BACKSTORY (Feb. 8, 2001 —Present): 750 room hotel in Downtown Disney, adjacent to DCA, it was designed by architect Peter Dominick, with an Arts and Crafts theme. Inspired by the National Park Service lodges of the Western United States (The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park and The Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park). The reception hall is based on the interior of the Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco, increased in scale to accommodate the large reception desk. The central lobby is a living room done in immense scale with a massive fireplace and vast arching beams overhead, and furnished with comfortable chairs and sofas arranged around small coffee tables. The cavernous fireplace nook features rocking chairs, while live piano music is often played nearby, adding to the homey atmosphere. Genuine antique Roycroft items are on display in the lobby as well as pieces that have been handcrafted by modern practitioners of the Arts and Crafts movement using traditional techniques. The hotel is an AAA Four Diamond Hotel and boasts a first-class restaurant, The Napa Rose. The Storytellers Cafe is next door and caters more towards families. Its name is based on Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, its sister resort at WDW. On September 18 2007, an expansion of the hotel was announced that would increase accommodations by more than 30% and include the first Disney Vacation Club villas in Anaheim. The 2.5-acre expansion on the hotel’s south side added more than 200 new rooms and 50 two-bedroom equivalent vacation villas. Those vacation villas marked the West Coast debut of Disney Vacation Club, Disney’s vacation-ownership program. The new expansion, which opened in 2009, is known as The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Other features of the Grand Californian Villas include a rooftop deck for viewing fireworks, a new swimming pool, and about 300 underground parking spaces. Peter Dominick of 4240 was again at the helm.
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