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Date Nite at Disneyland: Grand Californian Hotel offers wandering walks, a sensual spa, or quiet cozy comfort

Date Nite at Disneyland: Grand Californian Hotel offers wandering walks, a sensual spa, or quiet cozy comfort

Especially in the off season, there is so much to love about the Grand Californian. It’s both sweeping and intimate, relaxing and exciting, upscale and laidback – a trifecta of combinations that make it a great date spot.

Slowed Pace or Game of Chase

If you’ve got the cash or are visiting for a special occasion date, start with a spa visit. The hotel’s Mandara spa effectively provides a relaxing (if comically overpriced) experience in a spotless environment. They even offer couples’ massages, which is a good way to dip your toe in the spa water if you’ve never been baptized there before. A hotel spa is also perfect for first-timers, as it’s filled with non-regulars by definition and focused specifically on hospitality and on welcoming newcomers.

Even if you don’t spa, linger near Mandara anyway and benefit from the calming aromatherapy scents that waft into the nearby air.

If you prefer your fun to be of the clothes-on variety, you’re still in luck. Part of the fun of hotel dates is the sneaking around, and the Grand Californian is a fabulous place for that! Some favorite semi-off-limits places to slip into: 1) The pool, even if you’re not going to swim, because the loungers are cozy, and the water is vacation-y, and you can see stars at night. 2) The ballrooms, where the peckish can find the occasional free cookies left out after meetings. 3) The concierge lounge on the 6th floor. This destination is for advanced sneakers only – attempt at your own risk for the rewards of free food and drink, views of the parks, and a congratulatory selfie.

Or, if you’d rather play by the rules (and honestly, we would 99% of the time), there are some lovely hallways and walkways both inside and outside where you can have fun exploring at the Grand Californian .

Go beyond the lobby, as pretty as it is. May we suggest a spontaneous, outdoor slow dance under the majestic pines of the circular Brisa courtyard?

A Rose by Any Other Name

You’re going to be famished after all your date-night frolicking (unless you scored a free cookie). Where to eat? Let’s talk about Napa Rose. It’s…fine. We’re not going to say don’t go there, because it technically does have a lot of the usual date night boxes checked, and it seems like an obvious choice. However, because the price is so high and the ambiance is so lacking and the service is so spotty, we’re going to suggest that you hedge your bets by eating in the bar. There you’ll get the full menu if you want it, you’ll get dimmer lighting and comfy chairs, and you’ll be able to manage your expectations. Because that’s what a romantic night is all about, right? Bracing yourself for disappointment?

If you eat in the dining room, bring your sunglasses. It is this bright, even when it’s all the way dark outside. Because what says “romance” like blinding, overhead lighting?

On second thought, maybe just hit Storytellers for their amazing cheesecake and call it good.

Comfy, Cozy

Do like the original datenighters and make your date night a late night at the Grand Californian. While you’re waiting for the lobby to clear, enjoy the flickers. As in most deluxe Disney digs, classic cartoons play in an out-of-the-way corner and their silly gags hold up pretty well these days. Soon the lobby fireplace and all its rocking chairs will be occupied by only a few wine-sipping hermits. Settle in near the warmth of the flames and chat with your date over a drink from the adjacent Hearthstone lounge. You can also sneak around back and enjoy the backside of fire – outdoors – where you’ll find respite from the racing, arrhythmic piano in the grand lobby (what is that guy’s perpetual hurry?). Beware the blue haze of cigar smoke clouding the patio, as this is a favorite spot for those lighting up stogies. On the plus side, you may spy some hotel matches to nab for your collection.

The later in the night, the quieter you’ll find the grand fireplace. It’s a nice place to lean in close and whisper to your date.

Photo credit: Fireplace by Michaela Hansen of toursdepartingdaily.com.


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Topics: Disney, Entertainment, MoviesTags: , , , , , , , ,

Disney has combined “Frozen” and emoji in a savvy new short featuring Anna, Elsa, Olaf and the rest of the film’s cast retelling the story via a mobile phone, including text threads, lock screens, photo galleries and more.

Disney plans to retell many of its popular stories in this amusing new “Disney As Told By Emoji” video series, with “Tangled” up next.


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Topics: Disney, Disney Springs, Downtown Disney, Entertainment, Food, Walt Disney WorldTags: ,

As part of the transition from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs, the Planet Hollywood restaurant is becoming a “four-story stargazing observatory” called Planet Hollywood Observatory.

Set to debut in spring 2016, the reimagined Planet Hollywood Observatory will feature a newly-expanded outdoor terrace and bar, a refreshed menu, new merchandise, and celebrity partnerships. The new outdoor terrace and outdoor bar will be called Stargazers, featuring live entertainment with music inside via DJ performances.

Renovations will begin early next year, transforming the exterior into a turn-of-the-century design aesthetic while updating the interior with spherical planet-shaped lighting fixtures. A rendering was released today depicting what the outside of the restaurant will look like when complete.


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Sorcerer Hat time lapse tribute as former Walt Disney World icon permanently comes down at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Sorcerer Hat time lapse tribute as former Walt Disney World icon permanently comes down at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

After nearly two months of removal piece-by-piece, the giant Sorcerer Mickey Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is finally no more, revealing the Great Movie Ride Chinese Theater facade behind it in clear view.

The hat was added as part of the 100 Years of Magic celebration around 15 years ago and has since remained as the park’s primary icon. But as its final pieces were removed this week, Walt Disney World guests got the first glimpse of what the park looked like back when it first opened.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been capturing video of its reveal to create a fun time lapse showing just what it looked like at each step along the way until it was finally gone just a couple days ago. Watch below to see how this once bright blue, bold structure disappeared.


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Topics: Disney, Entertainment, Magic Kingdom, Theme Parks, Walt Disney WorldTags: , , , , ,

Walt Disney World has released an update on the ongoing Avatar Land project, currently under construction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

With new artwork and a short video, bioluminescent plants are revealed, interacting with footsteps and glowing in darkened surroundings, sure to bring striking visuals at night.

Disney is working on creating floating mountains over the park. Imagineer Joe Rohde is seen in the above video along with director Jim Cameron and producer Jon Landau in the Imagineering office in Glendale, California.

Careful eyes will spot a building layout of some sort in the background of one of the video shots as well, though the wording above it is blurred:

The World of Pandora is scheduled to open at Walt Disney World in 2017.


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