Let’s Explore the West Coast Options for DVC Members
The West Coast hosts two of DVC’s finest properties, and a third is coming next year. So let’s explore the West Coast options for Disney Vacation Club members.
The Grand Californian Comes with Hidden Benefits
Many Disney fans don’t appreciate the history of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. To date, it’s the only Disneyland resort that Disney built. Unfortunately, Walt Disney lacked the funding to build Disneyland Hotel, which explains why Disney didn’t own the property until the late 1980s.
So, the construction of the Grand Californian was historically significant and a first for Disney’s American theme parks. Imagineers built this hotel in tandem with Disney California Adventure. The Grand Californian actually opened a month before the park, but they were always planned as a pairing.
For this reason, Disney took the bold step of positioning a park entrance to Disney California Adventure right beside the Grand Californian’s hotel lobby. As a result, you can exit the hotel and walk to Grizzly River Rampage in five minutes!
The hotel’s logistics are the gold standard at Disney’s American parks. In addition to the proximity to Disney California Adventure, the hotel lobby exit is only a short walk from Downtown Disney as well. Even Disneyland Park resides only 10-15 minutes away, depending on how fast you walk.
We should all be thankful for these logistics, too. Realistically, when you visit Disneyland Resort as a DVC member, you only have the one hotel option. Fortunately, Disney created a gorgeous property that will remind you of two Walt Disney World resorts.
I say this because the late Peter Dominick, an architect, designed Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the Grand Californian. When guests visit the lobbies of each hotel, they cannot help but notice the same spirit and sense of grandeur.
While Disneyland Hotel carries more prestige, the objective evaluation is that the Grand Californian is currently the best official Disneyland resort. Of course, that might change soon…
The Villas at Disneyland Hotel Will Open in 2023
For the past 13 years, DVC members have possessed only one option at the Happiest Place on Earth. When guests wanted to visit Disneyland, we stayed at the Grand Californian, presuming we could get a reservation. Unfortunately, this resort has remained one of the most challenging places to book for several years.
Disney tried to address this problem with a tower expansion at Downtown Disney. However, Anaheim’s City Council refused to honor a $267 million tax credit, which ultimately killed the project.
For DVC members, these backdoor politics have proven beneficial. Management returned to the drawing board and devised a superior plan. As we speak, Disney is constructing a multi-level expansion tower on the Disneyland Hotel campus.
This facility, The Villas at Disneyland Hotel, will debut in 2023. At the recent 2022 D23 Expo, Disney displayed new images for the resort. We also know from September 2022 construction photos that one part of the tower has effectively completed its exterior, while the other is finishing the top floors.
These villas will feature a unique design, with Disney suggesting that the hotel’s outer facing will change at times. I’m awaiting the final details, but I presume it’s some sort of embedded digital display.
The moment that the Disneyland Hotel tower expansion opens, DVC’s Anaheim inventory expands exponentially. The Grand Californian offers a maximum of 71 rooms in its inventory. Disney has indicated that 350 rooms will be available at the new towers.
So, West Coast DVC fans already have two excellent options. However, 2023 will be that much better for Disneyland fans in need of a room.
Aulani Brings the Hawaiian Vacation Fantasy to Life
Technically, DVC offers another option even further west than Disneyland. Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, exemplifies everything wonderful about the DVC program.
When you stay here, you combine an exotic Hawaiian vacation with the magic of Disney. That potent combination is difficult to beat. I spoke about Aulani last month, and everything I stated then remains true.
We possess a societal obsession with the wonderland of the Hawaiian Islands. So when we close our eyes and dream about getting away from it all in paradise, Aulani is precisely the place we have in mind.
Some DVC members are unwilling to spend their points anywhere except at theme park hotels. I would strongly encourage these folks to reconsider that position.
Aulani simplifies your vacation experience. All you need to do is dine on the exquisite food and bathe in the sun’s warming glow in between swimming and tanning sessions. Disney cast members will take care of the rest.
Theme park vacations can get intense at times. Aulani’s the polar opposite of that. You’ll lose track of time here because everything’s so tranquil and calm.
Everyone should spend a week in Hawaii at some point in life. It soothes the mind and refuels the spirit.