Step into the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, and you’ll feel like you’ve walked into an enormous and beautifully appointed version of the Seven Dwarves’ woodland cottage. The Arts-&-Crafts-style hotel welcomes you with dramatic wooden beams, a giant stone fireplace, stained glass, and an ever-present piano playing reserved takes on classic Disney melodies.
With its elegantly woodsy rooms, too, the hotel (a nod to Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel) is the ultimate spot for recharging between trips into one of Disneyland Resort’s two theme parks. It also has enough perks—like three pools with cabanas, five restaurants and lounges, and an on-site spa—that you may be tempted to stay put.
But then again, access into the rides, shows, and strolling characters of the theme parks is so easy: Staying here means you get to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours, the early entrance to the parks for hotel guests; a guests-only entrance gate to Disney California Adventure Park; and a very short stroll into the heart of the Downtown Disney District. Stay on the hotel’s Club Level and you’ll have an excellent view of Disneyland’s nightly fireworks from that floor’s Veranda terrace.
Whether you stay overnight or not, take some time to relax in the lobby, or have dinner at the Napa Rose restaurant, considered one of the best spots for California cuisine in Orange County. Think zucchini blossoms with lemony ricotta, or stuffed quail with nectarine relish, paired with a long list of wines that draws heavily from the namesake Napa Valley and the rest of California wine country. While the hotel easily pleases grown-ups, it also knows how to impress kids: come to Napa Rose from Thursday through Monday and indulge your princess fan in one of the three-course Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures, complete with meet-and-greets with royalty such as Belle, Ariel, and Mulan.