Saratoga Springs was not originally on track to be the seventh DVC resort. In September 2001, Disney issued a press release announcing the construction of a new Vacation Club property adjacent to the Eagle Pines golf course. The resort was not actually given a name, but in lieu of any other label it is frequently referred to as the “Eagle Pines” resort in DVC circles.
This passage from the press release provides some details on the doomed project:
“The proposed 600-unit ownership development is slated to occupy a 61-acre site along the award-winning Disney’s Eagle Pines golf course at Walt Disney World Resort. All rooms will feature either a pool, golf course or forest view. Initial plans call for the construction of a main Inn building encompassing a check-in area; accommodations; restaurant/lounge; theme pool with feature slide; retail space; arcade; common living room area and a health club, as well as Villa buildings containing vacation home accommodations. Development will begin this fall with an estimated opening in spring/summer 2004.”
Disney even went so far as to begin ground prep work in anticipation of the resort’s construction. However, in the weeks following the terrorist activities of September 11, 2001, Disney began to feel the impact of the overall decline in tourism. In late-October, plans for “Eagle Pines” were put on hold. By January 2002 it was announced that Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa would replace Eagle Pines as the seventh DVC property. Pursuing the Saratoga Springs project gave Disney an excuse to close the floundering Disney Institute. In a single move, Disney not only solved its need for a new DVC resort but they also reduced their inventory of cash resort rooms during a difficult period in the history of Walt Disney World.