Our Turkey Day was a bit different again in 2016. We celebrated it the previous year on a Disney Cruise ship, and I fell in love with doing Thanksgiving the Disney way. Why you ask? Because everything gets done FOR you! No mess in the kitchen! No running to the store because someone forgot to buy the cranberries! No yelling because the floor is still not vacuumed! No moving furniture, no prepping, no clean up… just real holiday bliss!
Thanksgiving at the Grand Californian’s Storytellers Cafe
That’s the way every holiday should be done. And while we weren’t on a Disney Cruise this year, I wanted the same happy day. So we did the next best thing: We went to Disneyland! But we didn’t fight the crowds inside the park, we celebrated at the Grand Californian Resort, one of the Disney hotel properties that is part of the Disneyland resort.
And the setting there is not just perfect for Thanksgiving, we also got a visit from Thanksgiving-themed characters! Chip and Dale, Pluto, as well as some of the Brothers Bear and Br’er Bear came to say hi and happy Thanksgiving. The nice thing about character dining is that you don’t have to stand in line, take your picture real quick, and rush away to make room for the next person in line. Chip took all the time in the world to goof around with us, take a picture, take another picture, dance with Christopher, and goof around some more. It was really awesome!
Proper Thanksgiving Ambiance
Disney’s Grand Californian offered a special Thanksgiving character buffet at the hotel’s Storytellers Cafe. The setting is beautiful, like a modern log cabin with a fireplace in the middle of the dining room. And of course Disney leaves out no details, to include chairs that look like trees, and booths that feature Gold Rush themes.
The Main Dishes
The buffet is all you can eat and features classic Thanksgiving food, including mixed fall greens, pasta salad with Brussels sprouts and butternut squash, green beans and other mixed vegetables, roasted turkey with gravy and cranberry sauce, candied yams with toasted marshmallows, and really exquisite sourdough bread stuffing with mushrooms and fresh herbs.
Now food is another story for Christopher. If you also have a picky eater, fret not. Even though there was no special buffet section for kids, I nicely asked one of the staff if something could be done, and they brought out chicken tenders and Mac and Cheese for him right away. There’s your Disney service! And I didn’t even have to ask to only be charged for a child; they changed that automatically on my check. And everyone was happy!
The dessert selections were pretty much unbeatable and everything was delicious. We indulged in sweet potato bread pudding, pumpkin and pecan pies, cake pops, little brownie bites. And if you don’t like turkey, there’s also prime rib, chicken, and salmon.
For the 2016 Thanksgiving at the Grand Californian, pricing was as follows:
Adults are $65
Children are $25
After Dinner Entertainment
The nice thing is that when you are at a Disney Resort, your fun isn’t over when dinner is over. You’re at a resort!! So we made this day another one of our “Vacation Days.” The Grand Californian offers kids a treasure hunt through the property, for which they’ll earn a special Disney cookie. And during the holidays, this hotel is just so beautifully decorated with a huge Christmas tree. Santa Clause was there for picture taking, Christmas carolers performed, a giant ginger bread house featured hidden Mickeys we were challenged to find, and there was a kids corner with rocking chairs to watch Disney movies, and a corner for adults with a nice, big, warm fireplace. It was SO relaxing!