One of the little bits of information that came out when Disney met with investors tonight, was that Jay Rasulo announced Disney was considering building a series of upscale Disney themed hotels in major vacation destinations around the nation, and perhaps the world. This does not sound like that bad of an idea to me. And coupled with the ‘Adventures by Disney’ brand, could succeed in positioning Disney as a leader in all sorts of vacations, not just theme park ones.
That said, if Disney wants to feature hotels themed like its Grand Floridian as ‘Flagship’ hotels, then they’d better start by fixing the original. Right now, it’s overbuilt (it’s a long walk from the outer buildings to the front desk) and deteriorating around the edges. Plus the fact that Disney has outsourced the front-line positions (baggage handlers, valet, and some night cleaning staff) does not show confidence in Disney’s ability to maintain the quality of the brand.
Now where could they build? They should start in major cities where Disney has a presence already. A New York City property could service the Disney Broadway shows. I think San Francisco is a good second choice with the Walt Disney Family museum opening there. I’ve also heard tell that Disney owns a rather large slice of property on the south end of the Las Vegas strip.
Disney does have two Disney Vacation Club hotels off their resort properties (Hilton Head and Vero Beach). Those seem to be chugging along with support from the DVC families that enjoy staying at those resorts. It wouldn’t surprise me if each of these new hotels included a few DVC only suites.