Have any of you been clamoring for details on the new Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, which is set to open at the Walt Disney World Resort next year? If so, we’ve got an exciting update to share today on the progress of this highly anticipated guest offering.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, which will bring to life famous Disney and Disney•Pixar films, including Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid, hit a major construction milestone earlier today when Walt Disney Imagineers and various crews working on the project held a “topping out” ceremony for the resort. This special moment is a tradition in the construction and engineering fields and takes place when the highest piece of steel is placed on a building’s frame. The tradition dates back to the Vikings, who would place an evergreen tree on the top of a building to celebrate and wish for good luck.
Today’s ceremony took place atop a wing of the resort that will be themed after The Lion King.
Disney Parks Blog author Tom Smith previously shared a look inside this resort, which will feature elaborately themed building exteriors and room interiors.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is set to open in early Summer 2012 and is already available for booking. Standard rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort start at $94 per night and family suites start at $248 per night.
For more information on Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, visit disneyworld.com or call 407-W-DISNEY (407-934-7639).
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
OrlandoSentinel.com Four Seasons finalizes deal for $360 million hotel at Disney World
By Jason Garcia, Orlando Sentinel
4:40 PM EDT, September 13, 2011 Advertisement
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts said Tuesday it has secured financing for a $360 million luxury resort at Walt Disney World and will begin construction of the long-planned project in December.
The 444-room hotel, which will include a rooftop restaurant with views of the Magic Kingdom and a "lazy river" water feature, among other amenities, is expected to open in mid- or late 2014. The project will also include as many as 40 Four Seasons time-share units and up to 90 Four Seasons private residences.
Four Seasons will hold a 30 percent stake in the project, with the remaining equity split between Silverstein Properties, a New York real-estate developer, and Dune Real Estate Partners, a New York private-equity fund. Grupo Financiero Inbursa, a Mexico City-based bank, will provide $190 million in debt financing.
"This is something that we've been very excited about for a long time, so this is exciting for us to get to this milestone," said Scott Woroch, Four Seasons' executive vice president of worldwide development. "And we're very enthusiastic about being on the cusp of getting shovels into the ground."
Toronto-based Four Seasons bought the land for the hotel from Disney World in August 2008 for approximately $51 million, according to property records. The land, in the northeast portion of Disney World, includes Disney's Osprey Ridge golf course, which will be incorporated into the resort.
Officials initially hoped to open the resort by last year, but the project was slowed by the global recession and credit crunch.
"When we first went into the market and started talking about this in '08, there was no market. No one wanted to talk to us," said Larry Silverstein, chief executive of Silverstein Properties, which secured the construction loan and oversaw master planning, among other responsibilities. "It got a little better in '09 and it got a lot better in '10."
Silverstein estimated that 2,000 construction workers would be hired to work on the project. Four Seasons says it expects to employ "several hundred" workers to staff the hotel along with its restaurants, spa and other facilities.
It was Disney that first approached Four Seasons about buying the land. Disney is banking on Four Seasons, one of the most prestigious brands in the lodging industry, to provide an enticing amenity for buyers in "Golden Oak," a residential subdivision of multimillion-dollar homes that Disney is developing in the same area. About a dozen Golden Oak mansions are under construction currently; Disney says the project will ultimately have about 450 homes.
Four Seasons will become the second elite hotel brand to build at Disney World in recent years. Waldorf Astoria in 2009 opened a 498-room resort on a piece of land in Bonnet Creek, a small area in the midst of Disney World that is not owned by the giant resort.
Although the Four Seasons will include approximately 37,750 square feet of meeting and event space, the Disney World hotel is likely to cater to a higher mix of leisure travelers than the typical Four Seasons. The company currently operates 85 hotels, with roughly two-thirds in cities and the other third in resort destinations.
Woroch said he expects a roughly 50-50 split between leisure and business travelers at the Orlando location.
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort Set to Open in 2014
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Finalises USD 360 Million Development Deal in Orlando, Florida With Silverstein Properties and Dune Real Estate Partners
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 13, 2011) -
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has entered into a joint venture with Silverstein Properties and Dune Real Estate Partners to develop a 444-room luxury resort at the Walt Disney World Resort.Construction is set to begin on what will be the largest Four Seasons resort in the world this December, with a target opening date in 2014.
"Four Seasons had the unique opportunity to purchase a fantastic site at the Walt Disney World Resort," says Kathleen Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. "Then, we partnered with Silverstein and Dune, some of the world's most astute players in real estate to develop the project, which enabled financial commitments to be secured and the project to move forward. We are also delighted to work with The Walt Disney Company, which shares our vision for a family vacation experience unlike any other."
Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the world's leading luxury hotel brand, acquired the land from Disney in August 2008, and will retain a 30 percent ownership interest in the project in addition to operating the resort.
Four Seasons has been working closely with New York-based Silverstein Properties, one of the nation's most respected real estate development, ownership and management organisations, since July 2009. Silverstein advanced the design and master plan for the new resort in consultation with Four Seasons, including acquiring necessary approvals, assembling and directing architectural and engineering teams, and negotiating the construction contract with Turner Construction. This effort enabled financing to be secured.
"We are very pleased to be working with Four Seasons on this exciting project," says Larry Silverstein, president and CEO, Silverstein Properties, which will continue to oversee resort development and construction. "It's a great design in a great location, and we've assembled a great team who are going to make this resort a reality in a few short years."
