7 Ideas for Disney’s National Harbor Resort

07Jun09

I have discussed the new Disney resort at the National Harbor complex in Maryland with friends, and we all have had the same question – what will make Disney’s resort any different from the others that are a part of the development? Some would suggest that Disney’s signature quality of Guest service would make it different from these other hotels and resorts. However, the other companies – Gaylord, Hampton Inn, Westin, Wyndham – also have a great reputation.

Here are my seven ideas for things that could make Disney’s resort distinctly different:

  • an indoor water park, along the lines of the Great Wolf Lodge chain. These would greatly appeal to families with children, as evidenced by Great Wolf’s recent advertising on Radio Disney.
  • connection with Adventures by Disney. Some media reports have already suggested that having a “home base” for Adventures by Disney trips in the capital region is a possibility. This would help build the Adventures by Disney business.
  • live entertainment. Disney Live! (produced by Feld Entertainment) is a fairly well-known endeavor, and a permanent show could work well in a facility like this. The Broadway version of The Lion King has recently opened at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. Having a show could make the National Harbor project into a great destination for a family’s long weekend.
  • including a sports-themed area. The ESPN Zone is run by Disney Regional Entertainment, making use of the strong ESPN brand which is owned by Disney. There is already a location at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, so it might not be the most likely option.
  • making it a “Disney Mecca.” Based on the expiration of its lease, it looks unlikely that the World of Disney store in New York City will be there much longer. Entertainment components at the store (character meet and greets) have already ended. Creating an area in the Washington, DC area with a strong Disney theme in a similar idea could make it a stop not just for those who are Guests at the resort, but for Disney fans throughout the area.
  • creating an even more upscale experience for Disney Vacation Club Members. The existing Disney Vacation Club resorts are already an excellent experience for Guests. In fact, they are already called “Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts” for Guests who are not Vacation Club members. However, there is a high-end customer who would prefer to stay at a Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton, and their needs are not met by Disney’s existing products.
  • unique dining experiences. Disney theme parks and Disney Cruise Line have already created great themed dining options. Bringing something like Animator’s Palate or or Whispering Canyon Cafe to a location apart from an existing Disney destination resort could make it a spot where even locals would want to stop!

What are your ideas as to what could be included?

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11 Responses to “7 Ideas for Disney’s National Harbor Resort”

  1. 1 Mila Bernardo

    It would be the best destination if we have all of the seven ideas incorporated in the new disney resort hotel. The DC area would at last have a place to go not to far from home.

    Hope that the place would be a combination of all the Disney Resorts amenities …then we can be proud we have one in our doorstep.

  2. 2 Phantomess

    Two words: Disney Quest.
    The experience is contained entirely indoors, so it would be able to be open year-round, and it’s sort of like a virtual theme park. They have one in Orlando, and I’ve been once. It was pretty cool, but with the other parks down there, it isn’t really a big draw. But, up in the D.C. area where you can’t just hop right over to the Magic Kingdom, I think it could do fairly well.

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