Disney has unveiled plans for a long-anticipated overhaul to Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney location, after the news first leaked via unnofficial sources earlier this month.
The area is slated to be known as Disney Springs, and along with the plans, Disney has developed a back story:
The story of Disney Springs begins at our new Town Center, which is oriented around a series of bubbling natural springs that first attracted settlers to the area. From there, the town grew to encompass three additional neighborhoods: The Landing, Marketplace and West Side – each with its own distinct charm and atmosphere.
The inspiration for both the re-imagined space and backstory, according to Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, “celebrates the turn-of-the century lakeside towns that dotted the Florida landscape.”
Plans now call for Disney Springs to encompass four major but distinct “neighborhoods:” The Town Center, The Landing, Marketplace, and West Side. Since Marketplace and West Side already exist, most of the new area will be encompassed in The Town Center and The Landing, which appear to take the place of the area formerly known as Pleasure Island. Disney Parks Blog decribed the neighborhoods in this way:
- 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.
The new area is scheduled to open in phases. The project, which is scheduled to be completed by 2016, will double the number of retail, restaurant, and entertainment spots that currently comprise the Downtown Disney area.
The plans for Disney Springs replace previous plans to overhaul the popular dining and shopping district, which most recently including plans for an area called Hyperion Wharf.
In addition to the new build out, plans also include for expansion and reorganization of the parking areas. Two new multi-level parking garages are also in the works.
Disney Springs is set to have a major impact on the Central Florida area economically as well. The company estimates that the project will create 1,200 construction jobs and close to 4,000 operational roles once it is completed.
Because the announcement also carries with it a lot of speculation regarding new restaurants, as well as what may happen to some existing spots, be sure to check out the food news regarding Disney Springs, as covered by our friends at Disney Food Blog, as well.