More Details & Concept Art Leaks for Downtown Disney’s Conversion to Disney Springs

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Well, here we go again. You may remember when we “leaked” the original concept art and plans for Disney Springs in early 2013, but even with a formal announcement following that, Disney has remained very quiet through many stages of the construction process on this overhaul of Downtown Disney. Today, we have uncovered some recently released documents that point to more of what is on the way for Disney Springs.

The now confirmed back story of Disney Springs involves a town that grew around local springs. The Marketplace is essentially the suburbs where residents moved to as the town experienced a boom. The Landing is a commercial district with a train station, bottling co. (Morimoto Asia), dock, and a large ferry boat (Fulton’s). The Town Center is the shopping center of the area and will feature the bulk of the retail options for Disney Springs. The West Side feature remnants of the abandoned train tracks, but is a thriving entertainment district. Further speculative details on the back story can be found in our original pre-announcement story. It seems the original document is pretty much on par with the finalized back story.

Now, let’s get into some new details and concept art for the neighborhoods of Disney Springs, starting with the West Side:

  • On the West Side, Food Truck Park (which will otherwise be known as Exposition Park) slated to open this Summer will now be opening by the end of November 2014.
  • The abandoned elevated train tracks in that are will be called the Sunshine Highline. We still expect this to offer lounge and bar areas when completed.
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Waterview Park area of The Landing, looking towards Raglan Road
  • The new park that recently opened in The Landing next to the Boathouse is called Waterview Park. As you can see in the concept art above, there will be a fountain and more trees added soon.
  • In the next 6 months, The Landing should open with 12 retail locations and 7 restaurants including the Boathouse and Morimoto Asia.
  • The walkway between Paradiso 37 and the other stores to the West Side should be open by Thanksgiving
  • BET Soundstage and the Adventurer’s Club locations have been confirmed as venues for new restaurants, so the Adventurer’s Club return rumor can now be ruled out.
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New pathway between Raglan Road and Portobello, facing Boathouse in The Landing
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
The path recently opened while work on the new buildings continues

The new, renovated area in front of Fulton’s and Portobello is Riverfront Square. Walls have come down in this area already:

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

We did not get much in the form of new details about the Town Center area, but we did get several new pieces of concept art for this area replacing the Pleasure Island parking lot:

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The entry plaza for the Town Center
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The Town Center
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The entrance to Town Center from the new bus loop
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The Town Center
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The entrance to Town Center from the Marketplace parking structure
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New pedestrian bridge over Buena Vista Drive into the Town Center bus loop

Some notes on the Marketplace:

  • The lake will be called “Lake Buena Vista”, because, believe it or not, it wasn’t called that already.
  • The World of Disney expansion will come out towards Town Center, modifications inside of the store are already taking place
  • More pedestrian bridges will be built over Buena Vista Drive leading guests to and from Hotel Plaza Boulevard.
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The Disney Springs master plan
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A closer look reveals the World of Disney expansion and new pedestrian bridges to Hotel Plaza Boulevard

So, what do you think?

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

33 Comments

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  • Sad to see that the Adventurers Club will not be returning. Since Downtown Disney eliminated all the nighttime entertainment, I rarely spend much time there on our trips. Actually the trips are have dropped from an average of 16 days to 10 days as well.

  • Agreed. Looks like the real changes are taking out Pleasure Island to put in restaurants and throwing a typical Florida outdoor mall in the middle of the parking lot. Of course there are the new parking garages to offset the mall. It will be hard to judge if this change is for better or worse until we get more info on what stores,restaurants and entertainment are comming in. But, it better be good considering how long it took them to figure out this whole novel outdoor mall concept.

  • It’s just like a shopping mall in any US city. How magical! So many wonderful evenings to come of shopping and dining in chain restaurants. I really can’t wait to ignore the whole area as I have since August 2008.

  • I hope it gets better than this. The renderings are horribly generic. The concept itself seems to be nothing more than the latest trend in suburban shopping–the town center. We’ve gone from strip plazas in the 50s and 60s to gallerias and covered malls in the seventies and eighties, to Big Box retailers in the 90s and 00s, and now we’ve arrived at the newest fad, open-air pedestrian malls. Please tell me WDI has something up its sleeve here, because this looks like no reason at all to make a special trip into the hornet’s nest that is Downtown Disney on a summer evening.

