Have an Amazing Stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

If casual luxury is what you look for in a resort, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is the place for you.  This stunning Craftsman-style hotel is the home of the Disneyland Resort’s premier accommodations.  Wonderful service, beautiful rooms, gorgeous public spaces and convenient access to the Disney parks all make Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa special.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The lobby of the hotel will take your breath away…

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

You will feel as though you have been transported to a stunning respite in Northern California and at certain times during the day, Guests are treated to live music in the lobby.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The seating near the huge fireplace is a wonderful spot to relax before or after a day of touring the Disneyland parks.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The newly refurbished pools are extremely inviting.  Comfortable, cushioned lounge chairs entice you to linger by the pool.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

There is even a fun water slide that impresses kids and adults.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The newly redecorated cabanas are a wonderful spot to rest in your own private paradise.  Cozy furniture, tv, fridge, and ceiling fan make then the perfect place to spend the day.  The shade is often very welcome on a sunny Southern California day as well.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Think about renting a cabana on your arrival day – you then have space to relax and enjoy the pool area even if you are too early to check into your room.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Disney has done a beautiful job refurbishing Guest Rooms at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa.  They have a fresh look – with a lot more light and wonderful amenities.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

You will no longer have to fight with your family for who gets the electric plug for your devices… Disney has thought of everything and has increased electric and usb plugs.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The room is so pretty and comfortable.  I want to get right into that bed!

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

There are even some surprises if you look closely around the room.  Hi Chip!

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The beds are on higher risers and you can place your suitcases underneath the beds, very similar to what Disney offers on their cruise ships.  This is a great space-saver.


The couch is a nice spot to hang out with the family during the day, but it has a secret…

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

It easily folds down into a super-cute single bed.  I love the garden theme.


A small but functional desk space with more plugs!

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

This counter holds a Keurig coffee maker and the mini fridge is below.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The bathroom is spacious with a modern double sink located outside of the toilet/shower area. This is a great design that allows several people to get ready for the day (or bed) at once.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The new trend is to refurbish the hotel bathrooms to have only large showers and no tubs.  The space is beautiful and has modern shower heads and rain showers.  If you would like a tub, please make a request because the majority of the resort rooms with have these showers.  House Keeping will be able to bring a tub insert that would work for bathing small children if you get a shower-only room and it isn’t working for you.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

This gorgeous hotel is the perfect place to stay while visiting the Disneyland Resort.  In addition to the beautiful look and feel of the resort, there are benefits to staying here.

If you are looking for fine dining, the amazing Napa Rose is located right in the hotel (if you don’t have a reservation for the dining room, you can get the same delicious menu in the lounge).  Character dining is found at Storytellers Cafe and casual Quick Service dining is available at Whitewater Snacks.

There is a full-service Mandara Spa inside the hotel which is a great place to unwind.

Last, but not least, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is the only resort located *inside* a Disney Park – Disney’s California Adventure park.  Obviously, it is very convenient to walk to the parks and there is even a special entrance for Guests from the Grand Californian to Disney’s California Adventure park.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is a very special property and any stay here is bound to be a great one.  What is your favorite Disney resort?

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

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Special Halloween Sweets at the Disney Parks

One of the best things about visiting the Disney Parks at various times of the year are the seasonal treats they offer.  The special Halloween sweets at the Disney Parks are so creative… not to mention delicious!

I don’t hide the fact that I love Disney food, so searching for special holiday and seasonal snacks is one of my favorite things to do at the Disney Parks.  I am always amazed at ingenious ways they decorate the sweets – and it inspires me to be more creative when I cook at home.

Let’s take a look!
Halloween Sweets at the Disney Parks

A tempting “poison” caramel apple (Snow White)

Halloween Sweets at the Disney Parks

Fun Jack Skellington Caramel Apple

Halloween Sweets at the Disney Parks

A Mickey Mouse Ghost Caramel Apple – look at all of that white chocolate.  Mmmm.

Halloween Sweets at the Disney Parks

A Smiling Mickey Mouse Jack-o-Lantern Caramel Apple

Halloween Sweets at the Disney Parks

A pretty Pumpkin Candy Cupcake

Halloween Sweets at the Disney Parks

Candy Corn Cupcake

Halloween Sweets at the Disney Parks

Clever Mummy Cupcake (with Mickey Ears!)

Halloween Sweets at the Disney Parks

Pumpkin Cupcake (with Mickey Ears)

Halloween Sweets at the Disney Parks

Jack-o-Lantern Marshmallow Pop.  I love all the different expressions!

Halloween Sweets at the Disney Parks

Mickey Mummy Rice Krispie Pop

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A look at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom is a wonderful addition to any fall getaway at Walt Disney World.  On party nights, the park closes early to day guests and the extra fun begins for party ticket-holders.  Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a separately ticketed event.


Not So Scary

The atmosphere in the park is amazing and brings a festive “spooky-but-not-scary” vibe to the Magic Kingdom.   As soon as you step through the entrance gates, you know that the evening is going to be full of fun!

Tip:  Although the party officially begins at 7pm, Disney has historically allowed party guests to enter the park as early as 4pm – which can be great for families who don’t want to use up a day of their park admission.  Get in early, enjoy some attractions and get ready for the party to begin. Often, you will be able to line up for the popular character meet-and-greets prior to 7pm.  This is essential to getting the most out of your evening.  Those party hours are precious!

