Riviera Resort just opened and Reflections Lakeside Lodge is under construction at Walt Disney World, but that isn’t stopping Disney Vacation Club from powering full stem ahead on another new DVC resort. In this post, we’ll offer details, concept art, and commentary about the new tower coming to Disneyland Hotel.
We first reported on this during the holidays, when Disney submitted an application to the City of Anaheim for conceptual development review of a proposed 12-story DVC tower as part of Disneyland Hotel. If approved, this Disney Vacation Club property would open in 2023 at roughly the same time as Reflections — A Disney Lakeside Lodge at Walt Disney World.
The proposed 280,000 square foot tower would be added to Disneyland Hotel, and would not replace any of the existing towers or guest-facing facilities. It will feature 350 rooms, with 271 being deluxe studios, 20 two-bedroom villas, 19 one-bedroom villas, and two Grand Villas. It would also offer 28 two-person studios that are similar to those introduced at Disney’s Riviera Resort (which we reviewed here)…
Aside from a small outdoor pool bar, the new Disneyland project would add no new food, retail, meeting or banquet facilities. A Mickey-shaped spa would be part of a new pool amenity area. Disney Vacation Club guests would utilize most of the existing hotel amenities, as is common with DVC add-ons.
The Disney Vacation Club concept is still in the early planning stages and details could change. As of right now, it features multi-colored panels that would stretch the height of the DVC tower on the end of the building with the multi-level grand villas. A crackled cream pattern would wrap around the other end of the mostly glass building. Balconies would offer views for rooms at both ends of the building.
Additionally, a two-story open-air ground floor would allow guests to pass through to both sides of the building. Lounge chairs would surround pools on either side of the Disney Vacation Club tower. DVC guests would have access to 307 parking spaces on an existing lot.
The above artist concept rendering of the proposed Disneyland Hotel DVC tower project and aforementioned details were revealed by Disney to the OC Register. While technically rumor since Disney has yet to announce this directly, these are all official details.
The likely reason this is coming from the OC Register rather than Disney directly is because the project has yet to go before the city of Anaheim for approval, and may not be built. For those who don’t follow Disneyland news closely, there has been tension between Disney and the Anaheim City Council over the last several years.
Significant here is that a more Disney-friendly Anaheim City Council has been elected since those plans were cancelled. Animosity towards Disneyland has grown among Anaheim residents, meaning even this City Council is unlikely to simply rubber stamp Disney’s plans. However, we’d still expect this proposed DVC tower will end up being approved and coming to fruition.
In fact, we’re surprised another large luxury hotel hasn’t been announced for Disneyland Resort. In part, it’s probably a matter of cold feet after attendance did not surge as expected following the initial debut of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
It’s also probable that Disney is waiting to see what demand and the Southern California hotel market looks like after the opening of the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort and Westin Anaheim Resort (above) later this year. These are two other significant luxury hotel projects that would be direct competitors (especially for convention guest business) to any luxury hotel that Disneyland builds.
Waiting is fine by me, as nothing Disney has built in the last few years or is currently building excites me. Recent projects have prioritized function over form, with bland contemporary styles. I’m willing to wait for the pendulum to swing back towards theme.
Disneyland Resort will never have the sprawling resorts like Walt Disney World, but the Disney hotels elsewhere around the globe could serve as inspiration. Something Art Deco (like Disney’s Hollywood Hotel or Ambassador Hotel) would work well, as would leaning into California’s mid-century modern roots.
Personally, I can’t say I’m particularly wild about the concept art for the proposed tower. It looks like an upmarket mixed use apartment you’d see in Orange County or Los Angeles. Those are generally aesthetically appealing, but not exactly creatively compelling.
In fairness, it’s not like the current look of Disneyland Hotel’s exterior is anything special or has some cherished historical legacy. I had simply hoped that all of the buildings would match, but I realize that’s too much to ask with DVC. Given that the last significant overhaul of Disneyland Hotel was less than a decade ago, it’s doubtful that the existing towers will receive a facelift while this is being built.
Nevertheless, another DVC property at Disneyland Resort is a no-brainer, slam-dunk concept–especially one being built on new land that won’t replace anything.
This DVC tower will be built on a grassy area between Walnut Street and the Disneyland Hotel’s Frontier Tower, swimming pool, and convention center. In essence, the new tower would only replace an existing laundry facility. Doubtful many fans will mourn that.
There is a ton of unsatisfied and pent-up demand for another California DVC property, and this would increase Disneyland Resort’s available DVC room inventory six-fold.
The Grand Californian Villas are the most difficult to book resort, and also the most costly via the resale market. This is in large part because there are only 71 units there, but also because that hotel is a great use of DVC points as compared to paying rack rates at the Grand Californian.
Overall, adding a Disney Vacation Club tower to Disneyland Hotel is a smart move that has minimal downside given the location. It’s disappointing DVC doesn’t put more effort into blending these additions with their surroundings, but maybe the final design will more closely match the existing towers.
With a number of surface parking lots and other dead space–including the abandoned Downtown Disney spaces and the Eastern Gateway plot–we’re optimistic that this is just the start of further development at Disneyland Resort. We just hope future hotels demonstrate a bit more creative ambition.
Are you looking forward to another Disney Vacation Club property at Disneyland Resort? Would you like to see something built elsewhere in Southern California? Hope Disney will resume plans to build more hotels in Anaheim? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!