Well, isn’t this lovely…
A hotel not far from Walt Disney World suddenly closed on Thursday night, forcing nearly 100 tourists to suddenly look for a new place to stay in the middle of Spring Break and 3 days before Easter.
Champions World Resort is (well, had been) located at 8660 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway (a.k.a. Rt. 192), in Kissimmee, about 2 or 3 miles west of Disney property. Located on 26 acres, the resort featured 435 rooms, a conference center, several pools, sports fields and a full-service restaurant. It had a 3.5-star rating on most online hotel booking sites and was ranked 36th out of 164 hotels in Kissimmee, as per Tripadvisor.
However on Thursday, all the guests were unceremoniously kicked out of their rooms. They were told the hotel had been sold and the building had to be cleared out by 4pm that day.
As per WESH 2, hotel employees were going door-to-door, telling residents they had a couple of hours to pack and get off the property because the hotel was shutting down.
All this happened, of course, during the middle of Spring Break, and just a few days before Easter. Despite COVID, hotel rooms were not always easy to come by.
“I’ve called bunches of hotels and they’ve said we’re sorry we’re booked,” said Victoria Oquendo. She and 14 members of her family, all Rhode Island residents, were not scheduled to leave the hotel until next Wednesday, April 7th. They’re a large group and would need multiple rooms. “We don’t really know what we’re going to do,” Oquendo said on Thursday.
No word on where the hotel’s guests eventually went or, for that matter, when, how or even if they would be refunded.
And it wasn’t just the hotel guests who got the shaft; all of the hotel’s employees were apparently fired, as well.
A deed filed in Osceola County on the same day the guests were told to leave said the property was sold to “Champions Village Kissimmee” for $16.4 million.
By Friday, cones had been set up in front of the resort’s driveway so the property was inaccessible. There were also men stationed nearby who identified themselves as security – they were turning people away and saying the building had been sold, as reported in the Orlando Sentinel.
The hotel’s website is shut down, and websites such as Tripadvisor, Expedia, KAYAK, etc., are unable to make a reservation at the hotel. The hotels’ Facebook page is still up, and, not surprisingly, several people have posted some not-so-nice things about the (former) resort (and one opportunistic golf resort and club, 35 miles from Disney, that cost 3 times what Champions World Resort charged, also used the unfortunate event for some free advertising). 4/3/21 UPDATE: their Facebook page is gone, now too
A Newsweek report about the event quoted Florida Representative Darren Soto, who represents Kissimmee in the state’s 9th Congressional District, as saying, “This is a clear deceptive and unfair trade practice that should be investigated by the Florida attorney general.”
Feature Photo: Champions World Resort / Facebook
Thanks to Steve C. for the heads up on this story
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary