ANAHEIM, Calif. – On Disneyland’s opening day in 1955, Walt Disney said, “To all who come to this happy place, welcome.”
The Southern California resort extended another invitation on Thursday with the opening of The Villas at Disneyland Hotel.
Like other Disney Vacation Club properties, this newest one greets members with “welcome home,” but home has special meaning here at Disney’s first hotel and original resort. And the Villas lean into that history, particularly in animation.
USA TODAY was invited to be among the first to experience the Villas at Disneyland Hotel, which are also open to the public. Here’s what travelers can expect.
Where are the Villas at Disneyland Hotel?
The Villas are located in a brand new fourth tower at Disney’s very first hotel, Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California.
They’re footsteps away from Downtown Disney and Disneyland’s theme parks.
"We wanted to be sure that we're paying tribute and celebrating what is already your Disneyland Resort, but also taking a step forward into the future," said Dean Huspen, executive architect with Walt Disney Imagineering.
What are they like?
The property’s promotional video touts, “every space will be bursting with magical touches and just like home comforts that will make staying here feel like a dream come true.”
From the silhouettes accenting mirrors in guests’ bathrooms to the Steamboat Willie splash pad outside, every space of the modern 12-story property subtly celebrates Disney animation through the years.
"I love the corridors. That's one of my favorite parts," said Anne Miller, principal interior designer with Walt Disney Imagineering. "I feel like hotel corridors aren't given enough attention, and we gave it attention, and I feel like we really made it work with the beautiful arches, which are significant in every Disney story, especially the old storybook stories."
Disney fans might even call the decor contemporary with nods to the signature style of Mary Blair, the Disney artist and legend behind “it’s a small world,” the Grand Canyon Concourse Mural in Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort and more.
The Villas at Disneyland Hotel has an expansive mural of its own by present-day Disney Animation artist Lorelay Bové, who’s worked on films like “Encanto,” “The Princess and the Frog” and “Tangled." Guests can look for characters from those and other beloved Disney films on her sprawling piece on the Villas’ first floor.
"It's always fun to go back to those films that I worked on a while back. Like, for instance, 'The Princess and the Frog' was my first movie that I worked on, so it was great to revisit Tiana again and have her being in this space with all these characters," Bové said. "Also, for me, it was special to sort of illustrate the other characters that I never got to work on, that I admired over the years."
How much does it cost to stay at the Villas at Disneyland Hotel?
While primarily a Disney Vacation Club property, non-members can book stays at the Villas at Disneyland Hotel if rooms are available.
The Villas are fully booked for opening night, but earlier this week, various rooms were available from $629 to $2,166 for the night. For comparison, standard non-DVC rooms at Disneyland Hotel start at $656 and can top $5,000 nightly for luxury Signature Suites.
Fans wanting to buy into Disney Vacation Club can purchase points at The Villas at Disneyland Hotel for $230 each. Those points replenish year after year for decades. The number of points needed for stays vary by property, room type and date, but opening night stays at the Villas start at 13 points for a Duo Studio – Standard View for up to two people and top out at 120 points for a 3-bedroom Grand Villa – Preferred View, for up to 12 people.
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What is included in a Disney villa?
Not all of the rooms in the Villas at Disneyland Hotel are villas.
New Duo Studios are designed for up to two guests with a Murphy-style queen bed that transforms into a couch, a kitchenette and “The Jungle Book”-inspired decor.
Deluxe Studios sleep up to four guests with a queen bed and a pull-down queen bed, a kitchenette and decor inspired by either “Sleeping Beauty” or “The Princess and the Frog.”
One-Bedroom and Two-Bedroom Villas sleep up to five and nine guests, respectively, with separate bedrooms as well as pull-down style beds in living areas, a kitchen, a washer and a dryer. These have “The Princess and the Frog” or “Fantasia”-inspired decor.
Three-Bedroom Grand Villas sleep up to 12 guests and look more like luxurious condos than hotel rooms. They feature separate bedrooms, a full size kitchen, a dining room, a living room with two-story windows, a double-sided fireplace that can be enjoyed inside or on a sprawling patio, multiple balconies, and decor inspired by “Bambi,” “Frozen,” “Moana,” and other Disney films.
What are the perks of staying there?
Anyone staying at Disneyland’s three hotels gets early theme park entry, preferred access to a limited number of dining reservations within the hotels, access to special events offered at the hotels, and next-day delivery of items purchased in the parks and Downtown Disney to their hotels.
The reporter on this story received access to this event from Disney. USA TODAY maintains editorial control of reviews.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Villas at Disneyland Hotel opens, and we’re among the first guests