There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle on the message boards lately about a brochure that someone found on the website of architecture firm George Coon, Inc. The brochure, now removed, described Coon’s work at other firms for a variety of clients. Working with Glover Smith Bode, Coon helped design a new Disney Vacation Club property for Walt Disney World called the California Coast Resort.
From the brochure’s description:
DISNEY VACATION CLUB
CALIFORNIA COAST HOTEL
Disney Vacation Club decided to extend its hotel experience with their new California Coast Resort at H1, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, Florida.
George Coon was invited by the DVC Design Team to work under the direct supervision of GSB Architects, and Mr. Wing Chao, providing design direction for this next and possibly best of the DVC properties in Orlando.
California’s remarkable coast offers an experience of recognizable icons which were chosen to be represented in separate hotel experiences including; Venice Beach, Casa del Mar, Montage, the Balboa Pavilion, Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, and Santa Barbara. The project is presently in the Schematic Design Phase.
Estimated 1,208 units
To Be Determined
Senior Vice President
Planning & Architecture
Naturally, lots of fans are taking this as concrete evidence that this DVC resort is on the way. Someone even found another mention of the project in a brochure for Square Peg Design. There are just a few problems.
First, Wing Chao retired from WDI in 2009. Then there’s the fact that unless they’ve been hiding construction for some time, there’s no way that a new resort could be constructed by 2012. At 1,208 units, this would be by far the largest of the DVC properties – much, much larger than even Saratoga Springs. There’s no hiding a project of that magnitude.
It’s also interesting to note that Coon’s brochure includes the never-built Disney’s Vacation Club and Resort at Eagle Pines, and lists it with a completion date of 2008. You might remember that project was announced in 2001, only to disappear almost immediately following the terrorist attacks of that September. The land intended for that resort, adjacent to the Eagle Pines golf course, is currently the site of the millionaires-only Golden Oaks development and Four Seasons project.
All the rumors and permits that have been percolating lately indicate that the next resort project at Walt Disney World will be a new DVC facility between Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness. This, of course, approximates the location of the once-planned Wilderness Junction/Buffalo Junction resort from the Disney Decade of the 1990s.
Unfortunately, this is going to be the way of things for the foreseeable future – a focus on building DVC units at the expense of everything else, especially all that untouched wilderness that Walt wanted to shield his resort from the outside world. DVC is like running a money-printing machine for Disney, so unless corporate leadership has a sudden attack of conscience regarding sustainable development and good taste, look for all that remaining empty land to slowly fill up with timeshares. I just don’t think that, for the time being, a California adventure will be in the cards.