GCH Craftsman Grill is a counter-service restaurant at Disneyland Resort’s Grand Californian Hotel. Formerly known as White Water Snacks, this restaurant sits right next to the Grand Californian pool. GCH Craftsman Grill offers American food, specializing in California cuisine. In this post we’ll review the GCH Craftsman Grill, including our thoughts on the value and photos of the restaurant.
For those that haven’t been to the Grand Californian Hotel, it is the most relaxing spot at Disneyland Resort. The hotel takes a note from California Adventure right next door and emulates the classic National Park lodge. Walking into the lobby is stunning and there is a serene feel to the entire hotel – a respite from the hustle and bustle of the parks.
That feeling stretches to GCH Craftsman Grill. If I’m being honest, part of the reason that peaceful feeling exists is due to the restaurant not being all that popular. While the GCH Crafstman Bar right outside can be busier, the inside of the restaurant seems to constantly have tables open and not much of a line to order.
The National Park Lodge architecture does continue into the restaurant but otherwise the theme and story is sparse. There are high, beautiful wood ceilings overhead with brickwork throughout the restaurant. GCH Craftsman Grill has a decent amount of seating but not a huge capacity. The other half of the restaurant has Coke Freestyle machines, pre-made food in coolers, a small bakery section and desserts.
Overall, this restaurant has a relaxing setting and is a really pleasant place to have a meal. There’s no story to tell here outside of the restaurant being an extension of the hotel itself. There are much better themed counter-service restaurants at Disneyland Resort than this one.
Where GCH Craftsman Grill sets itself apart is the food. Here’s a look at the menu. As you can see, the menu is ambitious and all of the entrees fall under $18. This keeps Craftsman Grill in line, or even below, most Disney Parks counter-service restaurants in terms of price. I wouldn’t go as far to say as this is the best value in Disneyland but it is fair, if not a good value.
We’ve tried a number of entrees at GCH Craftsman Grill. On our first visit, I ordered the Cali-Grilled Angus Cheeseburger, recommended by the cast member taking orders. The burger was served medium rare with Grilled Asparagus-Celery Salad, Spiced Hollandaise, Swiss Cheese, and Artichoke Aioli on top. This is easily the best counter-service burger I’ve ever had, not just at Disneyland but at any Disney park. The burger itself was delicious, juicy, cooked perfectly, and full of flavor. The Asparagus-Celery Salad added texture and a sweet flavor to the savory, heavy meal. The Hollandaise and Aioli added even more flavor, a little bit of spice and packed with flavor. All of the ingredients played off each other well. For now (as of September 2021), the restaurant has changed to a different burger in the last few months but I hope they bring this back at some point.
That said, the Mediterranean Wagyu Burger is quite good. This consists of an American Wagyu Patty, Tzatziki Sauce and Red Onion-Feta Salad on an Herb Bun. The patty remains delicious and one of my favorites at a Disney Park. The rest of the burger is ambitious and works pretty well. Sometimes the Feta overpowered everything but most of the time the ingredients mixed well and I’d put it in the upper echelon of items at GCH Grill.
The burger is served with either fries or fruit. Being a total health nut, I went with fries. These were better than other counter-service fries, as well. The crinkle-cut fries were fresh and crispy. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this meal and would get it again in a heartbeat.
We’ve also tried the Bulgogi Beef Skewers Rice Bowl. Along with the skewers, this is served with Kimchi Fried Rice, Cucumbers, Carrots, Green Onions and Furikake. The meat here was delicious, juicy and sweet. The Kimchi Fried Rice was an interesting option but not a complete standout. It’s a solid addition, as was the slaw on top of the skewers. Overall, I like the dish but there’s others I’d recommend over it considering the $20 price tag.
On our next visit, we ordered two other entrees that were just as high in quality. The Margherita Pizza was easily the best pizza I’ve had at Disneyland Resort, admittedly a low bar. As with our previous entrees, all of the ingredients were very fresh and wonderfully prepared. The crust was the star here, perfectly cooked. As you can see in the photo, we had a front row seat to a light saber battle along with the pizza.
We also went with the Beef Nachos, which were fantastic. Lamplight Lounge’s Lobster Nachos get all of the hype, and rightfully so, but these might be even better. Again, the ingredients are fresh and include Cheese Sauce, Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, Slivered Jalapeño Peppers, Crema, Queso Fresco, Green Onion, and Cilantro. Everything was balanced well and there was a generous portion of beef. I’d give a slight nod to the burger as my favorite entree here but the Beef Nachos aren’t far behind.
We’ve also had the Rice Bowl here. This consists of your choice of Chicken or Beef with Steamed White Rice, Vegetable Egg Roll, Cucumber, Green Onions, Hard-boiled Egg, Togarashi Spice, and Sriracha Aïoli. I went with the beef option and came away impressed. There was a little bit of spice involved in the dish but the quality of the meat and the overall flavor carried the dish. While I do prefer the other options more, this was slightly healthier and still tasty. At $16, this is a good option.
GCH Craftsman Grill is the best counter-service meal I’ve had at Disneyland. Scratch that, I think this might be the best counter-service food I’ve ever had at Disneyland or Disney World. We can’t wait to go back to the restaurant and try every option on the menu. While the environment isn’t anything interesting inside, there is plenty of seating throughout the restaurant and outside to enjoy the beautiful Grand Californian.
I love the counter-service options at Disneyland Resort but this tops all of them. The food is exceptional and the prices are in line with other counter-service places at Disneyland Resort, making it a good value. GCH Craftsman Grill is a quiet place to eat at Disneyland and a hidden gem at the resort. It’s a perfect place to take a quick break from California Adventure for lunch or dinner and we couldn’t recommend it enough
Overall Rating – 9.5/10
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Categories: Restaurant Reviews