While you’d think a global travel meltdown due to COVID-19 would be enough to slow down hotel development, that’s not been the case in Orlando, and in particular around Walt Disney World. The JW Marriott in the Bonnet Creek development that’s adjacent to Disney property opened in the first part of 2020. The on-property hotel with the most stupid name in recent memory is set to open this July and Hilton announced a brand new Conrad hotel to open just outside Disney World in 2023.
I was most surprised to hear that a previously hot area for development, which suffered some setbacks, has opened two new hotels just outside of Disney World property over the past four months.
I don’t blame you if you’ve never heard of Flamingo Crossings. Back when Disney World was growing at leaps and bounds, like 18 months ago, developers were looking for any property they could build on that was close to the resort. There was a little-known road called Western Way that turned off between Coronado Springs and Blizzard Beach and met up with SR-429. Mainly it was a way for Disney employees to get to their homes in Clermont, Winter Garden and the surrounding area (Note from Sharon: And for cops to catch them speeding as they did so. True story! Before COVID, they’d “warn” either other on Facebook all the time).
On that road, just outside of the Disney World borders, there was an undeveloped plot of land owned by none other than the Disney Company. They gave it the name Flamingo Crossings. The original plans were for a Target, other retail and dining offerings and seven hotels. That’s right, seven chain hotels with easy access to Disney property, on property also owned by Disney.
The first two hotels, SpringHill Suites and TownPlace Suites have been open for a while, but unfortunately not much else from the original plans has opened yet, leaving these hotels as an oasis in the middle of partially developed land. While they were great places to redeem Marriott free night certificates, you needed a car if you wanted to get to the parks or to go anywhere else to eat since. This was becaue, unlike the higher end hotels on Hotel Plaza Blvd., near Disney Springs, they didn’t offer any sort of transportation to anything at Disney.
Going under the radar, another two hotels have opened at Flamingo Crossings. In December 2020, a Home2 Suites by Hilton opened, and just recently a Homewood Suites opened next door. The two hotels share a pool and pool bar, soccer field, basketball court and batting cages. Before COVID-19, Disney did a huge business bringing youth sports teams to compete at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Obviously, these hotels would be perfect for them with practice fields located on the property.
The same hotel company that operates the two new Hilton hotels is planning on opening a Fairfield Inn in May 2021 and a Residence Inn in July. They’re purposely spreading out over different hotel chains because the area manager for the company thinks, “Guests have loyalties to different brands, so this gives them some choice.” Truer words have never been spoken. All of you Marriott and Hilton fans, there will soon be plenty more options for you when taking that trip to Walt Disney World.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary