Busy day with all these announcements from The Walt Disney Co. and their vacation ownership division, the Disney Vacation Club (DVC).
Three highly anticipated resort developments will expand the Walt Disney World vacation experience and continue the rapid growth of Disney Vacation Club, Disney’s innovative vacation-ownership program:
- the African-inspired Kidani Village opened May 2009 with additional villas scheduled to open fall 2009
- the Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, scheduled to open in summer 2009, will become the next room category offered at that resort
- the 15-story Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is scheduled to join the Disney Vacation Club family of properties by fall 2009.
“Our founder, Walt Disney, was well-known for having one foot in the past and one in the future,” said Disney Vacation Club President Jim Lewis. “These new resort developments share that dynamic sensibility, blending modern luxury and design with nostalgic spirit.”
The developments come during an unprecedented era of growth for Disney Vacation Club, established in 1991 to give families decades of affordable vacations at Disney destinations and beyond. Disney Vacation Club membership has more than doubled since 2004, expanding to include more than 400,000 individuals from approximately 100 countries and every U.S. state.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
The newly opened Kidani Village, located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, offers guests African-inspired details and home-like accommodations and amenities. Many vacation villas will also feature sweeping views of an expanded savannah inhabited by a variety of African animals.
The Kidani Village development includes Sanaa, a table-service restaurant celebrating African-inspired cuisine with an Indian touch; Samawati Springs Pool, a themed pool area; Uwanja Camp, a themed water-play area; Survival of the Fittest, a fitness center; Johari Treasures, a merchandise shop, and more. The remaining rooms and amenities are scheduled for a fall 2009 opening. Upon its completion, Kidani Village is planned to include 340 two-bedroom equivalent vacation villas, for a total of 449 two-bedroom equivalent accommodations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas.
Jambo House, which includes 109 remodeled two-bedroom equivalent accommodations on the fifth and sixth floors of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, opened in July 2007.
Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Meanwhile, nestled in natural forest glens just around the riverbend from the bustling Downtown Disney area, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa will mark the newest phase of what has become the largest Disney Vacation Club resort.
This new phase will revive Walt Disney World “treehouse living,” a cherished tradition from 1975-2002. While crews are replacing villas of the ‘70s with brand-new vacation homes, Imagineers took special care to honor the original octagonal design.
The construction process itself was unique as each stand-alone treehouse villa came together like a giant 3-D puzzle to ensure both superior quality and environmental sensitivity.
All 60 three-bedroom homes, elevated 10 feet off the ground on pedestals and beams designed to blend into the forest environment, sleep nine and offer modern luxuries such as cathedral ceilings, granite countertops and flat-screen TVs, all presented in a style dubbed “cabin casual.”
“I was lucky enough to have a treehouse as a kid, but it was certainly nothing like this,” said Imagineer Todd Thomasson. “In developing this resort, we’ve all learned a new word, ‘glamping,’ which apparently means glamorous camping. Treehouse Villas will be glamping at its absolute best.”
Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
The new, curvilinear Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is designed to complement the fabled styling of the original building, which opened with Magic Kingdom on Oct. 1, 1971. Drawing on the color palette and strong horizontal lines of its iconic predecessor, the new structure even sports a rooftop lounge inspired by the original resort’s A-frame architecture.
The tower’s crescent shape, hugging lush landscaping, planned recreation options and a lakeside pool, promises to deliver some of the most dramatic views available anywhere at Walt Disney World Resort. Some villas face scenic, undeveloped stretches of Bay Lake, while others offer spectacular views of Magic Kingdom, located a short walk away.
Inside the tower’s 295 two-bedroom-equivalent villas, visionary design meets Disney chic to define the vacation experience. As the closest resort to Magic Kingdom, Bay Lake Tower guests can easily return to their rooms for quick breaks from their busy day in the park, where they can relax in an inspiring setting offering many of the conveniences of home.
Most of the rooms will feature innovative touches, such as modern artwork designed specifically for Bay Lake Tower, flat-screen TVs, full kitchens complete with granite countertops and modern appliances, separate bedrooms, washers and dryers, and other home-like amenities. Plus, to accommodate larger families or families traveling together, many Bay Lake Tower vacation villas are designed to sleep up to nine, though some units can also be divided into one-bedroom villas that sleep five and studios that accommodate four, creating flexible options for smaller groups.
Add to the plans a spacious lobby filled with woven woods and glass-wrapped columns, sweeping views from a rooftop lounge and fireworks viewing deck, and the convenience of a sky bridge linking families to shops, restaurants and the monorail station.
Overnight guests seeking these accommodations as Disney Deluxe vacation rentals may call 407/W-DISNEY, or through travel agents or www.disneyworld.com.
Disney Vacation Club is owned by Disney Vacation Development Inc., part of the magic of The Walt Disney Company. To learn more, visit www.disneyvacationclub.com.