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Pop Century

Walt Disney World has over 25 resort hotels on its property, not including Good Neighbor hotels. These hotels range from fun-themed values and beautiful moderate resorts to elegant deluxe resorts. Even with all these incredible options, Walt Disney World planned for even more incredible resort hotels. In this installment of SCRAPPED, we are taking a dive into the resort hotels that were planned and unfortunately did not make it past the initial stages.

Some were merely announced while others had construction begin, but for different reasons were halted. Which of these resorts would you have loved to visit?

Venetian Hotel

Disney Venetian Resort
Image: The Walt Disney Company

The Venetian hotel was an Italy-inspired resort that would have taken the land between The Contemporary Resort and The Transportation and Ticket Center on Seven Seas Lagoon. The resort would have been extravagant, to say the least. It would have featured a replica of Saint Mark’s Bell Tower from Venice, Italy (similar to what you can find in EPCOT’s Italy pavilion). In addition to the tower, the resort would have also included intricate waterways and elaborate bridges much as you would find in Venice.

Not only that, but guests would even be able to travel by gondola to get across the resort. Can you imagine? It was quite an extraordinary venture, and unfortunately, the Italy pavilion is the closest you can get to visiting this proposed resort. The site also almost became a similar Grand Venezia Resort in the 1990s, and a few years later a Mediterranean-themed resort, but these ideas also never panned out.

Persian Hotel

Disney Persian Hotel
Image: The Walt Disney Company

The Persian hotel was proposed to sit on the shores of Bay Lake. It would have included a large central building with a giant blue dome as its centerpiece. Disney claimed that the resort would be like it was pulled right from the pages of The Arabian Nights with its Middle Eastern architecture. It would have featured mosques, columns, and decorated courtyards. This resort also did not make it past the planning stages.

Asian Hotel

Disney Asian Resort
Image: The Walt Disney Company

The Asian hotel was to be the third resort hotel to open on Seven Seas Lagoon shortly after Walt Disney World’s opening in 1974. The land was even cleared for the site to begin construction. The hotel took its inspiration mainly from Thailand and would have included 600 rooms and a convention center. The rooms were to be arranged in a square around a central recreation area. Its centerpiece would have been a large tower building with a restaurant and lounge at the top. However, a drop in tourism due to the energy crisis halted construction, and the plans for the Asian hotel were never revisited. The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa opened on the same site in 1988.

Yesterday Hotel

Town Square Theater
Image: Theme Park Tourist

When Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, Town Square Theater was called Main Street Hotel, and it was intended to become just that, a fully functional hotel. The rooms wouldn’t have been just in the main building you can still see today but would have extended backstage behind the main building. If you look closely at Town Square Theatre today, you can see elements of its original intended purpose such as a large “front desk” and individual second-floor balconies. Can you imagine staying in a resort that literally walked out onto Main Street USA?

Pop Century’s Legendary Years

Legendary Years
Image: DaveF3138 Flickr (License)

Of the resort hotels on our list, Pop Century’s Legendary Years hotel made it the farthest into construction before it was halted following September 11, 2001, and the drop in tourism that followed. When construction began on Pop Century in 1999, it was going to be split into two campuses, the Classic Years consisting of ten buildings themed after the decades 1950s-1990s, and the Legendary Years with ten buildings themed after the decades 1900s-1940s.

They would be connected by a bridge and would have each included their own main buildings that housed dining and shopping options and the front desks. Together they would have added a total of 5,760 rooms. However, after 9/11 construction was halted. When construction resumed, however, they only continued working on the Classic Years side of the resort, and Disney's Pop Century Resort opened in December of 2003. Yet, on the Legendary Years side, the main building and a few room buildings sat vacant for about 7 years.

Pop Century Art of Animation
Image: Google Earth

In 2010, Disney announced that they would resume construction but, it would not be for the Legendary Years as originally intended. Instead, plans for Disney's Art of Animation Resort were announced. They also decided that the resort would feature family suites instead of the standard-sized hotel rooms found at Pop Century. However, there were already a few buildings constructed matching the plans for Pop Century. These buildings became the Little Mermaid section. This is why these rooms are the only ones at Art of Animation that are standard size and feature exterior entryways.

Do you think Disney made the right decision with the creation of Art of Animation, or would you rather have seen the Legendary Years in all their glory? Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page.

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