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  1. #1

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    March 26, 2009: Bonnet Creek Resort

    What's the Bonnet Creek Resort? And what’s its entrance doing inside the arches of Walt Disney World?


    Please discuss it here.
    Werner Weiss
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    Re: March 26, 2009: Bonnet Creek Resort

    I was always surprised that WDW never bought this property outright. Incredibly, the property is so hidden away that you'd never know it was there from Disney property.


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    Re: March 26, 2009: Bonnet Creek Resort

    Wow Werner, great article. I don't know much about WDW being I live down in SoCal, but that was very interesting. You always do a great job with your investigating and reporting. Keep up the great work!! Your contribution to this website is much appreciated.

    Kyle

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    Re: March 26, 2009: Bonnet Creek Resort

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeland View Post
    I was always surprised that WDW never bought this property outright.
    Keep in mind that the buying spree that Walt Disney directed in 1964-1965 resulted in over 27 thousand acres at a few hundred dollars per acre. Disney still has thousands of acres of land suitable for development. Disney is now selling land, not buying it. Little Lake Bryan, Crossroads Center, Celebration, Flamingo Crossings, and the Fours Seasons resort are examples of non-Disney-branded developments on land acquired inexpensively by Walt Disney (and now, of course, worth much more).

    There were reports in mid-2004 that Brooksville Development Corp. (developer of the Bonnet Creek Resort) had put the 482-acre property back on the market. At that time, reports said that the property was would fetch at least $1 million per acre. I'm not surprised that Disney didn't buy it. Apparently neither did anyone else.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeland View Post
    Incredibly, the property is so hidden away that you'd never know it was there from Disney property.
    I agree. Today the only evidence is the entrance on Buena Vista Drive and glimpses of the timeshare towers and the new hotels from the Caribbean Beach Resort and Pop Century.

    That will change if the last two parcels at Bonnet Creek are developed. They're right at the interchange between Interstate 4 and Epcot Center Drive. Before going through the WDW arch on Epcot Center Drive, guests will see two non-Disney high-rise resorts looming over the the interchange. The access to the two last parcels is through the same Bonnet Creek Resort entrance off Buena Vista Drive.
    Werner Weiss
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    Re: March 26, 2009: Bonnet Creek Resort

    While I see why parties would want to build expensive new hotel rooms to lure the wealthiest of guests, I cannot imagine that Disney is really happy about this. Really the access back onto Disney property is key for these resorts success. I just think that instead of keeping the wealthiest happy, Disney should be focusing providing more rooms for the average American Family, their core audience. They will be who really want to go to WDW, and if Disney build more resorts with a THEME to them that families would enjoy, I believe that would be difference to cause families to book with them. These generic, corporate style resort just look out of place at WDW.
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    Re: March 26, 2009: Bonnet Creek Resort

    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyCricketFan View Post
    Really the access back onto Disney property is key for these resorts success.
    Yes. My wife and I took a "courtesy tour" of the Wyndham Bonnet Creek timeshare resort. (With a "courtesy tour," you don't get any freebies, but you don't have to commit to two hours either.) The resort's location "within the arches of Walt Disney World" is their biggest selling point.

    The access road to and from Buena Vista Drive is not necessarily all bad news for Disney.

    It's likely that relatively few WDW guests will elect to dine at the hotels of the Bonnet Creek Resort, but the guests from the Bonnet Creek Resort's hotel rooms and timeshare suites are dumped onto Disney property to spend money at Disney's theme parks, water parks, other attractions (such as Cirque du Soleil), restaurants, and shops. Because the Bonnet Creek Resort (especially the Waldorf=Astoria) caters to people with more money, these could be quite profitable customers for Disney, even though Disney isn't getting any of the hotel revenue.
    Werner Weiss
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    Re: March 26, 2009: Bonnet Creek Resort

    Thanks for the article, Werner! is it just me, or have you had a lot of interest in WDW lately?

    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyCricketFan View Post
    While I see why parties would want to build expensive new hotel rooms to lure the wealthiest of guests, I cannot imagine that Disney is really happy about this. Really the access back onto Disney property is key for these resorts success. I just think that instead of keeping the wealthiest happy, Disney should be focusing providing more rooms for the average American Family, their core audience. They will be who really want to go to WDW, and if Disney build more resorts with a THEME to them that families would enjoy, I believe that would be difference to cause families to book with them. These generic, corporate style resort just look out of place at WDW.
    I agree. The Four Seasons under construction is in the "Palm Beach Style," meaning it will look like just about every other hotel in Florida. I'm not happy Disney is selling so much of their land (a HUGE portion, including the golf course) to a generic luxury hotel when they are more than capable of producing their own themed luxury hotels like the Grand Floridian. And that's assuming, of course, that making more rooms for the wealthiest, and without increasing park capacity, is in their best interest.

