Walt Disney World
A History in Postcards
Chapter 9 Disney-MGM Studios Page 1 Lights, Camera, Action

The Later WDW Village Hotel Plaza Hotels The Swan and Dolphin Hotels

Similar to the lull in Hotel openings between the opening of the Magic Kingdom and the opening of Epcot there was another lull in the growth in the number of hotel rooms on property between the opening Epcot and the opening of the Disney MGM Studios, only this time, by the time that the studios were opening, the team in charge of the company had figured out that they wanted Disney to start building more hotel rooms of thier own. Michael Eisners got an education in Hotels while negotiating with hoteliers who wanted to build thier own hotels on Disney property. Previous Disney management had made an agreement Tishman (the project manager that built Epcot Center)that allowed them to build two hotels on property, when Eisners team saw how good the hotel buisiness was they wanted to kill the deal. When Tishaman realized disney was going to renig on the deal they sued for breach of contract. Disney then began to re-negotiate the deal, as the process of negotiation went on they saw that no matter what they asked of the hotel folks they seemed to agree fairly quickly even to the point of giving Disney the control of the design of the two new hotels to be built out behind Epcot, in the end the control of the project Disney was given gave them (especially Eisner) a taste of what it was like to support high-end architects. The Swan opened late 1989, with its dedication on January 13th 1990. The Dolphin opened soon after, in the summer of 1990 (sources The Disney Touch, by Ron Glover and Building a Dream, by Beth Dunlop, Realityland David Koenig p252.) The Swan cost $120m and has 758 rooms, the Dolphin $225m, and has 1514 rooms. Total project cost - $375m. The Swan was originally operated by Westin, the Dolphin by Sheraton both hotels are now owned by the Starwood hotel chain.

Shades of Green
This one is rather unique in the list of on-site leaseses as this hotel was a Disney run operation for many years. The core building itself was opened in 1971 as a 2 story clubhouse for the Palm and Magnolia golf courses. Pretty soon after, the need for overnight accommodation was recognized, and the guest wings added. The guest accommodations operated as the Golf resort (with 151 rooms) from 1973 until 1986. When it changed names to become the Disney Inn in February 1986 another 150 rooms were added. In 1994 The U.S. government leased the resort and the land it sits on with a 100 year lease to use for R & R for military personnel. In 1996, they purchased it outright. Running at near capacity since it opened, Shades of Green undertook a massive expansion plan starting April 2002 it was closed during much of the renovations, and guests booking there were sent to other hotels such as the Contemporary. Old rooms were renovated and an entire new wing was added, bringing the total number of guest rooms to 586. Shades of Green reopened in March 2004 with "more guest room options, meeting space, additional fine dining and many more guest amenities " March 2004. In additional "meeting space, additional fine dining and many more guest amenities" were also added .
Sources: Shades of Green Web Site http://www.shadesofgreen.org/about.htm , and Since the World Began (p.70)

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Last modified by Brian K Martsolf at 26-Jan-2008 03:17 PM