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  1. #1

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    Disney road paves way to skip I-4, enter park.

    Disney road paves way to skip I-4, enter park

    The private road will give Walt Disney World guests access from the west so they can bypass the busy freeway.

    Scott Powers
    Sentinel Staff Writer

    September 13, 2005

    Walt Disney World is quietly building a new road onto its property that could siphon thousands of tourists a day off Interstate 4.

    The route would take visitors driving down the Interstate 75/Florida's Turnpike corridor into Disney from State Road 429, the Western Beltway toll road being built through western Orange County.

    When more of that expressway opens this winter, one of the exits will lead to a new four-lane divided road called Western Way, entering Disney from the west.

    "The connection of the new Western Way to the Western Beltway will be a convenient alternative . . . to access Walt Disney World Resort," said Andrea Finger, spokeswoman for Walt Disney Imagineering.

    The Western Beltway is being jointly built by Florida's Turnpike Enterprise and the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.

    The Expressway Authority is spending $230 million to extend the toll road south 11 miles from County Road 535 to Seidel Road. The turnpike group is spending $310 million on the next 11 miles to I-4.

    The sections from C.R. 535 to U.S. Highway 192 should open in December, and the rest about a year later.

    The new Disney road could open by March or April, connecting with an interchange on S.R. 429 about three miles north of U.S. 192, in the turnpike enterprise's section. From there, Western Way snakes east and south for 3.5 miles inside Disney property, ending at West Buena Vista Road between Blizzard Beach and Disney-MGM Studios.

    Disney, which owns the entire roadway, is spending $50 million to build it, and it will remain private. That means the road did not have to be reviewed by Orange County transportation officials, Growth Management Manager Jim Harrison said.

    The private road largely escaped the notice of Orange County officials, including Harrison, Mayor Rich Crotty and those at MetroPlan Orlando, the region's road-planning agency. Even some officials at the turnpike enterprise, which is building the interchange, said they did not know Disney planned the road as a major new entrance.

    Still, public planners applauded the idea that the new Disney route could divert thousands of cars a day off I-4. Disney estimates the new road would carry 15,000 vehicles a day in its first year. If traffic grows, Disney plans to widen Western Way to six lanes.

    "It's good news, though I'm surprised they haven't made more of it," MetroPlan Executive Director Harry Barley said after learning of the road Friday.

    The S.R. 429 route also would lead visitors away from driving past other tourist temptations such as Universal Studios, SeaWorld Orlando and International Drive.

    Universal Orlando spokesman Tom Schroeder said his company is not worried about losing the exposure.

    "Universal guests are smart, dedicated, and they can also read road maps," he said.

    Kevin Hoeflich, the turnpike enterprise's project manager for the Western Beltway design, said he did not know Disney planned a road capable of sending 15,000 cars a day to and from S.R. 429. He said the expressway could handle the traffic, and he gave the company credit for helping make the expressway possible in the first place.

    Plenty of private interests pushed for construction of the expressway, but not many ponied up, he said. Disney donated $7.5 million and 200 acres.

    "Outside of the transportation agencies, the only entity that came to the table with anything was Disney," he said. "Without the [land] donation and the funds to make up the shortfall, I don't imagine this project would have been built."

    Richard Foglesong, author of the book Married to the Mouse, a critical look at Disney's political influence in Central Florida, said Disney likely would get more than its money's worth from the contribution and the new road.

    "It would seem on the surface that their contribution to the state was small in relation to the potential benefit to the company," said Foglesong, the Cornell Professor of Political Science at Rollins College in Winter Park.

    The road project "has the benefit of potentially siphoning cars off of I-4, which would appear to serve the benefit of all commuters in Central Florida. But it clearly serves Disney's pecuniary interests as well."

    Scott Powers can be reached at [email protected] or 407-420-5441.

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/...owth-headlines


  2. #2

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    Re: Disney road paves way to skip I-4, enter park.

    Great idea! Now if they could just extend that all the way to Tampa, that would make me a happy camper. LOL I-4 is brutal!

  3. #3

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    Re: Disney road paves way to skip I-4, enter park.

    Quote Originally Posted by SummerInFL
    Great idea! Now if they could just extend that all the way to Tampa, that would make me a happy camper. LOL I-4 is brutal!
    Amen to that!




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    Re: Disney road paves way to skip I-4, enter park.

    well... you could take veterines to sunshine to SR 50.. and go east.. treaffic aint bad.. then find one of a few toll roads that way.. LOL I did that once...

    Though.. if it wopuld also hit SR 60.. that would also solve traffic problems..

    how about a express lanesto and from tampa to orlando.. with on and of ramps for I-75, disney, seaworld, universal, and end in orlando.. lol

    but this idea works too for most visators.. and northerners..

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    Re: Disney road paves way to skip I-4, enter park.

    I'd rather have a monorail that went everywhere. lol

  6. #6

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    Re: Disney road paves way to skip I-4, enter park.

    Im still hoping WDW and Orlando would come to some sort of agreement on a train from downtown Orlando to the parks. WDW can be selfish sometimes.

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    Re: Disney road paves way to skip I-4, enter park.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill
    I'd rather have a monorail that went everywhere. lol
    It starts at USF(college.. not park)... Then goes high speed to UCF.. then backtracks to a new TTC... where you can go to all 4 parks... lol

    but this is still better.. so less people have to be in my way when i might be speeding down I-4.. I mean keeping up with traffic.

  8. #8

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    Re: Disney road paves way to skip I-4, enter park.

    Quote Originally Posted by Subgoon
    Im still hoping WDW and Orlando would come to some sort of agreement on a train from downtown Orlando to the parks. WDW can be selfish sometimes.
    It's not selfishness, it's good business. Why should there be a train stop at both WDW and other resorts (like near Universal)? That's basically asking guests to leave property. Instead, WDW threatened to only put a stop there or don't put one there at all. Since Orlando made it's decision, Disney has chosen to go with DME.

    -Michael
    “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” - Walt Disney

  9. #9

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    Re: Disney road paves way to skip I-4, enter park.

    DME? I thought that WDW didnt want any stops on the line at all, not just at other parks, and that defeated the purpose of Orlando having a city-wide tourist transport system.

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    Re: Disney road paves way to skip I-4, enter park.

    Quote Originally Posted by Subgoon
    DME? I thought that WDW didnt want any stops on the line at all, not just at other parks, and that defeated the purpose of Orlando having a city-wide tourist transport system.
    but that defeted the purpose of a high speed rail coming from Tampa to orlando.. if it only stoped at disney.... no one would pay to ride that... lol

    (It was to start in Tampa.. then go down i-4... eventually stoping at plant city area.. then run to Disney.. then thats where everything changed... glad i voted no for it..)

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