The Villas at Disneyland Hotel will open this fall, with bookings now available and DVC memberships on sale. This covers all of the points, prices & tax details about the tower, plus new room photos and what you need to know before making reservations or buying into Disney Vacation Club’s newest resort. (Updated August 27, 2023.)
Let’s start with the press release details. According to Disney, the Villas at Disneyland Hotel will blend Walt Disney Animation Studios classics with contemporary designs, offering a celebration of Disney history in the place where it all started. Every space in the 12-story tower at Disneyland Hotel will immerse you in the storytelling process, bringing some of your favorite Disney stories to life in a variety of themed accommodations.
This will be the fourth tower at the AAA Four Diamond resort, located just steps from the Downtown Disney District, Disneyland, and Disney California Adventure. The Villas at Disneyland Hotel will open to guests on September 28, 2023. Cash bookings are now open to all guests.
Similarly, Disney Vacation Club sales for the Villas at Disneyland Hotel are now open to both existing DVC Members and the general public. The Villas at Disneyland Hotel will cost $230 per point, and fairly aggressive add-on incentives are also available for existing Disney Vacation Club Members those who purchase VDH. The savings are far less significant for new buyers, unfortunately.
Although it’s only the second DVC property in California, there should be absolutely no concerns whatsoever about the Villas at Disneyland Hotel “selling out” anytime soon. Although we anticipate this DVC addition being incredibly popular, it’ll still take years for the Villas at Disneyland Hotel to sell out.
Disney’s Riviera Resort went on sale 4 years ago, and is currently about 50% sold. A better comparison might be the Resort Studios at the Grand Floridian, and those have also sold about half of their inventory in the year since they’ve gone on sale. Grand Floridian is proving to be the most popular DVC resort (again) as of Fall 2023, surpassing the Villas at Disneyland Hotel for the #1 spot.
If you’re wondering why that’s happening, it’s because there’s simply less tourist demand for the California parks than Walt Disney World. There are a dozen DVC resorts at Walt Disney World, and that sprawling complex is well-established as a vacation destination for many members.
By contrast, many Disney fans make occasional pilgrimages to Disneyland, but don’t visit annually. And the most diehard Disneyland fans live in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, and aren’t really in need of accommodations. Suffice to say, the Villas at Disneyland Hotel will take more than a year to sell out, but will still be an incredibly popular property over time. Just like the Grand Californian before it.
The latest official update from Disney Vacation Club shares a first look at the lobby mural created for the tower by Lorelay Bové, associate production designer on Disney Animation’s Academy Award-winning “Encanto.” Bové has contributed artwork and design to “Big Hero 6” and “Zootopia,” as well as other fan favorites such as “The Princess and the Frog,” “Tangled,” “Winnie the Pooh” and “Wreck-It Ralph.”
Next, let’s turn to new construction photos of the Villas at Disneyland Hotel tower as of August 27, 2023…
From these, you can see that the exterior of the Villas at Disneyland Hotel is pretty much finished. I noticed some construction workers standing on balconies, but it pretty much appears ready to roll. (That’s the monorail water slide at the E-Ticket Pool behind scrims in the first photo; that’s part of the existing Disneyland Hotel and is not part of the DVC construction.)
Finally, here’s a look at the new-to-us model of the Villas at Disneyland Hotel:
This model is on display in both the lobby of Disneyland Hotel and in the new Star View Station DVC Member Lounge in Tomorrowland at Disneyland.
It’s nice to see the backside of the new tower, as there aren’t many good angles of this around Disneyland Resort. Even though we know this is what it’ll look like from the concept art and off-angle glimpses from around Anaheim, the dimensional view provides added perspective.
The bigger advantage for earlier buyers will be booking their stays at Disneyland Hotel in late 2023 and 2024. Owners of the Villas at Disneyland Hotel are now able to reserve stays subject to the 11 month rule. Meaning early buyers will have easier access for booking through April 2024.
Disney Vacation Club owners with different home resorts are also able to make reservations for the Villas at Disneyland Hotel subject to the 7 month window. (We already have our first stay at VDH on the books!)
Disney Vacation Club has also released the 2023 (partial) and 2024 points charts for the Villas at Disneyland Hotel, which are pictured above.
A few things will stick out for those who are familiar with the Villas at Grand Californian. First, there are many more seasons for this property (7 as opposed to 4). Second, the points totals are pretty consistent with the Grand Californian. Some rooms and seasons are higher and others are lower; without crunching the numbers, I’d hazard a guess that it comes close to netting out.
Finally, the fine print caught my eye and is a potentially significant change from the Grand Californian: “City of Anaheim imposes a nightly transient occupancy tax based upon the number of Vacation Points required for the stay. This tax must be paid by check-out. The amount of the tax will vary from year to year, and the tax rate is subject to change. This information is also available under ‘Booking Guidelines’ which is found in the ‘Plan Vacation’ tab on DisneyVacationClub.com. A per vehicle parking fee may apply to all stays at this resort.”
Disney Vacation Club has since released a chart showing the transient occupancy tax rates for the Villas at Disneyland Hotel and they are quite high! The tax is currently estimated at $2.73 per point for stays in 2023 and $2.82 for stays in 2024. You can see the estimated totals above–that adds another ~$40 to $75 per night for most average stays in studios, and significantly more for other room categories.
