/ Monday, September 17th, 2007
  • Tennis, anyone? If that’s your game, then the Walt Disney World Resort is the place to play, with (currently) 25 resort tennis courts located throughout the 47 square-mile property. The Contemporary Resort is home to Disney’s Racquet Club, featuring features six clay (Hydrogrid) courts, with lights for evening play. Other court locations include Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (two Har-tru Clay courts), Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground (two hard courts), Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Beach Club Resort (one hard Plexiplave court), and Disney’s Old Key West Resort (three hard courts), and Disney’s Boardwalk Resort (2 hard Plexiplave courts). All are lighted for night play, and tennis lessons are available at the Contemporary Resort and at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Since 1997, the 200 acre Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex offers 11 lighted, world-class clay courts. The center court stadium has permanent seating for 1,100 and was host to the men’s Clay Court Championships from 1997-2000.
  • The Electrical Water Pageant has been floating along the waters of Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon since October 26th, 1971. This popular nighttime attraction contains two strings of seven barges to make up a 1000-foot long water parade. Each float carries a 25-foot tall screen of lights featuring sea creatures and a salute to America, all set to Disney and classical music, played through the barges’ powerful sound system.
    • The parade created by Imagineer Bob Jani, provided the original inspiration for the "Main Street Electrical Parade," and can be seen from the following resorts on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake during these approximate times:

      Polynesian – 9:00 p.m.
      Grand Floridian – 9:15 p.m.
      Wilderness Lodge – 9:35 p.m.
      Fort Wilderness – 9:45 p.m.
      Contemporary – 10:05 p.m.
      Magic Kingdom — 10:20 p.m. (only during extended Magic Kingdom park hours)

  • With more than 22,000 rooms in the 23 Resorts to stay in, you better pack a BIG bag, (and I hope you got a good package deal!)
  • The Disney Institute, located on the shores of Lake Buena Vista stood across from the area formerly known as the Disney Village Marketplace. It was a unique resort in that it offered more than 80 different educational programs for your mind and body. The Institute provided a hands-on learning vacation program in areas such as Animation, Cooking, Gardening, Television production and more. The campus contained only 457 rooms, but was designed to look like a small town, complete with a welcome center, performance hall, a sports center, spa, cinema and 28 workshops and studios. The Institute was directly inspired by Michael Eisner and his wife, Jane. After visiting the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York, he was inspired by the community’s events that promoted education, culture and fun. Unfortunately, though, even after years of testing and market research, Disney had to learn the hard way that people don’t want to go to school while they’re on vacation – especially not in Walt Disney World! In 2002, the Disney Institute closed and was torn down to make way for a new Disney Vacation Club Resort.
  • Surprise Mornings were a special treat for guests of the Walt Disney World resorts. Every morning, a different park opened an extra hour early for on-property guests to enjoy exclusively. However, as of October, 2001, Disney discontinued its Surprise Morning program for resort guests. Complaints from resort guest prompted Disney to replace the Surprise Morning with Disney’s Character Caravan, which dropped off characters at each resort for a meet and greet with the hotel guests. However, on October 1, 1982, Disney brought back the early entry program, now called the "Extra Magic Hour," and discontinued the Character Caravan entirely. And just like the original Surprise Mornings, a different theme park will open one hour early each day for Resort Guests, but this time, there will be extra characters at the parks on the designated morning to meet and greet guests.
  • When Walt Disney World opened on October 1, 1971, the only two resorts that were operational were the Contemporary and Polynesian Village Resorts. Although it is often considered one of the "original three" resorts that opened with the Magic Kingdom, Disney Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground actually didn’t open until November 19, 1971. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa opened in August 1988 as Walt Disney World’s 5th resort hotel. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The 728-room lakeside Disney’s Wilderness Lodge opened on May 28, 1994.
  • In January, 1972, the Disney Village Resorts opened near the shopping area known as Lake Buena Vista Village (which became the Walt Disney World Village in 1977). Known as the Village Resort as of 1985, the property was originally planned to be a part of a residential community (Yes, believe it or not, at one time there were plans to have permanent residences on Walt Disney World property. That’s right – you could have lived IN Walt Disney World!), the resort was comprised of Club Lake Villas (which opened in 1980 and became known as the Club Suites in 1989, and then the Club Bungalows in 1996), Vacation Villas (later known as the Townhouses), Treehouse Villas, Fairway Villas (built in 1975) and four Grand Vista Homes. The Villas became part of the Disney Institute on February 9, 1996. Today, some of the Villas have been torn down to make way for the first phase of the Saratoga Springs Resort, a Disney Vacation Club time-share property.

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