View Full Version : Disney with 3 small boys--Grand Californian or Paradise Pier

09-18-2009, 02:20 PM
Need some advice. Thinking of a trip for the first time to DisneyLand next May. We have 3 boys, ages, 7,5, 3. What resort would work best for us...Grand Californian or Paradise Pier. We stayed at the Polynesian at WDW last summer because of the option of the daybed in the room...slept the 5 of us wonderfully. What resort has the best perks for kids.

09-18-2009, 02:36 PM
Grand Californian is beautiful and has access to DCA. It is the closest to the parks and DTD.

Paradise Pier is really nice. Has a big waterslide.

I like the Disneyland Hotel... the pool has a Neverland theme. Just a short walk or monorail ride away from DLR.

My DD (9) would probably choose the DLH because of the pool.:mickey:

09-18-2009, 03:57 PM
Grand Californian. Hands down.

Paradise Pier, while is has bigger rooms, loses on virtually every other area that is of concern with your particular family makeup.

-It is far from the parks. With little ones, and strollers, the walk back to the hotel is *just* long enough to be annoying. Sure, you can cut through the GCH's lobby, but then you have to walk through the port cochere, down a long sidewalk, across an intersection, and over to the PPH. Not fun when you're trying to make a quick break back to the room, or, if you realize, 5 min out of your room, that you forgot something and have to run back.

-the pool at PPH stinks. It's, literally, the size of most small motel rectangular pools. Sure, it has a nice slide, but the ACTUAL pool is really, really small and just abysmal. If you plan on ANY pool time at all, don't stay here. If you are coming during a cooler time of year (Nov-March), the pool can be taken out of the equation.

-food options are scarce. there is only one full service restaurant (a buffet in the a.m.) and a little coffee stand that serves some pastries in the morning. No "true" counter service option, except at the pool, and it doesn't serve much, and is only open during pool hours. To make up for it, there is a ROOM of vending machines, selling various foods. It's bizarre...

Now, at the Grand, for families of 5, they do have rooms with daybeds. Another option would be a bunk bed room. The bunk bed rooms at the Grand ALSO have a trundle bed underneath the lower bunk, which is perfect for sleeping a 3 year old (we just got back from a stay at the GCH and our 3 year old slept on the trundle really well). The upper bunks have a rail that completely surrounds the top, so it's totally safe for your oldest, and your 5 year old can sleep on the bottom bunk. The benefit to these rooms is that the bunk takes up less space than two queen beds, and the trundle slides away during the day. You can request these rooms when you book, and they are very good about bed type requests at this hotel.

The Grand is an excellent RESORT. It has SO much more to offer than the DLH and PPH. The pool area is head and shoulders above the others. There are now THREE pools there, one with two slides (a larger one that requires kids be INDEPENDENT swimmers...no floatation devices allowed...no parents "waiting" at the bottom...kids must be able to swim to the ladder at the end of the slide, and lifeguards will ask them to perform a swim test before going down the slide for the first time if they look younger than 7. For non swimmers, there is a toddler slide, approx. 8 feet long, that CAN be used with floats. My 3 year old LOVED this slide, while his 5 year old brother went down the "big boy slide" over and over again. There is also a kiddie pool and two hot tubs.

-there is a GREAT counter service restaurant at GCH (White Water Snacks) and a pool bar located near the pool. There are even pool waiters that will come around and take your food/drink order and deliver it for you! The whole pool area is beautiful, peaceful, comfortable, plenty of cushioned loungers, umbrellas, etc.

-The best part of GCH is the CONVENIENCE factor. It is SO close to the parks it is unreal. You can leave your room and literally be INSIDE DCA or DL park in the space of 5 minutes. That alone, with 3 young children, is worth the price tag of that hotel, in MY opinion.

We have stayed at the PPH as well, so I DO have a solid basis of comparison. To us, the GCH is the winner at DLR. I don't even want to bother with DLH. It just does NOTHING for me. Maybe after the refurbishment...but as it stands, it's old, far away from everything, and I hate its layout.

09-18-2009, 05:36 PM
Hello There
Next week the Villas at the Grand Californian are opening. These are DVC rooms. For a family of 5 you might want to consider seeing about staying on one of these. Otherwise, GC is a great choice.

09-22-2009, 04:14 PM
I agree with Grand Cal- or the Grand Cal Villas if you can get in (they are just opening). The convenience of having the DCA enterance on property is the biggest reason- but it's also such a nice place. They have a great pool and the Storytellers Cafe has an awesome character breakfast with Kenai and Koda and Chip and Dale.

09-23-2009, 05:18 PM
Storyteller's Cafe IS great! They also have a good dinner buffet (as well as an a la carte menu). The BEST part about it is, you can WALK UP without an ADR...pretty much anytime! Food and sevice here are excellent. :thumbsup::thumbsup: