07 February 2008

Buzzing in the trees

The buzz is that the treehouses are being demolished. For those of you currently in panic mode, feeling the sudden urge to race down to Adventureland, I am not speaking about the Swiss Family Treehouse. No, I am speaking about the treehouse-style homes on Treehouse Ln., between Saratoga Springs and Old Key West, along the river between Port Orleans and Downtown Disney. For those of you who haven’t heard, they are slated for demolition. I suggest checking out the news and discussion over at Netcot for further information.

The treehouses were originally announced in May of 1974, as part of a larger development of residential property on Walt Disney World property. A year and a half later, in October of 1975, the sixty treehouses were completed. Originally intended as permanent residences, this idea, and further development of other permanent residences, was shelved. Due to the rights of residents (i.e. voting on any expansion of Walt Disney World and taxation), the idea of stable guests began to lose its luster, and was eventually forgotten completely.

Over the years guests were able to stay in the aptly named Treehouse Village, after all it does bear a remarkable resemblance to the Ewok Village (both of Return of the Jedi fame and Star Tours fame[nub nub Lou]), but the treehouses as a destination was never publicized like the other Walt Disney World Resorts. Some would argue proximity was a problem, but, Pop Century and the All-Star Resorts clearly contradict this logic. Eventually the treehouses were turned into housing for students working at Walt Disney World. The true reason for this demolition, and the future of this exquisitely prime parcel (again, between Old Key West and Saratoga Springs), remain to be seen.

As a child, we would occasionally drive by these treehouses and, growing up as a Fort Wilderness boy, I always thought these would be super cool to stay in. The seemed rustic, and wild, and secluded, everything that Fort Wilderness was, except taken up a notch. This, incidentally, also explains why I spent one night of my honeymoon in a yurt overlooking the Pacific Ocean. As an adult, I spent the occasional night at Port Orleans where, floating down the river, I rediscovered the Treehouse Village, and my lust for wanting to see what one was like. Unfortunately, my chance has now expired, but my dreams, this is Disney after all, have not. But perhaps, just perhaps, they were better suited to my dreams after all.


Eric Hoffman said...

Ryan, in talking about this story with my wife a few nights ago I commented that it was a shame to have never gotten to stay in them.

On the last day of any trip to WDW one of the things we always do is drive around and look at the different resorts we didn't visit during the trip. Yes, we actually take time during our stays just to visit resorts and wander around :-)

Of course we would always drive by the treehouses. It will be odd not to see them anymore.

Unknown said...


We had big plans to stay here in 1996. Just never panned out. I did get to go to Disneyland that year...so...