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    Re: March 26, 2009: Bonnet Creek Resort

    Thanks Werner! Even before there was any of the current development, I've always been curious about that little plot of land that just sorta stuck into the middle of the WDW property. When I first heard they were starting construction several years ago I admit I was disappointed. When I stayed at the Caribbean in '99, I loved looking out at the thick forest of trees from the Port Royale bus stop every morning. It was a nice view and could actually be quite serene. It bugged me I'd now be able to see the new hotels, Disney or not, through the trees. Oh well, at least the resort closest to the Caribbean seems pretty nice (that Hilton not so much). Thanks again for the info.

  9. #9

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    Re: March 26, 2009: Bonnet Creek Resort

    Finally! An explanation (or at least someone who notices it) for the Bonnet Creek Resort. I've been half-tempted to ask about this place on the boards (and why it is never mentioned as one of the non-Disney on-site hotels) but I was afraid no one would have any idea what I was talking about.

    And this sounds really interesting. You got to wonder what the prices for the rooms in the luxury hotels are gonna be like in comparison too say Disney's Grand Floridian. I imagine the prices would be about the same but between the different luxury hotels, which one would really give you your money's worth, I wonder?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkTwain View Post
    Thanks for the article, Werner! is it just me, or have you had a lot of interest in WDW lately?

    I agree. The Four Seasons under construction is in the "Palm Beach Style," meaning it will look like just about every other hotel in Florida. I'm not happy Disney is selling so much of their land (a HUGE portion, including the golf course) to a generic luxury hotel when they are more than capable of producing their own themed luxury hotels like the Grand Floridian. And that's assuming, of course, that making more rooms for the wealthiest, and without increasing park capacity, is in their best interest.
    Disney must not have a lot of faith in the luxury class. I'm sure there are a lot of middle class families who enjoy paying the extra money to stay at the Grand Floridian just for the heck of enjoying the Disney-theme luxury. As long as it's Disney, I'm sure they're willing to pull more out of their pockets but only if they're really getting their money's worth. GF buildings are a bit aging though. A newly built Disney luxury hotel could REALLY attract Disney fans.

    Alot of the old WDW hotel ideas that were originally planned had very luxurious and exotic themes (Persian Resort, Venetian Resort). Disney has all the oppurtunity to go back and reconsider those ideas. A sister-version of the Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta would be perfect at WDW.

    The final statement in the article also rangs very true. Disney plans to do very little to increase capacity in their parks and that scares me given their obsession with building DVC rooms regardless of the state of the economy.

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    Re: March 26, 2009: Bonnet Creek Resort

    I was under the impression that the flamingo crossings was stalled and may never happen unless there is a substantial improvement in the economy. The only new hotel going up is the Four Seasons which caters to the guest who says Disney hotels are great but they are no Four Seasons. The other hotels as part of Bonnet Creek have no relation to Disney other than location and if they fail I'm sure Disney would leap at the opportunity to buy out the land as they have done in Anaheim.

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    Re: March 26, 2009: Bonnet Creek Resort

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBlaster View Post
    I was under the impression that the flamingo crossings was stalled and may never happen unless there is a substantial improvement in the economy.
    When I drove over to the Flamingo Crossings area on the western edge of WDW in February, earth movers were on the Flamingo Crossings site. The entrance arch into Walt Disney World was complete.

    Under current plans, Flamingo Crossings will not be Disney-branded. It is outside the arches of WDW. It's a real estate play by Disney to extract money from property that's on the "wrong side" the Daniel Webster Western Beltway (Florida 429 Toll), just as Little Lake Bryan was a real estate play by Disney to extract money from property that's on the "wrong side" of Interstate 4.

    And just as Little Lake Bryan has chain hotels and restaurants (such as Fairfield Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, and Bahama Breeze), Flamingo Crossings should eventually have 4,000-5,000 non-Disney hotel and timeshare rooms, along with shops and restaurants to serve off-site guests.

    The timing of the development will undoubtedly be a function of the recovery of the economy, but development is inevitable. I think most people expect "substantial improvement in the economy" to happen, but there's disagreement about when that will be.

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBlaster View Post
    The only new hotel going up is the Four Seasons which caters to the guest who says Disney hotels are great but they are no Four Seasons.
    The Four Seasons is not part of Flamingo Crossings. It's on the northeast part of WDW, where the Eagle Pines golf course was located. It's nowhere near the Western Beltway.

