"Western Way" Development To Be Named Flamingo Crossings and Other Details Announced
Disney Selling Parcels in Flamingo Crossings Project
Flamingo Crossings will be developed on resort's western edge
Scott Powers |Staff Reporter
November 28, 2007
Private developers and merchants will be able to build, run and own small restaurants, a grocery store, service and retail shops, and several "value"-oriented hotels and motels on the western edge of Walt Disney World later this decade as part of the giant resort's next development.
Disney World's land-development company, Buena Vista Land Co., said Tuesday it has begun offering parcels for sale and development within Flamingo Crossings, the 450-acre lodging-and-shopping district it announced last winter.
The project will rise mostly west of the State Road 429 interchange at Western Way, which connects S.R. 429 -- also known as the Western Beltway -- with Disney's theme parks and hotels. Early marketing materials declared it to be "outside the western gateway to Walt Disney World," but in fact all of the land is and will remain within the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the government agency that the Florida Legislature created specifically for Walt Disney Co. in 1967.
That prospect creates a first chance for third-party owners to buy and develop land inside Reedy Creek. Disney has previously allowed numerous private developments of hotels, stores and restaurants within Reedy Creek, but always through long-term land leases that have kept the real-estate deeds in Disney's hands.
Flamingo Crossings is to be built in phases over eight to 10 years, the company said. Infrastructure construction could start this winter, and the first private hotels or shops could break ground in a year or two, Buena Vista spokeswoman Andrea Finger said.
The district would aim for "value" hotels and motels, she said. Plans call for 4,000 to 5,000 rooms in low- to mid-rise lodges -- priced to compete with moderate hotels and motels off Disney property.
"We think there is room for expansion in that area" of the market," Finger said.
The 300,000 to 500,000 square feet of retail space at Flamingo Crossings would target merchants of practical wares and services that tourists, Disney employees and area residents might need, such as groceries, toiletries or basic clothing -- thereby competing with area shopping centers and outlet stores that draw many visitors off Disney property. The restaurants might include a mix of fast-food and casual-dining franchises not common on Disney grounds.
"Generally speaking, it's your typical shopping center that you see along the interstate," Reedy Creek Administrator Ray Maxwell said. "It's the value end of the market."
That retail concept contrasts with Disney's other major shopping and dining district, Downtown Disney, where patrons find a mix of entertainment, nightclubs, themed restaurants, Disneyana, and offbeat, niche and high-end gifts.
All of the private development would be developed under Disney's watchful eye, fitting into the project's master plan and aligning with Disney's restrictions and prior developments, Finger said. That is one reason Flamingo Crossings land will remain within the Reedy Creek district, rather than subjecting it to Orange County's development oversight.
Consequently, future landowners there will earn the rare power to vote to elect members of Reedy Creek's governing board or to decide any district-wide initiatives -- a right that has been extended to very few outside of Walt Disney Co. during the past four decades. Such votes are unlikely to change any balances of power within the district, Maxwell said, because the district's charter allows property owners one vote per acre. Flamingo Crossings could result in the sale of 450 acres to third-party owners, but Disney would still own about 17,000 acres within the district, while another 7,500 will remain under the control of the district itself or the state of Florida.
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I'm still undecided on whether I view this as a dilution of Disney or Disney just facing the facts and trying to have more control of something (ie budget hotels and shopping) that's already at their doorstep just off-property.
As Jimmy Buffett sings out in OKW: "only time will tell".
Thanks for the update Jason.
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Sounds like DTD West to me. Not sure about this either.
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It's basically bringing I-Drive type outlets into the fold and offering something that doesn't get the consumer off Disney's actual property to quench their thirst for more pedestrian forms of entertainment in Orlando....no doubt catering to the international travelers as much if not more than US travelers....
I think they should call it, "Disney's Myrtle Beach"....
Hopefully this...along with four seasons...is an attempt to reallocate and strengthen disney's overtaxed employee pool in orlando...
I would also not be surprised if the all stars, pop, and maybe even the moderates are sold or leased to outside operators in the near future....transportation could easily follow.
something has to be done to generate an excess in the labor pool at Casting.....or we will see no significant new development.
Selling the land, keeping some control rights but giving voting shares away. Hmmm.
I hope it does not set a precedent for "outside creep". They should not lose control and turn it into the tacky, inconsistent real world like what is outside the gates and the area around Disneyland, the very thing Walt Disney wanted to avoid in Florida.
If it can be developed like the DTD area, consistent signage, building schemes, paint, and a high scrutiny of business types that meet the Disney standards, okay. Yes, the reality of having more grocery and practical amenities makes sense. There used to be a mini-market of sorts in DTD where Earl of Sandwich is now. I missed it on our last trip 'cause it was a good place to get water, snacks for the room, and other more reasonable groceries without going outside the gates.
