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Downtown Disney Update

posted on July 12th, 2011 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


In November, we shared plans to re-imagine Pleasure Island and bring other new and compelling experiences to life at Downtown Disney. Today, we’d like to update you on our progress.

First, we’re excited that some of the new experiences we announced are already becoming favorites, like the newly expanded LEGO Imagination Center and AMC’s first Dine-In Theatre in Florida. The great news is there is more on the way.

Orlando Harley-Davdison at Downtown Disney

Recently, Orlando Harley-Davidson opened its newly expanded 3,635-square-foot store at Downtown Disney West Side. The largest and most interactive Harley merchandise store of its kind, it draws guests in with a 40-foot tower and massive LCD/LED screens showing specially produced footage of motorcycles in action. Guests are also able to see and sit on some of the latest Harley-Davidson motorcycles and a brand new production studio lets guests be pictured in their favorite riding spot or transformed into real bikers. Guests can even design biker vests of their own.

Later this summer, Apricot Lane Boutique, a specialty retail store that offers celebrity-inspired branded apparel, affordable fashion jewelry, handbags and accessories, will open in the space the Harley-Davidson store previously occupied on Pleasure Island.

Artist Rendering of Splitsville Coming to Downtown Disney
*This is an artist rendering and is subject to change.

This fall, construction will begin on Splitsville, a 50,000-square-foot upscale entertainment center that combines bowling with billiards, dining, music and nightlife. To make way for this experience, RIDEMAKERZ, currently located on the West Side, will move to the Marketplace.

Over on Pleasure Island, we’ve completed removing some of the buildings that aren’t part of our future plans. During the course of this site work, we identified opportunities to further refine our master plan and are pausing to evaluate them. What does this mean for you? While we’re moving quickly, it will admittedly cause a delay in construction. But we’re willing to bet that any delay will be worth the wait once we’re able to share details about the exciting work we’ve been doing.

Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more updates on Downtown Disney!

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Filed: Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

78 Comments 4 Replies

1

Paul from NY on July 12th, 2011 at 11:09 am

Tom, thanks for the updates!

The announcement of Splitsville intrigues me. Specifically, because we haven’t heard anything about the previously announced bowling alley at Wide World of Sports for about 2 or 3 years now. Do you know if that project is still happening, or has it been scrapped in favor of Splittsville at Pleasure Island / Hyperion Wharf?

Thanks!!

 

Thomas Smith on July 13th, 2011 at 9:25 am

Sure, Paul. And no, that project has not been scrapped. Work continues toward finalizing an agreement to build and operate a new facility at ESPN Wide World of Sports.

2

Chris on July 12th, 2011 at 11:12 am

Bowling and billiards sounds like a blast! This is probably the best proposal I heard so far for the revamping of Downtown Disney. My friends and I will be there all the time if there is a passholder discount! haha

3

Lou from FL on July 12th, 2011 at 11:12 am

Really like this concept, and the former site of the Virgin Megastore is a perfect venue and location. When plans for the blowing alley by the Wide World of Sports were put on hold, I was hoping that the idea might be placed elsewhere. I think this adds a new level of family entertainment, nightlife for all ages, and other experiences outside the parks.

I like the idea of making Downtown Disney a true destination with a variety of experiences and activities for families, couples and groups of friends, and think this is a great step in that direction!

Lou M.
WDW Radio

 

Thomas Smith on July 13th, 2011 at 9:26 am

Thanks, Lou. We’re really excited about this too.

4

Andrew from GA on July 12th, 2011 at 11:15 am

Why not just reopen the remaining clubs, at least for the interim? Something is better than empty buildings.

5

Michael from FL on July 12th, 2011 at 11:15 am

Is this new bowling alley going to be built in addition to the 160,000 sq foot one planned to open at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in 2014, or has that project been canceled?

 

Thomas Smith on July 13th, 2011 at 9:28 am

Still making progress on that project. We’ll share more details as soon as we can here on the Blog. Thanks.

6

Thomas on July 12th, 2011 at 11:19 am

“Over on Pleasure Island, we’ve completed removing some of the buildings that aren’t part of our future plans.”

Does the phrase “completed removing” mean that the buildings left are a part of future plans?

7

Joel on July 12th, 2011 at 11:38 am

Please bring back the Adventures Club! I have many happy memories from that place.

8

Brodie on July 12th, 2011 at 11:43 am

While that looks like a lovely bowling alley, I can still bowl at home.

I’m glad to see the Adventurers Club building is still standing so far, and offering the faint hope that an experience I can’t get anywhere else might return to Downtown Disney.