Be sure to get a party wristband as you enter the park or from several marked locations inside the park if you have been touring during the day.  After 7pm, Cast Members will be ushering any guests without wristbands out of the park.


Kingdom Planners Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Pumpkin Train Station


Kingdom Planners Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Ghost


One of the highlights of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is the chance to meet popular – but rarely seen Characters – in the park.  These meet and greets can get very long lines, so it is best to pick your must-do and see that Character first.  You may be able to get a second favorite in, but unless you want to spend your entire party waiting to meet Characters (which is totally fine!), wait until the end of the party to see some of the others on your list.

This year, some of the most popular and most rare Character greetings are:


Seven Dwarfs

Queen of Hearts with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum

Cruella DeVill


Jack and Sally


Kingdom Planners Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Queen of Hearts


Another fun event, especially for the little ones, is the Monstrous Scream-o-Ween Ball.  It is so special to be able to dance with some of your favorite Characters.

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Mickey’s Boo to You! Halloween Parade at the Magic Kingdom

If you are visiting Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom during Halloween time, attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a must-do!  One of the featured events during the party is Mickey’s Boo To You! Halloween Parade and it is not-to-be-missed.

Boo to You


Don’t be late to the parade – you will want to be able to see the very beginning of the parade for a glimpse of the Headless Horseman.  Unfortunately, the night we attended had been wet and rainy, so for safety’s sake, the Horeseman didn’t ride.




Rainy night aside – the parade was so much fun!  Everyone was in good spirits...   and we always love seeing our favorite classic Characters.








Of course, we were expecting to see some of the best Disney villains, and we were not disappointed.  First, Hook and Smee  have taken Wendy and the Lost Boys hostage…




…and then we see that Captain Jack Sparrow is enjoying his Pirate spoils.




Things get very spooky with these grave-digging butlers making their appearance.  They do an amazing dance and bang, clank and drag their shovels on the pavement… making sparks shoot from the ground!




More Haunted Mansion love is felt as the tombstones pass and the dancing party ghosts twirl on by.












After the creepy (but really beautiful) ghosts move down the street, we are treated to a more colorful harvest scene.






Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without candy, so sugary treats get top billing in this parade as well.  Take a deep breath in when these floats drive by and you may smell the sweet scent of the treats.




One of the great things about attending the special holiday parties is that you often have the chance to have rare Character sightings.  Ralph and Vanellope ride with the candy floats and we get to see fun villains like Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas  and the hyenas from The Lion King (and as my kids would want me to mention… the Lion Guard as well!)






Mickey’s Boo To You! Halloween Parade is a great event to attend during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  Usually it is performed twice during the party and if you can wait, the second parade is often less crowded.  However, you never know, you may want to watch it twice!

What is your favorite part of  Mickey’s Boo To You! Parade?



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Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom

I absolutely adore the evening spectaculars at each of the Disney Parks and the new Happily Ever After Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom is one of my all-time favorites.  It is understandably very popular, and the best way to get a great viewing spot is by booking the Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party.  You not only get a wonderful spot to see the show, but you can also indulge in some fantastic treats.

Happily Ever After Dessert Party

The Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party is located at the Tomorrowland Terrace.  You can purchase a spot with seating at the Terrace, or for a few dollars less, a reserved garden viewing spot in front of the castle (no seating).  For either package, the treats are located at the Tomorrowland Terrace and you can sit at tables while you enjoy your desserts.


The Terrace is an open-air space, so no air-conditioning, but it is still a comfortable place to relax prior to the evening’s entertainment.

On to the sweets…


I loved how these weren’t the same old desserts that you can see at many of the Disney restaurant buffets. These were original and nicely themed to coordinate with the Fireworks show we were about to see.

Here are some of the delights that were displayed on a buffet table…





I definitely got my money’s worth in chocolate covered strawberries alone!  I think I must have had 8 or (maybe) 10!  The Cast Members were wonderful and kept everything well stocked.  You didn’t have to worry that you wouldn’t have your fill of your favorite treat.

There was also a station with chocolate “fondue”.  It is fun to dip the different snacks into the chocolate sauce.


Also, there was a Cast Member serving bowls of vanilla ice cream…


… with toppings that could go on your ice cream or you could use the sprinkles to “decorate your own” cupcake.  I *might* have also poured my chocolate fondue sauce on top of my ice cream for a real sundae treat.


For a savory snack, cheese cubes and a fruit plate was also available.


Since this is the Magic Kingdom, there were no alcoholic beverages, but the presentation of the sparkling cider was very fancy.


There was also coffee, tea, hot cocoa, lemonade, milk and water.


After having as many sweets as possible, I decided it was time to take my spot on the lawn in the Garden Viewing area.  A Cast Member will escort you from the Tomorrowland Terrace down to the viewing area whenever you are ready.

I loved this spot on the lawn because it has a fantastic view of the Castle facade.  Without giving too much away, I just have to say that the projections on the front of Cinderella Castle will take your breath away.  So, having a great view of the Castle is very important for the show – it is not just about the Fireworks in the sky.  However, if chair seating is important to you, I definitely recommend the Terrace seating as well.



The Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party is a wonderful way to cap off your day at the Magic Kingdom.  No stress about getting a great viewing spot for the show plus delicious desserts to enjoy.  You can’t go wrong if you book the Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party.  What is your favorite Walt Disney World dessert party?

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