All this time we thought they were entirely abandoned (or used to house College Program Cast Members), the Treehouse Villas along the banks of the river leading to Downtown Disney from the Port Orleans Resort will soon spring back to life!
Previously part of the defunct Disney Institute (a corporate retreat for other companies to learn the Disney methods which became the Saratoga Springs DVC resort) the Treehouse Villas were nestled into the forested swampland along the riverbank. It’s quite literally a protected piece of wetland, and the buildings are built around the trees with minimal ground disturbance. Because of all the stipulations of building on the wetlands that came about after their closure and need to renovate for ADA requirements (they were accessed from the second floor by a staircase only), they were essentially abandoned. They loomed like ghostly figures along the riverbank as guests from the Port Orleans resorts shuttled to Downtown Disney nightly.
Then in December someone at Disney had a creative solution and filed their permit and the $100 fee. The buildings will be torn down and rebuilt nearly identical, but with modifications. The reduced lower level of the buildings will now have a smaller footprint which will meet the wetland protection requirements. As for the ADA accessibility? That remains to be seen, but not all of the buildings need to be nonidentical, nor do the tree house villas need to be a stand alone resort. They could merge with a larger resort (Saratoga Springs) or more buildings could be built nearby.
Thus, sometime in the near future the mysterious Tree House villas will no longer be the southern ghosts of the Walt Disney World Resort but rather the charming eco-friendly belles they were meant to be.