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Grand Californian Finally Has a Spa Again

August 18, 2021

A DVC hotel just remembered that it has Spa in its name. So I’ll bring you up to speed on that, some restaurants, the new Disney Cruise Line rules, and more.

DVC Availability

I’ll start with something a bit random but vital for DVC members. Have you spent time daydreaming about Walt Disney World on/around October 1st?

I know that I have, which is why I have a reservation for that night. However, I never booked an entire trip around it because DVC occupancy rates were near capacity.

Well, circumstances have changed. So I cannot promise or guarantee you anything here. What I can say is that we were debating being spontaneous today.

We heard from a friend that cancellation numbers at Disney hotels had soared recently due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Central Florida.

So, we checked and were shocked to find that several dates during the last week of September and early October were available.

If we hadn’t just brought home a kitten named Koko, I probably would have booked a week. I had the DVC Rental Store reservation screen pulled up and everything.

Those of you who didn’t get the nights you wanted this Fall and Winter should check again. There’s more availability than you might expect.

The Grand Californian Has a Spa Again

Photo courtesy the Disney Company

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa has been missing something vital since it reopened…and even before that.

In July of 2019, Mandara Spa closed, leaving the hotel without its titular spa.

Well, it took a couple of years, but the replacement will arrive in September. The hotel is now taking reservations for Tenaya Stone Spa.

Disney promises that this 6,000-square-foot boutique will delight the senses while providing a loving tribute to indigenous cultures in California.

When you explore this facility, you’ll receive one wonderful surprise. In the center of the facility, you’ll discover an authentic Tenaya Stone donated by a Miwok Elder.

DVC Restaurant News

Photo courtesy the Disney Company

I’ve got three restaurant tidbits for you this time.

For starters, ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort just warmed the hearts of many Disney fans. The restaurant restored its original dinner menu!

Yes, that shrimp casserole monstrosity is gone for good. Similarly, the kielbasa sausage and roasted chicken are no longer part of the skillet.

Disney has swapped in three other components instead. Now, each skillet includes grilled chicken and peeled shrimp.

The news isn’t all good, though. Those decadent cheddar-bacon biscuits aren’t a part of the menu anymore. Ah well. That’s probably better for my arteries.

At Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Beaches & Cream’s on-again, off-again saga with the pick-up window is on-again.

You may recall that after the restaurant reopened, Disney closed the Ice Cream Window last December.

For a time, guests could purchase some of the ice cream treats at Martha’s Vineyard instead.

Now, the Ice Cream Window is back in operation again. I don’t have any scoop on what’s causing these changes, though.

The other restaurant story involves the triumphant return of Boma – Flavors of Africa.

Yes, the staple of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge will reopen on August 20th. That’s not the shocker, though.

Boma will return in its regular form…as a buffet. I don’t know whether cast members will put the food on the plates or what, but buffet-style is the plan.

The Disney Cruise Line Update

Disney Wish Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy the Disney Company

Let’s start with the good news. The Disney Fantasy will begin sailing on September 11th.

Disney Cruise Line (DCL) has performed a few more itinerary modifications and one cancellation.

Most of the changes involved switches from seven to four nights. Disney wants shorter cruises for the time being, which is understandable.

After all, a Carnival cruise ship just experienced a minor COVID-19 outbreak. So, slow-playing the situation makes the most sense.

Still, let’s not bury the lede. Sailing is almost back!

DCL did announce some new guidelines, ones that mainly apply to guests on longer cruises.

You must take and pass a PCR COVID-19 test before you exit the ship on the final day.

Yes, on Debarkation Day, Disney will charge $65 per guest to your folio for all guests aged 12 and up, with anyone younger than that getting a free test. Each party member must pass the test.

DCL “strongly encourages” all guests to be fully vaccinated before the trip. The company hasn’t required it yet, though.

However, a recent court ruling in favor of a different cruise line gives Disney the right to add this policy if so inclined. So, we’re in wait-and-see mode on that part.

For more information and to book your next Disney Vacation, head over and check out our Confirmed Reservations that can save you up to 65% off regular Disney room rates! Let our friendly team of Reservation Specialists help you make this turn your Disney dreams into reality.

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