I do mean dump since we did a haphazard job of packing when we switched hotels. The room also had a table & chairs next to an outlet, which was nice for me since I was still pumping to supplement. If you need to pump or bottle feed while traveling, I cannot recommend this OXO Travel Bottle Drying Rack enough! The brush is so much better than the one we had at home that we are using it all the time now.

Whether you are at Disneyland or Walt Disney World, the proximity of Deluxe resorts to the Parks cannot be beat when you have a baby. I highly recommend treating yourself! Stay tuned for some baby tips inside the parks, and email me or join my Facebook group if you'd like help planning your next Disney Vacation!

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