Sammy Duvall's Watersports Centre to close at the end of August

Aug 29, 2018 in "Sammy Duvall's Watersports Centre"

Posted: Wednesday August 29, 2018 7:57pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

According to a posting on the official Sammy Duvall's Watersports Centre website, the last day of operation will be August 31 2018.

Located at Disney's Contemporary Resort, the facility offered parasailing and other watersports activities.

The full statement reads:

To all our fans and families who have enjoyed a day on the water with us a great thank you for the support .It has been a joy to share the sport we love with everyone along the way!

We are sorry to inform you that after 20 years of water sports operations at Walt Disney World our last day will be 8/31/2018. Accordingly, if you have a future prepaid reservation we are issuing a refund to the credit card used for your reservation.If you have a future non paid reservation you will be receiving a email cancellation notification today as well. If you have any questions regarding your refund you may contact 407-939-0754.
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Surfin' TunaSep 10, 2018

I don't intend to speak for prberk, but I don't think there is any way to compare AK and Discovery Island. They are completely different experiences. My guess is that they could still keep people filling Discovery Island every day, but it would not be profitable - at least not in the margins that AK sees. I don't begrudge Disney for closing Discovery Island, but I am also one who wishes it (or something similar) was still an option.

Jambo JoeSep 10, 2018

I am a little conflicted in reading your comments. I certainly see your perspective, and there is no doubt that every expense or amenity is carefully weighed in a way that was less important 40 years ago. You can feel it in every new announcement and when you walk around. They said, WDW is a unique place as a ‘resort’. It has 4 massive parks, 2 water parks, and a giant shopping district. The need to have some of the amenities that have been listed in some of the postings just isnt that important. People aren’t looking for those opportunities - they won’t spend the time using them. Duvall is a case in point. In any event - most have bikes, boats, some have basketball and tennis (usually empty). Several have spa services. They all have pools and games conducted at each. River country was just an old water park - replaced by two that were much bigger and easier to get to. The little Discovery Island thing was replaced by the far superior and massive AK. Anybody pining for the old water skiing show or a food cruise on the relatively small lagoon that is Seven Seas would likely be unimpressed if they actually experienced either.

larryzSep 04, 2018

Bingo. People out skiing or parasailing are NOT buying $30 t-shirts or $50 filet mignon...

prberkSep 04, 2018

Thanks. I really wish Disney still understood the value of WDW as a complete resort. Personally, I am sorry that I never made it to Discovery Island or River Country when theming and nature ruled the day. I still think that topiaries and other details ought to be visible throughout the resort. TTC is the "opening act" for so many first-time guests; and what an opportunity to make a fantastic first impression on their way to the MK. Likewise Disney Springs could back to having fireworks or other entertainment for guests like Pleasure Island did. And boating and fishing and trail riding could be emphasized more. No matter what, WDW is huge, and they should still know how to "plus" and emphasize the rest of the resort options. And it would definitely spread out the crowd.

MaryJanePSep 04, 2018

Come on people, we all know the REAL reason no more Sammy Duval is that it is competition for Park Tickets, more shopping, and more dining. Any competition to increased $ must be squashed.

deeevoSep 04, 2018

He was 6 to 7 ft and I couldn't find a stick.. lol

Surfin' TunaSep 04, 2018

This is too true. I lamented on this a while ago. Toward the end I was happily an Eisner basher myself, but a little time helped me to see the good he did. I won't bother listing all he did, but I think the contrast is easy to see. I doubt (despite his record) he would have opened another park by now, but we would have more E-ticket attractions, the food would be better, and the larger resort concept would likely be in full swing.

TrojanUSCSep 04, 2018

Disney also used to actively market to adults, who might want to plan honeymoons or trips with friends. These kinds of activities, along with creative nighttimes destinations, were big reasons why it was appealing to someone as a vacation destination, beyond just theme parks. Sadly the marketing is almost exclusively to families with kids 5-12 now, mostly those with little girls. Many mock Michael Eisner for some poor decisions later in his tenure but his very positive impact on WDW can't be overstated, from building some of the most popular attractions to really upgrading their resorts/food offerings, he made Walt Disney World a world-class destination. Too bad greed and laziness set it back a bit.

