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New Fantasy-filled Lodging Options
For Pre- and Post- Port Canaveral Cruises

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 vacationers.

Disney’s Saratoga Springs
Treehouse Villas
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 platformthus 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 viewsmaybe of peacocks that frequent the area—and the latest conveniencesfrom 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-lookingboth 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 tradition.”
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 afternoonmaybe 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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