9

Dan on July 12th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

does this mean we might get the adventurers club back? :)

10

ryan from FL on July 12th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Was just there last week and very happy to see the Adventurers Club is still standing, hope that means it’s been saved from the chopping block. Also a bowling alley sounds awesome, what a simple yet great idea! Surprised no one had thought to build one before. :P

11

Mitch on July 12th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

This is a great replacement for the old Virgin building, now if they would just reopen some of the clubs. wink wink nudge nudge

12

Melissa on July 12th, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I am thrilled about the addition of bowling. What a fun family activity that will enrich a disney vacation! Thank you for always looking for new opportunities for families and friends to enjoy time together, Disney! Great job!

13

Clarrissa on July 12th, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I agree. This looks great, but I dont come to DisneyWorld to bowl. I would rather spend that time in parks seeing I’ve paid all the money for park tickets.

14

Robert on July 12th, 2011 at 1:50 pm

This is the most prolonged, painful reimagineering I have seen in a long time. I understand that the nightclub thing wasn’t working, but taking three years to come up with a bowling alley? Seriously? C’mon! Bring in the Improv, bring back the Adventurer’s club, a couple nice restaurants, and bam. Done. Why does this have to be so hard?

15

Andrea on July 12th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

LOVE the retro design! Keep it up!

 

Thomas Smith on July 13th, 2011 at 9:29 am

Me too. Pretty cool, huh?

16

Chelsea from RI on July 12th, 2011 at 2:06 pm

So glad to see that the spacious Virgin Megastore building will get more use since since there is so much opportunity for a building so large. Also, does this mean that The Adventurer’s Club and Mannequin’s buildings are staying?

17

Kira on July 12th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

It would be great if you guys brought back the Adventurer’s Club. It was the only reason I ever went to Downtown Disney.

18

Jami on July 12th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Is there a date for the opening of Apricot Lane yet? I am going to Disney next month and would love to be able to visit this shop.

19

Rob on July 12th, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Long Live the Adventures Club! Any word on if we are gonna get it back?<3

20

Robin on July 12th, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Great news!!! We always play mini golf at Disney… now we can bowl!

21

Bryan from MI on July 12th, 2011 at 2:20 pm

So this is the 3RD or 4TH rendition of a “bold, new vision”?

The bowlingalley does seem like a good idea and fit for the westside…. But what about PI? how about reopening the Adventuer’s Club?

22

Miranda on July 12th, 2011 at 2:21 pm

While the bowling alley looks great, they should have a some of the lanes dedicated to Duck Pin bowling. That would be give the area a unique experience!

23

Rob on July 12th, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I agree with Kira that is the only reason I ever did go to Downtown Disney was for the Adventures Club! :)

24

Cathryn on July 12th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

No one is forcing anyone to go bowling if they choose not to. It is just another option for those who want to take advantage of something besides the parks. Tourists come from all over the world not just your neighborhood. I am also guessing this is not going to be just an ordinary bowling center it will have the magic of Disney. For those of you who don’t live in Orlando full time, PI was beginning to attract a nice so nice element to a place that promotes a family atmosphere.

25

Leah on July 12th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Our family will enjoy the bowling and billiards, if we have the extra time to go to the West Side. (Rainy day, perhaps?) However, if Disney chooses to re-open The Adventurers Club, we will make it a priority to visit it (read: spend money on admission, drinks, and merchandise) each time we are at WDW.

26

Jon from IL on July 12th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

FYI, Splitsville is a franchise, not a Disney creation. That being said, it’s one of the few things recently added to DTD that I can get behind. Absent the old activities (read: all the clubs on PI, especially Adventurers Club and 8-Trax), it’s currently about the only nightlife option I’ve seen that attracts me at all. There’s only so many nights at Jellyrolls that one can do per trip.

27

lorraine from NY on July 12th, 2011 at 2:58 pm

honestly I dont go to disney to go bowling, I can do that any time at home.

28

Megan on July 12th, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Please bring back at least one of the clubs!!!

29

Megan on July 12th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Please bring back at least one of the clubs!!! Preferably Adventures Club or one just like it. . .notice how most of the comments mentioning up a club? This is a hint.

30

Carol from FL on July 12th, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Love Disney for safe family entertainment. That’s what you want from Disney and they give it to us. Looking forward to the new entertainment complex with bowling, nightlife and more. Hope it is Disney themed with some twist to make it different. How about adding Highway 66 mini bowling.

31

James on July 12th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

When are all these updates due to be complete? We coming over in October/November next year and just wondered what we’ll be able to do.

32

danielle on July 12th, 2011 at 3:26 pm

The new stores sound Awesome i love the idea of a bowling/ billard place there, but i have to arguee i do miss the adventures club, as well as the comedy club LOTS of Funny memories there, and isn’t that what disney is ALL ABOUT

33

Cristy from CT on July 12th, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Great Idea! Can’t wait to see it!

