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Announcing Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 14th, 2013 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Earlier today, we unveiled plans for Disney Springs, the exciting, multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort, and I’d like to give you all a glimpse into what we’ve got planned.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 12, 2013 – Along with an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands, Disney Springs (as shown in this conceptual rendering) will feature a new gateway with a signature water tower and grand entry.

Walt Disney World Resort guests and local Florida residents have been enjoying Downtown Disney for more than 30 years, but we knew we had an opportunity to reimagine and reinvent this corner of the resort. We’ve spent a good deal of time thinking through just what we want this area to be, and how to bring it to life to make it a place unlike any other. And we have even scrapped a few preliminary plans that we felt didn’t measure up to our aspirations for this place.

Our fundamental goal is to create a welcoming, comfortable space where families can enjoy time together and instantaneously feel right at home. We want to give them opportunities to relax, to be entertained, to wander in and out of unique and distinctive shops or enjoy a world-class dining experience. And because we are Disney, we’ve anchored the entire experience around a story that gives us the ability to deliver on the legendary place-making and creativity for which we are known. The result is Disney Springs, a timeless and vibrant place that celebrates the turn-of-the century lakeside towns that dotted the Florida landscape.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 12, 2013 – Downtown Disney is undergoing a multi-year transformation, representing the largest expansion in its history. The renamed Disney Springs (as shown in this conceptual model) will double the number of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences, and feature an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands.

The story of Disney Springs begins at our new Town Center, which is oriented around a series of bubbling natural springs that first attracted settlers to the area. From there, the town grew to encompass three additional neighborhoods: The Landing, Marketplace and West Side – each with its own distinct charm and atmosphere. For more about each of these districts, click here.

Once complete, Disney Springs will expand from 75 to more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment venues, featuring some of the world’s most iconic brands and restaurants. Construction is set to begin next month. The expansion will open in phases and we expect to complete our development in 2016. We look forward to sharing more details in the future here on the Disney Parks Blog.

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Rocco on March 14th, 2013 at 10:11 am

Nice:) Can’t wait! When does construction start?


Tom Staggs on March 14th, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Thanks for your comment, Rocco. We can’t wait either. Construction is slated to begin next month with new experiences opening in phases. Disney Springs is expected to be complete in 2016.


Daniel on March 14th, 2013 at 10:14 am

Wow. 2016…Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center both built in less time then this expansion.


Brett from IN on March 14th, 2013 at 10:16 am

This is exciting news! My family loves the Downtown Disney area, and I can’t wait to see how much better it will become over time.


Craig on March 14th, 2013 at 10:17 am

I’ve heard that “World of Color” might be coming to Disney Springs. Is that still being looked at?


Mitchell from IN on March 14th, 2013 at 10:17 am

Anything for the 21+ crowd?


Tom Staggs on March 14th, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Yes, Disney Springs will include some new nighttime entertainment geared toward adults. Stay tuned for more details on this in the future.


Michelle from FL on March 14th, 2013 at 10:24 am

This is very exciting news! I can’t wait to watch the transformation over the next few years.


Dustin on March 14th, 2013 at 10:24 am

WOW!!!! I’m not usually into this kind of stuff (ie shopping experience), but you guys are really making a great new experience here. I remember you guys announcing something a while back for the old P.I. area and saw it was never built. I’m happy you guys went back to the drawing board. Are you going to build a parking deck for this expansion, or is parking being left alone?


Tom Staggs on March 14th, 2013 at 7:06 pm

I appreciate the comment and question, Dustin. Yes, there will be two multi-level parking garages, which should make arriving and getting around easier and more convenient. When it comes to the earlier stages of this project, we challenged ourselves to dream even bigger and make it even better. We started with taking another look at Pleasure Island and that grew into plans to completely transform the entire Downtown Disney experience. We’re thrilled with where we’ve landed and can’t wait for you to experience it.


Barbara from MI on March 14th, 2013 at 10:30 am

I hope there will be somewhere grownups can go without kids. Even the Disney Cruiseline has places like this.


Jessica on March 14th, 2013 at 10:37 am

Will we still be able to enjoy Downtown Disney this spring?


Mitch on March 14th, 2013 at 10:44 am

any chance of an expanded version of Trader Sams Enchanted Tiki Bar making its way east or other Adult venues?


Spencer on March 14th, 2013 at 10:46 am

Will they keep Disney Quest I looked at the concept art of the whole area and didn’t see it.


