LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., (July 21, 2011) – The hundreds of people who are building Disney’s Art of Animation Resort from the ground up gathered to mark the project’s “topping out.”
The “topping out” is a special moment that typically occurs in the construction and engineering industry when the highest piece of structure, either steel or concrete, is placed on the building’s frame. The tradition dates back to the Vikings, who would place an evergreen tree on the top of a building to celebrate and bring good luck.
At the construction site for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a crane helped lift the traditional evergreen to the roof of a building that will soon be part of the Lion King wing of the resort hotel.
“The hundreds of people we have working on Disney’s Art of Animation Resort are doing an amazing job helping us build a resort hotel that will really delight our guests,” said Gary Hoffmann, senior project manager for Walt Disney Imagineering. “The traditional topping out is an important milestone on a project that continues to run on schedule for an opening just ten months from now.”
In size and scope the construction of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is a major project at Walt Disney World Resort, creating upwards of 800 construction jobs. Once open in 2012, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will also create 750 permanent resort hotel jobs.
Walt Disney World Resort features 25 uniquely themed, Disney owned-and-operated resort hotels with more than 26,000 guest rooms – something for every taste and budget. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will likewise be unique, with themed building exteriors and room interiors that bring to life The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid.
Finding Nemo, Cars and The Lion King buildings will be entirely family suites, with 1,120 suites between them. The Little Mermaid buildings will feature 864 rooms in the “value” room category.
The construction of family suites at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is an innovative approach to a changing marketplace. Today more and more multi-generational families are traveling together for various celebrations, including family reunions. These families not only want to play together, they want to stay together, which has created tremendous demand for family suites.
The first wing of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Finding Nemo, is scheduled to open in May 2012.