In the ever-evolving world of Disney World, plans for new developments can sometimes take unexpected turns. One such project that has been on the rollercoaster of uncertainty is Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge. Walt Disney Imagineering recently requested an extension on a permit related to this thought to be canceled (and now possibly just) delayed Disney Vacation Club property. Let’s dive into the history and explore what this request could mean for the future of Reflections.
The Birth of Project 89 and the Promise of a Nature-Inspired Resort
In March 2018, Disney World initiated Project 89, an exploration of the land where the once-popular River Country water park had resided for years. Permits were sought, and impact studies were conducted to evaluate the feasibility of developing the area. After over six months of anticipation, in October 2018, Walt Disney World made an official announcement: they were going to build a new, nature-inspired resort on the former River Country site. This deluxe resort was expected to feature over 900 hotel rooms and proposed Disney Vacation Club villas, thoughtfully integrated with the surrounding natural environment. The opening date was set for 2022.
The Stockpile Area and the Road to Reflections
To support the construction process, Disney applied for a permit to utilize a nearby area known as the Stolport stockpile area. This site, located at the “corner” of World Drive and Vista Blvd, was intended to serve as a storage space during the development. In February 2019, a permit outlined the planned roadways connecting the stockpile site to the Reflections DVC (Disney Vacation Club) site. The construction of access roads began, but unfortunately, the project was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the Reflections site abandoned and untouched.
A Shift in Plans and New Developments
In March 2022, Disney World surprised everyone by announcing the construction of a new Disney Vacation Club tower at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. This project has been making significant progress, demonstrating Disney Vacation Club’s commitment to expanding its offerings. In April 2023, another exciting development was announced: the refreshing of over 350 cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. It’s crucial to note that these cabin renovations and the Reflections DVC are separate projects, with the cabin refresh being an active endeavor.
The Reflections DVC’s Uncertain Fate
Despite the progress being made elsewhere, the fate of the Reflections DVC remains uncertain. Walt Disney Imagineering recently requested an extension for the Stolport stockpile area permit. This extension request does not directly pertain to the Reflections DVC construction itself. The original permit for the stockpile area was set to expire in May 2023, and an extension was necessary if Disney intended to continue using the site. The Reflections DVC permit, on the other hand, remains valid until November 2024, leaving Disney with ample time to decide its course of action.
Reading Between the Lines:
While the extension request does not confirm a revival of the Reflections project, it does suggest that the idea may not be entirely abandoned. It’s worth noting that Disney has been aggressively expanding its Disney Vacation Club portfolio, making the development of a sprawling, multi-story resort at Disney’s Fort Wilderness an enticing possibility. However, much will depend on the prevailing business environment and Disney’s strategic vision.
The saga of Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge continues, with its fate still hanging in the balance. Although the project’s construction remains on hold, the recent permit extension request for the stockpile area indicates that Disney may not have entirely given up on the idea. As Disney World keeps moving forward with new developments, fans and observers eagerly await further updates on the future of Reflections and its potential role in expanding the magical world of Disney Vacation Club.