Tour the Villas at Disneyland Hotelby Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
The Villas at Disneyland Hotel is now open at the Disneyland Resort. This expansion of the Disneyland Hotel is the second Disney Vacation Club property in California, and adds approximately 350 rooms to the DVC portfolio.
MousePlanet was invited to spend opening night in a studio suite, the room most like a typical hotel room. Like most DVC properties, the Villas at Disneyland Hotel also offers one- and two-bedroom villas, plus a two-story Grand Villa, which can sleep up to 12 people. New at this property is the "Duo" room, which sleeps up to two people.
The Villas occupy the new 12-story Discovery Tower, which has its own lobby, fitness center, guest laundry, and BBQ area. With the new tower comes a new palette pool area and splash pad featuring Steamboat Willie. The pool area is interconnected with the existing Disneyland Hotel pools, and the entire complex can be used by guests staying in any tower. Not yet open is the Palm Breeze Bar, which will serve the palette pool area.
Let me take you on a tour of the Villas at Disneyland Hotel, and share my observations as a Disney Vacation Club owner about the new property
The Villas is a vibe
Seeing some photos from the opening day, a friend observed to me, "it looks like it was furnished at IKEA." The Villas has a very strong design theme, and if international style architecture and mid-century modern decor give you hives, you'll likely be more comfortable at the Grand Californian across the way.
While the entire Disneyland Hotel campus leans into this aesthetic, it's elevated several more notches once you reach the lobby of the new Discovery Tower. The airy space is filled with low-slung furniture, and tinted throughout the day by sunlight streaming through multi-colored louvers on the windows.
Off to one side is a room called the Discovery Den, which Disney says will be used to hold Vacation Club member events in the future.
The lobby of the Discovery tower is a tribute to mid-century modern design. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
The Discovery Den is a gathering room and event space. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
The centerpiece of the lobby is a mural by Disney Animation artist Lorelay Bové. The mural includes all of the Disney stories which are represented in room decor throughout the Villas. Be sure to look for the hidden Mickeys in the mural.
Disney Animation artist Lorelay Bové created the mural in the lobby of the Discovery tower. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
Care for a spin around the lobby? The Discovery Tower has a beautiful lobby mural, and some neat animation art on the walls. Be sure to look for hidden Mickeys in the mural - you know they’re in there. #DisneylandHotel #DisneyVacationClub #Disneyland #WelcomeHome pic.twitter.com/OicbTxvrjW— MousePlanet (@MousePlanet) September 29, 2023
Just off the lobby is the fitness center, which is the best-equipped I've seen in a hotel. In addition to the usual collection of treadmills, stationery bikes and elliptical machines, there's also a section with free weights, yoga mats, foam rollers, and enough kettle bells and medicine balls for a CrossFit class. There are also two wall-mounted Tonal trainers in the fitness center, which you can use even if you're not a Tonal member.
The fitness center is open 24 hours a day. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
CrossFit fans will find everything they need in the fitness center. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
The ground floor is also where you find the guest laundry rooms. As with other Disney Vacation Club properties, the deluxe studio rooms and new Duo studios do not have their own in-room washer and dryer. The laundry room in the Discovery tower serves as the guest laundry for the entire Disneyland Hotel campus, and is open 24 hours. At press time, a full wash & dry cycle is $7.
The palette pool and Steamboat Willie splash pad are new additions to the Disneyland Hotel grounds, and are connected to the existing complex of pools and water slides inside a gated central courtyard. The poolside Palm Court Bar is not yet open, so for now the nearest food and beverage service is at Tangaroa Terrace.
The new palette pool is open to all Disneyland Hotel guests. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
The new pool area offers plenty of space for sun lounging. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
The Palm Court Bar was not ready to open with the rest of the property. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
The Duo Studio
Disney's Rivera Resort has its tiny Tower Studio rooms, and now the Villas at Disneyland Hotel is the second DVC property with a room designed to sleep up to two people. The Duo Studio is approximately 250 square feet, and the following photo shows you the sleeping area, which is roughly as large as the (oddly oversize) bathroom. The only bed in the Duo is a queen-sized Murphy bed, which folds down out of the wall when you want it. Each Duo Suite has a kitchenette consisting of a mini-refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker.
Disney's new Duo Studios are intended to sleep up to two adults. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
The Duo Studio is a compact 250 square feet. Diagram by Disney Vacation Club.
For Disney Vacation Club members, the Duo Studio starts out at 13 points per night, making it the most affordable room on property. Duo Studios in the garden building adjacent to the pool area have a large balcony or patio, which may help ease the crush of a small room, but they are more expensive, and likely to be much more popular.