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Overburdened labor pool. Did not think about that. Yes, it would hinder development in the short run.
Originally Posted by lockedoutlogic
In the long run, is there enough affordable housing being built in the surrounding cities or counties to attract an expanded labor pool?
That is partly the issue at Disneyland right now. Even with the sprawling metropolis, affordable housing for casting is a problem there. The City of Anaheim wanted to build affordable housing near DLR but backed down after pressure from Disney backers.
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The name "Flamingo Crossing", makes me think of some cheap and tacky cross-roads kind of shopping mall.
I think I understand what what Disney is trying to do here; expand the on-property offerings without any significant long-term capital investment, which isn't a bad idea really, it's good businees. But, is it good for WDW? What will this do to an already (seemingly) burdened transportation network? How will crowd levels be effected? Will DIsney's resorts be effected in any way, will their prices change? Lots of pending questions here. I guess we'll just have to wait and see, but I don't have a real good feeling about it.
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I might be the minority on here about this.
But I hate both of these ideas - the Western Way and the Four Seasons. And I am putting strong emphasis on the word hate.
Why? Because to me, it sounds like the first one is cheapening the resort, and doing exactly what Walt didn't want to happen. We've already got I-Drive not too far away from Disney. We don't need another. Not to mention the name 'Crossroads' is already in use on the DTD side of property - it's located right off of I-4 and SR 535. Using a similiar name might make it more confusing for Guests (kinda like how a lot of people think MK is named Disney World and MGM is Universal).
The second sounds like something to counter the effects of the first. I mean, Four Seasons? Really, has Disney Service fallen so low that we have to partner with another company to improve it? I think the Starwood resorts weren't all that impressive and they don't fit into the scheme or style of Disney. They are an eyesore everytime I drive home from work. I can't imagine that a Four Seasons would look any better.
......Meg, you disappoint me.
Quite honestly? Yes, the Disney "Deluxe" experience is not as good as it is outside WDW. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it, but I adjust my expectations going in. The Grand Floridian and Contemporary, while very nice, do not offer all the amenities that people who normally stay at a Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton have come to expect. RustyScupper made a post listing the differences in Accomodations; I'll try to find it tonight if he does not post it here. While some of you may say "who cares?" these people have children too who should get to experience WDW. By allowing for the Four Seasons to build on property, Disney takes care of this part of the traveler base.
Originally Posted by CaptainJessicaSparrow
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Yup. I read somewhere that the Ritz - Carlton Orlando is considered one of the nicest resorts in America. I'm sure they book up and make money. Might as well try to get those people to stay on property.
Originally Posted by Hammer
Those tacky stores will be even closer to Disney World? Sounds...cheap. I expect more from Disney.
Ok....let me spell this out a little more clearly...since it is being glossed over....
The lack of both the volume and quality of employees at WDW is the biggest problem that the resort is facing...it has been for 10 years and it will continue to be in perpetuity unless addressed.
And it's not an issue of "affordable" housing...if you've been outside the gates at wdw recently...the entire central florida area is currently filled with construction equipment building apartments and condominiums....
To put it simply....disney can't find the 60K "quality" employees necessary to run it's operation up to the supposed "disney" standards as it now stands....so if you can't effectively staff your operation now...how can you do it in the future.
Here's the ugly little truth: you cannot hire employees at 5.65 an hour...cap them at 11.00...and hope to get the high end service standards that Disney tries to mandate. It is simply not possible....
Eisner effectively took away specialized roles and functions from the WDW staff and tried to "dumb down" all positions so that everyone is basically interchangeable and easily replaceable...all the while controlling labor costs.
It's what any good business would do....but it doesn't work when you have 60K of them in a single location spread out over 30 miles.
That model will not work at WDW...it will not allow for increased parks and resorts...it will not groom a consistent, long term staff....
So now the only reasonable alternative is to try to outsource some of the inhouse positions and reduce the staff....so it can be consolidated, strengthened...and maybe paid more and improved.
WDW...like Disneyland...used to be a great place to work...
...it is almost a joke in Central Florida now....
instead of strick appearance standards and good communication skills and manners...it is often times "sign on a line and get a job..if you feel like it"
So...I would encourage everyone to not forget this when any future development is discussed...
The work pool is "overburdened"....and there are "limited feasible model plans that may be implemented to address logistical correction"
That makes sense
Wow you opened my eyes to some things-
1.) i didn't take the time to think about how large the employee pool is to make a place this size run so well.
2.) I didnt know they paid so little. How do you expect someone to stay so happy with that low salary?
3) I still feel this will cheapen Disney, but if the standards are maintained , like DTD, it might be a good thing.
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