The new 700-room 4-diamond hotel will be located at the end of Downtown Disney and will feature, “…a sophosticated design and be a game-changer for Anaheim, creating a dynamic dining, entertainment and hotel experience,” as described on Disney Parks Blog.
The announcement further describes the hotel as having a “resort oasis” feel, with “extensive landscaping and water elements, showcasing nature on every level of the hotel.”
There will be a restaurant and lounge on an upper level of the hotel with views of the Disneyland park fireworks, and additional shops and restaurants on ground-level will welcome hotel guests and visitors alike.
Looking at the low-resolution concept art provides some additional hints at the transformation of the area. For example, the circular building just in front of the Monorail towards the lower portion of the image is the current LEGO store at Downtown Disney. This seems to be remaining, but just beyond, the AMC Theatres, Earl of Sandwich, ESPN Zone, and Rainforest Cafe all appear to be going bye-bye.
That’s a drastically shortened Downtown Disney footprint, and it will be interesting to see how this new concept trickles further into the current area of shops and restaurants, which in itself has been in need of a refreshening for quite some time.
New tenants are, indeed, coming, with Splitsville Luxury Lanes scheduled to open this winter, as well as a Star Wars-themed “hyper reality” attraction called Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire.
Thematically, the look of the hotel expansion, with it’s emphasis on white and green and nature, seems to clash with the more yellowish-orange hue of the current Downtown Disney, so hopefully this “green” aspect will find it’s way down the corridor leading to the esplanade and park entrances.
Disney also announced the addition of a new 6,500-space parking structure located on the current Pinnochio surface parking lot next to the Mickey & Friends structure.
The new parking area is designed to “dramatically improve parking and traffic flow throughout the resort” and will provide a “60 percent increase in the number of access lanes” designed to reduce backups on city streets and making guest flow easier.
Earlier in the year, Disney was touting what they called the “Eastern Gateway” project, which would have constructed a structure and pedestrian bridge over Harbor Blvd. That project was mired with issues, notably complaints from neighboring businesses that felt the bridge would have routed guests away from existing hotels, motels and restaurants.
The announcement of the “Pinnochio” lot structure effectively cancels the “Eastern Gateway” concept and paves a much cleaner path towards Disney’s ability to grow and build beyond its current infrastructure.
All of this expansion is massive in scale and unprecedented in the history of the resort. It’s timing coincides with the opening of Disneyland’s newest land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which is in itself the most massive expansion the park itself has ever seen.
The future looks incredible for the Disneyland Resort.
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