Disney Springs is a major undertaking for the Walt Disney Company in hopes of restoring Downtown Disney into greatness. With Disney Springs now well into the halfway point of construction, we thought it was time for us to give you a grand overview of the project. To that end we’ve made a fantastic video that tells the story of Disney Springs from concept to reality and represents the culmination of what may be our best work here on Da Mouse. We hope you truly enjoy it.
In 2013 The Walt Disney Company announced its plans to expand Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort into an even larger and more diverse retail wonderland that would be called Disney Springs. With 2016 approaching, the concept art and models have pushed into reality with new areas and experiences opening up for guests and so it is time for a grand overview of the changes to Downtown Disney as it transitions into Disney Springs.
The renovations to the exterior of Rainforest Cafe that came alongside the addition of Lava Lounge provided us with the first glimpses of what a renewed focus on Downtown Disney could provide. The all-new volcano rightfully gets all the attention but Lava Lounge with its waterfront views showed just how Disney Springs would do a much better job of utilizing Downtown Disney’s beautiful waterfront.
The Marketplace’s major Disney Springs upgrade comes in the form of the Disney Springs Village Causeway. It ties Marketplace into the Disney Springs fictional Florida town roots but mostly it gives Marketplace the connection point it sorely needed. It has breathed new life into the original areas of Downtown Disney and improved traffic flow throughout Marketplace, while providing new waterfront vistas.
Dockside Margaritas arrived in Marketplace just this April building upon the popular margarita kiosk that serviced the area before. Following the trend, Dockside Margaritas expanded out into the waters of Downtown Disney to fit a full bar that serves specialty cocktails that can be enjoyed alongside the water. A wooden awning gives some cover from the often harsh Florida sun and you can grab a seat around the small dedicated performance area where musicians shall serenade you whilst you enjoy your drink.
Marketplace Co-Op’s pop-up shops give Disney fans access to unique Disney merchandise. Cherry Tree Lane has designer indulgences including Collections by Dooney & Bourke, Vera Bradley and more. D-Tech on Demand, lets guests customize iPhone and Android cases to their Disney heart’s content. Sports fans can find vintage-inspired apparel of their favorite team at the The Trophy Room. Disney Centerpiece brings theme park magic to your home’s furnishings. Teen fashionistas have a Disney-inspired apparel and accessories home at Zoey and Pickles. And the newest shop to pop up, WonderGround Gallery brings limited–edition Disney artwork and merchandise into the mix.
Getting guests to and from Disney Springs in a timely but safe manner is one of the focuses of this expansion. Under construction are two pedestrian bridges that should make traversing the area on foot and in a motor-vehicle much safer.
The World of Disney store is getting into the action with an expanded footprint of its own that is currently under construction at Disney’s Marketplace.
Nestled within World of Disney is the new Starbucks Kiosk that opened in 2014 before the larger flagship Starbucks coffee house opened at West Side.
Even with all these welcome changes and additions as Marketplace transitions into Disney Springs, it continues to be largely the Marketplace you remember.
Some of the additions to Disney Springs have come in the form of all-new kiosks.
Some of these shops are can’t miss. Sublime and Set Bar certainly fall into that category. If you are looking for a unique but thoughtful gift for a friend these kiosks might just have what you are looking for.
Welcome to Disney Springs’ The Landing. You are in for a treat.
And our first stop is quite sweet. Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC is a Vegan Gluten-free bakery serving up fresh cupcakes and more.
Chapel Hats is one of the liveliest scenes so far in The Landing as guests can’t wait to try on some amazing hats. Their staff is joyful and the store has an incredible vibe despite its relatively small space.
At Havaianas you can customize your own flip-flops or choose from the hundreds that line their store.
The Landing has a flagship and it is The Boathouse. There is nothing like it at Walt Disney World and that in of itself is quite the feat. Whether it is the amphicars that get you in the door or the illustrious seafood menu, you will come away with an experience that is sure to leave an imprint.
There is so much to do here that it almost certainly demands multiple visits just to experience it all. When the weather is right you can enjoy a Florida sunset from the restaurant’s main open-air bar or sail away on a cruise upon the wooden Captain’s Italian Water Taxi. The Amphicar experience and other watercraft adventures along with large swaths of the menu can command some serious prices but there is no denying the quality and the enjoyment to be had at The Boathouse.
