Craftsman-style design with hidden Mickey motif: We know exactly where we are!

For us, the Grand Californian at the Disneyland Resort is often the cherry on top of the sundae at the end of Disney day. The Craftsman style architecture and decor are stunning, and the lobby is truly awe-inspiring. But for us, it’s the martini at the Hearthstone Lounge that gives us that long deep breath after an energetic day of park hopping and non-stop smiling. Best of all, the menu has been recently updated with a more deft touch and tasty diversity that’s sure to compliment your cocktail of choice and make for good sharing over drinks.

But it’s not just about the drinks!

If you’ve ever been to a luxury lodge or resort in a national park, such as the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite or the Yellowstone Inn in—you guessed it—Yellowstone, being at the Hearthstone Lounge has that same majestic and reverent feel of being someplace devoted to the natural beauty that surrounds it. And yet, two Disney parks are just beyond the trees!

While you can sit at the bar and enjoy a playoff game and good conversation with a seasoned and knowledgeable mixologist, we prefer inland, at any of the tables, each of which affords a view that transports you to a sense of tranquility and appreciation. Okay, maybe not so much when a convention breaks for Happy Hour, or an influx of vacationers suddenly require poolside libations, but timing is timing, and mostly we get lucky when we visit on a weekday that doesn’t coincide with school breaks.

Still, the drinks help!

Winding down from our Disney pace always takes time, and that’s where that first cocktail helps [Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of alcoholic beverages!] We start to settle in, slow down, and feel like we belong—to the point of having that gee, wouldn’t it be great if we were actually staying here feeling—which we will one day, we keep promising. So we pretend in our hearts that our room is just upstairs and if we want to pop in at California Adventure a little later, it’s just past the pool.

But it’s the settling in at the Hearthstone Lounge, amidst an atmosphere of humble grandeur inspired by the high ceilings, broad beams and graceful greenery beyond the tall windows, that’s resulted in some of our most important and far-reaching conversations: the kind we look back on and find ourselves toasting—at the Hearthstone Lounge—for realizing that we moved our lives in a good direction, whether it was making a difficult decision, committing to a new life undertaking (like this blog!), or getting ourselves through the pain of losing a parent. At the Hearthstone Lounge we can exist outside the confines of our daily routines and responsibilities and speak of the dreams and hopes we have for our life together.

At Disney we’re free to wish upon our lives

Where there’s a sense of magic there’s a belief that anything is possible, and that’s the promise of Disney. Fantasyland and Frontierland, Tomorrowland and Adventureland, are all concepts our hearts embrace and hold onto as best we can even when we’re not at Disney. But when we’re at Disney, it’s being at a resort property that enable us to transition from the childlike high of being in the park and believing we can fly to the adult high of believing we can find a way to make our dreams come true—we just have to know what they are. For us, it’s often been the Hearthstone Lounge where we can open our hearts to our dreams and together set a course for making them real.