On top of that, the annual dues for the Villas at Disneyland Hotel are estimated at $9.06 per point.
We were never in the market to buy into the Villas at Disneyland Hotel, so I’m probably not the best judge of this. The higher per point cost was to be expected; the average sales price for the Villas at Grand Californian (VGC) is around that.
The transient occupancy tax would be the dealbreaker for us, as that adds up quickly and is built into the point chart at VGC. Paying for parking is another concern; it’s not entirely clear there will definitely be a charge for that, but it would be another big expense that does not exist for the DVC side of the Grand Californian.
Even with all of that said, the Villas at Disneyland Hotel will undoubtedly be popular. This is newer and more modern than VGC (which is overdue for a room reimagining) and the rooms look thoughtfully designed, practical, and have enough stylistic flourishes to give them appeal to modern Disney fans. Most importantly, buying into Disney Vacation Club is not actually a “math problem” for most people–it’s an emotional decision.
Nevertheless, look for Grand Californian contracts to quickly vanish from the resale market, as there are enough members from whom DVC is an economic, rather than emotional, decision. Between that and the likelihood of significantly improved rooms in 2024 or 2025, now might be a savvy time to buy into the Grand Californian.
The lobby will feature a one-of-a-kind mural created exclusively for The Villas at Disneyland Hotel by Disney Animation artist Lorelay Bové, known for her work on The Princess and the Frog and Encanto.
The Villas at Disneyland Hotel will have 344 whimsically themed rooms, including duo studios, deluxe studios, one- and two-bedroom villas, and grand villas. Each includes modern just-like-home amenities with touches of Disney magic sprinkled throughout, themed to Walt Disney Animation Studios films like The Jungle Book, Sleeping Beauty, The Princess and the Frog, Fantasia, and more.
Now let’s take a sneak peek inside the various room types at the Villas at Disneyland Hotel, from the 2-person Duo Studios to the Grand Villas…
You can discover the “bare necessities” alongside Baloo and Mowgli in the Duo Studio, which features design inspired by “The Jungle Book.”
The Villas at Disneyland Hotel will offer 38 of these two-person studios that are similar to those introduced at Disney’s Riviera Resort, which we reviewed here. (Apparently, “Duo Studio” will be the name for these at Disneyland Hotel.)
The Villas at Disneyland Hotel’s Deluxe Studios sleep up to four guests and are themed to the tales of “Sleeping Beauty” or “The Princess and the Frog.”
Of the 344 rooms at the Villas at Disneyland Hotel, 253 are Deluxe Studios. (Assuming the documents Disney filed with the City of Anaheim are correct and nothing has changed since then, which is probably a safe bet.)
If you’re looking for more space, you and your family can spread out in a one- and two-bedroom villa, sleeping up to five and nine guests, respectively. These rooms are inspired by the vibrant colors of “Fantasia” or “The Princess and the Frog.”
The Villas at Disneyland Hotel should feature 20 two-bedroom villas and 19 one-bedroom villas. These villas include a washer and dryer, comfortable living area, plus a full-size kitchen equipped with all the cookware you need to prepare meals.
Finally, the Villas at Disneyland Hotel will offer a handful of multilevel three-bedroom Grand Villas that sleep up to 12 guests.
The first floor features a full-size kitchen, large dining area, and a double-sided fireplace connecting the living area to a private outdoor balcony. The first floor is also home to the primary suite, inspired by “Bambi.”
The Grand Villa also features a spiral staircase leading to the second floor, which features two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms inspired by “Frozen” and “Moana,” as well as a full washer and dryer.
Accommodations at the Villas at Disneyland Hotel are limited in availability, and restrictions apply. Subject to change or cancellation without notice.
Ultimately, I don’t have much more to say about this new tower that I didn’t already address in our main post about the Villas at Disneyland Hotel. The short version of that is this reminds me a lot of Disney’s Riviera Resort–a bland property that fails on the thematic front, but provides highly-functional accommodations with the appropriate amount of “Disney” touches, while delivering exactly what actual guests want.
It’s disappointing to me that Imagineering doesn’t get a chance to be more ambitious with the overall design and caliber of immersion, but Disneyland Hotel is probably the last place to complain about that. Its theme is literally “Disneyland,” and this is in keeping with how the existing hotel is a self-referential love letter to Walt Disney and his original magic kingdom in a pretty ordinary package. A tower lavishly-themed to Catalan Modernism or whatever next door to Disneyland Hotel would be even more out of place.
The practical reality is that most existing and future Disney Vacation Club members are going to absolutely love this. It checks the boxes for what modern fans want from accommodations and is a stark contrast to the existing DVC room inventory at the Grand Californian.
Even if the big box doesn’t do a ton for me, the rooms look really nice. Beyond that, not everything needs to appeal to me, personally! I can still appreciate the functional enhancements to the rooms…while also hoping that this makes it slightly easier to book the Villas at Grand Californian. That’s probably just wishful thinking, but I can dream.
Are you looking forward to the Villas at Disneyland Hotel? Glad that Disney Vacation Club is adding another 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!