The Year 1994


The Year 1994


DVC announces a Newport Coast project in Southern California

Disney’s Newport Coast condo project is a welcome economic development

March 10, 1994 | Pitchmen for time-share resorts too often resemble old-time carnival barkers, with buyers later cursing the failure to keep their wallets shut. Now the Walt Disney Co. may help change the industry’s image.

For an estimated $25 million, Disney has bought 35 acres at Newport Coast, midway between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach and not too far from Disneyland. The company is expected shortly to buy another 35 acres of this stretch of undeveloped ocean-view property.

Plans call for 650 condominiums ranging in size from studios to three-bedroom units, with buyers getting the right to stay in units for specified periods. The project, which will also include shops and restaurants, may be marketed as part of the Disney Vacation Club, which lets members buy time at the company resort in Orlando, near Disney World, and others planned in Vero Beach, Fla., and Hilton Head, S.C.

The time-share development still needs federal, state and local approval, but the condominiums have not drawn public opposition because they replace a planned hotel whose backers could not obtain financing. If the Disney project goes forward, it could be a refreshing display of confidence in the regional economy, especially in tandem with the possible expansion of Disneyland.

Size: 70 acres

Estimated purchase price: $25 million for the first 35 acres. Disney will purchase additional 35 acres.

Concept: 650 vacation villas, restaurants and shops in a Mediterranean village design

Construction begins: 1995

Projected opening: Early 1997

Groundbreaking ceremony for Vero Beach Resort

July 28, 1994

Ground breaking took place on July 28, 1994, where Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale were all in attendance for the big moment.

July 28, 1994 Disney's Vero Beach Resort Groundbreaking
July 28, 1994 Vero Beach Groundbreaking (click for larger image)

Disney Marketing and Development Plans

Nov 24, 1994

Would a sexy whirlpool tub fit the Disney image? Michael Eisner, Walt Disney Co. CEO, apparently decided it was OK, because the tub-for-two is one of the distinctive design features in the Disney Vacation Club, the new time-share development here at Walt Disney World.

Previously, Eisner had said yes to an even more basic question: Would time-sharing fit the Disney image? The go-ahead decision resulted in the Disney Vacation Club, also known as Conch Flats. Construction began in December 1990, on the first of 497 two- and three-bedroom villas on a 74-acre site that included six holes of an existing Disney World golf course.

Completed in April 1994, the project is now about 45 percent sold, with more than 11,500 time-share purchasers. Disney markets the Conch Flats project to its 14,000 hotel guests via the closed-circuit Disney television channel and kiosks around the property.

As an incentive for attending a 90-minute sales presentation, $50 dining gift certificates are offered for Disney World restaurants. The sales pitch begins with a slick, eight-minute film that uses all of Disney’s considerable forces of good and wholesomeness-Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, even Walt himself. It concludes with a suggestion: “Now you can own a piece of the magic.” The sales presentation also ends on a typical Disney note-at an ice cream parlor.

Conch Flats has proven so successful that Disney has four other projects on tap:

  • “Sand breaking” already has been held at an Atlantic Ocean site at Vero Beach, Fla., less than a two-hour drive from Disney World. With a turn-of-the-century beach theme, the resort at first will include a 115-room inn and 60 villas. It is expected to open in the fall of 1995. Later, an additional 260 villas will be built on two adjoining parcels.
  • The 104-unit resort at Hilton Head Island, S.C., will be in classic Carolina-island style. Two-story villas will be built on a wooded, 15-acre site. Completion is expected in the spring of 1996.
  • The Boardwalk will be Disney’s first mixed-use project. It is planned for some 400 time-share units and 375 hotel rooms. To be located at Walt Disney World, across from the existing Swan and Dolphin hotels, it will have an Atlantic City theme circa 1910-1920. Opening is targeted for 1996.
  • On the Pacific Coast, Disney has purchased land at Newport Beach, Calif. With a Mediterranean hill town theme, it will have 650 units. Located 25 minutes from Disneyland, it is expected to open in early 1997.

Groundbreaking ceremony for Hilton Head Island resort

Disney Vacation Development breaks ground for second Disney Resort outside theme parks

December 14, 1994

HILTON HEAD, S.C.– With an oversized paint brush in hand, Minnie Mouse put the finishing touches on Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort sign, while Mickey Mouse turned the first shovel of dirt, marking the beginning of construction for Disney Vacation Development’s (DVD) second resort located beyond Disney’s theme-park boundaries.

Bill Ernest, general manager of DVD’s Hilton Head Island Resort project, and Paula Harper Bethea, chairman of the board for the Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce, assisted Mickey and Minnie in the ceremonial ground breaking, which was held at the future site of the South Carolina resort.

DVD’s construction plans include the development of a 102-unit resort on a 15-acre site near Shelter Cove and a beach club on a three-and-a-half-acre oceanfront site nearby. “Hilton Head Island has a proven track record as a premiere destination spot in America. We see this trend continuing, and this is the reason we have chosen to build our resort here,” said Ernest. “The natural beauty and relaxed lifestyle of Hilton Head Island combined with DVD’s attention to quality and detail will make for a first-class resort that should add to the long-term popularity of the island.”

Disney's Hilton Head Island concept art
Disney’s Hilton Head Island concept art

HHI resort concept art

Themed to reflect classic Carolina island-style architecture, the premium resort will offer predominately two-story, cottage-style villas nestled into a live-oak canopy. Just minutes away from the resort will be an oceanfront beach club, which is being planned to provide Disney guests with access to pristine beaches, a snack bar with ocean-view seating, a themed pool, common living room area, an arcade and other recreational offerings for young and old alike.

Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort will be located within the beautiful master-planned community of Palmetto Dunes on Longview Island in Shelter Cove Harbour and will be near both shopping and attractions, including within walking distance to the proposed cultural center. “We are excited about Disney building a resort on Hilton Head Island,” said Harper Bethea. “Our island has built its reputation on being a destination noted for its quality vacation experience and lifestyle. We feel that Disney’s planned resort will be an ideal match to our community.”

Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort is intended to become part of the Disney Vacation Club, contingent upon obtaining all necessary government approvals. Completion of the resort is tentatively scheduled for spring 1996. The new Hilton Head Island development is part of DVD’s planned resort network expansion into quality vacation destinations. Construction also is underway on Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, which is the company’s first resort being built away from the Disney theme parks.

This oceanfront resort will be located near Vero Beach, Fla. and is scheduled to open in fall of 1995. In addition, DVD has announced plans to develop a resort in Newport Beach, Calif., with its opening targeted for early 1997. Disney Vacation Development, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Co., currently has one resort — the award-winning Disney Vacation Club at Walt Disney World.

Disney's Hilton Head Island site plan (click for larger image)
Disney’s Hilton Head Island site plan (click for larger image)

Disney’s Beach House

When the plan for 68 oceanfront villas on Palmetto Dunes was killed in November 1993, Disney built a single beach house on Palmetto Dunes that guests staying in the villas on the island could use.

Disney's Beach House site plan
Disney’s Beach House site plan

Here is a photo of the beach house under construction.

Disney's Beach House under construction
Disney’s Beach House under construction


The Year 1994