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Starbucks opens First Company Owned Store at Walt Disney World


The Seattle based coffee house chain Starbucks has made it to Downtown Disney Orlando in a big way. In the last few weeks, it has opened two locations in the shopping and entertainment district to go with the two locations already inside Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. Fans of the dark brew will be able to get their cup of joe on the go nearly anytime they want.

In addition to the usual Starbucks location items, the Westside location includes a wide selection of food and baked goods plus their reserve coffees which are brewed in the new Clover system.

The store itself is nearly 4,000 square feet and features indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor patio features a moss wall with the iconic Starbucks logo mermaid and a nice view of the water. Inside there is a magical portal that connects the Anaheim Downtown Disney location with the Orlando one with a chalkboard like interactive interface.

There’s more green in the store than just the moss wall. The location is also the 500th Starbucks store to have a LEED designation.

I’m also a little excited about the odd structure out there in the courtyard between the new Starbucks and the Harley Davidson location. It’s the first part of Disney Springs new vision for the Westside to be constructed. Eventually there will be a longer area of ‘highline’ to dance and dine on above Westside. It looks good so far, and the scale definitely seems right.

Heading out to Walt Disney World to pick up a cup of Starbucks? Be sure to refill your Starbucks Card online before you go.

More photos below the jump:

Read More »Starbucks opens First Company Owned Store at Walt Disney World

Starbucks Grounds First Location in Downtown Disney Orlando

The flavors of Seattle have finally arrived at Walt Disney World’s most popular shopping marketplace. Starbucks has opened the first, and smaller, of two locations at Downtown Disney. This location is located on the marketplace side attached to the World of Disney store and near… Read More »Starbucks Grounds First Location in Downtown Disney Orlando

Disney Springs “The Landing” – New Shopping and Dining District Opening in 2015

Disney Springs

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.

Read More »Disney Springs “The Landing” – New Shopping and Dining District Opening in 2015

Disney Springs Construction Update – April 2014 – Part II


Yesterday in part one of this update we looked at some fresh concept art and changes on the Westside of Downtown Disney as it transforms into Disney Springs. Today we’ll take glimpse at the area that will become the “Waterfront District” and the Marketplace Marina area.

Up first is a little video highlighting a few of the changes going on near the water front and marina areas.

Below the jump we have more updates in our photo gallery

Read More »Disney Springs Construction Update – April 2014 – Part II

Disney Springs Construction Update – April 2014 – Part I

New garage is rising on the Westside

New garage is rising on the Westside

Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney is the main shopping, dining, and night time entertainment area for the resort. Over the years it has seen a few transitions, but current project promises change on a new scale – mostly upscale, as it turns out.

As part of Disney’s efforts to add more elements that appeal to families with, how shall we say it, extra-spending cash, Downtown Disney will become Disney Springs and bring with it new upscale shopping, high end dining experiences, and new entertainment options. To go along with the increased expectation in crowds, Disney is adding new parking garages as well.

I recently stopped by to grab some photos and video of the transition and was amazed at how much work is going on already. So much, in fact, that I’ve had to split this update into two parts.

Part one today looks mostly at the concept art that’s up around Downtown Disney and a few of the projects going on on the Westside of Downtown Disney. Tomorrow, we’ll dive into changes at Pleasure Island (soon to become the “waterfront district”) and the Marketplace (where Downtown Disney got its start).

Read More »Disney Springs Construction Update – April 2014 – Part I

Dr. John’s 2014 Prescriptions for Walt Disney World


Normally at this time of year, I write a retrospective piece looking back at the year in Disney, but for personal reasons, I’ve decided now is the time to look forward, not back. Instead of recollections, I’m writing prescriptions.These are the things I believe will help Walt Disney World continue to compete for the hearts and wallets of their fans while fending off challenges from other entertainment options both near (Universal Orlando) and far (changing TV viewing habits at home, for instance)

I’ll try and limit myself to one or two recommendations each and something that can at least get started in 2014. I don’t intend each prescription to solve every woe, but it will at least make a significant difference in one or two major problem areas.

Magic Kingdom
The oldest theme park in Central Florida is showing its age more and more and suffers from serious stagnation in both attractions and entertainment (translation: a serious capacity issue). There is something they can do quickly to make a dent. As part of an overall project to update Tomorrowland, I prescribe for the park an indoor air-conditioned high-capacity theater capable of hosting shows similar to the Hyperion Theater at California Adventure. With multiple shows a day, this adds a lot of capacity, gives guests a place to cool off in the heat and humidity, and allows for a showcase for Disney’s latest animated musicals (Rapunzel Stage show anyone?). This is also something that could be accomplished quickly and with minimal in park disruption by setting the theater outside the berm. Additional revenue can be raised by hosting events in the space, something the Magic Kingdom is currently lacking.

This park has the highest capacity of all four parks. It has two wonderful festivals and an enjoyable Christmas overlay. These are wonderful for what they do to attract guests. However, the mission and vision of EPCOT has been ignored for too long, and many areas of the park are in serious need of rejuvenation. Let’s tackle the two sections of the park separately.Read More »Dr. John’s 2014 Prescriptions for Walt Disney World

Downtown Disney Orlando Transformation Update


Downtown Disney is at the start of a multi-year project that will transform it into a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex called Disney Springs. With construction of the first parking garage underway, things are getting serious. Over the weekend, I stopped by to see how traffic and parking was flowing.

It turns out things aren’t too bad. However, Disney is being crafty with its directions to open parking lots. The T-Rex and marketplace parking lots will always fill up early on busy days, but there was still plenty of parking down by Cirque du Soliel’s La Nouba, even though the street signs all directed guests to park and one of the two remote parking lots across the street. I followed the signs just to see where they led and ended up parking at Team Disney building. It was actually a pleasant experience with a shuttle that picks up and drops off right at La Nouba. I avoided the unpleasant hunt for a parking spot and only added a few minutes delay in waiting for the shuttle. You can walk across the street if you desire.

At Downtown Disney itself, there are walls everywhere, a bit more demolishing has occurred, and they have started construction on what will be the first new building of Disney Springs. That and more in our photo tour below the jump:

Read More »Downtown Disney Orlando Transformation Update