Their delightful wooden dock behind the restaurant provides one of the best experiences in all of what is to be Disney Springs holding a vast array of vintage watercraft that are on display, in almost boat-show fashion. It is an incredible free stroll that everyone must do on a visit to Disney Springs and if your pocketbook is on the larger size you can even inquire on purchasing some of these rare boating finds.
The Boathouse is an upscale experience and there is no detail spared. From the food, that is some of the best on property to the well-trained staff, to the incredible multi-themed interiors and live music and of course the rides on various watercraft, Disney Springs’ The Landing and its Boathouse has raised the bar for all of Downtown Disney and truly made this area of Walt Disney World a must-see on your Walt Disney World vacation.
If there is something that Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District get’s absolutely right it is music. The live performances by musicians and other entertainment acts give life to the area and its guests. Disney Springs has emulated this to near perfection and it is steadily changing the complexion of what we used to call Downtown Disney.
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar opens this fall and best of all as you might have already guessed this Disney operated aviation-themed lounge will be host to the theme of the great “Indiana Jones” films.
Vivoli Il Gelato brings a taste of Italy to Disney Springs with the quintessential gelato experience.
Across from Disney foodie favorite Raglan Road and steps away from the Town Center construction comes Morimoto Asia.
Chef Masaharu Morimoto is bringing to Disney Springs his first pan-Asian restaurant this summer!
The Landing has more from enhancements to Paradiso 37 to a range of new shops including, The Art of Shaving, Sanuk footwear, Sound Lion for you audio needs, Apex by Sunglass Hut and Erwin Pearl with its amazing jewelry.
Also coming to the Landing, STK Orlando will fuse an upscale lounge vibe into its steakhouse experience whilst the nearby Edison will bring an “Industrial-Gothic” styled restaurant to Disney Springs.
Planet Hollywood will be getting an all-new look and enhanced menu that will help it modernize and fit into the Disney Springs aesthetic as it becomes the Planet Hollywood Observatory.
The exterior theming will shift to a turn of the century observatory and feature a new outdoor elevated terrace named Stargazers that will host a bar and live music. On the inside you can expect the movie memorabilia will stay but the surrounding theming will be enhanced to include planet-shaped lighting as you “dine amongst the stars.”
West Side has also gotten a few enhancements as it enters the Disney Springs era.
The most prominent thematically is the abandoned railway high line structure that now runs most of the length of West Side.
Yet the best addition thus far to West Side comes in the form of the flagship Starbucks Coffee house.
This beautiful, environmentally friendly building houses a vibrant Starbucks experience with a signature Starbucks Clover Coffee Bar and vistas that again make use of the Disney Springs waterfront.
In many ways Disney Springs is the Downtown Disney you knew before and yet there are some sights like this one that remind you Disney Springs is a whole new beginning for this area.
The Disney Food Trucks have found a home at West Side’s Exposition Park. The area didn’t turn out quite like the concept art but if you are looking for a bit of quick service that reminds you of Disney theme park cuisine then look no further. The area also has a small area for live entertainment that fits in line with the focus on music at Disney Springs.
Marvel merchandise has moved out from D Street and into its very own store. Super Hero Headquarters is a must see for every Marvel fan.
You can grab the latest merchandise or even take a green screen photo as one of your favorite super heroes.
West Side like Marketplace has remained largely the area you’ve come to know, but the high line structures do provide some cover from the Florida weather, the new parking garage makes getting in and out of the area much easier and overall the experience does feel a bit more refined.
Another quick service option at West Side deserves your attention. The Smokehouse at House of Blues serves up barbecue ribs and more alongside the live music you’ve come to expect.
With all of the phased openings, 2015 has made Disney Springs feel closer to reality then ever before, but one look at the vast remaining construction site and one quickly sees that that Town Center the true and all-new heart of what will be Disney Springs is just now underway.
Driving home the storyline of an early Florida settlement turned township, Disney Springs’ Town Center will bring even more still unannounced retail and dining options. They will border all-new crystal clear springs and give even more beauty to the project. The potential here is limitless as one has to wonder what an announcement of a flagship Apple Store as one likely possibility could mean for the draw of Disney Springs as it aims to better compete with The Mall at Millenia and other tourist draws in the neighboring Orlando region.
Already Disney Springs’ promise shines through through even as the pains of construction remain present. Still the future of Downtown Disney is already in many ways with us and as the march towards the 2016 Disney Springs completion date continues all that is left is more excitement and we’ll be sure to bring you all of it, right here on Da Mouse.