July Birthday Trip at the Grand Californian

For my July birthday, we recently spent a long weekend at the Grand Californian at Disneyland Resort. The GC seems to be the only place we want to stay when we head for SoCal these days. And because it was my birthday and the World of Color was new this summer, we thought if we booked a park view, we might have a slight chance of watching the World of Color from our room – and we did – sort of. Here are some of the lowlights and highlights:

Lowlights

Our room wasn’t ready when we checked in and we must say, we had the worst CM we’ve had at the GC. Usually, they’re efficient, friendly, and inquisitive, asking questions like, “Any celebrations for this trip?” Usually the answer is no or something silly like, “The weekend” or whatever. But this time we had something real to celebrate so, of course, she didn’t ask.

Anyway, she took forever going back and forth to the back room, and we hoped it meant we were getting some fabulous upgrade – like a villa perhaps? (We were so envious of the lady next to us checking into the villas). Nope. It just meant our room wasn’t ready. Rich brought up my birthday and so she gave me a “Happy Birthday” button and an “I’m Celebrating” button for Rich. Okay, nothing too special that we haven’t done before – lol!

The other lowlight was waiting forever to get drink service out by the pool. Usually, we sit by the main pool but this time our room was located with the DVC villas and so we sat out by the new pool and another jacuzzi (sorely-needed). But each server would stop taking orders right next to us and we thought we’d never get served – a big reason we changed our ressies and stayed at the GC, imagining that great drink service out by the pool. 🙂

Highlights

We headed for our favorite lobby bar – Hearthstone Lounge, and we each had a yummy Habanero Margarita – the best anywhere. This probably looks familiar to you because we always order this on every trip – lol!

We sat and relaxed and drank our drink and kept checking the cell phone for a text message that our room was ready, but it was finally the official check-in time and still no word so Rich went over to the front desk while I relaxed with the rest of my drink.

Rich was gone for some time but when he returned, he reported he had talked with a much better CM and they got us a park view overlooking the “World of Color” area – woo hoo!!!

The “Mulholland Madness” ride was right off of our balcony, so it was pretty noisy during the day, but at night, this ride shut down for the World of Color, which takes place in the lagoon in front of the Mickey wheel.

It was a beautiful sight at night, and you could hear the show either by leaving your slider open or by tuning into the Disneyland Resort channel on the in-room TV. There were 2 shows a night during our stay – one at 9:00 and then again at 10:30. (The villas have a more head-on view of the show). Anyway, in-between shows, there were fireworks at Disneyland Park at 9:30, so it was a busy, noisy night. But after living 2 miles from the Magic Kingdom in Orlando for a year, we were used to fireworks shooting off outside our windows – lol!

More Highlights

Some of the highlights of the trip were:

  • Strolling Disneyland Park at night when it wasn’t so crowded because so many were flocking to World of Color at DCA
  • “Pirates of the Caribbean” – short line and a must-do on every trip
  • Pinocchio’s new candy store in Fantasyland
  • The new “It’s A Small World” with characters introduced throughout the attraction like Lilo and Stitch in Hawaii
  • Date Night at Disneyland – dancing to a live Big Band in Carnation Plaza
  • Eating a churro in Fantasyland – it has to be done here or it isn’t the same – lol
  • Listening to David Wayne at Downtown Disney
  • Soaking up the Grand Californian – wish we could live here
  • Enjoying FABs out by the pool – when we finally got them
  • Enjoying a glass of wine al fresco at the Golden Vine Winery now that it’s reopened – yay!
  • Discovering an outdoor fireplace – in addition to the big fireplace in the lobby and the Hearthstone Lounge and firepit at Napa Rose Lounge – love these outdoor fire venues at the GC
  • Wine Country Trattoria – first time ever and it was just remodeled – love this area and will write about it in a separate post
  • Sharing a Monterey Clam Chowder bread bowl at Pacific Wharf Cafe and dining alfresco waterside in DCA
  • Napa Rose Lounge – we’re hooked on this fabulous lounge where you can sit comfortably and have the same fabulous food/service as the restaurant – and the fun chatting out by the firepit over drinks with other Disney fans afterwards – more on that in separate post
  • Lunch at Duke’s at Huntington Beach – we always take a day trip to the beach and Duke’s is one of our favorite places to soak up good food, drinks, beach views, and Hawaiian atmosphere
  • Chef Michael Chiarello’s “Napa Style” at South Coast Plaza – did a bit of shopping and would love to decorate our home in Napa style

Well, that’s all I can recall for now – but will eventually get around to posting our thoughts on our first experience at Wine Country Trattoria and our return to Napa Rose Lounge.

Overall, it was another wonderful trip and it keeps getting harder and harder to return home to Vegas. We either have to move closer to Disneyland or closer to Disney World again. This 4-hour drive or 4-hour flight thingie isn’t working. 🙂

About Kathy

Author of Cruise and Travel-Themed Novels ("Real Women Wear Red" / "Real Women Sing the Blues"), Songwriter & Poet

One thought on “July Birthday Trip at the Grand Californian

  1. LLaffinPlace says:

    Sounds like a wonderful trip!

    Like

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