Disney Announces New Nature-Themed Walt Disney World Resort Hotel for River Country Site

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Earlier this week, we got word of a Disney survey describing a potential new resort called “Disney Discovery Lodge.” While we don’t know whether or not that is the settled name of the resort, we now know that Disney is indeed moving forward with the concept, and we have our first look at concept art.

A new nature-inspired, mixed-use Disney resort will welcome families in 2022 along the picturesque shoreline of Bay Lake located between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground at Walt Disney World Resort. The deluxe resort, which will be themed to complement its natural surroundings, will include more than 900 hotel rooms and proposed Disney Vacation Club villas spread across a variety of unique accommodation types. (Proposed Artist Concept Only, Disney)

Set to be built on the former River Country site between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, a new, nature-inspired resort will open by 2022. The hotel will include over 900 rooms and Disney Vacation Club villas across a unique variety of accommodation types.

Terri Schultz, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Vacation Club, said in a statement: “This resort experience will be a celebration of Walt Disney’s lifelong love and respect for nature, with some fun and even surprising accommodation types that families will find irresistible. It will give our members and guests yet another opportunity to stay in close proximity to all the newest attractions and experiences in our theme parks, and with the flexibility, value and world-class service families expect from Disney.”

The new hotel joins the upcoming Disney’s Riviera Resort and massive renovation of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort as part of a large hotel upgrade centered around the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World in 2021.

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About the author

Matthew Soberman

Matthew has been a writer for WDWNT since June 2018. He probably should have realized he was a Disney Parks fan when he tried to make a model of the Horizons building in middle school shop class. (It didn't go well.) He is also a huge Muppet fan, and can also be found on ToughPigs.com. You can email Matthew at [email protected]


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    • More attractions in the current Parks serves the same purpose as the mystical “5th Gate” so many people drone on about.

      • I don’t think it does because we still have way too many people in each of the parks. The front of the parks, stores and restaurants are getting out of control with crowds. A 5th gate would help to alleviate that.

        • I have to agree with Steve. For all this talk about the new Galaxy’s Edge, it is only adding two attractions. So….Toy Story Land is actually much larger by that scale. They need to do more to add instead of replace. Example, they could have added Mickey’s Runaway Railway instead of replacing Great Movie Ride. Only then would “adding more attractions” actually work. But, a 5th gate is much needed if they want to keep adding to capacity of hotel accommodations.

          • I’d agree 100% but they won’t get it right now. If I thought they’d let someone like Rhodie make another interesting park, I’d be all for it. It seems like right now, all they want to do is strip the parks of everything original and inspiring, and replace it some soon to be dated IP. If I thought they would really “imagine” something new, I’d be all for this.
            IMHO this is all because of the competition down the road. As soon as that became a thing, it became a “my IP is better than yours” pissing contest and hasn’t let up since.

  • Looks like another unimaginative resort. Wish they would build more highly themed resorts like Animal Kingdom Lodge.

  • Everyone knows that this 900 room “nature resort” is about my love of money not nature. They need to montize my statue more like my brothers before the company sinks. Does no one want a Roy and Minnie statue Christmas ornament for $30?

  • That looks similar to the design of the new Disneyland hotel that got axed. That was supposed to be nature inspired too… by which I suppose that means a lot of greenery hanging off of ugly concrete buildings.
    The design looks more like it should be next to Bay Lake Tower. It doesn’t look like anything that should be in between Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness.

  • Bad form again building another resort. Overcrowded parks because of all these resorts. How do they not see how displeased everyone is with all this construction and overcrowding the parks?

    • Nothing sends a message to Disney management about how “displeased” everyone is like record attendance at the parks…

      • Easy to have record attendance when they give Brazilian groups free tickets, free meals and discounted rooms if they will come. Plus, they keep cutting back in other areas, it creates demand for the dwindling supply. Not a good way to make it in the long run.

  • I hope that Disney does more with the resort theme with this resort. This new resort’s concept art along with the Riviera Resort and the proposed “office cube” looking resort near the Swan and Dolphin are rather boring and don’t look much different than many other hotels built outside of WDW. Even the Coronado Springs tower seems a bit bland and looks like it may take away from that resort’s feel. One thing is for sure, Micheal Eisner did a good job building uniquely themed resorts. From the Grand Floridian, Port Orleans to the Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom resort, the design and theme of the resorts built in that era are amazing.

    • I love how many people have already formed their opinion about this hotel – and decided they don’t like it because of its lack of “theme” – based on 1 piece of blue sky art work.

      Disney isn’t stupid… they realize that this hotel is competing against Disney’s other hotels for people’s money (not to mention the hundreds of other non-Disney hotels in the Orlando area), and if they want to charge a “deluxe” price, they know they have to deliver a “deluxe” experience.

  • It certainly could be themed more, but I actually like it a lot. At least it isn’t just a box with windows like Riviera and the new expansions to Swan and Dolphin and Coronado.

  • Why does Disney think we want these lightly themed resorts? This, the Coronado Springs de-theming, the cancelled Disneyland hotel, the Riviera, etc. Even Disney Springs lacks level of detail. It’s weird that the parks are going hardcore theming like Radiator Springs and Star Wars and the resorts are moving away from it towards these bland office park spaces.

    • It’s the phillistines Chapek and Iger. They don’t care for theme at hotels. They feel theme is gauche, passe as well as an unwarranted expense.

      So they’ve been building these incredibly average and boring “themed resorts” and add-ons – just boring, tasteless modern architecture you can find anywhere and everywhere else in the world.

    • That’s why I didn’t go this year for the first time in 14 years. So many great attractions have been taken away or not been well maintained, it has gone from Disney World to Disappointment World.

      • I have to agree. Sites like these should pair announcements like these with what’s been cancelled. For instance, remember that awe-inspiring concept art for a “New FUTUREWORLD” during the last D23? Riiiiight. Word is that’s all been kicked down the road, but here’s another DVC Resort!

        In case anyone wonders why Disney sits on announcements… Its so you don’t hear that they cut a 25 years overlooked redo of the Imagination Pavilion so they could make a new expensive DVC resort.

  • Looks just like a Holiday Inn I stayed in on my drive to Chicago last year. Perfect side-of-the-interstate look. Hope that’s what they were going for…..

  • Disney is going to have to add more theme park space with the amount of resorts that they are adding. Whatta’ say Iger??

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