Leaked Concept Art & Details – “Disney Springs” Set to Replace WDW’s Downtown Disney

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Since the cancellation of the Hyperion Wharf project for Downtown Disney some time ago, we have all been wondering what will be happening to what is now Pleasure Island. Well… we may not have to wonder any more…

A few days ago, an unnamed source provided us with a PDF document referring to the overhaul of Downtown Disney by a project name which we will not be disclosing at this time. The project includes changes to the entire Downtown Disney district as we know it, including a rumored change to the name “Disney Springs”. According to the document, “The roots of this destination can be traced back as it evolved around the town’s local spring. In this evolution, clear changes in the environment have manifested, making what we know today as [Disney Springs].”

That evolution can be seen in the above image. The new backstory covering all of the area has the districts blossoming around a spring somewhere in the state of Florida. If you look closely, you can see train tracks constructed and removed, various structures go from a temporary to a permanent look, and the entire area expand into the complex as it may exist in just a few years time.

The document goes on to talk about three districts at “Disney Springs” including West Side, The Village Marketplace, and The Town Center. West Side is what we now know as Downtown Disney West Side. In the new backstory for this area, “The West Side was home to a fishing lodge and a campsite for musical gatherings of the brave souls of pioneer Florida. The elevated train tracks would connect [Disney Springs] to the coast and beyond. The larger structures date from America’s postwar prosperity host a variety of dining and entertainment.”

As you can see in the concept art above, the remains of the elevated train tracks will be constructed, possibly offering a second level patio where older guests can drink and dine while they watch shoppers pass on the ground below.

This elevation artwork shows guests meandering below the train tracks covered in shrubbery. We are not sure what the building on the right might be…

According to these plans, Downtown Disney Marketplace will be renamed The Village Marketplace. The backstory for this area states: “An upscale neighborhood, now dubbed The Village Marketplace, developed to the east. The meandering streets of the original plan and the mature trees and native flowers that line them make this a truly pedestrian friendly environment, for the modern day perambulators.”

In the concept art above, you can see a new bridge that will connect the two sides of the Marketplace, stretching roughly from where the LEGO Imagination Center is to Rainforest Cafe on the other side.

Some elevation artwork for The Village Marketplace section is featured above.

The final section occupies what is currently Pleasure Island and its adjoined parking area. This new section is called The Town Center. This section will expand to include new structures using land freed-up by building a new bus loop and multi-level parking structure. According to the backstory, “As [Disney Springs] flourished, a handsome commercial district expanded to the south known today as the Town Center. Today the sophisticated shopping area rivals all local offerings but it is the comfort from its landscape and the calming effects of its fountains and shallow pools that beckon its guests to linger, and most importantly return.”

The above concept art depicts the interior of one of the new buildings in this area of “Disney Springs”.

Some elevation artwork showcases collections of shops with shrubbery and a large covering between them.

To better illustrate the planned changes to the districts, we have labeled the map overview of the project and pointed out some of the more important changes:

  1. A skybridge (overhead walkway) over Buena Vista Drive allows guests to safely cross the street and marks the entrance to “Disney Springs”. As well, Buena Vista Drive will dive under the car and bus entrances to “Disney Springs”.
  2. A new, larger bus loop located at the center of the entire complex
  3. New parking multi-level structure over what was mostly the second parking lot at Downtown Disney Marketplace
  4. Some strange added structure on the AMC 24 on West Side
  5. What is currently Planet Hollywood will no longer be surrounded by water an will probably be turned into some other establishment
  6. New, larger boat dock possibly built to handle large watercraft such as Friendship Boats
  7. New waterside building featured in the first piece of concept art above, replacing Rock ‘N’ Roll Beach Club & Motion
  8. Walkway between Portobello and Cookes of Dublin, allowing easier passage through the entire complex
  9. The Spring, the new focal point of the entire development
  10. The Town Center, a new area constructed on what is mostly now a parking lot. The dark orange structures on the map are all new buildings that will be part of the area.
  11. The current site of Pollo Campero/Bodie’s All-American/Babycakes NYC is empty, leading us to believe it will be demolished
  12. New bridge crossing the lake in the Village Marketplace
  13. New buildings replacing the former bus loop in the Village Marketplace
  14. Bridge connecting Village Marketplace to Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort

Now, as always, it is important to mention that none of this is official. This project may or may not happen (just like Hyperion Wharf, which still never took shape even after an official Disney announcement). However, according to the documents, this is the current plan for the Downtown Disney area at the Walt Disney World Resort.

So, what do you think of the plans for “Disney Springs”? Is this the best way to fix Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World?

90 comments

  1. Ellen

    If they bring back the adventurers club they can do whatever they want! Although it definitely looks nice. I'd be interested to see it finished since im not good at visualizing it on paper.

    • Tom Corless
      Author

      I have been asked not to share the PDF. I have included every image in the document. I hate watermarking things, but we have been having problems with people stealing stories like this, so we had to…

  2. Tim

    Looks to me like they are trying to make downtown a whole day filler for those people who don't want to waste a ticket entrance ona day when they come into WDW later in the day. If this is how it is gonna be and look I might come in a day before maybe later in the day and go to this place and then be able to rest up before goin into the parks.

  3. Jessica

    Am I the only one that thinks that the Town Center looks like the Outlets right outside of the main entrance off of Vineland? Seriously, they look identical!

  4. Zach

    This just strikes me as yet another mall with some flourishes coupled with a place for campfire sing-a-longs and a garden walk. Is this really the best Disney could do?

  5. Bobbe

    Would love to see the Adventures Club again! That was about the only reason we went to Pleasure Island, nothing like it anywhere. They do need to do something, it is depressing. Told my husband not going back till they "fix" it.

  6. Rich

    What Disney does NOT need are more SHOPS and character meet and greets. Pleasure Island was great, anyone who was part of it going away should be beheaded. Too bad Disney doesn't care about guest experience anymore. Is so obviously greedy it's just not fun.

  7. Lauren

    Disney cannot redeem themselves here in my humble opinion. Unless Adventurer's Club and Comedy Warehouse come back, I will not be visiting this area.

    The LAST thing Disney needs is more shopping. They need more places for adults to go and have fun.

  8. Pingback: And now a Facelift for DTD is the latest rumor

  9. Lori

    I would love for them to bring Mad T Party somewhere to Disney in Florida. So many other parks have gotten the greenlight for it, and I heard rumor about it possibly going to DTD back in October, yet nothing has happened.

  10. andrew

    I love it, I actually enjoy strolling through DtD but agree it needs a face lift. Wouldn't mind if they rebuilt DisneyQuest while they're at it. They know a change is needed and they are hopefully commiting to it. I'm excited!

  11. Evie

    Or, they could put fabulous and unique nighttime entertainment in that spot. Something like a themed club full of skilled improvisational actors who entertain and delight the guests as they drink and laugh, having an experience they cannot find anywhere else in the world…..an experience that makes the trip to Florida worth making again and again.

    Because it really doesn't matter how fancy of a strip mall they build. It's still a strip mall, and it's still not something I would pine for when I'm away.

  12. Oh, how I miss the Adventurer's Club. Truly a unique and imaginative experience. It was so enjoyable to get lost in the story of it all. A real shame Disney closed it. I always felt it was a perfect addition to true Disney magic.

  13. Butch

    Definitely looking forward to something being done with the dead zone that was once pleasure island. Do we really need more shopping though? There is already plenty of shopping at Marketplace and West Side. Oh well. Will still be nice to not walk through the PI area getting sad anymore if this happens.

  14. Sue

    Universal has clubs, why won't Disney do it??? Pleasure Island was amazing!!! Nothing they replace it with will satisfy us. Mannequins was one of a kind and we miss it so! The Adventurer's Club was the most unique environment! All the clubs were great. PI was always a safe, fun place to be. So very sad.