    New Disney resorts currently going up on WDW property are Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary and Kidani Village at the Animal Kingdom Villas. Both are DVC properties, and both will open this year.
    Werner Weiss
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    Re: March 26, 2009: Bonnet Creek Resort

    From the article: Consider the number of new rooms described in this article. Then add the two new Disney Vacation Club resorts, new off-site Hilton and Marriott timeshare resorts, 4,000 to 5,000 lower-end rooms planned for Flamingo Crossings on the western edge of Disney’s property, and other hotel projects in Orlando (especially the thousands of new rooms going in near the Orlando Convention Center). Now lets’s assume—and hope—that the economy improves and those rooms will be full. Where will the occupants of those rooms go to have fun, at least when they’re not attending a meeting? The theme parks of Walt Disney World aren’t doing anything to add substantial capacity.
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! I've been saying this for more than a year now. All total, there are close to 10,000 rooms being planned to be added on or around Disney property in the next 5-10 years. That many rooms, could add about another 15-30,000 guests on property per day. If you consider 2007 park attendance numbers, this means, that the average attendance per park will increase by at least another 5,000 per day. Those numbers, while exciting to Disney management, should scare the frequent visitors.

    Here's how it breaks down.
    2007 estimated attendance across 4 major parks - 46.8 million
    Daily Average across 4 parks - 128,000 (total / 365)
    Daily Average per park - 32,000 (Daily avg / 4)

    So, if these 10,000 rooms add on average at least 2 guests each, that could mean an additional 20,000 guests on-property. The break down would look like:
    5-10 year future attendance estimate - 54.1 million (20,000 * 365 = 7.3m + 46.8m)
    Daily Avg across 4 parks - 148,000
    Daily Avg per park - 37,000

    On my visits during the last couple of years, I've noticed that even during off-season, the parks are becoming more and more crowded. And, during peak season, it's almost become inadvisable to make a visit. I'm just worried that WDW isn't capable of handling another 15-20,000 guests per day in their parks, especially not on the busiest days of the year, when they're already closing some of the parks due to capacity.

    With all of this planned capacity, I think they need to start right now upgrading their infrastructure, especially the transportation options. I really can't see too many guests at the Waldorf and Four Seasons riding a Disney bus. I'm guessing these resorts are going to have their own special coaches. But, for the others, will they simply rely on more busses? Don't get me wrong, the busses do a great job, but, I'm just thinking they have to be a drain on Disney, especially if fuel prices rise again.

    Transportation issues aside, they still have capacity issues that will need to be addressed. There are 2 issues, as I see it. 1) How to handle the additional guests? Nobody likes large crowds and having to wait for their favorite ride more than an hour. 2) How to handle the newer level of guests with deeper pockets staying at Four Seasons and Waldorf=Astoria? These aren't the typical guests who are willing to wait in line in the hot sun for an hour so Junior can ride Dumbo! No, these guests are going to want something more, something extrodinary that the average guest doesn't get, something like Busch's Discovery Cove where it's just them and a few other people getting an exclusive entertainment option.

    Hopefully, WDW management is forward thinking enough to address these issues. Although, from the looks of things right now, it really doesn't look like they are. In my opinion, they need to increase capacity at both AK and DHS by adding more attractions. They need to create a new, more efficient, and dare I say, more environmentally friendly transportation option that services more of their hotels. And, they need to create a new, exclusive entertainment option, which might mean new park or mini-park to cater to the more elite crowd with deeper pockets who will be coming soon.

    One other thing to think about. In 1998, prior to the opening of AK, the average per park, per day attendance numbers were 32,000, which is the same as where it was in 2007, according to the estimates. I'm not big on the idea of adding a 5th park, at least not yet, because there are too many other things they could improve upon right now with the parks they already have. But, if you look at the numbers, and the actual crowds in the parks, you can see that the time is drawing near when they are going to have to do something to handle the extra capacity. The consequences of not doing so, could actually mean a declince in attendance due to guest dis-satisfaction from the large crowds.

    BTW, Thanks Werner, I really enjoyed the article. I've often wondered about this resort and what was back there. It would be nice to see more pictures of it though.
    Last edited by GrumpyFan; 03-30-2009 at 01:43 PM.

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    Re: March 26, 2009: Bonnet Creek Resort

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyFan View Post
    Hopefully, WDW management is forward thinking enough to address these issues.
    Dont count it! They'll most likely keep the buses they have and let them crowd like crazy.

    But I agree with everything that Disney needs to do in the transportation department in anticipation of greater crowds. The Four Seasons and Waldorf-Astoria will most likely have their own coaches.

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    Re: March 26, 2009: Bonnet Creek Resort

    A few more numbers.

    WDW's average annual growth rate for the past 10 years has been around 3.4%, and that includes the steep drops for a year and half after 9/11. So, even without the addition of these extra rooms, and if they continue on a modest average growth trend of 3% for the next five years, the attendace numbers will be 54.4 million. If I had to guess, I would say that the addition of these rooms will give them at most, 1/2 a percentage point jump, which is 3.9% and 57.8 million, which is 10 million more than 2007. That's a LOT more people in those 4 parks! As Stitch would say, "Nooo sleeping... Get moving!!!" (from the WDW wakeup call).

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