Marriott announced yesterday that it will be acquiring Starwood Hotels & Resorts. From a Disney World perspective, this most directly impacts the Dolphin, which is currently owned and operated by Starwood.
At this early stage of the merger, it’s hard to know exactly what Marriott will do with a hotel that is actually on Disney property. One would hope that–at a minimum–it could reach an agreement with Disney that would allow guests at the Dolphin to continue to the receive certain benefits (e.g., extra magic hours, the 60-days Fastpass+ booking window) that aren’t available to other non-Disney owned hotels.
On the Marriott side, I wonder if Marriott would be tempted to re-do some of the rooms in the Dolphin to be part of its Marriott Vacation Club (i.e., timeshare) program (they recently did such a makeover at the Mayflower Hotel in D.C.). Having a Marriott timeshare presence right on Disney property might be a good way for Marriott to position itself as a strong Disney Vacation Club (“DVC”) alternative for frequent Disney travelers.
It will be interesting to see how this whole deal plays out.