New Fantasy-filled Lodging Options
For Pre- and Post- Port Canaveral
By Georgina Cruz
Planning to extend a cruise out of Port Canaveral, Florida with a
pre- or post-cruise land stay? Two new, fantasy-filled, lodging
options will be available this year at Walt Disney World in Orlando:
one is rustic; the other ultra-modern, and both Disney Vacation Club
time-share properties that are available for rental to non-member
Disney’s Saratoga Springs
Those who enjoyed a treehouse to play in as youngsters, will be able
to recapture the fun and fantasy of that era of their lives at
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Treehouse Villas beginning this summer.
Located in a natural forest next to a picturesque canal adjacent
to Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, and near the shops and
restaurants of Downtown Disney, the new Treehouse Villas have a
storybook quality to them: they are octagonal in shape and built on
a pedestal, 10 feet from the ground –next to the treetops where the
overall effect is airy and rustic and punctuated by birdsong.
The 60 new Treehouse Villas, which replace similar lodgings at
the site that were rented to guests from 1975 to 2002 but were
damaged by hurricanes, feature a wood deck for sitting in the fresh
air and taking in the views of the forest and canal, where often
ibises, blue herons and other birds can be spotted. Unlike the
previous treehouses that had a bedroom and utility room in a lower
level, the new treehouse villas have all the living areas up on the
platform—thus looking more like treehouses and providing better
views from all the living areas.
All the new villas have three bedrooms and two baths, lots of
glass to take advantage of the views—maybe of peacocks that
frequent the area—and the latest conveniences—from full kitchens
with granite counters to washers and dryers to flat screen
televisions and cathedral ceilings. They are ideal for family
reunions or groups of friends (they accommodate up to nine persons
each). We stayed in the previous treehouses for a couple of nights
on a three-generational trip in the 1980s and it was one of the most
memorable vacations we have ever taken. Once another family – of
raucous peacocks (Dad, Mom and two cute chicks!)—settled in for
the afternoon on a tree next to our deck.
“I was lucky enough to have a treehouse as a kid,” said Todd
Thomasson, a Disney Imagineer, “but it was certainly nothing like
this. In developing this resort, we’ve all learned a new word, ‘glamping,’
which apparently means glamorous camping. The Treehouse Villas will
be glamping at its absolute best.”
The other new Disney Vacation Club project, opening later this
year, is the Bay Lake Tower, a 15-story building next to Disney’s
Contemporary Resort and steps away from the Magic Kingdom at Disney
World. Available starting in the fall, the curvy tower whose design
complements that of the futuristic A-shaped Contemporary Resort,
offers panoramic views of the Magic Kingdom on one side and of Bay
Lake on the other. It will have an observation area and a lounge on
the top floor so guests are able to see the nightly fireworks at the
Magic Kingdom without leaving their hotel. From the rustic to the
forward-looking—both fantasy-filled—in one fell swoop.
“We’re not only creating new accommodations, but new
experiences,” said Jim Lewis, president of the Disney Vacation Club.
“Each of the projects we’ve undertaken at Disney Vacation Club is
unlike anything previously available in our resort portfolio, and
both Bay Lake Tower and the Treehouse Villas proudly build on that
Among the Disney Vacation Club properties at Disney World are
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, themed to Africa, and Disney’s
Beach Club Villas, with a decided feel of the shore.
Destined to be one of the most popular Disney Vacation Club
properties due to its proximity to the Magic Kingdom (one can stroll
there via a walkway), the Bay Lake Tower will have 295 two-bedroom
villas accommodating up to nine people (and they can convert to
one-bedroom villas for smaller groups of five travelers as well as
studio villas for up to four guests).
Since the tower is so close to the Magic Kingdom, it is easy to
walk back and forth to take a break from the park in the afternoon—maybe for a swim in the resort’s pool, or a boat ride on the lake,
and then return to the park in the late afternoon.
Each Bay Lake Tower villa has a complete kitchen with granite
countertops, flat screen televisions and washer/dryer.
The décor of each villa is modern, with artwork and furnishings
designed especially for the tower “that are works of art in
themselves,” said Brian McFarland, Disney Imagineer. “The general
effect of the décor will be clean lines, open spaces and many Disney
touches.” Such touches may be an Andy-Warhol-inspired series of
depictions of the Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain or a tight close-up
piece showing a part of Mickey Mouse’s face.
The tower’s lobby will be decorated with fine woods and glass
columns, and it will have a skywalk connecting it to the shops,
restaurants and monorail station at the Contemporary Resort. One of
the Contemporary’s restaurants, Chef Mickey’s offers character meals
including the big five: Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy
–which make it a favorite with families and the young at heart.
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