Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A few Walt Disney World hotel Rumors

As the Art of Animation Resort opens look for some of the other resorts that offer 5 person rooms to stop making those rooms available. I'm not sure why they would want to force all larger families to AoA when they can offer different experiences and different price points at resorts like Port Orleans French Quarter. But that's what hotel managers were told at a recent meeting.

Another function of the Art of Animation coming online, is that the extra capacity will allow Disney to close down parts of the Polynesian hotel for a long needed upgrade. Apparently construction in the 70s still used Asbestos and Disney needs to address this. Due the way the Poly was constructed, they won't be able to refurbish in place and instead will be erecting all new buildings.

The plan was to do this over time, but the whole resort might close down while they work on the main building with Ohana's and check-in. Look for Disney to shift as many existing reservations as they can to DVC properties like OKW and Saratoga Springs which are always under booked. Work continues on a new pool for Saratoga which should help it attract a few more guests. A new night-show at Downtown Disney could also help Saratoga, as long as you don't mind fireworks going off at 11pm nightly.

As you may have heard the Grand Floridian will be getting a DVC building, spoiling the official 'front' of the hotel, but you can't see it anyway due to the trees. This is going to tax the GFs already limited parking situation. Things get quite crazy when there is a convention and wedding scheduled during the busy season. Don't even think of parking there during Golf tournaments.

The next DVC to be announced will be at the old River Country site. No name or design announced yet. The announcement date depends on the Grand Floridian sales numbers. Disney has no idea how long they'll be able to ride the DVC wave, but they plan to ride it to the shore (and probably a bit into town).

Much like Downtown Disney, Flamingo Crossing continues its holding pattern. They can't get 3rd parties to build there either. That should be a lesson to Disney, don't count your chicks before they hatch.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

DHS Parking to be reconfigured.

If you're used to entering Disney's Hollywood Studios via the 'back door' off Buena Vista Drive, get ready for a change. Disney will shortly add an offramp from Osceola Parkway to the World Drive located main entrance. Only buses will then use the 'back door'. (I'm guessing it will remain an exit too, but that wasn't discussed.)

I think this is a good thing logistically for most guests arriving by car; but it will make the EPCOT resorts slightly less desirable as they won't be right across the street from DHS anymore (still available via footpath or boat however). It will make the All Stars, Art of Animation, and Pop Century much more desirable in terms of their short hop from Osceola Pkwy to both DAK and DHS.

I hope Disney takes this opportunity to move the DHS entrance plaza about 300-500 yards away from the DHS backstage road. That would finally allow for an expansion of that side of the park (think Star Wars land or Cars Land). Right now, the toll plaza is the only barrier there, all the other sides of the park are hemmed in by parking lots or roads.

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