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Walt Disney World Announces New Luxury Hotel, Western Expansion.

Earlier today Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton announced two new projects for the Orlando, Florida property. The first is a new luxury hotel and golf course that will partner with the Four Seasons luxury brand. The second was a new ‘western entrance’ series of low and mid value hotels along with retail shopping, entertainment, and dining.

This announcement confirms Kevin Yee’s scoop from last November that there would be a Western Entrance development. So good on you Kevin. Although there was no date mentioned in the article, this appears to be happening faster than was initially expected.

Disney has been very successful in encouraging vacationers to never leave their property. This new expansion will add between 4000 and 5000 more rooms (or 12,000 to 16,000 more guests during peak times). Hoteliers in the surrounding areas just heard their cash boxes slamming shut, as their customers migrate to the new Disney properties.

The Four Seasons Hotel and Golf Course kinda adds some balance to the announcement. I’m sure details will be announced if this is a long term property lease, like the Swan and Dolphin, or some other arrangement. Hopefully they’ll be carefuller with the sight lines from existing or future themepark locations. Four Seasons recently went private with a sale to investors that include Bill Gates and a certain Saudi Prince. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal was recently rumored to be building a ‘Disney branded’ theme park in Dubai, and was helpful in bailing out Euro Disney from it’s early fiscal troubles. So, this may explain those rumors.

To add a little more flavor to the story, Local 6 News reports that Disney will actually de-annex some of its property to allow Four Seasons to sell Time Shares and Single Family Vacation Homes. Nice for those who can afford it, but I really hate how Disney has been carving off pieces of its property lately. I’m sure they’ll be regretting these sorts of moves in the future.

See also this Orlando Business Journal Article.