Last week Prospera Hotels submitted their initial proposals to build two hotels in the Anaheim GardenWalk complex, located just across Harbor Boulevard from Disneyland. Could there be a Disney connection to these two projects?
According to the Orange County Register, Prospera's proposal calls for two separate 12-story hotels--one with 400 units and the other with 466 units. The GardenWalk development plan calls for up to three hotels and a timeshare component in this vast retail / tourist complex. The timeshare development will be part of the Westgate Resorts program.
So where does Disney fit into the picture? According to the OC Register article, Propera wouldn't actually be operating the resorts after they are constructed:
Prospera has bought the property and would develop the hotel. But Prospera has a confidential agreement with a company that would operate the lodges after they are built, said Charles Terry, Prospera's vice president of architectural design.
That "confidential agreement" could well be with The Walt Disney Company. Back in August, website MiceAge.com reported that Disney was looking for partners to help develop additional hotels in the Anaheim area. According to MiceAge:
Disney is going into this proposal with outside financiers who would own the hotels themselves. Disney would provide licensed use of their name and characters, along with the Disney Cast Members to staff and operate the properties.
To the average visitor the experience would be seamless, and they would have no idea that these weren't hotels 100% owned by Disney. They might be a few blocks off property, but for all intents and purposes these hotels would be just as "Disney" as the Disneyland Hotel is. But the financial deals that got the places built would be different, and it's a model Burbank plans on following when they start building similar properties in other cities around the world much farther from the theme parks.
The reference to entering into similar agreements in cities around the world originates with comments recently made by Disney officials to company shareholders. Disney has openly admitted they are investigating opportunities to create Disney branded hotels in non-theme park locations which would not be wholly-owned by TWDC. Seeking out partners for these types of deals limits Disney's financial risk--a consideration that has become increasingly important during Bob Iger's tenure as CEO.
Propsera currently operates Anaheim hotel complexes under the Doubletree banner, as well as the Cortona Inn and Suites. Disney has refused to acknowledge any involvement in the GardenWalk proposals.
EDITOR'S NOTE: While the above information does not have any direct relationship to a Disney Vacation Club project, we feel that the current level of activity on the left coast warrants coverage on this site. With only 50 DVC units currently under construction at the Grand Californian, future Vacation Club properties in the Anaheim area are virtually guaranteed. Developments like this rumored Prospera / Disney partnership and the previously reported SunCal housing project all play a role in the future of the Disneyland Resort area.