Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney Officially Is Now Disney Springs
Walt Disney World today officially switched over the name of its shopping district from Downtown Disney to
Outside Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar at Disney Springs. Photo courtesy Disney
The multi-year, multi-million-dollar refurbishment of the area won't be complete until sometime next year, but Disney is switching the names now, a couple days ahead of the start of its new fiscal year.
Disney announced the Disney Springs project in 2013. Since then, construction has disrupted the flow of cars and guests throughout the area, as Disney remakes the property to accommodate new restaurants, stores, parking, and vehicle access. Transportation improvements include a massive new parking garage, a pedestrian bridge across Buena Vista Dr. to remote parking lots (so visitors won't have to cross at street level), and flyover ramps to allow a faster drive into and out of the area. Disney also is building a new, expanded bus depot to serve the district.
Disney Springs' new restaurants are
The Boathouse and Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar, with Morimoto Asia opening to the public tomorrow. Still to come are STK Steakhouse and the Edison. In addition, Planet Hollywood is getting a facade makeover to become the Planet Hollywood Observatory.
Finally, DisneyQuest will close, to be replaced by a new NBA Experience attraction.
When complete, the old Pleasure Island and its closest parking areas will have been transformed into Town Center and The Landing, two of the four areas in the new (
completely made up
) village of Disney Springs. (The old Marketplace and West Side will be the other two areas.)
In case you were wondering, the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort in California will retain the "Downtown Disney" name. In Florida, the transformation into Disney Springs is the latest step in the evolution of what started as the rather modest Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village in the early days of the Walt Disney World Resort. When complete, Disney Springs will offer more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment venues.
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Disney Springs is going to be a very big deal.
TH, where they will miss out though is that Disney Springs is a destination unto itself, whereas Citywalk has a captive audience. Guests of Disney Springs must drive there (or go by bus) and find a park, whereas at Universal (and DLR) the restaurants and shops are between the carpark and the parks, guaranteeing guests.
Mr. Crawford writes: "TH, where they will miss out ..."
By the way, while there is reason to believe that the "run the gaunlet" placement approach to success (dropping CityWalk between the parks and the parking lot) has merit, it also places the CW shops and restaurants in direct competition with the shops and restaurants inside the parks.
Direct transportation from Disney Springs to the parks is forbidden by design. They are only providing transportation to onsite guests wanting to see Disney Springs. The premise is completely wrong. They aren't missing any opportunity. They are actually trying to prevent the abuse of their services. Off site guests going to the parks should park at the parks. They also built the parking structure for the lack of parking spaces. Turning Disney Springs into a park and ride lot will make it into a transportation mess and the entertainment and shopping goals will be short changed.
I am excited for the completion of Disney Springs. I always felt that the concept of Downtown Disney had a lot of potential but that it was a it underdeveloped. With this major overhaul, the area will truly be a destination to visit!
Check out these construction photos. The place is definitely going to be a big deal! Can't wait!!
Anon writes: "They also built the parking structure ..."
Yay, yet another generic shopping mall that's going to have all the generic shops you find everywhere else!
Some of my east-coast friends emailed me an insider's view of what's going on behind the remaining construction walls in Disney Springs:
My point is simply that Disney Springs has to be the destination, and the effort of battling traffic and fighting for a car park when I was there 4 years ago deterred me from visiting again (hopefully these new changes fix that).
Mr. Crawfors writes: "...and the effort of battling traffic and fighting for a car park when I was there 4 years ago deterred me from visiting again (hopefully these new changes fix that)."
Mr. Crawford writes: "My point on the layout of Disney World is that it us too spread out, making movement between parks (or even to their car park) tiresome. "
Not a substantial one yet, but any person deterred from returning by this is a customer lost. My wife didn't enjoy Orlando, so it's unlikely we'd return in the foreseeable future (as much as I'd like to).
Mr. Crawford writes: "Not a substantial one yet ..."
I prefer Downtown Disney World
I feel that Downtown Disney has a much better ring to it
While I wasn't in Florida at the time, it looks like the Disney Village was set up to support the original third party Lake Buena Vista hotels and office area long before even Epcot.
Mr Creative, please stop calling me Mr Crawford, Grant is fine.
Before you know it, they will put a border around the area, build a gate, and call it a new theme park!
"But I still believe that having the convenience of this area being located where you don't have to move your car after attending the park would improve attendance"
If only there were a Disney resort where you could park in some big parking facility, then have all your hotels, the shopping district, and theme parks within walking or monorail distance of each other.
You truly can't beat the convenience of Disneyland Resort Anaheim. But, DD is truly small. Was just at DS in late April and found getting there to be easy from a park. Parking was easy, as well. Enjoyed the new look and views of the water. The new restaurants and stores, once opened, will make for a better experience.
It's not called Walt Disney World for nothing. I like that it's spread out. Disney Springs is a fine name and for those who enjoy large scale entertainment/shopping districts, enjoy. Not for me though. I like the idea of being able to tuck myself away from the chaos.
