Disney is dynamic company that has managed to stay on top of the game for decades. In my opinion, Walt Disney was probably one of the most imaginative humans to ever walk this earth. But it wasn’t his imagination alone that made him successful. It was his ability to adapt, change, and pursue his dreams with tenacious fervor his entire adult life. Walt Disney World maintains his principles, for the most part, and that is why his legacy still exists. You can walk into Walt Disney World, no matter your generation, and be struck by wonder and feel completely free and happy. The parks and resort hotels house a few treasures from its start in the 1970′s, but much of what we know and love today as vacationers has been adapted, recycled, and added to what Walt Disney originally planned and built. These changes allow Disney to bring new and exciting experiences to guests, year after year.
On Thursday Disney announced one of those changes. A multi-year renovation and expansion of the Downtown Disney Area will occur, transforming the area into “Disney Springs.” As of now, I have yet to even write the Downtown Disney information segment of this website & blog, but that certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of any attention. I’m just a one-woman-show, and there are only so many blogging hours in a week.
Currently Downtown Disney is a three part shopping and dining area arched alongside a lake. There are currently 13 table service restaurants, 7 quick service restaurants, and plenty of places to find a snack. Cirque de Soleil’s La Nouba calls Downtown Disney home, as well as an AMC Theater, a bowling alley, and a plethora of specialty shops that include a mega Disney Store and a Virgin Records. This general concept: leisure, shopping, and dining will be the mainframe of the new Disney Springs. It will just be on a much grander, more homogenous scale.
As with everything that Disney creates in the parks, there is a story line. These stories are sometimes fantastical concepts that transport you nevertheless. One of my favorite examples is the story of Typhoon Lagoon: One day a typhoon wreaked havoc upon a beautiful tropical paradise. The storm tossed ships, surfboards, and fishing gear everywhere on this paradise. “Miss Tilly,” was a shrimp boat that got marooned on a mountain peak. And this chaos that was left from the typhoon, created this water park paradise. The story of Disney Springs is a bit more authentic, but still charming. A turn-of-the-century lakeside settlement has blossomed into a thriving town. There is a Town Center and three communities: The Landing, The Marketplace and West Side. Each of the three communities will have its own flavor and personality. With over 150 establishments in the new Disney Springs, there will be plenty of entertainment, dining and shopping to be found as well as a beautiful setting with a focus on water.
Construction is set to begin in April, just a few weeks from now and projected to be completed in 2016. Big changes like this at Walt Disney World often stir the pot, but I think this is a very positive and exciting announcement. Downtown Disney will be taken to an entirely new level and give years of delight to guests of all ages.