Interior Design Elements Tell the Story of New Tenaya Stone Spa at Disneyland Resort

Tenaya Stone Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The new Tenaya Stone Spa opens on September 16, 2021, at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland Resort – and we’re sharing another sneak peek! First, be sure to see our recent story on the Disney Parks Blog for an introduction to this all-new, one-of-a-kind retreat.

Tenaya Stone Spa
is a new 6,000 square-foot getaway designed
by Disney Imagineers who gathered inspiration from the spirit of nature,
indigenous cultures of California and the iconic Craftsman design of the hotel.

This gorgeous spa was built with thoughtful details at every turn, so
here to tell us more is Katrina Mosher, an art director at Walt Disney
Imagineering, and Dawn Jackson, a Native American cultural advisor within Disney, who worked on
the project as an Imagineer on the Story Development team. 

What does Tenaya mean?

Dawn: Tenaya
(pronounced ten-eye-uh) can be interpreted ‘to dream’ in the indigenous culture
of the Yosemite Valley.

How did you develop
the design and story of this experience?

Katrina: We wanted
it to fit well within Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, melding in nature, the
Craftsman experience and a California story. It also needed to be a modern day
spa, with contemporary elements.

Dawn: The story development for Tenaya Stone Spa was an amazing journey.  We considered the story of the hotel, and in thinking about California, the indigenous people.

Dawn, tell us about your work as a
cultural advisor

Dawn: As a cultural
advisor, I was able to connect with tribal elders to look at California
heritage. Who were the ancestors? What materials did they use? What stones were
important? What tools?

We met with elders and took this journey together. It had to
be authentic. I am a Saginaw Chippewa tribal member from Michigan, and wanted
to increase my knowledge of specific tribal cultures of Yosemite. I met with
different tribes and then focused on the Southern Sierra Miwok. I also thought
about my own tribal teachings of what it means to live a well and balanced life.  This combination of cultural knowledge comes
together in Tenaya Stone Spa.

Tell us about the Tenaya stone:

Dawn: This Tenaya
stone went on a journey. We were looking for it with a Miwok elder and her
family, who are descendants of Chief Tenaya of the Ahwahnechee people. The stone
revealed itself and this Miwok family blessed it and gifted it to us. This
stone has been shaped and formed over eons of time on earth. It is the center
and the heart of the spa – and a place to reflect and set intentions.

Tenaya Stone Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

What were your
guiding principles in design elements?

Katrina:  Much of the Craftsman architecture has you
look “out and up,” such as looking out across landscaping and up at the trees. In
the spa, you literally do the opposite to look “down and in.” The translation
of that into nature is going down into the earth, into stone and into roots. We
took the cue from Mother Nature in order to inspire the design.

Tell us about the “powers
of four”:

Katrina: The spa design embraces the
concept of the natural order of four, found throughout many indigenous cultures
of the world. There are four directions,
four colors, four elements and four points of wellness. These bring balance and
harmony to the mind, body and spirit.  Tenaya Stone Spa has a strong axis in the
design that represents the powers of four.

The tree root chandelier is

Katrina: At the
entrance in the spa is a tree root chandelier, because tree roots go down and
into the earth and soak up water, which represents our water element. We used
obsidian because it represents the color black, which is associated with the
west, inside this exposed redwood tree root. It is surrounded by beautiful
pendants that our artisans made out of stained glass, which look like gemstones
hanging from the ceiling.

Tree root chandelier at Tenaya Stone Spa at Disneyland Resort

The relaxation
lounge is a special spot:

Katrina: The
relaxation lounge is on the east side, where the sun rises. Being a fire
element and associated with the color yellow, the stained glass window represents
beautiful sunrays coming into the room, incorporating sliced agate stone. A trickling
water feature has a vein of gold running through the mineral rock. The carpet
is designed from a photo I took near Tenaya Lake, the place where the Tenaya
stone came from.

Tenaya Stone Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Tell us about the artwork
and the minerals:

Katrina: On the
south side, we have the color red and the air element, which is represented in
an art piece made with red pumice and red obsidian.

Stone art at Tenaya Stone Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

On the north side, we have the color white and the earth
element, which is represented by a beautiful mural by a Native American artist.
She creates her art out of things that she finds in her natural environment such
as pine cones and acorns, and creates basket weave patterns.

White magnesite art at Tenaya Stone Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Also on the north side, we have white magnesite, which is a
very precious stone and was once used as currency by some California tribes.
Our particular white magnesite was sourced from a place called Chalk Mountain.

The wood flooring! Tell us about that:

Katrina:  On the philosophy of looking “down and in,”
we went down and into the wood flooring. 
Instead of wood planks, we cut wood rounds. You can literally see the
life of the tree and what is inside of it. 

Flooring in the Tenaya Stone Spa at Disneyland Resort

What do you want guests to come away
with after visiting Tenaya Stone Spa

Dawn: I hope the
guests will experience this idea of balance in their lives and recalibrating,
perhaps, to rebalance or refocus. To live in balance means with your spiritual,
emotional, physical and social self.  When
they leave, may they take the memory of Tenaya Stone home with them until their
next visit.

Tenaya Stone Spa
features eight treatment rooms, two for couples massage, four manicure/pedicure
chairs, a relaxation lounge, men’s and women’s changing rooms, and a retail boutique.

Advance appointments are now available. The spa will initially be
available for guests of the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort and will open to
the public at a later date. For more information and a complete list of
services, please visit

At this time, all spa guests are required to wear approved face coverings during their entire visit, regardless of vaccination status. Visit for other important information to know before visiting the Disneyland Resort.

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