Disney’s Legal Battle With Hotel Contractor Costs Millions

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Credit: Disney

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, a DVC (Disney Vacation Club) Resort, was set to undergo a huge renovation in 2019. Walt Disney World had hired the contracting company Validus to renovate over 1,260 hotel rooms which included studios and grand villas across the 18 buildings at the Disney Resort. Disney was investing $48 million into the project, and it was expected to begin in April 2019 and be completed by November 2020.

That being said, unlike most construction projects that were halted in 2020, COVID-19 was not the major cause for disruption on this project.

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Credit: Disney

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Validus and Disney have been in an ongoing ping-pong legal battle since the project started after Nicole Wickens’ team at Validus discovered one building violated fire and building codes. The lawsuit stated, “This life-safety issue existed at the property for more than 15 years without having previously been corrected by Disney.”

Wickens claimed that Disney’s construction team bullied her, calling her grumpy and even sending her a photo of a hot sauce packet to indicate that Disney was “putting the heat on her company.” Wickens is now, however, being sued by seven subcontractors who were working on the Saratoga Springs contract and have yet to be paid.

saratoga springs
Credit: Disney

Wickens is placing the blame on Disney for this as they apparently never paid Validus, which left it impossible to pay out the subcontractors. If this proves to be true, it will be shocking to many, considering Disney hired another contractor for the Saratoga Springs project after letting go of Validus for $13 million more than they were originally paying. Money doesn’t appear to be the issue here for Disney.

Validus construction logo
Credit: Validus Construction

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Orlando Sentinel reporter Gabrielle Russon wrote, “Professional Construction disclosed some of the headaches from the project in court documents, from hiring eight additional workers to stay on schedule as it faced delays from other trades failing inspections and having to redo the work twice because of problems. The other six businesses, which are located in Polk, Orange, and Seminole counties, said they were owed amounts ranging between about $88,000 to $300,000 in their lawsuits.”

Nicole Wickens
Credit: Validus Construction

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Validus attorney Tucker Byrd has deemed the inability to pay as a “domino effect.” Validus was meant to have a $10 million profit completing the Saratoga project, but has instead incurred huge financial losses and cannot pay out any subcontractors.

The legal battle will continue between Disney and Validus and will amount to over a million dollars in legal fees. Stay tuned to Inside the Magic as we continue to update you on this evolving situation.

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

As we have previously mentioned, Disney’s Saratoga Springs is a Disney Vacation Club Resort. The 65-acre hotel was built in 2004, and was due for a refurbishment.

Disney describes the Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa as “inspired by a historic New York retreat famous for its horse racing.” Being just a short ride away from Disney Springs, Saratoga Springs is a popular resort option for many vacationers, specifically DVC members.

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Credit: Disney

At the moment, Disney has noted the following regarding scheduled refurbishments:

The Paddock Pool waterslide at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa will close for refurbishment beginning this winter. As part of this work, the bridge connecting The Paddock to other Resort areas will also temporarily close. Not to worry, the Paddock Pool will remain open through the majority of this work. Additionally, Members can enjoy the High Rocks Spring feature pool and waterslide, as well as 2 leisure pools at the Resort.

That being said, the room refurbishments are also still underway. The majority of the rooms have, however, been completed, but it seems that the full construction process will not be completed until summer 2021.

treehouse villas
Credit: Disney

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Saratoga Springs also has the Treehouse Villas that Guests can experience, which is a truly unique section of the resort. Guests can sleep in the trees with a sense of luxury, and have plenty of room to bring along a bigger group of friends or family in the villa.

If you want to book a Saratoga Springs vacation at the Walt Disney World Resort and be only minutes from Disney Springs, click here and get started today.

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