by Michael C. Lowe | November 01, 2010
Local Update
Construction is imminent on a new $3.2 billion, high-speed rail line between Orlando and Tampa, with completion set for 2015. A project of the Florida Department of Transportation, the line will include stops at Orlando International Airport, the Orange County Convention Center and Walt Disney World Resort. The FDOT also is planning a multimillion-dollar Sun Rail commuter system, running from downtown Orlando to the convention district area. Construction is expected to start in spring 2011.
The $383 million Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center is scheduled to break ground in January 2011. Named for noted Florida businessman and philanthropist Dr. Philip Phillips (1874-1959), the 330,300-square-foot project will include three theaters, an outdoor performance plaza, a catering kitchen and space for educational programs. Completion is estimated for 2013.

Expected for fall 2011, Legoland Florida will open on the site of the former 145-acre Cypress Gardens theme park with more than 50 attractions. The $100 million project will be the biggest Legoland attraction to date.

The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress completed a $45 million renovation in January with a restyling of its 750 rooms and suites. The property also includes 65,000 square feet of meeting space, eight dining options and 45 holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature Design golf.

Fantasyland, the largest expansion of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom to date, is set to open in 2013 and will offer new attractions including Ariel's Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, Dumbo's Flying Circus and new rooms inside the Beast's castle from Beauty and the Beast.

The Art of Animation Resort is a new 2,000-unit property scheduled to open at the end of 2012. Guests will choose their room décor from one of four themes based on the Disney animated classics The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid.

In June, Disney announced plans to build a new luxury residential resort community that will include a Four Seasons hotel with a golf course, a full-service spa facility and multiple dining options. The first phase of the project is expected to finish in 2011.