Disney Springs In, Downtown Disney Out at Walt Disney World

By Ken Storey
Twitter | Blog

On Thursday, March 14, 2013 Disney officially announced the transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs.  The project will break ground in April, 2013 and is expected to be completed by 2016.  With an estimated 1,200 construction jobs and 4,000 operational jobs created by the transformation this project will have a major impact on the region.  In all the number of establishments at Downtown Disney will more than double to feature over 150 establishments at Disney Springs.

The name Disney Springs will take over once the transformation is completed, while Anaheim will continue to use the name.   The former rumors, that I covered in the first Disney Springs post back on February 18, of Planet Hollywood leaving seemed confirmed though talks with PH owner Robert Earl are on-going.   Two parking garages were confirmed with the Cirque on being more towards the east of Cirque closure to DisneyQuest.

One unique difference with the confirmed plans and the previous rumors are that there is no fly-overs or off-ramps planned for the project at this time (that Disney is at least confirming).  There was also no direct brands mentioned at the event.  I previously mentioned the brands that are rumored to be a part of the new project.  No specifics of what type of retail will be located where, including the food trucks that might be coming, was given at the Thursday press conference. 

This will be the first time that the shopping and entertainment complex will feature a single theme and storyline.  The theme celebrates Florida’s unique waterfront communities that have sprung up around its springs and lakes.  It also points to a turning point in local tourism trends with a more upscale approach taking the anywhere USA approach that plagued Central Florida tourism throughout the 1980s and 90s.  Disney Springs will feature numerous boutique shops and unique flagship stores.

“Disney Springs will be a timeless, vibrant place where Walt Disney World guests and local residents can relax, shop, dine and be entertained in an imaginative setting where they’ll instantly feel at home,” said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “Featuring distinctive brands, world-class restaurants and unforgettable entertainment, Disney Springs will be brought to life with the same focus on storytelling and attention to detail that goes into our theme parks, resorts and cruise ships, resulting in a welcoming space that only Disney could create.”

The press release sent out by Disney explains each of the four distinct districts that make up the new complex.
  • "The Town Center, which offers a sophisticated mix of shopping and dining along with a promenade where guests can relax, refresh and reconnect.
  • A colorful and thriving commercial district called The Landing with inspired dining and beautiful waterfront views.
  • The family-friendly Marketplace that will continue to delight guests of all ages by combining new experiences, such as an over-the-water pedestrian causeway, along with classic Disney favorites, including an expanded World of Disney store.
  • A West Side that provides an exuberant atmosphere with lively entertainment, along with a series of new elevated spaces that provide both shade and an overlook to the activity below."

All artwork via Disney Parks Blog

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