Disney World's Boardwalk

December 29, 1991|By Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDA, FLA. — ORLANDO, Fla. -- In the mid-1980s, astute Walt Disney World observers noted that the world's No. 1 resort was moving quickly to duplicate, within its borders, the most successful attractions outside its property.

Disney is continuing that strategy, even though one of the attractions from which it has borrowed ideas -- Boardwalk and Baseball near Haines City -- closed in 1990.

Across Crescent Lake from the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels, Disney has begun site work on Boardwalk, a waterfront specialty-retail and entertainment complex that it's billing as "a classic '30s boardwalk experience."

When the 82-acre Boardwalk opens in summer 1994, it will comprise an all-suite luxury hotel and 50,000 square feet of shopping and entertainment space. Architect Robert A. M. Stern, who designed the Yacht and Beach Club hotels, as well as Disney's Casting Center, is designing the all-suite hotel.

The area's namesake attraction will be a quarter-mile boardwalk on the lake.

Central Florida's first attraction boasting a wide, Coney Island-style boardwalk was Boardwalk and Baseball. Owner Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. abruptly closed it in January 1990 because it wasn't profitable.

Disney denies that it is copying Boardwalk and Baseball.

The 60-acre Disney Boardwalk, officials say, will be reminiscent of seaside resorts of the 1930s, with an entertainment area that ++ recalls old-fashioned amusement parks.

Boardwalk and Baseball also had an arcade area, wooden roller coaster, Ferris wheel and carousel.

One difference will be Disney's Boardwalk hotel, which will be a series of smaller inns with shingled roofs and New England-styled gables.

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