Among the many things announced by Walt Disney World yesterday, was the first new area of Downtown Disney to open as part of its transformation into Disney Springs. “The Landing” will be set by the water front and feature nationally known restauranteurs. None have been officially announced, but it’s expected to include concepts from the Patina group (Via Napoli) and Steven Schussler (T-Rex, Yak & Yeti, and Rainforest Cafe). The Landing will occupy part of the area formerly known as Pleasure Island (basically behind where Raglan Road is now).
Disney also released a bunch more information about the transformation of Disney Springs (which will be the official name for the area commencing with the opening of The Landing. For summer 2014, outdoor entertainment will bring Downtown Disney to life, with nine different acts scheduled nightly – more than 30 live performances daily, a free highlight of the Downtown Disney experience. Special events like Car Masters Weekend (June 14-15) puts the spotlight on classic and exotic cars for Father’s Day weekend, and includes character experiences featuring favorite Disney*Pixar “Cars” characters.
New this summer for Downtown Disney:
Two new Starbucks locations – a storefront at Downtown Disney West Side and a kiosk near World of Disney at Downtown Disney Marketplace. Look for the familiar green roof at the West Side flagship Starbucks, part of the company’s commitment to be environmentally conscious. The design includes a covered patio overlooking the waterfront and a fireplace, as well as the new Clover Bar, featuring special reserve coffees brewed to order. A high-tech screen behind the Clover Bar will show images from coffee regions around the globe, and a new Human Connection Wall will include large touch-screen monitors that allow guests to use their finger to draw images.
Marketplace Co-Op will serve as a testing space for new Disney retail concepts, shops and products with six boutiques under one roof:
- Beautifully Disney – A beauty destination for woman featuring make-up, fragrance and beauty accessories;
- Cherry Tree Lane – Accessories for the sophisticated woman with a passion for scarves, shoes, bags and jewelry;
- D-Tech on Demand – A place to personalize and customize your own electronic accessories;
- The Trophy Room – Vintage-inspired, lifestyle sports apparel and collectibles;
- Disney Centerpiece – Home products offering a splash of Disney in room furnishings, textiles and everyday ware;
- Zoey and Pickles – A girls’ destination with the latest trends.
Just in time for World Cup, United World of Soccer opens in Late May at Downtown Disney West Side. The shop offers favorite team jerseys, sports gear, cleats, World Cup apparel and accessories.
The Happy Hound at Downtown Disney Marketplace offers custom accessories and dog tags, toys and more for four-legged friends.
Food Truck Park, opening later this summer, will serve as a permanent home to the four Disney Food Trucks and will be situated between Bongos Cuban Café and the new Starbucks at Downtown Disney West Side.
Even with expansion work underway, guests still can stroll from Downtown Disney West Side to The Marketplace. While shopping, playing and dining this summer, they will see signs of exciting things to come captured in colorful, mural-sized artistic renderings of the new Disney Springs destination throughout the expansion site.
Disney Springs – What’s Next
The largest expansion in Downtown Disney history, Disney Springs will provide even more opportunities for guests to relax and enjoy themselves. When completed in 2016, Disney Springs will double the shopping, dining and entertainment experiences, with an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands. From boutique shops to unique flagship anchor stores, guests will be able to explore and discover options unlike any other currently available in Central Florida.
Drawing inspiration from Florida’s waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs will include four interconnected neighborhoods:
- The Landing (opening in early 2015) set along the waterfront and featuring nationally known restaurateurs.
- The family-friendly Marketplace 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.
- West Side will be enhanced with a series of new elevated spaces that provide both shade and an overlook to the activity below.
- The Town Center, opening in 2016, with a sophisticated mix of shopping and more dining.
The first phase of roadwork construction has begun, with lane closures scheduled as much as possible for off-peak hours to minimize impacts to the guest experience. Buena Vista Drive will expand from seven to 10 lanes, with a dedicated bus lane. Two parking garages and two pedestrian bridges also will be added, as well as an I-4 Interchange that will offer direct access to and from Downtown Disney/Disney Springs.
Disney Springs is expected to create an estimated 1,200 construction jobs and nearly 4,000 operational roles, providing new business opportunities and generating significant tax revenue for Central Florida.