Disney Plans to Expand Florida Resort

Florida's Walt Disney World on Thursday announced expansion plans for its Orlando resort that includes a 900-acre Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts property and a 450-acre retail, dining and lodging district on the western edge of the Disney resort. The plan involves converting the Eagle Pines and Osprey Ridge golf courses into a luxury resort and golf community that includes a hotel, 18-hole golf course and single- and multi-family vacation homes, as well as fractional ownership vacation homes. Disney said site work could begin later this year and, if everything goes according to plan, predicted the hotel would open in 2010. Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton said the company is "thrilled" to bring Four Seasons to the central Florida resort. "Combined, this is a huge win for devotees of both brands and for Central Florida," she said. Also in the works is a mixed-use property just outside Disney's gateway entrance that involves lodging, retail and dining in a pedestrian-friendly environment. Disney said early plans include 4,000 to 5,000 low to mid rise value-priced units and 300,000 to 500,000 square feet of commercial space--a total size that is comparable to the size of Disney's Animal Kingdom. While still in the design stage, the company expects work to begin on the site later this year, building in phases over the next eight to 10 years.

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