Walt Disney World
A History in Postcards
Free with stay postcards page 2: 1982 Plans

In 1982 Walt Disney productions had big plans fro the Walt Disney World resort, and since so many of them seem to impact other things that I cover in this chapter this seemed like a great place to talk about them. I got a little insight into those plans thanks to a 1982 issue of Epcot Center construction news (volume 1 no. 14 sept 10, 1982) Two Articles in particular were of interest and I'll go over both of them on this page

Lake Buena Vista Expanding Guest Facilities

In the near future, the Walt Disney World monorail System will be expanded from Epcot Center to the Walt Disney World Village at Lake Buena Vista, thus tying together ail major guest areas within Disney property. Once construction begins. crews will erect 2.4 miles of double beamway and build a monorail station at the Village. Guest lodging facilities soon to be under construction include 112 additional Treehouse Villas adjacent to the existing Treehouses, and 184 more Club Lake Villas around the Walt Disney World Conference Center. The Walt Disney World Village is slated to expand to the west and south from the Empress Lilly restaurant.

1982-NO-rest2 (64K)

Above and Below: The proposed New Orleans style restaurant in the rendering below note the Empress Lilly "Steamboat" in the background, it looks to me as if this would have set where some of the Pleasure Island Restaurants are (or Mc Donalds).

1982-NO-rest-640 (57K)
This Phase II expansion
will include 120,OOO square feet of
restaurants. entertainment facilities
and merchandise shops, themed to a
 New Orleans motif. A secondary part
of this expansion calls for a new
600-room low-rise Disney hotel, also
themed to the New Orleans feel.
This hotel is still unnamed at this
  All of these hotels and related
facilities have either completed
design or are in the final stages of
design. Their construction will
depend on how successful the
opening of Epcot Center is.

Disney Expands Hotel Operations By Three.

1982-gf-1-640 (45K)

Currently, Walt Disney World has
  three major hotels servicing the
  Magic Kingdom; the Contemporary
  Resort and Polynesian Village and
  the Golf Resort. Three new resorts
  are under design; the Grand
  Floridian, the Mediterranean and
  Cypress Point.
   The Grand Floridian Beach
  Resort will be set on the shores of
  Seven Seas Lagoon, just north of the
  Polynesian Village and across the
  lake from the Magic Kingdom.
   The 760-room hotel will be a
  fantasy image of a bygone era of
  Florida's old Victorian style of
1982-gf-2-640 (72K)
The approach will be
  along a meandering, brick-paved
  driveway lined with lush vegetation
  and graceful palms. The main
  building will be an image of Florida's
  past, a dazzling white mansion in the
  grand manner, dabbled with brightly
  colOred canvas awnings and lush
  green ferns. a style reminiscent of
  old Victorian, but more playful and
  relaxed, embellished with wide 
verandahs, intricate lattice work, and
 balustrades. Shuttered windows,
 widow's walks and rooftop cupolas
 add their own touch of charm and
 the unmistakable flavor of a
 beachfront resort.
  The Grand Floridian Beach Resort
 will include a main building, 7
 one-story buildings on the beach, 9
 two-story buildings off the beach, 5
 three- & four-story buildings off the
 beach and 16 private cottages on an
 island just off the beach, to be
 connected by a boardwalk.
1982-gf-3-640 (83K)
There will
 also be two swimming pools, a
 marina and large tennis facility. Like
 the Polynesian Village, the Grand
 Floridian will be on the monorail
  The Mediterranean hotel will be
 located on Seven Seas Lagoon
 northeast of the ticket &
 Transportation Center, on a large spit
 of land extending out into the lake.
 Mirroring the flavor of the
 Mediterranean beaches, the hotel will
 include approximately 760 rooms
spread out in a dozen buildings, two
 restaurants, a marina and extensive
waterway. The hotel will not,
however, be located on the monorail
track, but will use watercraft as its
chief means of guest transportation.
  Cypress Point Lodge will be a
medium-size hotel facility, located on
the south shore of Bay Lake near
our Fort Wilderness Campground
Resort. Encompassing 550 rooms
and 50 log cabins on the beach,
Cypress Point Lodge will offer a
romantic notion of a
turn-of-the-century hunting lodge
secluded in a deep forest.
1982-cp1-640 (84K) 1982-cp2-640 (78K)
the trees nor the buildings dominate
the entire area; but blend together in
a natural harmony. One can almost
hear the crackling fireplace and feel
the large wooden beams offer a
haven of security and comfort.
 Cypress Point Lodge will also
include two restaurants, a pool,
extenSive beach and lake dock.
Guests will commute in and out of
Cypress Point Lodge by watercraft.

Now obviously a lot of these things, sound familar, either because they are Similar to things that were built, the Grand Floridian is the best example of this but the original plans were on a much smaller scale, still some things even in that description came out quite differently the "16 private cottages" on a nearby Island were never built, but don't they look a lot like the Treehouse Villas from the Disney Village Resort?, and isn't the Wilderness Lodge basically Cypress Point lodge on steroids?
Some of the other items sound familiar because they fall directly in the category of "Rumors that just won't die" the Mediterranean resort comes up from time to time, or some times it's the Venetian which was in much the same location in some of the earliest plans for the resort, interestingly though in this case they mention that there WILL NOT be monorail access, some of the folks that argue that a resort would never be built in this location like to mention that being so close to the Contemporary it would cause dispatching problems for the monorail, but having a resort heavy on waterbourne transit would make that a moot point, the other point often mentioned is that a lot of the land over there just isn't good enough to build on, if that's true that may be the main reason this parcel may remain untouched. Another "rumor that won't die" is monorail expansion, and here we see the seeds of at least one of the versions of that rumor the original plan to connect the Walt Disney World Village (todays Downtown Disney) to Epcot Center via monorail. Still other of the planned expansions mentioned here occurred in much changed forms the site near the Empress Lilly obviously did not get a New Orleans style expansion of shops and dining, but the "secondary part" of the expansion sounds a lot like an early version of Port Orleans or Dixie Landings, obviously it got built in a different location, but one that still has a special access to the shopping Village. So why, if all these plans were in Place under Ron Miller, and Card Walker, and the reason that Disney's Stock fell under attack was in part because of the under utilized assets in Florida, then why didn't these resorts move forward until after Michael Eisners team came in? I can only make guesses, based on history in 1973, around the time of the opening of The Golf Resort, during the gas crisis Hotels that had been springing up like crazy just outside the borders of WDW's property since its opening (and had even had trouble keeping up with the demand for rooms the first year) began going bankrupt due to the gas crunch and the great reduction of tourisim from out of state; at that time Card Walker vowed that it would be a long time before Disney built more rooms on property (effectively sealing the fates of the Asian, Persian, and Venetian Resorts), in the years after that that development of this kind of stuff went very slowly, rooms were added in small increments, mostly at the Disney Village in fact the largest "all at once" expansion in on property rooms between the opening of The Golf Resort until Eisner came on board were the 136 rooms of the Club Lake Suites which were built to support the Walt Disney World Conference center which opened there at the same time. Another problem often cited in the pre-Eisner era was that the Three headed command structure of the company seemed the perfect structure to KEEP ANYTHING from getting done. While we look back on these hotels with clear hindsight and see clearly that this is the business that could have done the most towards saving the company from going through the "green mail" it went through in the early 1980's, perhaps it wasn't so clear at the time, on the other hand, maybe this failure to move forward with these plans is one of the clearest examples of the possibility that it simply was time for a change in leadership at Walt Disney Productions.

E-mail Me martsolf@mindspring.com

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Last modified by Brian K Martsolf at 26-Jan-2008 07:56 AM