Brian on March 14th, 2013 at 10:49 am

My “family” consists of myself and my fiance, both 20-somethings. Will this exciting transformation offer exciting spaces geared towards families like mine?


Patricia on March 14th, 2013 at 10:51 am

Hoping Trader Sam’s goes in.


Sean from MD on March 14th, 2013 at 10:51 am

Awesome! Cannot wait fr it to be completed!


Brian on March 14th, 2013 at 11:15 am

Great plans. I can’t wait to see it finished. I wish there would be something for adults only. There is no hyperlink attached to the “click here” at the end of second to last paragraph.


Jessica on March 14th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

My husband and I are a family of 2 and always will be, but we LOVE WDW and live locally. Will there be any fun new developments for families like ours that like to hit the town at night?


Amanda on March 14th, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I am so excited!!

Also, to respond to Daniel who posted: “Wow. 2016…Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center both built in less time then this expansion.”
That’s because Magic Kingdom and EPCOT wasn’t even partially opened at the time – they didn’t have to work around crowds and previous buildings! The builders of Disney Springs are going to have to tear down old buildings one by one and then rebuild/remodel and redesign existing buildings rather than just having to worry about putting new things up!


Jennifer on March 14th, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Looks very interesting! Will there be activities available in the evening for grown up kids aside from shopping and dining? 30-something local here, with family in their 30’s to 50’s. We’re hoping some of the nightlife makes a comeback. (Splittesville is awesome, but the arms need a break between visits.)


Lisa-ann on March 14th, 2013 at 1:47 pm

They won’t be getting rid of the existing restaurants are they? Or stores like Lego?


Robert from OH on March 14th, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Look forward to seeing the new entertainment…oftentimes at the old Pleasure Island, I felt as though people I met at the clubs may have wandered in as strangers, but that we exited together as friends. The dance clubs were nice…I remember 8-Trax and the times the Conga got loose and wild! I am so glad that Disney is aiming back at that classic concept of great entertainment as an anchor for great dining and shopping.


JEANY on March 14th, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I can’t wait! I love it!


Philip on March 14th, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Cool; I look forward to seeing more specifics as things progress. This will help make Downtown Disney a more appealing destination for repeat visits. The added theming looks like it ties everything together.


Claude on March 14th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

As a family of all adults who visit WDW frequently, we’re thrilled to hear of this expansion and happy that entertainment will be part of the mix!!!. We’re hoping a some of the real estate is allocated to family friendly but geared more toward adult after dark venues. Unique entertainment options will be the thing that sets Disney Springs a notch above your usual shopping and dining venue making it a magical experience for everyone!!!


Debra from FL on March 14th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Excited to hear about this revitalization of the area! Agree with comments above about evening entertainment. Can’t wait to hear more details of what you have in store for the grown-ups after we’re done shopping and dining!!!!


Kathy on March 14th, 2013 at 4:27 pm

It’s always exciting when Disney announces new expansions! This looks like it will be very pretty and wonderfully themed. Can’t wait to hear what the new entertainment options will be. A person can only shop and eat so much and then they want to be entertained, especially at Disney. Many would climb the highest mountains, plumb the deepest oceans, cross the scorching desert, or ski the polar ice caps just to be entertained by Disney because we’re loyal like that. Happy that a water tower has once again been chosen as an icon. I used to love seeing the Disney MGM Studios water tower whenever we visited and was sad when the Sorcerers Hat replaced it as the Studios icon. But, everything old can be new again!


Stephanie from OH on March 14th, 2013 at 5:11 pm

My almost 7 year old’s only concern is “Will the Lego Dragon still be there with all of the other Legos?”


Heather on March 14th, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Perfect timing for THE Big Birthday trip in 2016! 2 weeks at WDW OCT/NOV. I’ll be celebrating 40 (turning 40 there), a friend who turns 50 2 weeks before and her cousin who turns 60 in Dec. All 3 of us plus family & friends plan on checking out the new Disney Springs!


Crystal on March 14th, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Shopping and dining don’t get me that excited, but “entertainment” has possibilities, especially if it means bringing back old favorites.


William from FL on March 14th, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Always good to see Disney marching along with an eye toward improving the guest experience, DTD has been in need of some attention for five or more years now. But please, Mickey, don’t forget us adult fans as you think about entertainment options that could fill the new space!


Jonathan on March 14th, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Downtown Disney really needs some attention, but please Disney don’t forgot about adult couples! We loved the comedy warehouse club and want more places we can go to in the evenings too!


Sharlene on March 14th, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Looks fabulous.