  15. I tend to agree with the previous comments; Disney does NOT need more shopping and it certainly does not need to go in so commercial of a direction. I feel that this new expansion completely looses the whimsical feeling of the Walt Disney World Resorts altogether, and that is something that no one wants to see. Please Disney, allow the imagineers to do a bit better than this!!

  16. Kris

    I agree with all the comments about the Adventurers Club and Comedy Warehouse. We have enuf opportunities to shop. How about some lower-priced restaurants!!

  17. Dee

    It looks better than Hyperion Wharf but not by much. I, too, miss The Adventurers Club experience and find there isn't much to draw me to DD since PI closed. I don't need more shopping, dining and strolling. I can do that at most any resort or theme park. Dinner at one of the DD restaurants followed by the amazing evening entertainiment at PI was what made DD unique.

  18. I really don't like the new name; sounds like a retirement community. Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I actually like the name "Downtown Disney". Anyways, I've read on several sites that the PI clubs will not be returning unfortunately. Seems like they're really trying to make DTD (or Disney Springs) as kid-friendly as possible.

  19. Alex B

    I like this idea. At least it's something rather than half of DtD being a ghost town. Is there any idea on how long the refurb would be? That is, if it is official?

  20. Greg

    I understand that PI was a favorite of many but I'm guessing not enough, otherwise it would still be there. Adventures Club was great. Also locals vs. 1x a year visitors obvioulsy are looking for different things. We visit approx once a year and only visited PI a few times due to admission fees, just could not justify add'l costs to pay for expensive drinks as overall ticket prices increased.

  21. Mark

    IMAX would be stupid. IMAX doesn't use 70mm 15 perf film any more. It's all digital. It would just be another auditorium with another 2K digital projector that's actually inferior to the rest of the 4K digital projectors in the building.

  22. Pingback: Rumor: Disney Springs to Replace Proposed Hyperion Wharf Development at Downtown Disney Orlando | DisZine

  23. Luis

    They should include some kind of night life. Adults doesn't have much to do . maybe a couple of clubs can help on that!

  24. jerith

    the only good thing i see here is the bridge across buena vista dr. leading from the employee lot to the downtown disney and the bridge from saratoda springs to the village.. but a bridge crossing the bay so people can get to rainforest cafe and fishermans whorf faster come on.. the boat dock near the beach club for friendship boats cold be interesting but for what purpose?

    i agree they need to bring back the adventure club and the comedy club. and if you've been there lately the new bowling ally (if you wanna call it that) that occupies what was virgin mega store has literally become the new videopolis east (an original teen night club back in the 80's before they closed it due to gang fights and unruly kids.. staff are workers to keep the place running not babysitters which s what they became..) a place to dump your kids while parents go see a concert or shopping or see a movie.. their not even regualtion lanes eather.. their narrower and shorter

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  28. Erik

    I can only imagine what a disaster the already horrendous parking situation will be if/once this gets started…but for the future, I personally am very excited. One of the major hurdles has always been the parking and it looks like between the garage and the across the street parking area, maybe they have a solution. It really looks beautiful, though. Here's hoping this goes through to revitalize an essentially dead area of downtown.

  29. Kara

    I think some of the changes are needed due to the congestion of Downtown Disney. I agree that they are trying to make this a day filler because the price of tickets are so expensive. I bought seasonal Annual passes and me and my bf really enjoyed downtown Disney at night. Its magical and if they add more magic it would be great. Pleasure Island needs something else since they got rid of the club area so i like this concept. Also the walkway to downtown Disney will make guest's that are staying in that area who maybe have no Disney experience check it out. Almost like the walkways Las Vegas Have. I went on them not know where I was going but found myself in awesome places. Now getting in and out of Downtown Disney is a nightmare so I imagine the walkways will make more people inclined to go. There have been times when I lived in Orlando where I did not want to go in because of parking. I don't care for the name but I am sure I will love it cause in the end I love everything Disney does.