New York-based Dune Real Estate Partners, a highly regarded real estate private equity fund led by Daniel Neidich, is the majority investor. "The opportunity to partner with Silverstein and Four Seasons, both distinguished leaders in their respective fields, has given us the confidence to make a significant investment in a new development," says Neidich. "This is an irreplaceable asset - a rare opportunity in a remarkable location, with a prestigious brand that we believe will provide attractive returns to our investors for many years to come."
Mexico City-based Grupo Financiero Inbursa has agreed to provide USD 190 million in construction financing for the project. Grupo Financiero Inbursa is one of the largest banks in Mexico, and this is their second large construction loan in the US.
"Four Seasons continues to seek out innovative partnerships with like-minded individuals and organisations who share our vision," says Scott Woroch, executive vice president, worldwide development, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. "Despite the difficult financing environment brought on by the global economic downturn in the last few years, the development concept we created with our partners for this unique site attracted debt and equity sponsorship, and is now moving forward."
About Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort The development will include a 444-room Four Seasons resort plus up to 40 Four Seasons Residence Club units and up to 90 Four Seasons Private Residences. Within the resort will be several dining venues including a rooftop restaurant with Magic Kingdom views; a 14,000 square foot (1,300 square metre) spa with 18 treatment rooms; a fitness centre; three pools and a "lazy river"; sports facilities including tennis courts, basketball court and climbing wall; two recreational centres for children, teens and families; and approximately 37,750 square feet (3,500 square metres) of meeting and event space plus a business centre. The development will encompass the existing Tom Fazio-designed Osprey Ridge 18-hole championship golf course, which will be renovated and subsequently managed by Four Seasons. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resortis an enclave located within the Golden Oak residential community, created and master-planned by Disney.
About Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Four Seasons is dedicated to perfecting the travel experience through continual innovation and the highest standards of hospitality. From elegant surroundings of the finest quality, to caring, highly personalised 24-hour service, Four Seasons embodies a true home away from home for those who know and appreciate the best. The deeply instilled Four Seasons culture is personified in its employees – people who share a single focus and are inspired to offer great service. Founded in 1960 by its Chairman Isadore Sharp, Four Seasons has followed a targeted course of expansion, opening hotels and residences in major city centres and desirable resort destinations around the world. Currently with 85 properties in 35 countries, and more than 50 projects under development, Four Seasons continues to lead the hospitality industry with innovative enhancements, making business travel easier and leisure travel more rewarding.
About Silverstein Properties Silverstein Properties, Inc. (SPI) is a privately-held, full-service real estate development, investment and management firm based in New York. Founded in 1957 by President and CEO Larry Silverstein, the company develops and acquires office, residential, hotel and retail properties. On behalf of principals, investors and financial partners, SPI has developed, owned and managed more than 35 million square feet (3.2 million square metres) of commercial, residential and retail space. SPI has USD 10 billion worth of development activities underway, including rebuilding the commercial office space at the World Trade Center, one of the largest public-private developments ever undertaken. The company recently developed and opened Silver Towers, the largest residential rental development in New York. The company has been recognised as one of the "Best Places to Work in New York City" by Crain's New York Business for the past three years.
About Dune Real Estate Partners Dune Real Estate Partners LP manages the Dune Real Estate Funds, which were launched in 2005 to make opportunistic investments in a broad range of real estate-related assets, portfolios, joint ventures and operating companies worldwide. The funds have more than USD 1.5 billion under management and generally target distressed opportunities, underperforming and undervalued assets and portfolios, and value creation opportunities. The principals of Dune Real Estate Partners have an average of more than 24 years of real estate experience and together provide differentiated broad-based global relationships and investment expertise.
About Grupo Financiero Inbursa Grupo Financiero Inbursa was established in 1965 in Mexico, and is active in banking services, pension and investment fund management, operating as a brokerage house, debt and equity issuance, a wide variety of insurance products, financial and pure leasing services, and equity investments. For the latest news, please visit press.fourseasons.com
I a not sure if there are enough high end clients to make this hotel work. Four seasons are famous for not offering discounts on there hotels. I wonder if Disney will allow the guest of this resort to have a front of line pass?
The first of four phases in Walt Disney World's newest hotel will open May 31, the company said Monday.
The giant resort began taking reservations in Disney's Art of Animation Resort earlier this year, though company officials say it is too early to glean anything from the pace of bookings.
"But, certainly, there is a passion that's out there," said Kevin Myers, vice president of resort operations for Disney World.
The first phase of the hotel to open will be a Finding Nemo-themed wing of family suites that will include a pool that, at roughly 12,000 square feet, will be the largest swimming pool at any of Disney World's two dozen hotels and time-share resorts.
The Nemo suites will be followed by Cars-themed suites at the end of July, Lion King-themed suites at the end of September and, lastly, a wing of Little Mermaid-themed, conventional hotel rooms by the end of 2012.
Altogether, Disney's Art of Animation Resort will have 1,120 "family suites" — three-room units that are cheaper than traditional, high-end hotel suites — and 864 standard rooms. It will be priced as a "value" hotel, the cheapest of Disney's three hotel categories.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
This is something the resort really can use. A place where some of the family can go to bed while others stay up at the value pricing. This was always a problem when my kids were younger having to pretty much all go to bed at the same time because it was a single room.
I am definitely doing that next time I go. Looks like a ton of fun, and having treats is always good for me! Events like that are one of the best advantages WDW has over DLR. They can do fun events, and with a good price. They do offer the campfire year round don't they?
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