The facility currently known as Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is actually on its third concept. The story of one former life--The Disney Institute--is an interesting read, particularly for Disney Vacation Club members.
In his latest piece for website MousePlanet.com, Disney historian Jim Korkis examines The Original Disney Institute Story.
The Disney Institute is well known as a Michael Eisner concept where vacationers and corporate groups could add painting classes, cooking classes and celebrity speakers to their Walt Disney World getaway. In true Disney fashion, Imagineers poured millions into the construction of resort facilities and to design high-end programs Eisner hoped would lure big spenders.
The pricey add-ons were a tough sell for Disney's typical guest and the resort closed entirely in 2002, a victim of the travel slowdown that followed the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. A surprising amount of infrastructure was absorbed into Saratoga Springs. While the High Rock Spring pool was new construction on what used to be a grassy lawn, distinctive buildings like the octagaonal Carriage House and the resort cinema are easily identifiable in photos that accompany Korkis' story.
Visit MousePlanet.com to read about The Original Disney Institute Story.