There are lots of changes coming to Walt Disney World over the next few years ahead of the 50th anniversary celebration in 2021. If you are anything like me you have been watching and reading a lot about the coming changes and all the construction. Truth be told I’m getting a little nervous. What exactly are the themes of the new resorts?
One of the things that I personally love about Disney and its resorts in particular is the attention to detail. I am pretty sure I am not alone in this. We love hunting for hidden Mickeys and “Easter eggs” hidden throughout the parks. I love all the details and back stories that go into the resorts. I realize we are very lucky to be able to drive a few short hours and experience this magic. However, part of the “re-ride ability” (to steal a phrase) is that Orlando and Disney never feel like the same place twice. Being able to chose from a large variety of highly themed getaways keeps me wanting to come back for more, and experience a whole new immersive atmosphere each time.
I would be far less likely to spend my hard earned dollars on a basic hotel that you could find in any town. You may have also gleaned from my previous posts that I love a good resort stay and a well-themed pool. If I am paying to stay at a beautifully themed hotel, you bet I am going to get some value from that investment.
Don’t get me wrong; there is a time and place for a generic hotel in which you are only going to sleep. If you will be out of your room from rope drop until the kiss good night, there is no reason to spend your family’s fortune staying at the Grand Floridian. As my Dad says, “All hotel rooms look the same with your eyes closed.” (Can you guess where we stayed as kids?)
Disney has recently released some artwork for a new nature themed resort.
Nature themed? The artist rendering looks like a hip new hotel you may find in any up and coming urban spot. Just because you plop a resort next to the Wilderness Lodge and the Ft. Wilderness Campgrounds does not inherently make the theme nature. It has been mentioned many times on the ZADD Crew Podcast that the Contemporary, although it has a great location, is poorly themed as Disney resorts go. It is themed like a very nice hotel. I am afraid that Disney is trending in that direction for its new resorts, too. Now, before I get hate mail, I think there are a lot of wonderful qualities about the Contemporary, an immersive theme just does not happen to be one of them.
Let’s consider the recent renovations taking place all the value resorts. Now all of the rooms look the same. Trust me. This is a big improvement. But, we now have a large group of rooms that are the same-no theme. The theme differentiation between the All Star Resorts and Pop Century lies in the resort grounds. Only. Now, maybe this is a simple case of “you get what you pay for.” Less money, less theming, and a pretty basic pool?
If we have a resort that is non-descript on the outside and homogeneous on the inside what are we left with? I’ll tell you. A regular, run of the mill chain hotel. I expect more from Disney. I have been spoiled by the Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Wilderness Lodge taking my breath away when I enter the lobby. I want a babbling brook in the middle of the lobby, or a princess promenade at 3pm. Where else can you find jugglers and magicians outside your resort at sunset? Not at the Holiday Inn….
Now, I hear you saying ” Jen – this is simply not true. What about the Star Wars Hotel?” This hotel experience is going to be a complete 180 from the All Star Movie Resorts. This place is rumored to be so highly themed from your food to your clothes that you forget you’re even on Earth. This is also going to be an experience that not every guest is going to want (I have no idea why), but, more importantly, an experience that not every guest can afford. (Just for the record: in the name of research, I will be happy to test the theming of this Star Wars hotel and will write a full review on this website..Disney are you listening?) Maybe Disney is using all its theming power on this one awesome experience?
The point I am trying to make is with all the rapid expansion and construction I don’t want Disney to let theming fall aside.
I don’t want a watered-down version of the Wilderness Lodge vaguely themed as “nature.” I don’t want a massive tower at Coronado Springs with no theming. I want the attention to detail and the feeling of being transported to a different place. I want to relax next to a man-made volcano while drinking out of a pineapple. Oh, and I really, really want to save the galaxy (I’m serious. All the Drennons are ready)
What do you think? Do you love the highly themed Disney resort of yesterday? Or do you prefer modern luxury with no theme? Let me know in the comments down below or @ me @drennons_do_disney on Instagram.
Huge thanks to @magicalshannonmarie and Nicole Ellington for the use of their pictures in this article.