Published in The Orlando Sentinel on Dec 8, 1999.
Walt Disney World is moving ahead with plans to develop one of its largest-ever resorts.
Disney executives confirmed Tuesday that the company would develop a 5,760-room economy-style resort spread across 20 buildings near Disney-MGM Studios.
The resort, northeast of Osceola Parkway and Victory Way and south of Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, will depict different stages of American popular culture in the 20th century.
The project will be built in two phases, with the first phase of 2,880 rooms opening in 2002. Work crews have begun clearing land.
The resort will be similar in scale and price range to Disney's popular All-Star Resorts, which offer rooms in the $74-to-$104 range. The All-Star Resorts, completed earlier this year, have movie, sports and music themes.
"We are excited to add to the success of our All-Star Resorts," Walt Disney World President Al Weiss said in a statement. "Guests have really responded to the whimsical architecture and fun atmosphere of the All-Star, and they really appreciate all the extras that come with staying at a Disney resort."
The resort will be Disney's 19th, bringing the total number of hotel rooms at Walt Disney World to more than 33,000. The hotels enjoy occupancy rates in the 90 percent range, almost 20 percentage points higher than the average for other Orlando-area hotels.
The 20 four-story buildings will be grouped in pairs, each themed to a different decade, from the 1900s to the 1990s. Cultural symbols from each era, such as a giant jukebox for the 1950s and a huge yo-yo for the 1960s, will mark the entrances. The walls of each building will be adorned with silhouettes illustrating popular dances from each decade.
The as-yet unnamed resort also will have two main entrances, each with its own food court.