There’s always room for more stories to be told at Walt Disney World. When Disney added Pleasure Island to Downtown Disney they created a story for explaining how the island went from factory to entertainment zone. Pleasure Island is long gone, and soon Downtown Disney will be as well. In its place will be Disney Springs with a new backstory and many more stores, restaurants, and experiences.
Disney Springs will include four distinct, outdoor neighborhoods with a high-quality, diverse mix of retailers – including premium, affordable luxury and fast fashion options. Sophisticated restaurants will provide experiences for families and convention-guests alike.
Recently 13 new tenants were announced, including eight retail shops. With new retailers already aboard and new restaurants either open or coming soon, Downtown Disney will soon become an exciting new waterfront district for world-class shopping, unique dining, and high-quality entertainment. By the time it’s complete in 2016, Disney Springs will double the number of shops and restaurants currently found at Downtown Disney and grow to more than 1 million square feet, 350,000 square feet of which is brand new.
“Over the past few months we have opened several new dining and retail locations, which have quickly become the top producers in their chains,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “This type of momentum builds on the historical strength of the Downtown Disney area and its popularity with our guests from around the world as it evolves into Disney Springs,” he said.
Just announced as coming to Disney Springs:
Zara: Owned by the Inditex Group, one of the world’s largest fashion retail groups. Zara is known for its men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, and how it expertly interprets current fashion and style trends of the season, delivering original designs to the consumer in a matter of weeks.
Tommy Bahama: Iconic island lifestyle brand Tommy Bahama embodies relaxed sophistication. The hallmarks of this casual collection include island-inspired sportswear, denim, and swimwear for men and women in luxuriously soft silks and cottons, richly woven textures and eclectic prints.
Lilly Pulitzer: The authentic American resort wear brand, Lilly Pulitzer, is landing in the heart of Disney and will be offering their clothing and accessories, optimistic outlook, and happy prints to those who’ve loved the brand for years and new Lilly Girls out there.
UNIQLO: Leading global retailer UNIQLO designs, manufactures, and sells casual apparel that comes from the company’s Japanese values of simplicity, quality and longevity. The simplest design hides the most thoughtful details in clothing that is constantly being innovated to bring more warmth and lightness, better design and comfort to people’s lives.
PANDORA: Building on its existing relationship with Disney Parks, the popular jewelry brand offers classic yet modern charm bracelets, along with necklaces, rings and earrings, as well as a line of exclusive Disney-themed jewelry.
UGG: The UGG brand is recognized as a premium lifestyle brand offering men’s, women’s and kid’s footwear as well as loungewear, outerwear, home products, cold weather accessories and handbags.
L’Occitane en Provence: L’Occitane en Provence is an international skincare and beauty line celebrating the culture and beauty of Provence, France.
Edward Beiner: A leading eyewear designer, purveyor and retailer, Edward Beiner offers today’s aspiring lifestyle-oriented customer the world’s most original, authentic and innovative designer, fashion and high performance eyewear.
Edison: Inspired by The Edison venue in Los Angeles, this lavish “Industrial Gothic” -style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination is themed to a 1920s-period power plant, recalling an exuberant era of invention and imagination. It will feature exceptionally good classic American food, craft cocktails and live entertainment including cabaret and music.
Sprinkles: The world’s first cupcake bakery, as named by Food Network and others, serves up handcrafted cupcakes, slow churned ice cream and homemade cookies. Their innovative Cupcake ATM satisfies sweet-toothed epicureans 24/7.
Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza: Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza is a modern day “pizza joint” known for its custom-built artisanal pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies. The fast-casual restaurant features an interactive assembly-line format that allows guests to customize their pizza, choosing from over 40 fresh, artisanal toppings – all for one price. The generously sized, 11-inch pizzas are “fast-fired” in a blazing hot open-flame oven and ready to enjoy in just 180 seconds.
Vivoli Gelateria: Vivoli Gelateria serves expertly crafted gelato made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, panini sandwiches and espresso drinks.
Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s: Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s specializes in premium loose-leaf teas (hot, iced, blended) featuring customs blends, accessories and packaged teas from all over the globe; created to go or for a tea experience in the café.
Nine venues have opened over the past few months at Disney Springs and include:
The Boathouse: An upscale waterfront dining experience showcasing steaks, chops, fresh seafood and a raw bar. Built over the water, the 600-seat, nautically themed restaurant also features a display of rare dream boats from the 1930s -1950s, a beautifully crafted water taxi and a fleet of amphibious autos, called amphicars. This unique restaurant was designed by Shussler Creative, which created other restaurant / retail attractions at Walt Disney World Resort, including Rainforest Café, T-REX and Yak & Yeti Restaurant. The BOATHOUSE is managed by Gibsons Restaurant Group.
Erwin Pearl: Offering a fine selection of enamel, precious and semi-precious fashion jewelry marked by style, creativity and outstanding quality.
APEX by Sunglass Hut: Offering the latest in sports and activewear sunglasses. Guests can try on frames and use a lens simulator to test how their lens would perform in a variety of outdoor environments and weather conditions.
Chapel Hats: Specializing in fashion hats and headwear for all ages. The store carries a variety of hats including fedoras, floppy hats, fascinators and more.
Art of Shaving: Premium shaving shop offering men’s grooming essentials.
Sanuk: The Sanuk® brand is known for its street-style casual footwear inspired by a Southern California heritage and a “never uncomfortable” attitude.
Sound Lion: Offering the latest technology in headphones, ear buds, speakers, wireless music players and other digital sound and music products.
Havaianas: Specializing in a wide array of fun footwear and accessories, including a station where guests can create their own flip-flops.
Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC: Offering a full selection of gluten-free, vegan baked goods such as award-winning donuts, cupcakes, cookies, bagels (with vegan butter) and savory items.
Recently announced and opening in Fall 2015:
Morimoto Asia: World-renowned chef Masaharu Morimoto and the Patina Restaurant Group will open Morimoto Asia, Morimoto’s first Pan-Asian restaurant at Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia’s culinary elements will provide flavors from across Asia, while exhibition kitchens will showcase the continent’s traditions. Included among them are street-food stalls, Peking duck carving, and dim sum.
STK Orlando: STK Orlando will offer a modern twist on the traditional American steakhouse featuring an innovative menu mixed with a high-energy atmosphere, complete with a sleek lounge with a DJ and rooftop dining. At approximately 14,000 square feet, the Orlando outpost will be one of the largest STK locations.
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar: With a storyline centered on the pilot from the “Indiana Jones” films, this aviation- themed lounge will feature unique drinks and small plates. Themed décor like propeller-based ceiling fans, vintage travel posters and correspondence between Jock and Indy will immerse guests in a world of adventure.
Existing Downtown Disney properties making significant investments include:
Paradiso 37: Undergoing an expansion, Paradiso 37 is capitalizing on its beautiful waterfront setting. As part of its renovation, the restaurant is doubling its seating, adding more terrace dining and building a new outdoor performance stage.
Planet Hollywood: Transforming its flagship venue, Planet Hollywood will become a star-themed Planet Hollywood Observatory to match the look and feel of Disney Springs. As part of the makeover, the venue will add a new outdoor terrace and bar space called Stargazers and feature live entertainment.
There’s still a tremendous amount of new construction that needs to be finished. I suspect we’ll soon learn even more about additional tenants.