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Walt Disney World Resort Non-Park Discussion Thread

P. 57 - Disney's Blizzard Beach reopens on March 7th, 2021!

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This is going to be GREAT! I myself do not stay on property at Disney. Why? Because I am too used to having a villa type room to spend my time at. With my family, we need the room and the kitchen. And although this suite may not have a kitchen, or 1/2 kitchen...it is still a step in the right direction for families. I actually may find myself staying there once complete for a weekend type trip. I have not been on Disney property since 1994 - Port Orleans!! I cannot wait to see it complete.

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I work at (and am part of the opening crew of "Classic Years") Pop Century and while I'm glad that the "other half" is going to be finally worked on, I have mixed feelings about the overall new theme... while I understand why Disney is changing the theme of the "Legendary Years" (1900's thru the 40's weren't some of the happiest of times) I'm still sad that the "Century" of it all is going to be incomplete... A resort with an identity crisis indeed... Now with even more mixed feelings is the new theme... I know its based on "Animation" and not "Movies", I just feel the new theme is movies all over again... Hell, why not call it "All Star Movies 2 (straight to DVD none-the-less)"... I'm super excited to finally see work getting started on "phase 2" across the lake... I'm just sad about the loss of Pop Century Legendary Years...

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I'm convinced that families looking for a "value resort" on property couldn't care less about the theme of it. I know the time or two that I stayed in an All Star resort, it didn't matter to me if there was a 2-story football helmet ,or guitar outside my room.


Now if I'm dropping $200+ a night, then I expect to be showered with theming.

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It's a pity they are using only four films, think how wonderful a set of rooms themed to the diamond mine from Snow White would be. So do we think that Carsland will be the next area to be announced at Disneyworld?

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One the last things I saw before leaving Orlando was Pop Century and the abandoned other side. Hope this bears fruit and they use the current resources well.


With this same thinking, and granted, it's a bit of a pipe dream, let's hope something good comes to Downtown Disney Pleasure Island or the other supposed shopping district that was laid out but never finished.

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Walt Disney World has selected a familiar face to oversee construction of its new Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Disney has picked Hardin Construction Co. to be general contractor for the project, which will include 1,120 family suites and 864 standard hotel rooms and be themed around four of the company’s best-known animated movies: The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Finding Nemo and Cars. The resort is expected to open in stages throughout 2012.


This isn’t Hardin’s first project with Disney. The company was also involved in construction of Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, two of Disney World’s Disney Vacation Club time-share properties.


Hardin’s portfolio also includes the Hilton Garden Inn next to SeaWorld Orlando, phases of the Orange County Convention Center and an expansion and renovation of the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.

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  • 1 month later...

Disney's Luxury Homes at Golden Oak


Disney to Build Luxury Homes - Wall Street Journal


Disney World's New Thrill Ride: Selling Luxury Vacation Homes




Walt Disney Co. plans to unveil Wednesday its first foray into residential real estate in more than a decade with a pricey vacation-home development in Florida's Walt Disney World.


It's a risky move. Disney will offer homes priced between $1.5 million and $8 million in a state where the foreclosure rate remains among the nation's highest. In Orlando, where brokers say home values have dropped between 50% and 60% from the peak, Disney's pricing would put its homes near the top of the market. According to Realtor.com, the average price of new listings in greater Orlando this year is just over $243,000.


But Disney believes the market for luxury homes is rebounding. Despite adding wine-tasting events and VIP park tours in recent years, "The affluent market is an area where we haven't offered a lot of product," says Matt Kelly, vice president of Disney resort real-estate development.


The proposed 980-acre Golden Oak development, most recently two golf courses within the 40 square miles of Disney's Orlando theme parks, is expected to eventually encompass 450 homes and a 445-room Four Seasons hotel.


The hotel will sit in the center of the development, to the south and east of one of the original golf courses, which will be updated.


It could be risky, as Florida's foreclosure rates remain among the nation's highest. Disney's pricing would put its homes near the top of the market. At left, the gatehouse at the entrance of Golden Oak.


Plans also call for a clubhouse, parks and pedestrian walkways, with wetlands and other conservation area comprising about half the project's acreage.


Golden Oak will test whether Walt Disney World is compelling enough for the well-heeled to buy a home there instead of in other family-friendly resort towns. But the test will be a limited one: Fewer than 30 lots will be available for sale this year, with the first homes expected to be finished in 2011. The timing and scale of a second phase that may offer fully-built homes remains undecided. Disney declined to reveal its investment in the project.


"This may be the first time that a kind of man-made entertainment center has generated that kind of real-estate activity," says Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, the dean of architecture at the University of Miami. Her town-planning ideas influenced Disney's first home development, called Celebration. She is not involved in Golden Oak.


Lots will be offered in sizes from a quarter to three-quarters of an acre. Though buyers can hire their own architects, Disney requires they hire builders, choose from exterior building material and adhere to architectural styles that it has approved.


Celebration, a 4,900-acre development adjacent to Disney's Orlando theme parks, was touted in the mid-1990s as a new model of small-town living. The pedestrian-oriented, primary-home community was designed to be economically diverse, with apartments renting for $600 a month near single-family homes, which started at $185,000 and went up to $4 million.