Surfin' TunaSep 04, 2018

This times 100! I also think the profit would increase if it was all done well. This place is huge, and people could easily get lost for a week or two year after year. Now Disney seems to focus too much on the one time visitor or trust that many of us (I'm one) will continue to return year after year based on our Disney love. I'd love to see it return to something truly special outside of the parks themselves.

StarshipDisneySep 04, 2018

We parasailed at Disney three times in 2004, 2007, and 2016. Farewell Sammy Duvall. We enjoyed you. But after 3 times we did not really figure on doing it again anyway.

nickysSep 02, 2018

I disagree completely. Encouraging people to visit different resorts may mean they come back and stay in a deluxe next time. Once they see what the deluxe have to offer over POP or the All Stars, people trade up the next time. And for those staying at the deluxe, if they want to see classic Disney theming, the best place to see it would be the value resorts. Do you seriously think only those staying at FW should be able to do the horse riding, kayaking etc? Even visit the stables and take a hay ride?

nickysSep 02, 2018

Now this is an opinion worth reading. Your original comment wasn’t even clear. How were we to know whether “Meh” meant “Meh, watersports aren’t my thing, I don’t care”; “Well that’s a bummer, there goes another fun activity for families” or just a direct comment to someone else’s post?

lawdogNOLASep 02, 2018

I think that it's safe to say that if it makes WDW money, there will be a replacement or modification. If it doesn't or the risk factor is too high, well, witness the large grassy area at Magic Kingdom's parking lot that once was a race track. I think boating will stay, just no Sammy Duvall. I still remember how much fun I had with my brothers for an hour one trip, going around the on searaycers from the Poly, on a trip long before Sammy Duvall ever was on the scene. The impression I got during our May-June trip this year, was that Sammy Duvall was almost a non-entity. I didn't see any waterskiing or parasailing, something I'd usually see at least a couple of times on trips over the last 17 years. Pontoon boats, yes, searaycers, yes. But the more expensive services provided by Sammy Duvall we didn't witness this time. I think the more basic water activities run by Disney won't be impacted; you'll still be able to take a boat to go bass fishing, or the family out on a pontoon boat. Some of this might return someday, but I think they'll need a major change to get the right business model to make it work.

prberkAug 31, 2018

OK, I think part of the confusion is the term, "resort," itself. I am primarily talking about Walt Disney World itself as a resort experience overall, in addition to the "resort hotels" within it. The overall experiences such as golf, dinner shows, watersports, and places to explore are all part of the package. As for the resort hotels themselves, I understand the difference in price levels, but even the "value" resorts at WDW have a resort premium built into their pricing structure. They are double or triple the price of "value" motels off property. But more important, I would note that in the comment you last quoted, I specifically referenced new more expensive hotels -- the Bay Lake Tower and the Coronado tower -- that are essentially big Hiltons with little or no theming or things to do built in. While my argument is broader than that -- that the Walt Disney World Resort needs to pay more attention to its resort amenities overall; I can also include the idea that the newer resorts, even the more expensive ones, have not added real "resort" amenities. Compare this to Fort Wilderness, which had real "resort" amenities galore but yet is a campground. Even Port Orleans Riverside (Dixie Landings) had fishing options built in, and the Boardwalk Hotel had, ahem, a 1920s-era Atlantic City boardwalk built in for WDW guests to stroll, rent tandem bikes, shop, and eat. Poly would not have to shoulder a burden like you suggest if they paid attention to the resort elements of the whole WDW Resort -- including hotels -- as they built new places. Fort Wilderness is the proof for the accommodations, but the topiaries, golf courses, sports areas, lakes, shopping, restaurants, spas, walking trails, beaches, mini-golf, horseback riding, carriage rides, electric water pageant, and other things are the "other" things that can be accentuated and plussed as part of the resort experience. And I can definitely say that water ski sports, shows, and characters on water skis can play a part -- and leave a lasting fun memory. But the main point is to pay attention to resort options alongside parks, and they will find a balance that works.