  30. subs

    Planet Hollywood will still be there. They are re-themeing it as an observatory. Get it, an observatory that looks at stars, movie stars.

  31. I think it's a great plan with one exception. I don't see any direct rampage going from that parking lot structure to I-4. The congestion is terrible. I don't see how this would ever work without that major addition.

  32. Mark

    Interesting, sounds like a good unifying plan. The House of Blues Side, I thought was always the left over side. Now if the bring the bus stop in to the middle they can tie both sides together. Better traffic flow to the other side!

  33. Tired of same merchandise and same shops and same food just put in different locations. There is still not much for adults at Disney in the evenings and I would like to see unique venues like Adventurer's Club and the Comedy Warehouse. I don't even go to DTD any longer except to get a sandwich at Earls, and then I leave quickly. No matter how they package this, it is now a covered shopping area with more parking and different walkways for all the foot traffic. And I agree with the other comments about it looking like the outlet mall in LBV.

  34. Gregg

    I will never understand Disney's Decisions. First they redo "Journey into Imagination" (Which didn't need to be redone) and then they close the Adventurer's Club. I don't get it. They also announce major projects and then back out of them (Hyperion Wharf and Avitar) It's like they don't know what to do anymore. Meanwhile, Disneyland in California is moving forward.

  35. Sara

    "what is now Planet Hollywood will no longer be surrounded by water and will probably be turned into some other establishment"?? This saddens me greatly. PH at DTD is one of my favorite places to splurge on dinner when I'm celebrating something. I make a big thing out of it. Please… some things ain't broke and don't need fixing.

  36. DonOberlies

    SORRY NO FRIENDSHIP BOATS Won't fit on anything but lake. Waste of money. Most of this is daydreaming Disney style.

  37. All in all it looks like a fantastic plan, if they go with this I hope the "buy in" to this plan is at a high enough level to protect it from the various challenges that often make cuts to any large plans inevitable, if there is one thing i'm not as sure of liking it is the potential of retiring the Sassagola Steamboat company's fleet of pontoon boats for vessels more similar to Crescent lakes Friendships, but on the other hand it's hard to argue against protecting guests from Floridas sometimes stormy and often humid weather, and at least the Friendship design does have a section of outdoor seating for those who do like that.

  38. rt2

    Disney quest is soooo outdated! Not worth the money. They should remodel it and turn it into a casino lol. I would love to see a Disney themed casino! Imagine every machine link together to do massive events/wins with genie and the Disney villains!

  39. Kev

    I'm all for progress, especially at DTD that seems to struggle to keep up with the changing habits of shoppers and guests in general. CityWalk always feels less crowded, and that is despite also acting as a gateway to two massive parks. it will be interesting to see how Disney manage walkways, but most importantly, the increased parking capacity that will be needed!
    The part that is going to be fun, is how on earth they are going to sustain guest satisfaction (and profits) while they virtually flatten an entire area of Downtown Disney!

    • Guy

      After working in the Downtown Disney area for 20+ years, Disney needs to listen to it's longtime castmembers and frequent guests. Many of our guests have been visiting on business convention or just need to get away from their kids for a little grown up time at Disney, Since the closing of Pleasure Island , resulting in the lack of nite time entertainment many of our convention groups have moved to Universal Studios. The one question I get after a group finishes dining is what should we do now….. House of Blues stays open late for them 11pm is late enough Come on be real let mom and dad enjoy their time at Disney too An adult area providing dance clubs etc is lacking Please consider this as a possibility

  40. Pingback: ‘Disney Springs’ to Replace Downtown Disney? | Intrepid Traveler

  41. I liked the concept of Hyperion Wharf, so I'm looking forward to this project assuming they are taking that concept and expanding it. I enjoy the DTD area – especially if I'm just passing through town and dont have time to take in a park.