  • LOL this looks nothing like any outdoor malls that I’ve ever seen, and saying it looks like a retirement home is ridiculous. I look forward to Disney Springs, it sounds like they have a great line up so far!

    • I would suggest you take a drive 10-15 minutes away from Disney and see how this looks EXACTLY like any other outdoor mall in Orlando. And yes. It does look like the retirement homes that are abundant in Florida. Just because you have not seen it does not mean it does not exist.

      • People said ANY OTHER outdoor mall, I take that to mean any mall in America. If it looks like the other malls in FL then I guess people who only see Disney and not the rest of Florida will experience something they normally don’t.

  • So true. Every Florida shopping center has amphicars, a majority of unique dining options (some by celebrity chefs), every type of entertainment and retail experience, an enormous hot air balloon, a backstory, etc. Seriously it doesn’t matter what Disney does, they could give every guest $1,000 and there would be Internet trolls complaining.

  • It’s always humorous to see the WDW “fans” swoop in to offer up their most thoughtful constructive criticism. I’m actually surprised I haven’t seen a “Universal would have done it better!!!” post yet. Good lord, people… Look, Downtown Disney will now, for the first time since it was the Disney Village, at least have a unifying theme. If you don’t like it, then don’t go. But whining about it looking like a generic pedestrian mall is absurd.

    Oh, and killing one’s soul to make a buck?! How dramatic. How many bucks were they making off of the entire Pleasure Island area over the last 6 years?! But hey, let’s keep it closed so that these poor, tortured souls don’t have to be attend such an offensive generic Florida mall.

    • I love the theme and it’s magical back story. It went something like this.
      There once was a spring and a small village grew around it and everybody lived happily there. It grew and prospered and the they all decided to leave and it all became shops and restaurants…
      Oh Disney and story telling. I bit this is an original story and not stolen from Grimm or any other tale the Disney company borrowed.

  • Boring.
    A unifying theme around shopping and dining, how exciting. And … where are you getting the idea that there will be entertainment provided? Are you referring to the occasional outdoor music and the living statues?

  • I think offering a shopping and dining experience outside of all the hoopla in the theme parks is a more relaxing atmosphere and non-rushed feeling not only for fans of Disney but also local residents and tourists just passing through to just have a nice evening or afternoon without having to purchase tickets to a theme park..

  • Or one more show in The Library….or to hear fingers play one more piece….or another awarding of the Balderdash Cup…or hearing the Captain make some remarks about the woman on the couch….all, the sweet memories !!

  • Disney Springs is definately not going to be like a Mall concept at all, construction that is going on is HUGE!!! I am there weekly and there is alott of progress being made fast, as for those who compare this to traditional shopping of malls Disney does not work that way, anybody who has a particular business basicaly gets to put there store in a mall, Disney on the other hand will aproach a business, this way they get a diversity of restaurants and stores that everyone can afford from quick service to signature in restaurants lower price items in the stores to pricey ones, give Disney some credit for shutting down a money making business of Pleasure Island, they saw that there was a problem that was begining to tarnish the Disney image and put a end to it, this area has sat dorment for a long time and will be a big return for them have no doubt, Disney Springs will be something very special, changes will be made along the way architectural and also diversity, as for those who will try to say that City Walk at Universal is better, there is no comparison, Universal does not even come close to the quality or imagination of Disney, the restaurants at City Walk there are so many a few that are full but for the most part not even half full, Downtown Disney or the New Disney Springs everthing full every night, giving a higher return for those businesses, City Walk has a overload of restaurants where Disney will limit the amount that will go into Disney Springs and give a higher yield, Disney Springs will be a major success have no doubt about it Everyone!!!

  • This is really a tourist destination. The locals like me will come to the movies or a quick bite to eat but not to shop. It is sunny and in the nineties for most of the year in Orlando so the last place a local would want to shop is this uncovered shopping spot Disney has built. Even the local outlets have covering for their shoppers. We visited after it was completed and could not believe the lack of shade or covered areas. After about 30 minutes we were drenched in sweat and ready to leave. We will come back at night and during the winter once the weather is cooler but will stick to the air conditioned malls during the hot and humid months that are central Florida.

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