About 6,000 homes have been sold in Celebration, Disney's Mr. Kelly says. Disney owns some commercial acreage in the town and is involved with commercial development there, but now has a fairly hands-off relationship with Celebration day-to-day, he adds. Pat Wasson, Celebration's executive director, agrees with the characterization.


The Disney connection hasn't immunized Celebration from slumps. The median value of homes in the town as of April 2010 was $191,500, according to real-estate data provider Zillow.com, down nearly 60% from the peak four years earlier.


Early reaction to the project appears mixed. "I think it will be successful, knowing the attention Disney puts into its projects," says Roger Soderstrom, owner of Orlando luxury-home broker Stirling Sotheby's International Realty, adding that the location and access to entertainment would be hard to beat.


Miami architect Terence Riley says: "Much of the discussion about Celebration when it was built was that it had this idealistic notion that small towns were the best model, and that in small towns you could not have gated communities and economic segregation." Golden Oak, he adds, "seems like they are stepping a bit back from that."


"We don't really relate it at all to what we did at Celebration," Mr. Kelly says, adding that Golden Oak is different from Celebration because it's a resort community meant to offer a new way to experience Disney World, not a primary-home development. "I think by any measure Celebration was a tremendous success," he adds.


Discussions for a luxury-home project began around 2005 when planners for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts began to discuss whether the two golf courses might be better off being redeveloped. Golf courses within and near Disney World are abundant. At about the same time, the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts , which had long wanted a location in Orlando because of its draw as a theme park and convention destination, approached Disney about opening a hotel near its theme parks.


Disney estimates Golden Oak could take eight to 10 years to complete. Buyers interested in the first lots must deposit $25,000 to be placed on a sales reservation-list.

—Ethan Smith contributed to this article.


Write to Juliet Chung at juliet.chung@wsj.com

Edited by jedimaster1227
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  • 1 month later...



Walt Disney World is raising ticket prices once again, despite a still-weak economy that has the resort continuing to use discounts to lure travelers. Disney announced Tuesday that it will raise the price of a one-day, one-park adult ticket to $82 — the first time any of Orlando’s theme-park resorts has charged more than $80 for a base ticket. It amounts to a 3.8 percent increase from the current $79 charge.


The resort will also hike prices for multiday-ticket packages, which it sells in far greater volume than single-day tickets. It will tack another $2 — from $52 to $54 — to price of adding a “park hopper” feature to base tickets allowing visits to multiple Disney theme parks in one day. And it will increase annual pass prices, too. The new prices go into effect Thursday.


“We continuously monitor the marketplace to ensure pricing that reflects a strong entertainment value,” Disney World spokesman Bryan Malenius said. “Our guests continue to agree that a day at a Disney theme park is a great entertainment value.”

Malenius said Disney’s guest surveys have continued to show that nearly 90 percent of resort guests rate the value of Disney parks as “good, very good or excellent.”


Disney typically raises ticket price each year near the beginning of August. And while this year’s round of increases are smaller than last year’s for some shorter ticket packages, they are steeper than a year ago for the more-frequently sold packages of four days or longer. For instance, the price of a five-day park hopper — one of Disney’s most popular ticket options — will rise from $280 to $291, an increase of 3.9 percent. The same ticket rose just 2.9 percent last year.


Disney’s move could trigger a round of similar increases at Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando. The theme-park rivals have traditionally raised prices in lockstep together, though neither announced increases Tuesday.


“We’re not going to talk about our pricing strategies,” Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said.


“At this time, we have no plans to increase prices at SeaWorld,” added SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck. “We run our business plan independently from the other theme parks.”


Below are the increases Disney is making to base ticket prices:


1-day: $79 to $82 (+3.8%)

2-day: $156 to $162 (+3.8%)

3-day: $219 to $224 (+2.3%)

4-day: $225 to $232 (+3.1%)

5-day: $228 to $237 (+3.9%)

6-day: $231 to $242 (+4.8%)

7-day: $234 to $247 (+5.6%)


To add “park hopper” or water-park admission to base ticket: $52 to $54 (+3.8%)


Annual pass increases:

Premium (incl. water parks, etc.), non-resident: $619 to $629 (+1.6%)

Regular, non-resident: $489 to $499 (+2%)

Premium, Florida resident: $489 to $499 (+2%)

Regular, Florida resident: $369 to $379 (+2.7%)

Seasonal, Florida resident: $249 to $259 (+4%)

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^&^^Yeah, obviously that isn't true. These are very modest ticket price increases and Disney is still running a lot of sales on vacation packages due to the soft economy.


It's a very good strategy when you think about it: Get the base rates as high as possible for those willing to pay the premium for peak times. Then discount the hell out of the non-peak times to bring in more revenue.

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I have the Florida resident weekday pass for $180 and it's worth every penny. I've used it 5 times already this year and will probably visit 2 or 3 more times this fall. While not everyone can get a Florida resident pass, there's always different options to save money, so I don't see raising the price a couple dollars here or there being that big of a deal.

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