From the Orlando Sentinel.....
The first wing in Walt Disney World's newest hotel, Disney's Art of Animation Resort, will open in May 2012, resort officials said Thursday, and will be completed by the end of that year.
Disney said the roughly 2,000-room hotel will create more than 800 permanent jobs. Most of those will be in housekeeping and food-and-beverage services, though officials said many jobs will be added in other categories, as well.
Those are on top of roughly 800 construction jobs the project will require. Disney broke ground on the complex earlier this fall.
The Art of Animation will include 864 standard hotel rooms in Disney's "value" category, the resort's cheapest rate classification. Another 1,120 will be suites, each with room for as many as six people, that will carry somewhat higher nightly rates.
It's a significant expansion into "family suites" for Disney, which currently has only about 215 such rooms on its property. Several large non-Disney hotels feature such rooms — most notably the Nickelodeon Family Suites just beyond Disney World's eastern entrance — and Disney is aiming to pull more of those travelers onto its own property.
"This is a market that is fairly intensive outside of our property," said Kevin Myers, vice president of resort operations.
Disney says demand for affordable suites has grown in recent years as more tourists travel with extended family.
"We continue to see that families — multi-generation — want to travel together," Myers said. He called the suites project a "no brainer" for Disney.
With the additional standard rooms, Disney World's inventory of "value" hotel rooms will grow to about 9,000. The resort has about 25,000 hotel rooms and time-share units in total, spread between "value," "moderate" and "deluxe" rate categories.
The first phase of Art of Animation to open will be a Finding Nemo-themed wing of suites in May 2012. It will be followed by Cars- and then Lion King-themed wings of suites. The final phase will be the wing of conventional hotel rooms, themed to The Little Mermaid, which will open by December 2012.