Disneyland Hotel Refurbishment – Part 3, Construction Completed

| February 5, 2012 | 2 Replies

In late 2009 Disney announced that all the Towers at the Disneyland Hotel would be renovated and in May of 2010 Disney announced the renovation of the pool, dining locations and improvements to the Hotel’s grounds and landscaping. It’s been a long time coming and finally the construction at the Disneyland Hotel has been completed.

The construction walls are all down, the big machinery has packed up and the remaining touch-ups have been completed. The two year refurbishment project has come to an end, but what a result! So many new things and such a wonderful new look. The Disneyland Hotel is once again the signature hotel property for the Disneyland Resort.

Image: The newly refurbished Fantasy Tower at the Disneyland Hotel.

Image: Old Fantasy Tower (then called the Magic Tower and before that the Marina Tower) as construction began.

If you listened to the DIS Unplugged Disneyland podcast in early December, you may remember that we reported the construction was finished. Well, it turned out that there was a project deadline for all the construction to be completed by Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday season. Well they didn’t quite make it. But hotel management didn’t want all that construction clutter to tarnish the traditional holiday look around the hotel resort. So they ordered all the construction walls taken down and everything cleaned and prettied up for the holidays.

Then, just after the first of the year, there was a final push to complete the last of all the cosmetic and finishing touches to really complete the project. There are still a few little things to be done, but by the end of January Disney declared the Disneyland Hotel refurbishment project completed.

Image: Old Adventure Tower (then called the Sierra Tower) from 2008.

Image: Newly refurbished Adventure Tower from the Downtown Disney side.

The outside of the Fantasy Tower, where the Hotel’s main entrance is located, has received an extensive facelift and now has a modern and clean look with bold colors. The 50’s styles are gone and the new look is again very modern. There might not be as much Disney “magic” in the entrance area (no more Mickey heads in the tile or stars in the chandelier), but you now know you are entering a premier resort.

Image: Old Hotel entrance.

Image: New Hotel entrance.

The classic Mickey statue has been replaced by a redesigned fountain and flower box along the front entry area.

Image: The old Mickey statue.

Image: New entry fountains and flowers.

The Hotel main lobby and registration front desk have received a very modern upgrade and a completely new color scheme. The browns and earth tones have been replaced by silver and blue and compliments the color pallet of the newly refurbished rooms.

Image: Old front desk in the lobby area.

Image: New front desk with new color scheme.

The lobby seating area opposite the front desk has a distinctive “Mary Blair” style in the carpet and furnishings. You can’t help but feel excited about all the new adventures you are about to encounter at this resort.

Image: New Lobby seating.

One of the biggest improvements is in the Hotel Towers themselves. The old Towers had their cute little (but non-functional) “balconies” and the look was classic 50’s style. The new Towers are striking and modern with that Disney flair of uniqueness. They blend perfectly with the new style.

Image: The new and the old towers as construction is underway.

Image: The old rooms with “balconies”.

Image: Newly refurbished tower rooms with their distinctive blue tint.

And there have been some name changes along the way. The Tower buildings have changed names three times since the Hotel opened. New signage has been installed for each of the Towers and they look just great.


Tower location Original name Interim name Current name
Main lobby and shops Marina Tower Magic Tower Fantasy Tower
Original building closest to Downtown Disney Sierra Tower Dreams Tower Adventure Tower
South tower opposite the main entrance Bonita Tower Wonder Tower Frontier Tower


And of course the new rooms themselves are spectacular! Everything from the furnishing and bedding to the carpeting and colors has been completely renewed. It’s quite breathtaking. Click here for a full review of the new rooms at the Disneyland Hotel.

Image: Old traditional standard rooms.

Image: Newly refurbished rooms.

Even the small lobby areas of the Adventure Tower and the Frontier Tower have received a facelift, modern furnishings and fresh colors.

Image: Adventure Tower lobby area.

Image: Frontier Tower lobby area.

Image: Imagineering model of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (inside the Frontier Tower lobby).

The Disneyland Hotel’s entire swimming pool complex is completely new, with a new theme and encompasses a much bigger area. The old Neverland pool is gone. Now we have the huge E-Ticket pool, the D-Ticket pool and the wonderful Monorail waterslides! The pools are much more open and greatly enhance the area between the three Towers. A pedestrian bridge crosses over the pool area and connects the new Tangaroa Terrace restaurant to the Goofy’s Kitchen area. You can get some great views of the pool and the whole Hotel complex from the bridge.

Image: Old entrance to the Neverland pool area.

Image: Old Neverland pool complex.

Image: New E-Ticket pool complex with the Monorail Waterslides in the background.

Image: New E-Ticket pool (from the pedestrian bridge). The Fantasy Tower is to the left and the Adventure Tower is to the right.

Image: E-Ticket pool area.  The Coffee Shop and Goofy’s Kitchen is in the background, and the Fantasy Tower is to the right.  Also note the Monorail logo on the entrance gate.

Image: E-Ticket pool (foreground), D-Ticket pool (behind) and Monorail Waterslides (in the far background). Also note the facelift and new red roof for the rotunda building.

Image: Artist drawing of the Monorail Waterslides.

Image: Monorail Waterslides (taken while the Frontier Tower was still under construction).

We cannot forget to include the new and very popular Tangaroa Terrace restaurant and Trader Sam’s lounge. Both have become a great place for a quick meal, meeting place for friends and family, or a quiet evening retreat.

Image: Tangaroa Terrace entrance.

Image: Trader Sam’s entrance.

And there are many other additions and enhancements all around the Hotel grounds. It’s fun to just walk around and explore all the different areas and hidden spots again. There are surprises around every corner.

Image: Waterfall and geyser pool near the Frontier Tower.

Image: Fireplace cocktail area outside Trader Sam’s.

Image: View of the Monorail Waterslides from Tangaroa Terrace.

Image: Backside view of the Monorail Waterslides from the Frontier Tower meadow.

Image: Frontier Tower meadow.

Image: Frontier meadow planter, formally the site for the Dancing Waters and Fantasy Waters shows. The fountain pool has been covered and planted. The operator console sat to the far left near the door to the fountain equipment room. The backdrop wall was the old fiber optic color display. The lawn area was a sunken amphitheater for audience viewing. I’ve spent many a night watching these shows, so I’m pleased that this area was preserved.

Image: Adventure Lawn wedding gazebo area.

Image: Fantasia gift shop outdoor entrance.

Image: Mickey and Minnie statues outside the main entrance.

Image: One of the dozens of trinkets found inside Trader Sam’s.

But of course there were some “challenging” times during the construction. It wasn’t always so pretty and sometimes it was down right inconvenient. Looking back on it now, we wonder how they made it happen. How did they get through all that mess and turn out something wonderful?

Image: “Peek holes” near the waterslide area.

Image: Oh my, what a mess!

Image: Those poor old rooms.

Image: Construction walls were everywhere.

Image: Out with the old pool, in with the new.

Image: So that’s how you build a new pool.

Image: I guess you have to break some eggs to make a great cake, but goodness! Is there anything that didn’t get touched? At this point, you had to go completely around the outside of the hotel in order to get to Goofy’s and Steakhouse 55.

Image: That is one big tarp!

But in the end it was certainly all worth it. The Disneyland Hotel is again back to its pristine and wonderful state. It certainly took a while. Two years is a long time when you’re watching every change. But the changes were well worth it and now we have a beautiful Disneyland Hotel again.

Image: View from the Adventure Tower to Downtown Disney.

So grab your favorite friends and head to the Disneyland Hotel. There is so much to experience, so much to explore, so much magic to be found. I’ll see you at Trader Sam’s!


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