UPDATES: Disney World Abandons Resort, Likely Closed Permanently

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Three different hotels: a traditional hotel with a gabled roof at sunset, a modern white high-rise hotel near Disney World with palm trees, and a colorful, whimsical hotel with unique sculptures and palm

Credit: Edited by ITM

Walt Disney World Resort has abandoned a major resort project, and this likely isn’t just a temporary decision.

Throughout Disney World’s history, numerous projects have gone by the wayside. They appear promising, capturing imaginations with their ambitious designs and captivating concepts, only to fade away into obscurity before they ever see the light of day.

A vibrant image of a fairytale castle with tall spires, blue roofs, and intricate gothic architecture, set against a bright blue sky with radiant sunbeams.
Credit: Becky Burkett/Canva

One such project that garnered considerable attention was Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge, announced by Walt Disney World Resort in 2018. Situated on the picturesque Bay Lake, this resort was poised to be a beacon of luxury and enchantment, nestled between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, on the very grounds that once housed the beloved River Country.

The initial vision for Reflections was nothing short of grandiose. With over 900 rooms, including a plethora of Disney Vacation Club villas, the resort aimed to redefine the concept of upscale accommodations within the Disney domain. Moreover, the promise of a Princess and the Frog (2009)-themed restaurant added an extra layer of magic, enticing guests with the allure of fine dining immersed in the enchanting world of Disney animation.

Disney's Reflections concept art
Credit: Disney

However, as with many ambitious endeavors, the path to realization proved to be fraught with obstacles. In 2019, Disney made a peculiar move by scrubbing all mentions of Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge from its D23 Expo announcements blog post. The sudden silence surrounding the project left fans and enthusiasts speculating about its fate. Fast forward to 2023, and Disney’s lips remained sealed, offering no official statement regarding the status of the once highly-anticipated resort.

The absence of construction activity in the designated area further fueled rumors of cancellation. Disney discreetly removed all construction equipment from the site, signaling to keen observers that the dream of Reflections may have evaporated like morning mist on Bay Lake. It appeared that Disney had shelved the project indefinitely, evident in the absence of any new permit filings.

Reflections - A Disney Lakeside Lodge
Credit: bioreconstruct on twitter

Yet, just when it seemed that Reflections had faded into oblivion, a glimmer of hope emerged on the horizon. A recent permit extension from this past fall, granting a five-year reprieve, hinted at the possibility of a revival, but it still doesn’t seem likely.

Could it be that Disney still harbors intentions of bringing Reflections to fruition? While the extension offers a ray of optimism, it falls short of providing concrete assurance of the project’s revival. The future of Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge remains shrouded in uncertainty, with the land destined to lie dormant for the foreseeable future.

Throughout its illustrious history, Disney has embarked on numerous ambitious ventures, only to abandon them along the way. One such example is Disney’s America, a proposed history-themed park slated for Virginia in the 1990s. Intended to celebrate the rich tapestry of American history, the project faced vehement opposition from local residents and preservationists, ultimately leading to its demise before groundbreaking could commence.

Similarly, the story of Disney’s Mineral King Resort in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains serves as a cautionary tale of environmental concerns trumping corporate ambitions. Originally envisioned as a ski resort, the project faltered in the face of mounting opposition from environmental groups and conservationists, resulting in its abandonment in the early 1970s.

What do you think of this abandoned resort project? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

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