Grand Californian vs Disneyland Hotel

High view of the dark and cozy national park lodge inspired Grand Californian hotel lobby

It’s time for a home resort showdown. Choosing a Disney Vacation Club home resort can be a strategic move for some Members. There are certain reasons you may need to choose one resort over another and we’ll dive into that below. If you’re flexible with the time of year you visit and like to enjoy different home resorts, this might not be as important for you. Budget plays a large role, too. Then there’s your preference on theming, amenities and perks. The home resort booking advantage can be the detail that determines if you get the stay you want or not. If you’re just choosing between two home resorts, like the Grand Californian vs Disneyland Hotel, that narrows things down a bit but can still be tough to decide on.

Disneyland Resort just has these two Disney Vacation Club properties to choose from for those interested in owning at the happiest place on earth. Even between these two, there are major differences. Below we’re highlighting some things you need to know when deciding where to buy, or add on points, between the Grand Californian and Disneyland Hotel.

Buying DVC at Grand Californian vs Disneyland Hotel

Let’s weigh some main differences between the only two DVC resorts at Disneyland resort.

Comparing DVC Resort Themes and Aesthetic

There is so much to love about each of these properties like their stunning interiors and fun pools.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa opened in 2001 with a Craftsman-style theme and an impressive commitment to stone and woodwork. The Disney Vacation Club offering at the resort opened nine years later as The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel in 2009. The tall lobby ceilings greet guests with warm and welcoming stained glass lamps adding some color throughout the grounds. The fireplace in the lobby is a favorite spot among guests as cozy chairs help set the tone of relaxation.

The Villas at Disneyland Hotel Disney Vacation Club addition opens in 2023. The original Disneyland Hotel first opened in 1955. The current version of this hotel is much different than what originally opened with new buildings added over the years. The first three towers are themed to Disneyland lands. The Disneyland DVC tower is themed to Disney animation.

The Villas at Disneyland Hotel are filled with color and characters. The lobby of the DVC building is decorated with a one of a kind wall mural that splashes bright hues of magic on the walls. The DVC rooms here have thoughtful inclusions like second vanities.

Grand Californian vs Disneyland Hotel FeaturesThe Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian HotelThe Villas at Disneyland Hotel
Year the resort opened20011955
Year the Disney Vacation Club property debuted20092023
Special entrance to theme parkYes, entrance to Disney California AdventureNo but able to use Grand Californian entrance
Fees when stayingNothing outside of annual duesAdditional $2.73 per point transient tax in 2023
Free parking for DVC Members point staysYesNot confirmed
ThemingCraftsman-style, lots of wood and stoneModern and colorful, lots of character art
Number of DVC roomsless than 100more than 300
Theme Park ViewSome have views of Disney California AdventureMostly other buildings between the DVC tower and parks
Deed expiration20602074

How long is each DVC contract?

Each Disney Vacation Club home resort has a different contract end date. Contracts at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel expire on January 31st, 2060.

Considering it’s brand new, Members who buy at Disneyland Hotel will have a longer contract length. Contracts at The Villas at Disneyland Hotel expire on January 31st, 2074.

DVC Resale Grand Californian vs Disneyland Hotel Direct Price

Disney is known for being pricey. Especially over the last few years as prices have gotten out of reach for many potential visitors. Disney Vacation Club can make deluxe tier hotel stays more affordable and DVC resale does an even better job at that. There’s no denying that DVC resale, can provide access to the Disney timeshare at the best possible rates though savings vary greatly by resort.

In the early years, there won’t be many, if any, DVC resale contracts available at The Villas at Disneyland Hotel because it’s a new property. Resale is just buying another Member’s contract instead of buying from Disney Vacation Club directly. DVC resale contracts at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel are listed regularly though you won’t find as many as other resorts.

When it comes to pricing the Grand Californian vs Disneyland Hotel, it gets a little tricky. The Villas at Disneyland Hotel has some uncommon additional fees Members will pay each stay. There is a transient tax of $2.73 per point per stay. This is the 2023 rate and it’s possible this will go up over time. That means if you stayed on 100 points, you’d have to pay an extra $273 in 2023. Yes, this is on top of using your points and, no, there isn’t a way around it.

Official information from Disney: “For all stays at The Villas at Disneyland Hotel, the City of Anaheim imposes a nightly transient occupancy tax based upon the number of Vacation Points required for the stay. This tax must be paid by check-out. The amount of the tax will vary from year to year, and the tax rate is subject to change. This information is also available under “Booking Guidelines” which is found in the “Plan Vacation” tab on DisneyVacationClub.com.”

Image from Disneyland website

Do DVC Members get free parking at The Villas at Disneyland Hotel?

