Friday, March 15, 2013

Disney World Announces Disney Springs

Visitors to Disney World in Florida will have more shopping, dining, and entertainment options than ever before when the three year renovation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs is complete.  The heavily renovated area will charm guests with "beautiful open-air promenades, meandering springs and waterfront charm."

At the end of 2010 Disney announced plans to change Downtown Disney into the Hyperion Wharf, a waterfront district with a fairly different theme than Disney Springs will have.  The Wharf concept was eventually dropped, and now with this much larger expansion announced we know why.

Disney Springs will be separated into four unique areas, with the largest expansion taking place in the area of the former Pleasure Island night-club filled party zone.  The party ended there years ago, so the space is ripe for redevelopment.

The part closest to the parking areas will be The Town Center, "which is oriented around a series of bubbling natural springs that first attracted settlers to the area," according to Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs.  The Town Center will feature many new retail locations with "iconic" brands features.

As for parking, that will be quite different too.  Two new garages will be utilized to free up space to allow all this development to take place.

Above The Town Center and along the water will be the Landing, an expansive area that features various dining options.  The waterways that can be seen in the above concept art will flow through each of the sections, connecting and uniting them.  No names have been mentioned yet, but the announcement promised some uniquely Disney restaurants for the area.

Joining these areas will be the existing West Side and the Marketplace, both of which will see numerous changes.  The wide walkways of the West Side will be filled with an overhead trestle that will allow for unique views, and the Marketplace will see an expanded World of Disney store among many other changes.

Here's a current aerial view of the current Downtown Disney, with the West Side on the left, Pleasure Island in the center, and the Marketplace on the right.  The area around and below Pleasure Island will see the largest of the changes.

The Disney Springs expansion will create more than 4,000 jobs once it is fully open, and 1,200 construction jobs over the three years of work.  Opening in phases, all the changes should be done by 2016.