The Disneyland Resort is celebrating the opening of its newest accommodations, the Villas at Disneyland Hotel, a Disney Vacation Club property and the first new hotel tower to open there in 14 years. We had the opportunity to attend the grand opening ceremony and be among the first to stay overnight.
By Carly Caramanna
This is the fourth tower at the resort – aptly dubbed the Discovery Tower – and is located nearest to the Monorail pool and the Frontier Tower. Once arriving at the Disneyland Hotel’s main lobby entrance, it’s a short walk to the tower via either two paths: around the pool and Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar or across the bridge coming from Goofy’s Kitchen.
While the other three towers are Disneyland Hotel’s signature blue hue, this new tower is brown and adorned with multi-color tile work, evoking a mid-century modern feel while seamlessly blending in with the rest of the property.
The new rooms are themed to beloved Disney stories, such as “The Princess and the Frog,” “Fantasia,” and “Sleeping Beauty.” Timeless storytelling is paired with both retro and modern design for a look and feel all its own.
The Discovery Tower
Once stepping inside, guests are met with an expansive lobby and a DVC welcome center — and the immersion begins promptly. Without a doubt, my eyes were immediately drawn to a sprawling mural along the left side of the lobby. Designed by Walt Disney animator Lorelay Bové, who has worked on such projects as “Encanto,” This colorful one-of-a-kind mural depicted beloved characters of past and present from Disney’s vast animation catalog. There are also hidden Mickeys to be found throughout.
The lobby has several seating areas, all featuring mid-century modern furniture. Along the walls are glass display cases showcasing replica Walt Disney animation props. Impressively, the overall feel was very “Mary Blair meets modern.”
Just through the lobby is the main set of elevators, four in total, to whisk guests to their floor. I was surprised by how swiftly these elevators moved from floor to floor.
The Villas at Disneyland Hotel Guest Rooms
The property houses several room types: duo studios, deluxe studios, one-bedroom villas, two-bedroom villas, and the 3-bedroom, multi-level grand villa. Even the hallways are intricately themed, with highly detailed carpets, film-inspired artwork, and archway hallways reminiscent of a castle.
I stayed on the third floor in one of the “Sleeping Beauty” deluxe studios. The layout was similar to a traditional hotel room but much larger and could easily and comfortably accommodate up to four people.
I was immediately captured by how modern the room felt, and the overall feel leaned towards that of an upscale hotel property. Its wood furniture is complemented with pops of color from furnishings, like a muted yellow couch and turquoise blue bed frame. The contemporary design worked in tandem with the mid-century modern nods to the very era Disneyland first opened.
In addition to the main queen-sized bed, a pull-down Murphy bed, concealed by a couch, adds another queen-sized bed. It was quick and easy to pull down the bed as the couch intuitively slides under as you do so.
The room also features plenty of counter space, seating, and a small kitchenette with a coffee maker, microwave, mini refrigerator, and dishware. As this is a Disney Vacation Club resort, all rooms in the new tower feature the comforts of home, so guests can enjoy meals or snacks if they choose. Disneyland Hotel also offers full in-room food and beverage service.
The deluxe studio’s “Sleepy Beauty” touches are immense but thoughtfully integrated, so it doesn’t feel too in your face. This includes murals, replica concept art, a mural inside the Murphy bed, etched wood behind the television, and one of my favorites, a light-up bathroom mirror. The white carved wooden wall where the television is further evokes Mary Blair’s inspiration.
I couldn’t wait to check out the castle headboard, which can be illuminated at the touch of a switch. This was beautiful and multi-colored. The light was very bright, so unless you prefer to sleep like that, I shut it off when going to bed. I’ve always been a fan of the musical light-up headboards at the Disneyland Hotel, and this felt like the next generation of that.
It took me a few walk-throughs to discover every detail, including a pixie dust-coated nightlight and the base of the carpet imprinted with “Once Upon a Dream.”
One of my favorite details was tucked away in the closet. It did take me a bit to figure out where the closet was as it was hidden behind a sliding mirror, which, at first glance, I thought was solely a mirror. Inside is further detailing playing into the “Sleeping Beauty” theme.
The bathroom was large and centered by a massive vanity, which would easily accommodate two guests getting ready for the day. A walk-in rain shower featured a bench and colorful tile work, adding to the upscale nature of the room. There was also an enclosed water closet with a toilet for privacy.
My overnight stay was very comfortable, with plush, high-end bedding, and very comfortable pillows. I also appreciated the ample number of electrical outlets, including standard and varying USB ports, a first I have seen in hotels. With families having to charge not only cell phones but other electronics and MagicBands, this will be a lifesaver after a long park day.
My room was just off the main pool, but I didn’t hear anything from the outside, including some construction work that was taking place before the property officially opened to the public.
Discovery Tower Palette Pool
The opening of this tower also brings along new amenities that can be enjoyed by any guest of the Disneyland Hotel. The hotel’s existing main pool can often get busy, so this will be a welcome addition.
While the pool bar wasn’t ready on our visit, I was able to explore the new pool and lounging area. The Palette Pool, too, featured colorful mid-century modern accents and an ample amount of seating. Its focal point was multi-colored pergolas that popped, given the simple surroundings.
The highlight for families will certainly be the black-and-white “Steamboat Willie” water splash pad. This was incredibly impressive, and every 10-15 minutes, it disperses real steam, which was an unexpected attention to detail.
I’ve always enjoyed staying at the Disneyland Hotel, but this new tower feels completely different while effortlessly blending in with the rest of the property. Overall, it carries a similar upscale feel to Disney’s Riviera Resort but with a design all its own. The proximity to the parks and the added flexibility in room type is a win.
The Villas at Disneyland Hotel pair the amenities and atmosphere of a high-end resort with Disney’s signature brand of storytelling, and the level at which that storytelling is expertly woven throughout is both subtle and bold. It’s a full circle moment with welcome representation from iconic stories of Disney’s golden age of animation, like “Bambi,” which in turn would inspire the very Disneyland and Disneyland Hotel we know today. As the company is in the midst of its 100-year celebration, it’s the perfect timing for a new resort of this style and magnitude.
Guests do not need to be Disney Vacation Club members to stay in the new Discovery Tower. Click here for more information about booking a stay at The Villas at the Disneyland Hotel.