There is some conflicting information regarding paying for parking when staying on points at Disneyland Hotel. A point chart for The Villas at Disneyland Hotel says this on the bottom: A per vehicle parking fee may apply to all stays at this resort. 

The planDisney panel has shared this in June of 2023: It has not been formally announced if parking will be complimentary for DVC Members using Points to stay at The Villas at Disneyland Hotel. However, the Cast Member verified that, at this time, the plan is for no charge to self-park for these Members. This could change in the future, so I would be sure to check a bit closer to when the Villas open in September.

That doesn’t feel like a solid answer. Potentially having to pay for parking at your own DVC resort is a major downside for those driving to the resort or renting a car on their stay. Parking rates for hotel guests at Disneyland Resort hotels are as follows:

  • Self parking: $35 plus tax per night per vehicle
  • Valet parking: $65 plus tax per night per vehicle
  • Oversized vehicle parking: $40 plus tax per night per vehicle

Grand Californian DVC Resale

DVC resale doesn’t always come with all of the perks that buying direct might. However, if you aren’t planning to buy at least 150 points from Disney directly, you won’t have access to these perks anyway. This includes things like shopping and dining discounts and special events that may or may not have an additional cost.

Another DVC perk is being able to use your points to stay at other DVC resorts. When you buy DVC resale at certain newer resorts, basically Disney’s Riviera Resort and later, you won’t be able to use your points to stay at other resorts. However with DVC resale at the first fourteen DVC resorts, including The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, Members are able to use their points to stay at any of those original fourteen.

When comparing the Grand Californian vs Disneyland Hotel pricing, it’s important to note that Members staying on points at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel can park up to two vehicles with no parking fees. Take a look at our Grand Californian DVC listings to get an idea for up to date pricing and availability.

Image from Disneyland website

Which has the best amenities: Grand Californian or Disneyland Hotel?

If pool days or resort days are your thing, the amenities at a DVC property play an important role in choosing your home resort. Both the Grand Californian and Disneyland Hotel have exciting, themed pools with slides. The Disneyland DVC tower brings with it a new pool that looks like an artists’s palette from overhead.

The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel has something special that you won’t find over at Disneyland Hotel. The spa at the Grand Californian was renovated and reopened as The Tenaya Stone Spa in 2021. 

Which resort is the closest to Disneyland?

Guests of The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel are able to use a special entrance to enter Disney California Adventure. The planDisney panel has also confirmed that if you are staying at Disneyland Hotel you can use the Grand Californian entrance to enter the park as well.

Disneyland Hotel is very close to the parks but does require additional walking compared to the Grand Californian. There is a monorail station at Downtown Disney that’s right next to Disneyland Hotel. Note that this will take you into the park but into Tomorrowland. If you’re traditional and like to enter the park from the front, the monorail might not be as much of a draw or something you would only use sometimes. In order to get to the parks from Disneyland Hotel, guests need to travel through Downtown Disney to get to the esplanade.

How many DVC rooms at Grand Californian vs Disneyland Hotel?

The home resort booking advantage can be very helpful in booking the stay you want. When you are a DVC Member booking your trip on points, you have access to book eleven months out at your home resort. Those eligible to book at other resorts can do so seven months out. It seems that there are less than one hundred Disney Vacation Club units at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. Having this spot as your home resort can be the reason you’re able to book the stays you want. The Villas at Disneyland Hotel DVC tower has more than 300 rooms. Time will tell if the home resort booking advantage will be as valuable here or if the greater capacity meets Member demand more fully.

DVC Resale Experts Can Help

DVC Resale Experts is a licensed real estate broker with a team that specializes in resale DVC. Whether you’re adding on points, buying or selling Disney Vacation Club, the Experts can help you find the right price to place a bid with or list your contract for. Our independent, licensed real estate agents are former Disney Vacation Club Guides. They have decades of pixie dusted experience selling DVC and take pride in providing excellent service to their clients. The Experts have seen it all and are happy to answer your questions throughout the process. If you have additional questions regarding the Grand Californian vs Disneyland Hotel, don’t hesitate to ask.

DVC resale prices can pleasantly surprise potential members. See all of our resale DVC listings for a look at real time availability and pricing. If you don’t see the contract you’re wishing for, join the DVC Resale Experts Buyer Wish List. Then you will know when one magically appears on the market. Ready to sell DVC? Get in touch for a complimentary valuation of your specific contract today.

Disney Blogger Nicole and Disney CEO Bob Iger

Sparkly Nicole

Nicole is a native Floridian who attended the University of Central Florida and decided to call the land of theme parks home. She’s been sharing magical tips, tricks and Orlando travel and tourism favorites online for over a decade.

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