The Disneyland Resort’s largest hotel is the massive Grand Californian, which sits right between California Adventure and much of Downtown Disney. The hotel lives up to its name, with tons of restaurants, lounges, and floors to explore. But did you know that the hotel has a hidden gem which pays tribute to some of California’s birds?
The main set of elevators off the lobby open up into a larger hallway. Each of these openings is flanked with a thick wooden shelf, and some perching birds. As you move up from floor to floor, these birds change species to reflect birds that fly higher and higher in the wild.
So where did these strange looking birds come from? These are the “Grotesque Birds”, inspired by a ceramic series of the same name produced in England in the late 1800s. The Grand Californian version, created by artist Susan Dannenfelser, watch over the hotel and its massive central atrium.
Fun fact: some of the birds actually have removable heads! They were originally designed to store tobacco inside the bodies, thus they are hollow within.
You can learn more about the birds, (including their names) on the “Art of the Craft” tour in the Grand Californian. This short tour walks guests through the history of the Grand Californian and highlights unique features within its design. To sign up for a tour, visit the Guest Services desk in the hotel’s main lobby.
Even if you don’t want to take a tour, you can still climb each floor to visit the birds. They are always perched on their shelves, hiding in plain sight.