River Country Resort is Coming!…Maybe


Hey Disney family! Welcome to another blog post! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse!

Let’s jump right in because the Disney rumor mill was once again all abuzz with potentially exciting news!

Photo of permit location courtesy of Ziggy Knows Disney

On March 5, Disney filed permits that showed intention of geotechnical borings for the are located near Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, more specifically very near the site of Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. Typically these type of permits are filed when trying to establish whether a parcel of land stolportis suitable for major construction.

The permits also include sections of Disney’s abandoned River Country. River Country was Disney’s first water park and was operational from 1976 to 2001.

These permits also incorporate sections of STOLport or Short Takeoff and Landing Port, which at one time was a private airstrip. Walt’s dream was to link Walt Disney World directly to guests and to have the ability to shuttle them in from other airports around Florida. Construction for STOLport was started back in 1970S. STOLport was  the first phase of Walt’s aviation vision to build the “Airport of Tomorrow” which would connect the south entrance of the EPCOT center that he envisioned to housing communities in Celebration. This project never came to fruition and the project was eventually abandoned; the area is now only used for storage.

105The permits filed on March 5 included 30.2 acres and environmental engineering documents for the area were attached at the time of filing. These permits were filed by Disney Parks & Resorts with the South Florida Water Management District and were for the purpose of what is being called “Project 89”. 

So what is Disney planning to do here? We have no idea. However, many reports were circulated this week throughout the Disney community that contractors have actually already been chosen for construction of a new DVC/ Walt Disney World Resort to be built here!

How exciting! But, before we get too excited let’s pause for a second because we have no solid evidence or confirmation from Walt Disney Company confirming that any construction is moving forward on this site, much less a hotel. However, on May 9, Disney did file an additional permit for the site citing a large plot of the land that would be used as a temporary stockpile of dirt. Hmmmmmm.

Several online sources are citing confirmation from inside sources at Disney that contractors have been selected and some have even gone so far as to state how many rooms will be included in this resort.

38Various outlets reported just last week that International design firm WATG has been chosen to lead the design of this new resort. WATG has a history with Disney resorts as they were the designing force behind Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Reports also state that Balfour Beatty has been selected as the construction manager for the project. This resort is expected to include upwards of 900 DVC bays, which, as I just learned is the technical industry term for a standard size room and to include 1,340 total bays.

Sources also claim that this project is supposedly going to cost roughly 350 Million dollars. One thing that I found interesting in my research though was that this dollar amount was released because I attempted to thoroughly research the cost to build other Disney resorts and it doesn’t appear that Disney readily releases that information. So I will admit that seeing that, when Disney appears to go to great pains to keep that info under wraps, gives me pause here. However, those numbers could simply be industry estimations for what a project of this size could cost or typically costs.

River-Country-PermitIt would make sense for Disney to be building yet another resort and I’ll tell you why, because some of you may be reading this and thinking, “Crystal, they are building the Riviera AND the new Star Wars hotel AND the new tower going in at Coronado Springs! How many resorts do we need?!” Let’s be real with each other for a second; the Star Wars Hotel is going to be literally out of this world, and most likely booked up to several years in advance, especially in the first few years, because, after all, it is the first hotel in the world of its kind!

So, the rest of us mere mortals who are unable to secure this divine reservation will need a place to stay, and Disney resorts aren’t getting any less popular. So, with the opening of Toy Story Land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, updates to Epcot and so much more, new resorts make a heck of a lot of sense.

133A resort would also make transportation sense in this location. You already have the waterway and boats going to and from Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge and it probably wouldn’t be too difficult as there are already resorts and therefore roadways in this area for cars and bus transportation.

So that is what we know and that is what we are hearing! What are your thoughts on a new Walt Disney World Resort going in where the abandoned River Country stands? Do you think Disney should build yet another resort or would you rather see something else go into this spot? 

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse!


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