"How do you know it wasn't planned?
This sounds like exactly what other resorts have done- Remove, repurpose, or simply allow lodge spaces (defined by me as a place at the base area where one can sit for free and/or eat food that they brought onto the resort) to become so crowded or degraded that people instead buy food from the resort.
Why pay to build a larger lodge when you can pay the same amount and build a restaurant? The only additional cost is for the "no sack lunches" sign. ;)"
You are correct, I don't know the effects of removing the public space represented by the "base lodge" weren't planned. If they'd realized their plans, they would have built luxury condos on the site, which still would have meant the end of useable public space.
BTW they didn't build a new restaurant. They first tried a hot nut shack (really) and then upgraded to a waffle shack. Shack meaning a window you order from and waffles (previously nuts) you eat standing outside.