34

Belinda from FL on July 12th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

How about a Margatitaville restaurant/bar. The one at
Universal is nice, but who wants to pay $14 to park and go eat? Never mind all the Orlando traffic to get there…
So far so good with the other ideas. Splitsville in Tampa is fun.

35

Laurie on July 12th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

This is very exciting news. There have been so many people that wanted a bowling alley at Disney for years. I true dream come true. Thank you Disney.

36

Daphne on July 12th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Is this the same Splitsville in Tampa, that becomes ADULT ONLY after 9 I believe? It would be nice to have Adult Only places again, so we could have a much needed brake from the kiddos on vacation =)

37

kelli from FL on July 12th, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Can’t wait for the Hyperion Wharf project to be complete! Walt had said that his favorite thing about the parks would be that that they are never finished. Keeping things new and fresh is the Disney way. We are loving the idea of some new activities and restaurants at DTD!!

38

Laura on July 12th, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Another vote here for the Adventurer’s Club. That place was Disney magic! I miss it. I used to really enjoy Pleasure Island and have many great memories of the area with friends and family.

While I’m not going to go for bowling or billiards on my Disney vacation (unless there is some fabulous Disney magic involved, per the Adventurer’s Club), I’m looking forward to whatever new plans develop. Fingers crossed for something great!

39

Mike from IN on July 12th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Agree with all the comments to bring back the Adventurer’s Club. It was a truly unique experience. KUNGALOOSH !!!!

40

Thor from CA on July 12th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

I’m so glad Hyperion Wharf is still on track! I will be at the D23 Expo next month, so hopefully there will be more Hyperion Wharf news there! Thanks for keeping us updated.

41

Sandra from WA on July 12th, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Sounds great! I just wish it was going to be finished by next month.

42

Cindy from FL on July 12th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

1. Splitsville is cool but just like I don’t go to Disney to go see a movie at DTD I won’t go to bowl either…and we have league bowlers in our house.
2. IS Hyperion Wharf still on track? It seems rather off track to me which is too bad because I never liked PI and would love to see more family friendly activities at DTD.

43

Christine from ON on July 12th, 2011 at 5:38 pm

OK what is this Adventures Club? To hear people talk about it, it sounds like it was the best place ever. I’ve never been but I’m pretty sure I want to now.

44

Kevin on July 12th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Adventures Club was Ok but bring on something else new and exciting!!

45

Kimberly on July 12th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Back in the day, Pleasure Island used to be -the- place for adults to go have fun. Then once I became old enough to enjoy the clubs, they’re closed down. I’m glad I got to experience the Adventurer’s Club at least once. I hope the plans still in the works includes a re-opening of the Club, as well as a few other adult clubs–think about it, it would compete with City Walk where folks have to pay to park in order to go clubbing.

46

Jim on July 12th, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I think the addition of Splitsville is a great addition to the DTD complex. I was hoping they would find a cool use for the former Virgin store. The closest Splitsville location is located in the Channelside area of Tampa. It’s a very cool, retro destination. I am also in favor of seeing the Adventurer’s Club and Mannequins be reopened. These are such unique locations, and by the amount of comments listed on here, they are sorely missed.

47

Sharlene on July 13th, 2011 at 2:46 am

This is so surreal. Just this May on our 25 annual trip my daughter said, Disney World would be perfect, if only there was a cool place to go bowling. We love the new ideas.

48

Miriam on July 13th, 2011 at 10:45 am

Please bring back the Adventure’s Club. We go every year or two and our trips aren’t the same since it went away. None of the current Downtown Disney options give us a place we want to spend the whole evening. Look at the current success of the SLEEP NO MORE theater production in NYC, adults want to be a part of something magical that’s just for them as much as kids do. You could literally charge $70-80 a night and we’d still be there more than once a vacation and spend money on booze on top of it. Keep it a reasonably price add-on to a park ticket and we’ll be there every night, just like we used to be.

49

Matthew from RI on July 13th, 2011 at 10:47 am

Hey Tom Smith, I keep seeing that you reply to some of the posts on here that say things like “looks great”…

Why don’t you reply to any of the hundreds of “bring back the Adventurers club” posts??

by the way….Bring Back The Adventurers Club!!!!

50

Joanna on July 13th, 2011 at 10:55 am

Yes, PRETTY PLEASE bring back the Adventurers Club! I remember my first time at WDW, walking through Downtown Disney and past the closed A.C., thinking “whoa, that looks really cool! I wonder what’s in there!”

It was already closed, and *everything* I’ve seen or read about it since makes me *wish* something like that still existed. It sounds totally up my alley.

78 Comments