by Josh Taylor
When Walt Disney World was first being built in the late 1960s, Walt Disney had several plans lined up for the large plot of land in central Florida. One of the plans was to have a vast array of hotels at which guests could stay. Land all around the man-made Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake were prepped for what were to become several themed resort hotels that were all near the Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately, then CEO, Card Walker, was reluctant to spend money on such lavish hotels with many new hotels popping up right outside of Disney property, the resorts planned for the area were not built. By the time the early 1980s came around, the vision for Walt Disney World was that of a destination resort with the opening of Epcot, and more guests were expected to be staying in or near Orlando Florida once the new park was open. Roy Miller, now having taken over the Disney company, announced three new resorts for the Walt Disney World property: the Grand Floridian resort, the Mediterranean resort, and the Cypress Point Lodge.
I’ve written about the Grand Floridian previously as well as noted about the Mediterranean before but I really want to dig into what once was seen as a medium sized resort that would be near the Fort Wilderness campground and be themed to the National Parks and great outdoors. Cypress Point Lodge was to be a much-needed resort sitting along the waterfront, with several cabins spread out over a large area. This gives off the idea that Disney executives were thinking about suites and a possible Disney Vacation Club experience long before DVC actually happened. The Lodge and main building of the resort would house various shops and restaurants as well as provide the setting of the Yellowstone park feel. The main mode of transportation at the Lodge would be boats. Along the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, you could walk from your cabin to the dock to make your way over to the Magic Kingdom. It’s unclear how guests would get to Epcot but I would assume a bus transport or some kind was thought up as well during the planning phases of Disney’s 2nd gate.
The announcement of several new hotels also brought along models and concept art that was housed inside the Walt Disney Story attraction on Main Street USA. So long term plans were thought out and were definitely underway. Of course we all know what happened to the Grand Floridian resort and spa, but Cypress Point, despite what was to be a “value” resort, and the need for rooms, was shelved due to the need for money to complete the first phase of Epcot.
So why don’t we have a Cypress Point Lodge now? Well, we sort of do! Michael Eisner and Frank Wells took over the Walt Disney Company in 1984 and even though the announcement of three new resorts was made just a few years earlier, Eisner and company had different plans which would lead into the Disney Decade of the 1990s and the plot of land that was meant for Cypress Point Lodge would eventually become the Wilderness Lodge in 1992. Cypress Point was a smaller resort with several spread out cabins along the waterfront of the Seven Seas Lagoon, but the Wilderness Lodge really brought the National Park feel to the forefront. So with that said, I think we should all be happy that Disney ended up shelving Cypress Point because we got the Wilderness Lodge instead, and I personally can’t say that about too many ideas that have been shelved over the years.