The classic Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, Calif., is undergoing a multi-year makeover that includes updated rooms, new restaurants, and a renovated pool area. While much of that is still in progress, one extravagant addition to the hotel was recently completed: the Big Thunder Suite.
Upon arriving at the Disneyland Resort, Disney Vacation Club (DVC) member Michael Gold recently had the good fortune of being one of the first to stay inside the lush new suite, themed around the classic Disney roller coaster, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Gold had initially booked two rooms at the Disneyland Hotel using his DVC points but was excited to find out he had been upgraded to the Big Thunder Suite upon arrival. At check-in, he was told the suite had just been completed days prior.
So what makes up a hotel suite inspired by a “runaway” mine train attraction? Located on the top floor of the hotel’s “Dreams” tower (soon to be called the “Adventure” tower), the two-bedroom suite features all the amenities of a modern space mixed with the rustic feel of the ride.
Greeting Guests in the suite’s foyer is concept art of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction:
The decor throughout the suite incorporates stone and wood but still retains a luxurious feel. The wood flooring is even made from recycled materials from a Midwest barn. The dining and living rooms are open to each other, along with a nearby wet bar area:
Disney magic is prevalent throughout the Big Thunder Suite. “It was huge (I have a family of five and everyone was very comfortable) and very cool,” explained Gold. “TVs are hidden behind pictures, the ‘fireplace’ glows 24/7, reproductions of original Frontierland concept art cover the walls, and the doorbell even howls like a wolf!”
The Master bedroom features cozy accommodations:
The Master bathroom offers antique-looking fixtures, stone and tile walls in Earth tones, and a unique metal washtub:
The Guest bath offers plenty of comforts as well:
The new Big Thunder Suite shares a floor with other top-of-the-line experiences, including the “e-Ticket Club” (the former lounge that a glass elevator traveled to, now a concierge lounge), the “Mickey Mouse Penthouse,” “Pirates of the Caribbean Suite,” and the new “Fairy Tale Suite,” completed around the same time as the Big Thunder Suite.
But like any luxurious stay in Disney property, a night in the Big Thunder Suite will cost you more than a prospector’s share. The suite costs upwards of $3,800 per night, though Gold received a much better value for his unexpected DVC point upgrade.
“The Big Thunder Suite is a really great room,” wrote Gold. “I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in the Grand Villas at both Boardwalk and Animal Kingdom [at Walt Disney World in Florida], and I can honestly say that it matches or exceeds their grandeur. Unlike those rooms, this suite wasn’t built to accommodate the masses. It was solely built to spoil its occupants. And it does that in style.”
Gold’s praise didn’t stop there. “The experience was wonderful, the room spectacular, and the service top-notch,” he continued. “If all the plans for the hotel follow the level of detail and attention that’s been paid to this suite, I’m confident that the Disneyland Hotel will one day finally join the ranks of the great Disney hotels, right where it has always belonged.”
While the price tag will likely prevent most from ever staying inside the new Big Thunder Suite or any of Disney’s other similar accommodations, the ongoing renovation of all the Disneyland Hotel rooms is sure to provide a similarly immersive experience for everyone who stays there. But those who can afford the luxury provided by this new suite will leave the Disneyland Resort with an extra-magical feeling. Gold concludes, “It was a great way to introduce my kids to the original park, and we all felt pretty special.”