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The 4 Magic Kingdom Resorts Never Built

Some of the most desired resorts on Walt Disney World property can be found near the Magic Kingdom. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort all sit on the shores of Bay Lake or the Seven Seas Lagoon. Not only are all of these deluxe resorts, but they also have monorail service with a direct connection to the Magic Kingdom. However, what many people don’t know, is these were not the only Magic Kingdom resorts envisioned by Walt Disney himself. Upon surveying Walt Disney’s master plan along with an updated plan, we find four Magic Kingdom resorts that were never built.

4. Disney’s Asian Resort

This resort was to be a Thailand theme resort featuring 500 hotel rooms. In addition to a spectacular lobby, this resort was supposed to have it’s own monorail station. Site tests were completed, blue prints were drawn up and even the perimeter road was named Asian Way. In 1972, it was announced that architectural work would begin on the Asian Resort. Due to the energy crisis of 1973, attendance at Walt Disney World dropped, and so were the plans for the Asian and other Magic Kingdom resorts. However, the land was put to use years later when the elegant Grand Floridian Resort and Spa opened in 1988. It is now located where the Asian was once visioned.

3. Disney’s Venetian Resort and 2. Disney’s Mediterranean Resort

Located between the Ticket and Transportation Center and the Contemporary Resort, was to be Disney’s Venetian Resort themed after Venice, Italy. A scaled replica of St. Marks square was to be erected as the centerpiece of the resort. One of the signature features of this resort would include guests being able to ride gondolas in the resorts own protected harbor. The grand lobby would feature a glass roof. After the construction of Walt Disney World’s third major theme park, the idea of another deluxe resort on the monorail line was resurrected on the site of the Venetian. However, instead of a Venice themed resort, Disney imagineers came up with a newly themed Mediterranean Resort which would feature Greek architecture with modern elements. In the 1990s, land was cleared and structural work was being prepared when more bad news hit. The composition of the land itself was not suitable for a project of this scale. The pylons needed for the foundation of the project would have to be sunk so deep due to the swampy land, that it was cost prohibitive. The project was cancelled and trees were replanted on the site. Rumor has it that Disney continues to test the land to keep their options open as new construction technology continues to improve.

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1. Disney’s Persian Resort

Disney’s Persian Resort was planned to be constructed on the shores of Bay Lake. A large dome was to be the focal point of this resort where the shops and restaurants would be located. In addition, guest rooms would surround the main building where many would be perched right on the water. This would allow guests to access the water via personal watercraft directly from their room! This resort was to be built beyond the Contemporary reaching what is now a backstage area. The monorail, therefore, would have been extended to reach this destination for guests choosing to embark or disembark. The monorail would then head toward the Magic Kingdom station, but was designed to actually travel through Tomorrowland inside the Magic Kingdom itself! It’’s easy to vision a portion of this monorail line as it is now a spur line branching off from the area near the Magic Kingdom bus depot, which is used as a service line that heads to the maintenance garage backstage. If you ever get a chance to continue your drive north on World Drive past the Contemporary, look to your right. You can still see the land that was cleared for the Persian Resort. It is now used as Cast Member parking and a portable storage facility.

Did you know about these resorts? Which one sounds the most fascinating to you? Do you think it’s possible any of these resorts could be built in the future? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

About Tim Forgette

I grew up in southeast Michigan. I took my first trip to Walt Disney World in 1986 when I was just three years old. I am blessed to be the husband of 14 years to my beautiful wife, Rachel and father of four precious children, Lily (10), Elijah (8), Grace (6) and Josiah (5). We have always enjoyed doing things as a family which is why, when we moved to Florida, one of the first things we did was buy Disney annual passes. I enjoy everything Florida has to offer, but absolutely love watching my kids light up when it's time to go to Disney! We visit the Disney parks on average about once a week. When not at Disney, I enjoy participating with my church and community, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.