After staying at The Villas at Disneyland Hotel for its grand opening weekend, it was pretty clear that the newest Disney Vacation Club (DVC) property is still not quite ready for primetime.
While most of what we saw are all things that can, and will, be fixed over the coming weeks and months, we couldn’t help but be surprised by the summation of all the things we came across that aren’t quite up to the level we’d expect from Disney.
Although we did fully enjoy using DVC vacation points to stay in a 2-Bedroom Villa on the third floor for a one-night staycation, there’s still some finetuning that needs to be done. In fact, if this was a soft-open or a preview event, it might not have seemed quite as major but following a grand opening ceremony late last week (which seemingly marked the official completion of the property) it’s just not quite there yet.
Keep in mind, we’ve previously reported, accommodations at The Villas at Disneyland Hotel can range between $400 and $5,400 per night in cash or anywhere between 10 and 200 points a night in DVC vacation points. If we were guests paying cash or a family using their whole year’s allotment of points for a stay, we wouldn’t help but feel a little upset with the new DVC offering as we found it for the grand opening weekend.
Here’s some of what we witnessed first hand and learned from fellow hotel guests.
Rooms Are Not All Finished
Perhaps the most egregious faux pas we encountered was a fellow hotel guest who told us that her room had no hot running water. She said she left the tap on for upwards of five full minutes to eventually get to lukewarm temperature but couldn’t get it any hotter than that. She also mentioned that her Keurig coffee machine was not powered on and when she went to plug it in, she found that the counter had no electrical socket. Instead, a plastic plate with no sockets was covering where it seemed sockets would eventually be placed. Two strikes, yikes!
In our own 2-bedroom villa, we noticed that the central air was on and operational but the control panels in either bedroom (or in the living room) would not actually properly display any information. There was no sound or haptic feedback to know what setting of temperature we were on. The display panels did seem to eventually randomly turn on but would also just as randomly turn back off.
One thing that we count as a plus was that despite the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash being mounted to shower walls (as is now typical with Disney properties), there were large full-sized lotion bottles in each of the bathrooms. This didn’t seem necessarily unusual at first until we picked up the bottle and realized that it seemed to be specifically designed to be set inside of a wall mounted container. We’ll take free-handed lotion any day but we suspect that proper wall mounts will eventually be coming to lock up the lotion.
There’s Issues with the Pool
Although we don’t know why, Disney was seemingly having issues of some sort with the pool on opening weekend. On Saturday, the main Palette Pool did not open until the early afternoon and on Sunday we were lounging all day and the pool still hadn’t opened by the time we left at 5:30pm. Thankfully, the hot tubs and Steamboat Willie play area were not off limits. In addition, all Disneyland Hotel members DO have access to all pool areas including the E-Ticket family pool, D-Ticket lap pool, and Monorail Slide and water play areas which were not affected by the closures.
None of the Cast Members we talked to could give us a clear answer but one did mention on Sunday that they were waiting for clearance from the engineering team before they could open the pool. Heating issue? Chlorination? Staffing? We’re not sure but we do know it was not open by the time we left and the sun was setting.
The hot tub was thankfully open during the pool closure, however roughly half of the jets were not working at full power which you can see in the photograph below. We also noticed that some of the jets were pushing out cold water which we’re guessing is what caused the hot tub overall to not be as warm as we were expecting. To that end, the automatic sinks in the lobby restrooms were also having temperature adjustment issues with some taps running room temperature while others ran near scalding and no manual controls to adjust.
Although we have no way of knowing, the decor in the area surrounding the hot tub also did not seem finished. We weren’t sure if the lack of furniture was intentional but it was a little awkward with guests putting mobile phones, towels, and other personal items on the ground around the hot tub. Aside from that, the actual fixtures did not seem like final solutions. We noticed that the woodwork surrounding the spa seemed to be hastily put together with exposed screws and even lumber stamps visible on some of the slats. At first, we thought the wall stonework were bare cinder blocks but it appears the goal it to have crawling ivy cover the stone work. It also didn’t help that the adjacent convention space for the hotel was still in the middle of being re-painted.
The brand new Palm Breeze Bar at the pool is still under construction — no official opening date has yet been announced. We heard one rumor that it was held up by permitting but there was clearly unfinished painting/tarps in progress. To Disney’s credit they did (seemingly rush) to reopen the shuttered former Steakhouse 55 bar as a new lounge offering food and drinks but we were honestly surprised to see construction walls on-site of the new resort after we checked in.
Although there was no pool bar ready for walk-up service, there were Disney pool bar servers circling the new pool to take food and drink orders. However, due to the pool issues we mentioned above, nobody was really hanging around the area. As such, at around 1:30pm on Sunday, the servers came around to let us know it was last call for any orders. When asked why service was ending so early, they advised that it was a “slow day.”
There were other small nitpicks and growing pains we encountered but they hardly seem worth mentioning. One of our travel companions is in flooring and had remarked that the work on the foors in some areas seemingly had been rushed and incomplete. To our untrained eye we couldn’t tell if anything was amiss but this was his literal first observation when we first entered the tower before knowing anything else that would be happening that weekend.
Another funny thing we noticed in the Discovery Den lobby lounge area was on a TV display that had previously been showing a DVC commercial on loop — it was instead showing the memory status of the SanDisk that was plugged into the device. Hardly anything worth clutching pearls over but all the small things do eventually add up.
We’ll be staying again at The Villas at Disneyland Hotel this year and are looking forward to seeing the resort again — hopefully nearer to completion. We’re guessing hot running water will not be an issue but we’re really hoping the Palm Breeze Bar will be open. Keep an eye on MouseInfo because there’s still lot to admire for this new property and we’ll be sharing it all!
See it for Yourself
The Villas at Disneyland Hotel officially opened on September 28, 2023. An official completion date for the Palm Breeze Bar has not yet been announced.