We’re starting a new tradition in our frequent Disney vacations of a ‘Treat Yourself’ trip. Not that every trip isn’t a ‘Treat Yourself’ trip - let’s be real - but we’re now designating one vacation above all others as a spare-no-expense extravaganza. This includes staying at the Disneyland Hotel, lounging by the pool, and eating All The Food.
In planning our latest trip, we decided that in the spirit of treating ourselves, we should finally try out the Mandara Spa at the Grand Californian Hotel.
I’ll start out by saying that I had never in my life gotten a massage, and Kelsey had only had bad experiences with them, so we went into it with low expectations but open minds.
The Mandara Spa has an extensive list of services, ranging from massages to facials to mani pedis and waxing. Not wanting to get too wild on our first experience at the spa, we went with the standard Mandara Customized Massage for 50 minutes, which comes with a scalp massage (which we both skipped) and a wax paraffin treatment to hydrate the feet. When we got into our rooms we were informed that the spa was out of the wax paraffin, so we received a foot scrub instead (which honestly was amazing so we weren’t that disappointed).
The spa offers customers the use of their sauna and steam room prior to their services, so obviously we showed up early to get our money's worth. The locker room is small - only two shower stalls, about 12 lockers, and you could probably fit maybe 4 people in the sauna or steam room before it started feeling really crowded.
However, in our hour before our massage, we only ran into about three people in the locker room and sauna and steam room, so we didn't experience any crowd trouble.
My massage room was small but cozy, and I wasn’t that concerned about the size of the room anyway, seeing as I was about to have my eyes closed for the entire hour. It was a great massage for me (again, as it was my first one, I have nothing to compare it to), and my masseuse spent a lot of time working out knots I wasn’t aware of, but nothing was too painful. She was very professional, funny, and I felt extremely comfortable the entire time.
We came out of the massage total converts. I thought I would never be a massage person, and I walked out of the spa ready to plan our next trip.
For maximum effectiveness, we recommend booking a massage on your third or fourth day in Disneyland (if you’re taking a long trip) like we did, giving your body plenty of time to get super achey and tired before going into the spa.
And, okay, this is probably a weird point to add, but don't forget to try the complimentary iced tea. We made the mistake of waiting until we were ready to leave to finally try some and then had to stand there and guzzle a few glasses because dang it that tea is GOOD, and we are all about getting our money's worth, even if we have to look like total weirdos doing it.
Also, pro tip: don’t forget to ask about an AP discount if you’re a passholder! We got 10% off the massage price, and the discount varies depending on whether it’s a weekday or weekend.