Clarification on Grand Californian DCA Entrance

I know that only guests of the Grand Californian can use the DCA entrance until 11am. I have also read that you can’t enter the Grand Californian from the street anymore to cut through to Downtown Disney. So here is my question. We are staying at Paradise Pier and my DS will nap in the early afternoon. When we are entering the park again around 4pm can I walk across the street to the Grand Californian and enter DCA that way since it is after 11am? Or will I still have to walk around?

I hope that made sense :joy:

They will not let through to go IN that way (regardless of time of day) unless you have a Dining reservation at GCH. However when recently staying at the DLH and staying in the Frontier tower, we would often cut through GCH to back to the hotel.

The last trip, we stayed at the GCH and on our last day we took all our stuff out to our car and then head back into the hotel and we were not stopped to see if we were guests, so if you don’t mind chancing it, you could try. The worst they could say is no.

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We stayed at the Paradise Pier right after this change & every time we walked from our hotel towards GCH and didn’t appear to be moving along past, security would approach us to ask where we wanted to go & every time we were directed around to the Downtown Disney security stations (we went back for midday breaks so it didn’t really matter if it was before or after 11am). The first time we did try to show them our room keys in case being a Paradise Pier guest made a difference and it did not. So they do generally keep tabs on that intersection & limit the street entrance of the GCH to only GCH-bound guests/diners.

You could use the Downtown Disney security stations & then enter the Grand from the Downtown Disney side to use the DCA entrance & no one would stop you there, but I wouldn’t at all advise that bc you’ll do security 2x, once at Downtown Disney & again as you enter DCA from the Grand.

So short answer: certainly try as the intersection they monitor is on the way to the Downtown Disney security station, but be prepared to walk around. The walk isn’t long & you’re only back-tracking just a tiny bit, but we just find that Downtown Disney can get really really really crowded & much harder to navigate through so we prefer not to have to walk through it.

I was unfamiliar with this change; it sounds pretty drastic. You can’t even go in to admire the architecture anymore? And this is a real slap in the face of those staying at PP. After my stay there, I realized that PP was a “deluxe” in price only - this only continues to support my feelings.

Anyone can access the GCH still from the breezeway into the hotel from Downtown Disney (The Disney Dress Shop is right next to it). So if going to admire the beauty that is GCH, that is the entrance to use.

When they expanded the security perimeter from just the 2 parks & Esplanade to include Downtown Disney, that meant that the GCH got a 2nd security checkpoint at the hotel for those leaving it & going into Downtown Disney (plus they had an existing security checkpoint at the DCA entrance from the hotel) but due to limited space, it doesn’t take much for both to bottle-neck so they direct any one who isn’t a dining or a GCH hotel guest away from the front door to use the Downtown Disney security to enter the resort, and yes that includes the PP guests who do rather get the shaft. The only reason we loved our stay there is for the ability to watch WoC in our pjs from our theme-park view room. I’d much rather pay just a bit more for the theming & grounds of DLH.


I was aware of the change, but never really thought it through like you laid out here. It is finally sinking in. I think. With GCH being outside of security, and DTD being in, it seems it does take away some of the original advantage of using the GCH park entrance. If you’re already in DTD, not as big of a reason as before to go through GCH to get to CA.