Saturday, November 29, 2014

Disney's Asian Resort, What Could Have Been

     In the planning of Walt Disney World, many concepts were researched and developed, only to find that they didn't fit into the reality of Walt Disney World. These elements that never quite made it are one of my favorite things to talk about.
     In the 1960's, Disney Imagineers were throwing around ideas for resort themes, since this complete vacation Kingdom was going to now include themed resort hotels! Imaginations flew, and the onslaught of ideas was weened down to just a few that stuck. One of the ideas that stuck, and that was viewed as a pillar of the future of Walt Disney World was the Asian Resort. This Resort was to be built across the Seven Seas Lagoon from the Contemporary, and was to have a similar build to the Polynesian.
    The architecture was to be Thai and Chinese, with deep reds and intricate art and decor placed on the inside. The resort was intended to be a more upscale and elegant stay than that of the other resorts of the time.
     Construction began, and Disney's Asian Resort was scheduled to open in 1974. However, it was never finished, for the following two key reasons. One, the land on which it was built didn't support the structure. Construction teams would place building supports into the ground, and they would simply sink into the Florida muck. Second, the oil crisis of 1973 lost Disney much of its income of the time, and made construction much more expensive.
     The resort was one of several resorts that was never built, although construction began. The street "Floridian Way", now behind Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, was once called "Asian Way", and was built as an access road to the construction site of the Asian Resort. The Grand Floridian opened in 1988, essentially replacing the idea of the Asian, and probably preventing it from ever being built. But, it's fun to imagine!