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Downtown Disney to Expand into Disney Springs

downtown disney

A few years after it announced and then scrapped plans to reformat Pleasure Island, the official Disney Parks blog has revealed that Downtown Disney is getting an upgrade.  A years-long project will transform Downtown Disney into Disney Springs, an even larger shopping and entertainment district.

Downtown Disney is so popular with Florida residents and Disney World guests alike that it was time to expand.  Don’t worry about suddenly needing a ticket to get into the area: just like before, Disney Springs will be open to the public (though individual entertainment venues still might require tickets for entrance).

Tom Staggs, the Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts just announced the renovation on the official Disney Parks blog (and in a live presentation unveiling a model of Disney Springs).  The point of the area is really just to expand Downtown Disney, but rebranding is the big thing now, hence the name change.

Disney Springs will be divided into multiple areas, the centerpiece (and first neighborhood, Town Center) of which will be an actual flowing spring.  The Landing is home to the classy dining, retail, and waterfront venues.  Marketplace is the family-friendly area, mostly full of shopping and a pedestrian causeway.  West Side is the new primary entertainment area.

The primary purpose of the upgrade is to expand Downtown Disney’s 75 entertainment, dining, and shopping locations into the 150 locations planned for Disney Spring.  Fans of the “for grownups only” nightlife at Downtown Disney don’t have to worry: Staggs himself personally answered a question on that topic on the blog post’s comments, reassuring those interested that details are coming about the 21+ clubs and other venues at Disney Spring.

The theme of Disney Spring, much like Hyperion Wharf, will be classic architecture.  Staggs described the area as “a timeless and vibrant place that celebrates the turn-of-the-century towns that dotted the Florida landscape.”  This being Disney, the town will have its own back story about the bubbling springs that first attracted developers to the area.

I’m not surprised that Downtown Disney is getting an upgrade and a rebrand, though I wonder why it’s necessary.  Fantasyland was expanded without changing its name, so I don’t know why Downtown Disney, which is already a really well known area and brand, needs one too.  The name “Disney Springs” makes it less clear what actually goes on there.  After the hype and then cancellation of Hyperion Wharf, I’m also a little suspicious as to whether or not the change will actually happen.

Construction is expected to start on Disney Springs next month.  The area is set to open in 2016.  Stay tuned to the official Disney Parks blog for further details about the renovation.


*(The above image by palindrome669 is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.)