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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

After months of speculation, a new Marriott hotel tower is all but confirmed at Walt Disney World

Posted By on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 8:00 AM

  • Image via SwanDolphin | Instagram
Back in June, height balloons were spotted in the parking lot of Disney’s Fantasia Gardens miniature golf course. At that time rumors began spreading of a new hotel tower on the way. The majority of the rumors pointed to it being an extension of the Marriott operated Swan and Dolphin hotels just across the street.

Now it looks like the rumors have been confirmed. Orlando Sentinel business reporter Paul Brinkman casually mentions the Swan and Dolphin expansion in a recent article about Coastal Construction Group. The article initially stated the expansion would entail a 350-room tower but the article appears to have been updated and now simply states that Coastal is handling “the expansion of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.”

When the original rumors surfaced over the summer, Tom Corless of WDW News Today stated that the new hotel will likely be part of Marriott’s boutique line The Kessler Collection. But at that time a Kessler PR rep confirmed to the Orlando Weekly that they have no plans in that location. It’s still highly believed that the new hotel will be managed by Marriott and marketed alongside the Swan and Dolphin resorts.

With 350 rooms, the new hotel tower would be extremely small for Disney World. The Swan has 756 rooms while the Dolphin has 1509 rooms.

This would be the fourth hotel currently in the works for Walt Disney World. While we have few details on the Star Wars hotel that will be nearby, its believed it’ll have roughly 400 rooms to begin with around 1,000 rooms at full buildout. A 15-story tower is currently under construction at Disney’s Coronado Springs. That tower will have 500 rooms. Another new tower is also currently under construction at what was Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. That tower will be known as the Disney Riviera Resort. It will have 300 suites. While that is smaller than a number of rooms at the new Swan and Dolphin tower Riviera will likely be larger due to its being DVC suites which typically feature multiple rooms in an apartment like setting. A 516-room, 16-story JW Marriott hotel is being built just off Disney property in the Bonnet Creek development. That tower will overlook Epcot, I-4, and the new Riviera Resort, which sits just across the property line on Disney's side.

There has yet to be any mention of a possible architect, nor any official confirmation, for the new tower new Swan and Dolphin. The original Swan and Dolphin resorts were designed by famed Postmodern architect Michael Graves. If Brinkman is correct that Coastal Construction Group has been retained as the contractor for the new tower, then it’s likely that the design is already in the works, meaning an architectural firm has been hired. Often times high-profile cases, such as this project, usually involve nondisclosures. Some such nondisclosures even mean the firm is unable to discuss their work for years after the project opens.

The Swan and Dolphin received $140 million update recently that included reimagined public spaces and updates to all guest rooms. That project was done by Manhattan-based design firm ICRAVE. They also oversaw the design of the entertainment areas aboard the Disney Dream and Fantasy cruise ships. The majority of the STK steakhouses, including the Disney Springs location, have been designed by the firm. 

There has yet to any official confirmation on the new Swan and Dolphin tower, but it’s believed it’ll open by WDW’s 50th Anniversary in 2021.

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