11/17/18

The name for the hotel replacing River Country and the surrounding area was announced at today's Destination D 2018 event:

Quote Originally Posted by Disney Parks & Resorts
During his presentation, Chapek unveiled details about Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge, a deluxe, nature-inspired resort coming to Orlando that will feature more than 900 hotel rooms and proposed Disney Vacation Club villas.


10/18/18

The Walt Disney World resort has confirmed that a new hotel will be built on the former River Country site and surrounding area:

Quote Originally Posted by Walt Disney World Press Release

Disney Announces Plans to Build Nature-Inspired Mixed-Use Resort on Bay Lake

Hotel and Proposed Disney Vacation Club Property, Three Other Previously Announced Resort Projects to Add More Than 1,700 New Hotel Rooms, Villas at Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Oct. 18, 2018 -- 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, this resort project joins three others underway at Walt Disney World Resort, bringing a total of more than 1,700 new hotel rooms and proposed Disney Vacation Club villas online over the next four years.

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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.

"Walt Disney World is in the midst of our most significant expansion in the last two decades and the combined 1,700 new hotel rooms and proposed Disney Vacation Club villas we are building at four different resorts will create thousands of new construction and permanent jobs and will drive economic opportunity and incremental revenue for Central Florida," said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. "We continue to add new attractions, new lands — and these beautiful accommodations will be right in the heart of all that magic."

The soon-to-be named resort is slated to be Disney's 16th Disney Vacation Club property and it will continue to build on the value and flexibility of a Disney Vacation Club membership.

"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," said Terri Schultz, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Vacation Club. "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."

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort will debut completely reimagined in 2019, featuring a new 15-story tower overlooking Lago Dorado, the resort's centerpiece lake. Offering an additional 545 new guest rooms and suites, the tower also includes a two-level entrance lobby, concierge lounge, new meeting spaces and more. Guests will also be able to enjoy rooftop dining at a specialty table-service restaurant with panoramic views. The existing 1,800 guest rooms have all been fully updated with new fixtures, furnishings and a color palette that ties the entire resort together.

Also currently under construction near Epcot and anticipated to open in 2019 is Disney's Riviera Resort, the 15th Disney Vacation Club property. With plans for approximately 300 units across a variety of accommodation types, this much-anticipated property will connect to Disney's Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot via the Disney Skyliner. This new resort will be the first all-Disney Vacation Club property at Walt Disney World since Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa opened in 2004.

Seamlessly connected to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios, an immersive Star Wars-inspired destination will also be built at Walt Disney World Resort. This first-of-its-kind resort will be a completely immersive experience into an authentic Star Wars story as guests depart together for a multiday adventure aboard their starship. Guests will interact with characters as they become active citizens of the galaxy, dressed in proper attire as stories unfold all around them.

These resort projects join a flurry of expansion at Walt Disney World Resort, including the highly successful Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom and the recent debut of Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios. In early 2019, Walt Disney World will unveil a collection of shows, parties, Disney character interactions and more that will allow guests to cherish time with family and friends. And later in the year, guests will be able to travel to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios, where they can live out their own adventures in a galaxy far, far away. Guests will realize now more than ever is the perfect time to experience all of the fun and magic of a Walt Disney World vacation.

10/16/18

The River Country/Backyard BBQ replacement may now have a name. Several Disney Vacation Club members have reported receiving a survey from InSites Consulting asking for their impressions on a new resort named "Disney Discovery Lodge". The survey describes the theme of the new resort as 'Refined Nature' and espouses that the potential resort will use 'steel, glass, and wood' in a way 'reminiscent of the beautifully crafted cabins found in nature' and that 'other well crafted details and refined materials' will reflect 'the organic forms of the outdoors'.

As in the past, a survey is not a certain indication of a future Disney project, but it is a potential indicator of a path they are likely considering.

9/2/18

With the recent indefinite closure of Mickey's Backyard BBQ, the potential construction project for the former River Country site appears to be gaining steam.

The leading rumour is that this is the beginning of preparations for the shelved "The Villas at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort". The resort was proposed in 2011 and went as far as having blue prints drawn up architecture firm GSB Inc.

The resort would be expected to be the next property after the under-construction Disney's Rivera Resort. With previous timeshare projects, the formal announcement of the project could lag the start of construction.

3/6/18


The Walt Disney World resort has filed Application #180305-371 to explore the suitability of land around the former River Country site:

Quote Originally Posted by Application #: 180305-371

Project Name:
Project 89 Geotech Borings
Project Acres: 0.5
Landuse(s): Commercial And Services
Location: Orange S12/T24/R27

The applicant is evaluating current conditions in Wetlands 7.1G, 7.1K and 7.22. Applicant requests the ability to permit temporary wetland impacts to allow for entry by sub-aqueous geotechnical drill rigs to collect data and assess the suitability of subsurface soils.

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For comparison, a current satellite image of the "Project 89" site is below:

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