Jennifer on March 14th, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Will the gluten free bakery (Babycakes?) still be in the area? I’ve several GF family members, and they enjoyed their cupcakes, donuts and cookies so much!


Steve on March 14th, 2013 at 7:15 pm

So excited!! Can I say ecstatic about the parking garages!!!! Wondering if info will be given about the closing of Captn’ Jacks. As a local, I’ve loved that establishment for many many years.. guess I’ll be hitting up my old pal a few times a week now. Sad to see it go, but loving what the future holds!


Sara on March 14th, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Please tell me you’ll keep disney quest? I’m not a big video gamer but that’s one of my favorite things at wdw!


sally on March 14th, 2013 at 7:59 pm

hoping you have something similar to the comedy warehouse and the adventurer’s club which we loved going to and miss very much! have high hopes!


Kimberly on March 14th, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Chalk us up as another family of adults who would love to extend our WDW evenings past park closing. I miss the Adventurer’s Club and Comedy Warehouse!


JOHN from PA on March 14th, 2013 at 8:03 pm

What is the estimated budget for this project? Any hints as to who some of the new tenants/vendors might be?


Susanne from FL on March 14th, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Sounds like this could be really great! However more so then just parking garages (which I’m glad will be fixed) I would love to see some monorail service to Disney Springs. Any chance of that happening?


david on March 14th, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I love this idea! Whenever we visit WDW we spend at least a day and sometimes two evenings combing the shops of Downtown Disney and relaxing. With the new Fantasyland and now Disney Springs theres enough Re-Imagined areas to explore to make it feel like a first time experience again. Thank you for sharing this with us!


JOHN from PA on March 14th, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Who will be the lead Imagineer Director for this revitilization/transformation?


Evan on March 14th, 2013 at 9:20 pm

My family is visiting Disney World this May, will Downtown Disney still be nice to visit or is it going to be mostly construction?


Melissa from MS on March 14th, 2013 at 11:34 pm

I’ll be holding my breath for those entertainment venue announcements. I’m really hoping to find some Adventure in the new area!


Alisa on March 15th, 2013 at 12:16 am

I was very disappointed when PI was closed. WDW prides itself on being all ages but offers plenty that is “kids only” style and little that is “adults only”. “Kids” of all ages come for the magic but the “kids at heart” need a break every once in a while. I seriously hope there is a place like PI in the plans. Not just one or two bars (it’s not just about the drinking) but a section for adults with music in the streets and a true adult escape like we had before. Always excited for new WDW developments though.


Brittany on March 15th, 2013 at 12:44 am

I’m not sure how I feel about it. I hope that the Rainforest Cafe and Lego Stores are kept the same. I really love the Legos built around that store making it my favorite. The Rainforest Cafe is also my favorite of the chain, being in the volcano is amazing. I hope they keep the Disney aspect of it. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s just concept art, but I almost feel it’s something I could see anywhere in the world, not just a Disney thing.


Cynthia on March 15th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Just want to make sure the world’s greatest indoor playground – DISNEYQUEST – will remain as is!!!


Susan from NJ on March 15th, 2013 at 9:23 am

Sounds awesome! We love spending non-park time at Downtown Disney and this sounds like it will be ever better! Can’t wait for it!!


MarieLucille on March 15th, 2013 at 10:15 am

Would be able to find out if any of the current restaurants would be staying? Raglan Road is one of my absolute favorite places to visit!!!


John on March 15th, 2013 at 11:23 am

great news for dtd. dose this mean that world of disney,will be gone? but we will get a really big,disney store like 150 sg foot, that would drive me crazy!!!and hurt my disney card!!


Cristin on March 15th, 2013 at 11:28 am

Sounds great! I agree with others who have commented – I miss the old Pleasure Island – Mannequins, 8-Trax, Beach Club & fireworks evernight! However, it would also be nice to have family friendly dance spaces (my girls LOVE to dance) and kids love fireworks! This is the only disney location that doesn’t have some type of nightly fireworks. I am wondering how much of an interference this will be to those of us who vacation here during the construction? We are hoping to be there this July, and we LOVE the World of Disney, Ghiardelli’s and Rainforest Cafe & Planet Hollywood – will they all still be accessible?


Kerry on March 15th, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I love Downtown Disney and it’s nice to see it growing. My only concern is, I’m planning a trip down with my girlfriend in May, and I did note you said construction would begin next month…how much of the Downtown Disney area will be impacted at this time? Will the shops still be accessible or will certain ones be closed? Will there be a website where we can see what is impacted by this so we can plan accordingly?