A $1 billion vacation rental resort near Walt Disney World to replace the former Villas at Grand Cypress. 

Called Evermore Orlando Resort, the 1,100-acre complex aims to open its first phase in summer 2023, including a 443-room luxury-class Hilton hotel and 186 vacation rental properties ranging in size from two-bedroom villas to 11-bedroom homes. When all of its phases are completed, the resort expects to have a total of 10,000 bedrooms. 

“We are creating the first-ever wholly owned, large-scale community of purpose-built vacation rental homes and operating them with hotel-quality standards and world-class resort amenities,” Christopher Kelsey, president of project developer Dart Interests, said in a press release. “Our approach solves the #1 problem for vacation renters: uncertainty in the quality of the home.”

The Orlando Business Journal reported that vertical construction is expected to begin in February. 

Disneyland parking lot to serve COVID-19 vaccine ‘super site’

Disneyland Resort has been closed for 10 months — and now the key to getting it reopen will be distributed in one of its parking lots. 

The Toy Story parking lot — located south of Katella Avenue and the resort itself — will be one of the “Super POD” sites in Orange County, California capable of vaccinating thousands of eligible residents daily. 

“The Disneyland Resort, the largest employer in the heart of Orange County, has stepped up to host the county’s first Super POD site – undertaking a monumental task in our vaccination distribution process,” Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do said in a press release. 

Right now, appointments to be vaccinated at the site are limited to groups identified in Phase 1a of California’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, such as health care workers or people 75 years or older. The two COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use have been demonstrated to be safe and effective by going through multiple clinical trials, including a final trial that tested the vaccines against placebos in tens of thousands of patients. 

On Tuesday, Orange County reported a record 535 COVID-19 patients in intensive-care units, along with 3,824 new COVID-19 cases and 28 new COVID-19 deaths. The state’s most recent COVID-19 surge has quieted calls from the theme park industry to allow parks like Disneyland to reopen

‘Soul’ exhibit coming to Epcot

Epcot’s American Adventure pavilion will be installing an exhibit dedicated to the uniquely American art form of jazz — through the lens of Pixar’s new movie “Soul.”

Disney described it as a “musical tour across America,” highlighting jazz styles from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, and New Orleans. 

“Jazz is the story of America,” Carmen Smith, creative executive vice president for creative development and inclusive strategies at Walt Disney Imagineering, said in a video posted on official Disney Parks Blog. “It unites people from every walk of life. It’s a living, breathing art form that’s always evolving and always changing.” 

No opening date was provided by Disney.

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