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Disneyland Expansion Adds to Area Hotel Debuts

Fall has marked a season of expansion and openings for Orange County hotels.

At the end of last month, The Disneyland Hotel became the second-largest hotel in the county by room count, rising from 973 keys to 1,317 after opening The Villas vacation club tower. It now surpasses the 1,030-room Anaheim Marriott.

The expansion is the first new tower to be added at the historic hotel since 1979; the property is the oldest Disneyland-owned hotel, having first opened in October 1955, just three months after the theme park debuted in Anaheim.

The 12-story timeshare tower marks the 16th property under the Disney Vacation Club, the entertainment company’s vacation membership group founded in 1991. It counts more than 250,000 members from 100 countries.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa also has 50 rooms dedicated to the vacation club, and is ranked No. 4 on the Business Journal’s list of largest hotels in OC.

The new tower includes a range of units from standard guest rooms to deluxe studios with a kitchenette to multi-level villas with up to three bedrooms, with the grand villas able to hold up to 12 guests.

Room rates start at $522.

Walt Disney imagineers, or company engineers, incorporated original designs such as color palettes, stills and concept art from multiple animated studio films throughout the rooms and the new lobby.

A new pool area was also added with décor inspired by Disney artist Mary Blair. A small eatery called the Palm Breeze Bar will also open later this year.

Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock noted in May that the villas’ additional occupancy is expected to generate around $6 million in incremental tourism tax revenue for the city of Anaheim.

$60B Investment

The Burbank-based company announced plans last month to double capital expenditures in its Parks, Experiences and Products segment over the next 10 years to about $60 billion.

“Central to the business’s growth strategy will be a focus on stories, scale and fans,” the report said.

Disney aims to significantly expand the use of its intellectual properties in future development that already includes three new cruise ships, potential park sites and hospitality offerings. The local DisneylandForward proposal, if approved, is part of these aspirations.

“We stand alone when it comes to scale,” the segment’s Chairman Josh D’Amaro said.

“While our scale is impressive, we have no shortage of space or regions of the world in which to tell new stories.”

Luxe Reopenings

Elsewhere in Orange County, two Irvine Co.-owned hotels that were shuttered in 2020 have reopened under new names and ownership.

The former Fashion Island Hotel has reopened as the Pendry Newport Beach, with the 295-key property holding a soft opening earlier this month.

An affiliate of Eagle Four Partners LLC bought the property in 2022 from Irvine Co. for $144 million and kicked off a renovation and rebrand of the site, that operates under the Montage International flag.

The new Pendry is the first of its kind in OC and brings to the area five new dining options, a new members-only social space, The Elwood Club, and 58,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel is the 38th largest in the county by room count.

The former Hotel Irvine, which Irvine Co. sold in 2022 for $135 million to Hyatt Hotels, has partially reopened as the Hyatt Regency Irvine.

The new owners are putting roughly $50 million in upgrades for the 14-story property, which now counts 516 keys and is No. 9 in Orange County by room count.

About one-third of the guest rooms are available to book, with final upgrades completing by next spring.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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