After having been delayed for 5 years already, construction will finally begin on Flamingo Crossings on October 16th. Flamingo Crossings was announced in 2007, but was shelved as the economic downturn began.
The project will begin with two new Marriott hotels: TownePlace Suites and SpringHill Suites. The two hotels combining for 500 suites are slated to open in January 2016. The hotels will feature most modern conveniences you would expect from a Disney-area resort, including transportation shuttles.
When completed 8-10 years from now, Disney believes there will be 5000 hotel rooms/time-share units, and 500,000 square feet of retail space.
You may be asking why Disney would need outside companies to construct more hotel rooms and retail so close to Walt Disney World. There are several reasons why this project has been put into motion:
- Hotel occupancy throughout Orlando is increasing
- The offerings on the opposite side of Disney property along I-4 (including the highway itself) are overloaded during the busy months while Florida State Road 429, which runs past Flamingo Crossings, remains traffic-free almost every day of the year.
- This project would help shift some guests to the other side of Walt Disney World and possibly alleviate the demand on the I-4 Disney exits, as well as restaurants and such near Lake Buena Vista
- Walt Disney World is clearly in a state of rapid expansion and will need more nearby hotel rooms (and likely very soon more Disney-owned hotels on-property) to handle the amount of guests who will be visiting Disney Springs, AVATAR & Rivers of Light at Animal Kingdom, the Frozen attraction at Epcot, the imminent expansion at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and other offerings that should be constructed in this timeframe leading up to the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World
Disney owns the land on which Flamingo Crossings is being constructed, but Disney is selling the land to developers for the project.
Interestingly enough, the original website for the project developed by Walt Disney Imagineering is still operating. One would have to imagine this will soon be updated to reflect the start of the project…