    I just hope they remember to include a place where I can purchase merchandise with Mickey on it. ;-)

  42. I would just like to point out that the Village Marketplace drawing is a SECTION drawing, not an elevation. So is the drawing that is described as "showcasing shrubbery" – more like illustrating public space.

    Also, I think the name "Disney Springs," is stupid.

  43. Cia

    That is exactly what my fiance and i are doing! I refuse to book a vacation plan for our honeymoon where we will arrive too late for one if not two meals of our dining plan and won't be in the park until the day is slightly more than half over. We are flying to Florida and checking into the Port Orleans French Quarter, spending the evening in Downtown Disney… Then the next morning checking out of Port Orleans and checking in to the Polynesian for our package.

  44. Rick

    Thats what my wife did when we went down in August. We couldn't get a early flight on the Sunday of our trip, so we flew out 11 am on saturday, stayed at one of the hotels near the airport , then sunday morning our town car picked us up at 8 am and took us to our resort.

  45. Christina

    Bring back the Comedy Club!! Miss it SOOOOOO much. Can't find any reason to go to Downtown Disney anymore (maybe to catch a movie, I guess). To me, it's just an over crowded place to shop. The pictures of the re-do remind me of the crowds.

  46. Rodger Fangman

    My wife and me loved the old Pleasure Island with the variety of clubs and shops. So nice to have a place to go in the evening. Our favorite was Manequins, Rock & Roll Beach club with live bands and West End stage with bands and then New Years Eve.

    We have not been back to Disney since they closed Pleasure Island.

  47. I was a Disney Imagineering in the 1980's and a member of the Pleasure Island concept & design team. I still own the Royal portable typewriter we used to type ALL the captions for ALL the photos that hung in the ADVENTURERS CLUB. On all the concept art I've seen for "Disney Springs" it appears as though the Adventurers Club building remains. Few projects have had such a dynamic life and presence in the hearts & minds of Disney Guest as does "AC." And it has been closed (mothballed, "raped" of it's props and furnishings) but lives on. NOT TO BRING IT BACK would be a huge error—both from a business standpoint as well as the enormous press and public relations that would be generated by it's return. With it would come an ARMY of grateful fans who be be (once again) steady visitors to the Club and, thereby, customers to all the surrounding shops, eateries, and other buckets of commerce. My typewriter and I are available to resurrect the Adventurers Club, as our scores of former "Club members" (cast) still living in the area. We could announce the return o the club and hold a contest (in the parking lot) for fans to contribute props to the new AC. Let's do this!

  48. Alex V.

    Don't take Planet Hollywood from us remodel is understandable, but don't take a main attraction from DTD, i mean its like a landmark for the DTD area. As of right now the only reason worth going there including Cirque. Keep both in your remodel Disney Please!!!

  49. Marc Feldstein

    Something likd the QEII only as a mock up of restaurants and entertainment areas if the Magic or Wonder

  50. David M

    I am hoping that the Adventurer’s Club is part of the plans for this Disney Springs re-invention. They (imagineers) don’t have to make PI the way it was, just bring back a few of the favorite places. I remember walking between the different clubs and noticing how some were packed and others were largely empty. Surely the Disney executives saw this in the ticket/drink sales too. Does anyone remember when New Years Eve was celebrated every night at midnight? And when there was live entertainment on the stage (which was one of the first items to be demolished)? Allowing families to “walk” through the area to “see” what PI was all about was also probably a downfall, changing the sense of “I wonder what happens there?”

  51. robert

    Bring Back MannequinsDance Palce, best dance club in the country for so many years, now that was disney magic. It was so safe and fun and you knew it was always goping to be a place that would never lett you down. Had so many good times in there. I havent danced since they closed it which is very sad.

  52. Ron

    I agree with Robert, bring back something like Mannequins so adults have a place to go. The light and sound show was Amazing, never danced so much in my life.

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