The news surrounding the St. Mary's By The Sea retreat house in Cape May Point had many residents worried about what was to become of the historical landmark last year.

When the Sisters of St. Joseph first announced of the closure back in 2018, it was thought that the house's future would be for it to be demolished and that whole area "returned to nature". Now, however, Wildwood Video Archive has reported that residents are looking into what can be done to preserve the historic property.

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While allowing nature to take over the land once more doesn't sound like the worst idea in the world (to me, anyway), it's understandable why locals feel the need to look into what can possibly be done to keep it standing. Now, however, we know that the former retreat will indeed stay open as an educational center. A non-profit based within the region decided to buy the property with the intention of turning it into a place where people will come to learn about nature and the surrounding environment.

The building, however, is so much more than just a historical piece of Cape May. One fact about St. Mary By The Sea you may not be aware of is the apparent inspiration it may have had on the Disney hotel designers.

Did you know there's an ancient rumor that St. Mary's served as one of the pieces of inspiration for the design of the Grand Floridian hotel in Disney World? If you compare the two structures side-by-side, it's not hard to see the resemblance. There's some truth to that rumor, but not in the way you'd like to believe.

Architects for Disney were, in fact, inspired by Cape May's Victorian architecture, however it wasn't JUST that specific building that inspired Disney properties. The resort that was partly inspired by the South Jersey beach town was actually one that opened in the 90s called Disney Yacht and Beach Club Resort.

The Disney Boardwalk section was, in fact, inspired by Wildwood, too. Also, the designers took a little piece of Cape May back with them to Florida when they created the Cape May Café.

At least now we know that the building will continue to live on and be appreciated for years to come.

Sources: PhillyVoice.comWildwood Video Archive, Youtube

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