We all know that Walt Disney World Resorts are awesome, right? That’s no secret. But there are still some facts and secrets out there about these great hotels. Here are some cool things that maybe you don’t know about your favorite resorts:
7. The Florida Green Lodging Program
The Florida Green Lodging Program aims to “recognize environmentally conscientious lodging facilities in the state.” (Wikipedia) The BoardWalk Inn was the first of Disney’s resorts to be recognized with this achievement back in 2004. But as of 2008, all Disney Resorts on property were certified Green Lodged. This is a huge accomplishment for the Disney Company, which has always put the environment as a priority.
6. Biggest Pool
Going to the pool is always a super fun part of a vacation, especially if they’re Disney pools. But the largest pool on Disney property is actually at the Art of Animation resort! There are three pools at the hotel, but the biggest is the Big Blue Pool themed after Finding Nemo. This massive pool holds over 308,527 gallons of water and has several different sections for all ages. That’s huge! Not to mention it has Nemo characters everywhere and underwater speakers.
5. Caribbean Resort Layout
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is one of the lesser known/talked about hotels, but it’s still very interesting. This resort is obviously themed after the Caribbean, but even its layout reflects the island life. There are six buildings in the resort that are all named after Caribbean islands: Martinique, Barbados, Jamaica, Aruba, Trinidad North, and Trinidad South that surround a small lake. These are called villages. Each village has its own pool and atmosphere, with a bus to travel between them. I love this. Each building represents an island but is in itself an island of sorts. This must have been very intentional and is brilliant.
4. Hotel Inspirations of the Seven Seas Lagoon
Originally, Walt Disney wanted the resorts that surrounded the Magic Kingdom to reflect the Park itself. For instance, the Contemporary was supposed to reflect Tomorrowland, while the Polynesian mirrored Adventureland. The Grand Floridian was supposed to embody Main Street USA. They each had their own inspirations from other places, specifically the Grand Floridian, which appropriately took bits and pieces from well known Floridian architecture.
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3. Fort Wilderness Railroad
In the early days of Disney, there were two railroads on the property: one that ran through Magic Kingdom and one that ran through Fort Wilderness. The Fort Wilderness Railroad ran for less than ten years, starting in 1973 but closing due to a myriad of issues. The four locomotives and twenty coaches were stored for many years and ultimately forgotten. When they were rediscovered, the trains were scattered and preserved. Some are privately owned in California. Two locomotives used to be at the entrance to Downtown Disney as ticket booths, but have since been relocated when it became Disney Springs. But one can still be seen as a prop in Typhoon Lagoon!
2. Nixon at the Contemporary
The Contemporary doesn’t just have a cool lobby and a great view of Wishes, it also has conference rooms that are used often. U.S. President Richard Nixon held a very famous conference on November 17, 1973. It was in this speech that he said the infamous line: “I am not a crook.” This was an extremely important and difficult time in our country’s history and that history took place in Disney! So cool.
1. Contemporary and Polynesian Rooms
I’ve always loved the cool architecture of the Contemporary Resort. There’s just no other resort like it. I mean, the monorail goes through it, for Pete’s sake! But did you ever wonder how the Disney Imagineers pulled that off? They had to build the guest rooms in an entirely separate location and slide them into place at WDW. Similarly, the Polynesian Resort had its frame built on site, but the rooms were stacked on later. It’s like real life Legos. I would have loved to see the buildings come together as a bit of Disney magic itself!