It used to be that Las Vegas was Disneyland for adults. But on a second look, Disneyland — located in Anaheim, about 30 miles south of Los Angeles — has really begun to cater to adults. The theme park — which is made up of Disneyland and California Adventure — also features a sophisticated, pedestrian-friendly retail and dining district; luxury accommodations and a Balinese spa; award-winning restaurants; lounges and bars; and opening this month, a new light show called “World of Color” that is on par with the fountain show at the Bellagio.
WHERE TO STAY
Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa — the only AAA Four-Diamond hotel in North Orange County — is a beautiful, expertly run hotel with a theme and architectural style reminiscent of the California Arts & Crafts era at the turn of the 20th century.
Located in the center of the Disneyland Resort and in easy walking distance to both theme parks, the hotel offers the best accommodations and amenities at Disneyland.
A few things that you might not expect: first, many rooms offer great views of California Adventure and Downtown Disney, both of which are lively and lighted at night. Perks, such as a state-of-the-art gym, a bar with a grand fireplace — the Hearthstone Lounge — that serves adult beverages at night, and an award-winning restaurant, Napa Rose, which features wine country cuisine, also employs expert sommeliers to help guests make selections from a vast collection of California wines.
What most visitors don’t realize is that the Grand Californian also has a full-service Balinese spa — the Mandara Spa & Health Club — that caters to adults, as well as teens. The immaculately clean spa was nothing short of stellar in terms of service, staff and offerings.
Other perks: the Grand Californian offers guests VIP access via a private entrance to Disney’s California Adventure park; this is worth noting if you plan to take in the park’s new light show.
For adults traveling with kids, the hotel exclusively offers guests access to Pinocchio’s Workshop, a licensed facility that provides on-site care services for children 5 to 12 years of age from 5 p.m. to midnight. Note: There is a fee.
Also, the hotel hosts a story time in the main lobby at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. — for both the young and young at heart.
And lastly, the hotel has three pools: the Fountain Pool, a quiet escape for adults; the Redwood Pool and slide, for active guests; and a Mickey Mouse-themed pool for kids.
WHAT TO DO
For entertainment, plan your evening around catching the new nighttime water show, “World of Color,” a spectacular mix of 1,200 water fountains, kaleidoscopic colors, music, fire, lasers and larger-than-life digital projection to bring Disney and Disney-Pixar animation to life.
Located near the Mickey Mouse Ferris wheel at California Adventure, the show — built on an acre in the Paradise Bay lagoon — lasts 25 minutes and features Disney classics, such as “Finding Nemo,” “Toy Story,” “The Little Mermaid” and “The Lion King.”
If you go
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa: 1600 S. Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, 92802; (714) 956-MICKEY (6425); disneyland.disney.go.com. The hotel has 948 guest rooms, which includes 44 guest suites. The hotel provides daily newspaper delivery, in-room Internet access, self-parking and local telephone calls. Available by request at time of booking are family-friendly rooms with bunk beds. For added adventure, sleeping bags with floor pads are also available upon request. All rooms also come with a flat-screen TV with Disney channel and ESPN. Standard perks include 24-hour room service, high-speed Internet access, comfy robes, in-room safe and dual-line phones with voice mail and disabled-accessible options. Room rates, depending on the season, range from $265 to $500 a night. Through Sept. 1, savings options include up to 40 percent off the room rates at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa; a two-night minimum stay is required.