Hearthstone Lounge Review
Hearthstone Lounge is the main bar in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland Resort in California. This bar & lounge has a large seating area serving drinks and appetizers, and you can also order from the lounge menu at a number of tables in the Grand Californian’s lobby. In this review, we’ll take a look at some things we recently ordered at Hearthstone Lounge, and thoughts on it as a place to decompress during a day in Disney California Adventure.
We’ve been to Hearthstone Lounge a number of times over the years, and in the past it has always been as a place to get drinks while engaged in a competitive session of Disneyland Drinking Debauchery (not really, but that’s the “cool” name we’ve given our Disneyland Resort Bar Crawl). In the past, Hearthstone Lounge has been a place to escape the heat for a midday drink (in the summer) or a place to warm up by the fireplace with a drink (in the winter).
On our recent visit, we decided to finally give the food on the lounge menu a try, which includes a number of small-plate options. Most of these are roughly the size of counter service entrees (perhaps slightly smaller) with prices to match. In large part, the experience was pretty comparable to the Hearthstone Lounge experience as a whole…
The ambiance at Hearthstone Lounge is relatively nice. It’s relaxed, yet has a well-appointed and classy vibe thanks to the Arts & Crafts design, high ceiling, detail work, and little flourishes.
The design is befitting of the Grand Californian itself, although lacking the grandiosity of the lobby or the elegance of Napa Rose.
It’s exactly what you’d expect from a lounge in the Grand Californian and the ambiance is enjoyable. It’s not the most memorable lounge and it certainly doesn’t have the fun-factor of Trader Sam’s, but it’s a solid option if you’re looking for something low-key.
Despite the pleasant ambiance, we usually skip the main lounge area at Hearthstone altogether, and instead opt to sit in the lobby of the Grand Californian. It’s a masterpiece of Imagineering–I could sit in there for hours just listening to the piano.
…Unfortunately, because locals like me have done exactly that (security changes are also a cause), access to the Grand Californian is now far more restricted than it used to be.
While it’s still possible for anyone to exit Disney California Adventure into the Grand Californian, it is not possible to re-enter the park through this entrance unless you’re a hotel guest. This makes Hearthstone Lounge, White Water Snacks, etc., in Grand Californian much more of a hassle for non-hotel guests.
With the security perimeter expanded to now encompass Downtown Disney, this may not seem like such a big deal. However, guests leaving the Grand Californian still have to go through a security checkpoint. It’s typically not too long, but you can expect this to add ~10 minutes of time to your day versus just re-entering Disney California Adventure directly from the hotel.
With logistics covered, let’s take a look at the food and drinks…
Hearthstone Lounge has a number of beers on tap, mostly varieties that you’d find scattered throughout Disney California Adventure, except all in one spot.
They also have the standard Generic Bar Menu, with a bunch of fruity, watered down drinks. Beyond that, bartenders can make a variety of different options, which is probably your best best unless you’re getting a beer.
Here’s the Margherita Pizzetta…with chicken. (Not sure why, but they asked whether we wanted chicken or pork on it.) Guy Selga, the real estate mogul who developed Selgaland Ranch, like this, noting that for the price it is the best cheap pizza option at Disneyland. (He still prefers Pizza Press, though.)
Next up is the sliders. We had these last week, and they were 2 wagyu sliders. The menu lists this as a trio of sliders now, with fried chicken, pastrami-burger, and pulled pork. Either the online menu is wrong, or the item changed.
Nevertheless, I thought the wagyu sliders were quite good, although they were playing fast and loose with the “wagyu” classification for the beef.
Finally, the Chicken Quesadilla. Sarah and I both thought this was pretty good, although the chicken to cheese ratio skewed a bit too far in the cheese direction. (I know, “too much cheese” is heresy.)
Overall, Hearthstone Lounge is a nice place to go for a beer and some light food. For what amounts to counter service prices, you’re getting a higher-quality meal in a relaxed environment. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about either the food or drink menu, and I’d certainly recommend Steakhouse 55 Lounge or Trader Sam’s over Hearthstone Lounge if you’re only going to one, but if you want an option that’s convenient to the Grand Californian, or you just like the relaxed-but-refined atmosphere of this Arts & Crafts style lounge, it’s a good choice.
If you’re preparing for a Disneyland trip, check out our other planning posts, including how to save money on Disneyland tickets, our Disney packing tips, tips for booking a hotel (off-site or on-site), where to dine, and a number of other things, check out our comprehensive Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide!
Have you ever been to Hearthstone Lounge? What did you order here? Did you enjoy your experience? Do you agree or disagree with our take on Hearthstone Lounge? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!
Ordered Breakfast at Stonehearth lounge. I was appalled the meals were delivered in a greasy break down cardboard box. $75 for 5 meals, 2 of which with kids meals. Made us feel like we ordered take out from another place and chose to eat it in that beautiful lounge. People will forget what they say but not how you made them feel. Lowest possible grade of customer service
I’m so sorry to hear that. It was a poor choice of the Food and Beverage Manager. The entire breakfast service no longer exists. The “to go” box service only lasted a week or so.
They open at 11:00 now, and have entirely new food and drink options.
I haven’t been to Hearthstone in ages and I really need to get back there. Do you guys prefer the Steakhouse 55 Lounge or the Napa Rose Lounge?
As fellow So Cal locals, the Wife & I have spent countless hours in the Hearthstone Lounge.
Very relaxing & very ‘Grand Californian’.
We had really bad service here a few years ago. It was odd because it was very un-Disney like. The waiter looked like he would rather be eating glue and half of our food never came out of the kitchen until we were ready to leave. We were comped that item at least. It was just a bizarre experience for being in one of the fancy schmancy hotels at Disneyland.
So if we eat lunch at Storyteller’s Cafe, we have to go back through Downtown Disney to get back into the parks? That’s too bad (and if that’s the case, I am going to cancel my reservations there–I thought it would be a quick detour during a California Adventure day, but I won’t do it if we can’t re-enter the park through the Grand Californian like we could before).
In the past if you show your receipt at the hotel entrance after you eat they would let you use that entrance. The exception to that rule is during Extra Magic Hour. You may want to double check. Either way going back through Downtown Disney is not that far.
Since last November, the policies on Grand Californian/DCA entry/exit have been constantly changing. I would not count on anything being consistent at this point. I think Disneyland management is testing various methods of security and crowd control, and this has been the result.
I wouldn’t change a dining reservation over it; the policy changes are an inconvenience, but they’re a relatively minor one in the grand scheme of things.
Erin – over the last couple of months (March/April), I’ve been able to use the hotel entrance/exit to DCA without any problems. I exited DCA on 2 occasions (once to eat at Storyteller’s and once to eat at White Water Snacks) and had no problem re-entering DCA using the hotel entrance. I didn’t even have to show a receipt. Sounds like this is a case of hit or miss.
When we were at the Grand Californian last year, we went to Hearthstone because, while beautiful, the lobby was so loud. Between the piano player and the multitude of guests milling about waiting until their rooms were ready, it was impossible to carry on a conversation. But just around the corner, the Hearthstone made it possible for us to actually talk to one another. I had an old fashioned it was quite good. I don’t remember the food, and that probably says something. I DO remember that the table next to us was a group of people with service dogs. About six or seven people all with service dogs. Turns out, they were service dog trainers meeting for a drink after a morning of training inside the park. Based on your recent trip report, I thought you’d might like to know.