While these rooms seem (and are, by American standards) quite small, they're larger than standard Disney Cruise Line cabins which sleep 4. All of the Duo Studios are themed to The Jungle Book.
The most common room type in the new Villas at Disneyland Hotel, the Deluxe Studio sleeps up to four people. Each room has one queen bed and one queen-sized Murphy bed. Like the Duo Suite, there is a small kitchenette with a mini-refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker. Deluxe Studios start at 17 vacation points per night, with rooms in the garden building (again, with a balcony or patio) starting at 24 points.
The Deluxe Studio sleeps up to four people. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
The Deluxe Studio has a small kitchenette with mini-refrigerator. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
In a wheelchair-accessible Deluxe Studio, the kitchenette is relocated and the cabinets lowered for easier access. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
The bathroom in this wheelchair-accessible studio is well laid out. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
1-bedroom Villas and 2-bedroom Villas
Multi-bedroom villas are what many people picture when they think of Disney Vacation Club. Apartment-like hotel rooms with separate living, dining and sleeping areas are great for families or groups, and the full kitchens can make longer stays more affordable.
A full kitchen is one of the benefits of a multi-room Disney Vacation Club villa. Photo © Disney.
This one-bedroom villa is decorated in a Princess and the Frog theme. Photo © Disney.
1-bedroom units have one king bed, one queen pull-down bed, and one twin-size pull-down bed. The 2-bedroom unit adds two more queen-sized beds, either in an additional bedroom or via an adjoining Deluxe Studio. This later configuration is called a lock-off villa, and some people prefer that floor plan because it offers a second, private entrance to the suite.
The two-bedroom villas are decorated with a Fantasia theme. Photo © Disney.
The living area of the two-bedroom villa, which can sleep up to 9 people. Photo © Disney.
One of the bathrooms in a two-bedroom villa offers a shower and a soaking tub. Photo © Disney.
These rooms have a dining room table, and come with a kitchen with a stove and oven; microwave, refrigerator and dishwasher; and are stocked with pots, pans and basic cooking implements. The rooms also have a washer and dryer. All of the multi-bedroom villas have a preferred pool view with a balcony.
Three-bedroom Grand Villa
The two-story, 2,700-square-foot Grand Villa can sleep up to 13 people. The main floor bedroom features a king bed and an en suite bathroom. Upstairs, two more bedrooms each feature two queen beds and one fold-down twin bed, and each have their own en suite bathroom. There is a large kitchen with an eat-in bar, plus a dining room table for 12. The living area has seating and conversation space for the entire party. The balcony offers additional seating and a view of the pool area.
The two-story, 2,700-square-foot grand villa sleeps up to 13 people. Photo © Disney.
The grand villa features a full kitchen and a dining room which seats 12. Photo © Disney.
Of course, at 10 times the size of the Duo Studio, the Grand Villa costs more than 10 times as much. Rooms start at 120 vacation points per night for Disney Vacation Club members. The cash rate is commensurate with the themed Signature Suites at the Disneyland Hotel. The lowest price we could find was around $3,700 for a Monday night in May, and the rate for July 4, 2024 is $5,400.
A few notes that DVC members should know about this new property, especially if you're used to staying in Walt Disney World:
Transient Occupancy Tax
Even when using points to stay at the Villas at Disneyland Hotel, guests are required to pay a nightly transient occupancy tax imposed by the City of Anaheim. The rates are based on the number of points required to book the stay, and can be found in this chart for 2023 stays, or this chart for 2024 reservations. The tax appears to be $2.78 per point, which can add hundreds of dollars to a stay. Imagine booking the Grand Villa over Christmas, and being hit with a $550 per-night tax bill.
The grand villa has an expansive balcony with views of the Disneyland Hotel pool area. Photo © Disney.
The fine print reads "a per vehicle parking fee may apply to all stays at this resort," which is a big departure from what Disney Vacation Club members expect. We have received conflicting information from Disney about when or if this fee will be charged (and it was not charged to us during our stay), so we're trying to get clarification on this issue. Disney Vacation Club members staying "on points" at the Villas at Grand Californian continue to receive complimentary parking.
The Disneyland Hotel doesn't have the type of food court / convenience store that some DVC properties have, so you need to plan ahead to bring groceries with you, or have them delivered. Fortunately the bell services desk at the Disneyland Hotel just went through an extensive refurbishment and added even more cold storage capacity to handle grocery deliveries.
As a Disney Vacation Club owner I am glad to have another option for using my points in California, and as of now there's plenty of availability for me to book a weekend trip for my family to enjoy a stay-cation. I admit the transient occupancy tax is a bitter pill to swallow, and that's unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
The new Discovery tower has a very different look than the existing Disneyland Hotel towers. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.