I'm looking forward to seeing some good aerial shots of Disney Springs when it's complete, as some of the renderings make it look like it'll be quite a beautiful area. I know some of the new restaurants and bars will be amazing, but it oughtta end up being a great shopping destination.
@Robert- If only there were a Disney resort where you could park your car in some big parking facility, then be limited to only one or two parks, rather than six. Oh, wait, that would be all the Disney resorts other than WDW. ; )
I still think the name sounds like a retirement home. It's more of an outlet mall now than a really unique destination. (Shows notwithstanding)
I always got the impression that Downtown Disney/Disney Springs was really just successful at catching people who weren't staying on property and locals as a free sopping opportunity. Most of the entertainment options didn't work well enough to keep them form being dropped. It's also not a coincidence that the area between Disney and Universal has a lot of outlet malls.
I must be missing something, Disney Springs is a shopping center, it may have a nice design and look good but it is still a shopping center. Maybe for locals it may be a destination on its own but for someone who travels 3700 kilometres (2300 miles) I am not wasting a day at a shopping center, it is not destination on its own. In my opinion, for what its worth, this will be someplace for last minute shopping between check out from your hotel and check in at the airport.
The new restaurants look like mega gourmet eateries, but nothing too out of the ordinary. Rolling Boulder sliders - they just look like burger sliders with an Indiana Jones name. I'm more intrigued by the unique restaurants at Citywalk like Cowfish. Citywalk has always been more interesting and unique to me than Disney, on both coasts. Disney Springs sounds as boring as its name.
@Vaughn Miller - You may not like to go to a shopping center when your on vacation but there thousands that do. There are huge outlets right off property that are packed with tourists that proves that. We were at Disney Springs yesterday and love that they have opened one of the ramps to the parking garage, it definitely makes it easier to get in to the parking garage.
After battling crowds at Downtown Disney, I'm reminded of Yogi Berra's old quotation: 'No one goes there, it's always so crowded!' ??
GeneP........You have illustrated my point. As a local you will go shopping and out for dinner on a regular basis. When we are there on vacation again, in a couple f years, we will probably also go for dinner. When you are flying across country you need to watch weight restrictions on luggage. Again it may just be the distances that we have travel o reach the parks but to use your days in a shopping mall and not at the parks or the beach.
Mr. Miller writes: "I must be missing something ..."
It sounds nice to me. Visitors from Australia and Canada will go there. A lot of Australians visit America with an empty suitcase and fill it up with clothes and shoes because you don't have to pay import taxes on those and shoes in Australia are 3x or more US full retail price. Shoes in Canada are also at least 2x and in both places the selection is limited for everything. If you live in a fairly large city in the US, I can see why Disney Springs might not impress you that much, but for people who live far from a large US city or international travelers, Disney Springs should be well attended, as well as by locals.
@Gabriel: Back in April, Disney announced that their WDW bus fleet was switching to using Renewable Diesel. From the press release: "With its significant investment in innovation, the resort anticipates a nearly 50 percent reduction of the green house gases contributed to the environment by Disney guest buses, as well as an overall reduction of 3.5 percent at Walt Disney World Resort."
Got to eat at Morimoto Asia last night, it was fantastic. What made it even better we got to meet the man himself and take a picture with him. Iron Chef Morimoto
It should be called... "there's no Adventurer's Club Here".
For 126.96.36.199, I'm from Australia, and whilst when we visit the US we take an empty bag for shopping, I rarely do much shopping at theme park malls, most of our bag is filled at outlets. The attached shopping malls like DD, DS or citywalk generally have a premium on all there goods, and little saving is to be had.
My kids (13, 11, 10, 5) are very sad that DisneyQuest is going away. I know for a lot of people, the quality of the current DisneyQuest experience is deteriorating and thus something they won't miss. But a lot of kids (and adults like myself) still seem to love the initial idea of DisneyQuest... an indoor video game park... especially the free old-school cabinet video games or the create your own virtual rollercoaster stuff.
I'm an NBA fan and I could never convince my mom to eat at NBA city even though it had good food. If Universal can't support NBA City, I don't really see it working at Disney. I think an all inclusive sports bar like a bigger ESPN zone would have been better. The only way I could see it maybe working is if they include courts and hold AAU basketball events from ESPN WWOS there.
Mr. Hudson writes/asks: "I'm not sure this new NBA experience area is going to attract the crowds they are hoping it attracts. Is anybody out there wanting to go to this new NBA thing?"
Every time my family and I go to Disney World we plan on one evening at Downtown Disney. We enjoy the shops, the scenery and just to walk around and have something to do. However, I do not care for the new name. I guess I don't understand what's so "Springs" about it. It should have been name something in reference to shops or attractions. Overall, my family and I enjoy Downtown Disney and parking is FREE as opposed to City Walk.
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