Disneyland Monorail

Connecting All That’s New at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on November 19th, 2013 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


If you’ve visited lately, you know that the largest expansion in Downtown Disney history is well underway. The transformation to Disney Springs was announced in March; since that time, changes – both big and small – have been happening throughout our property.
New Walkway Now Open at Downtown Disney

One of the newest, and most visible, is the addition of a new pedestrian walkway that connects the West Side and Pleasure Island. This temporary addition will help with guest traffic flow and should make it easier to move from one district to the other. My favorite part? The beautiful boardwalk meanders along Village Lake, offering guests a spectacular waterfront view. (The Pleasure Island Boat Dock is here too, and I’ve found myself enjoying a few extra boat rides recently!)

Last week, the bridge officially opened. And what perfect timing, because there is so much going on right now! Below, a quick snapshot of the latest:

  • Fit2Run, the Runners Superstore, opened earlier this month. The store features Premier footwear, apparel, GPS, performance sunglasses and more. It may be a coincidence that this location opened just in time for holiday shopping, but the athletes on your gift list will appreciate it.
  • The first of four themed Food Trucks made its debut during Festival of the Masters. Featuring a variety of delectable meatballs, the Superstar Catering Truck was a hit with guests. Additional trucks will continue to roll in over the next several weeks. (I’ve had the chance to sample many of the menu items and I can tell you this … you won’t be disappointed!)
  • Valet Parking is available on the West Side through January 1, 2014; starting at 4 p.m. daily, the $15 service offers guests another parking option. (Bonus: the valet parking attendants couldn’t be nicer!)
  • Festival of the Seasons is happening now, with Santa Claus making appearances daily through Christmas Eve. (5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. until November 21; 12 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. from November 22 – December 24, 2013). Hope you’ve been good this year!

Will you be checking out the newest offerings at Downtown Disney? If so, be sure to connect to all of them via the new pedestrian walkway; entrances are located near Characters in Flight and Paradiso 37. To me, it’s a sign of progress and I can’t wait to see what’s next! You?

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Flying High at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 21st, 2013 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Hey everyone. I’m Darcy, former Community Manager for the Walt Disney World Resort Facebook page and the newest Disney Parks Blog author, sharing updates from the heart of Downtown Disney. (Literally, my office is smack-dab in the middle of the property. I love my job!) Just over a month ago, I accepted a brand-new position here, and with the recent Disney Springs announcement by Tom Staggs, I couldn’t have come at a better time.

From day #1 in my new role, I knew I wanted to share some of the “hidden gems” of Downtown Disney with all of you. I’m discovering many of them alongside you, so we’ll be finding fun from the West Side to the Marketplace – and everywhere in between – together. Additionally, as there are new updates on Disney Springs, check back here on the Disney Parks Blog.

Flying High With Characters in Flight at Downtown Disney

First up? Characters in Flight, Operated by Aerophile. I’ve seen the balloon in the sky a million times, but I never tried it. Until last week. And you know what? It was way cooler than I expected. I naively thought I wouldn’t be able to see ‘that much’ from the sky, but I was wrong. And I loved every minute of it. Here’s why:

I got lucky and went up on a really clear day. No joke, I could see from the top of La Nouba all the way to the outskirts of Disney property. Spaceship Earth, Tower of Terror, The Contemporary. – I saw them all, and from a totally different vantage point. (After 10+ years at Disney, I thought I had seen the parks from every angle but boy, was I wrong!)

Flying High With Characters in Flight at Downtown Disney

The ride wasn’t scary at all; it was actually sort of calming. When I got all the way up to 400 feet, I felt like I was taking a short break from reality. Even though it was a full flight, it was really quiet up there, and peaceful. You know that feeling you get when you’re in an airplane and you look down to see tiny houses and highways – like you’re part of it but somehow removed? – It was like that, but instead of a strange town, I was looking at one of my favorite playgrounds.

It was just the right amount of time. My flight lasted about 10 minutes and it was perfect – I got to walk around and check out the 360 degree view, plus had a few minutes to snap some photos (digital photography is one of my hobbies!). I didn’t feel rushed, which is always a nice feeling when you wait in line for something you’re excited about.

Flying High With Characters in Flight at Downtown Disney

One of these days I’d love to go up at night. Maybe start with a margarita from Paradiso 37, take a ride, and then top off the evening with a sweet treat from Candy Cauldron. (And if you’re more of a morning person, you’ll be excited to hear that right now – when you purchase tickets and ride before 10 a.m. – you pay only $10!)

Have you experienced Characters in Flight? Tell me how you liked it in the comments below – it’s always fun to compare notes!

For a daily dose of Downtown Disney news, follow @WDWDowntown on Twitter.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on March 17th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


We shared several big announcements on the Disney Parks Blog this week, including exciting plans for Disney Springs, our multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort.

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.

When work is 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. Check Tom Staggs’ original story for more Disney Springs details, including information about each planned district.

“Opa!

And we also announced Opa! A Celebration of Greece, that’ll feature music, dance, art, food, history and more at “it’s a small world” Mall in Disneyland park and Paradise Gardens in Disney California Adventure park. The festivities begin May 25 at the Disneyland Resort. Erin’s original Opa! A Celebration of Greece story has a nice rundown of what’s planned.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

‘Limited Time Magic’ Disney Character ‘Egg’ Hunt Begins Next Week at Disney Parks – “Limited Time Magic” brings a special “egg” hunt to Disney Parks next week!

Explore the Musical Worlds of Disney When ‘Mickey and the Magical Map’ Opens at Disneyland Park May 25 – An all-new live show, “Mickey and the Magical Map,” is set to open May 25 at the Fantasyland Theatre in Disneyland park.

A Villain and Hero Highlight ‘Star Wars’ Weekends 2013 in Weekend I and Weekend II and a First Look at the 2013 Event Logo – Gary Buchanan shares the 2013 Star Wars Weekends logo and several celebrity appearances for this year.

Vote Now to Decide Which Long-Lost Disney Friends Visit the Disneyland Resort for ‘Limited Time Magic’ – Vote now on the Disney Parks Blog for which long-lost Disney characters you want to meet at Disneyland park as part of “Limited Time Magic!”

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Fantasy Faire Now Open at Disneyland Park – Fantasy Faire opened this week at Disneyland park! Take a look at all the fun and magic waiting for you in this post.

It’s Baaack! Taste of Hollywood to Go with Fantasmic! Seats March 25-April 4 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Taste of Hollywood to Go returns for spring break! Find out how you can have a quick, delicious meal and reserve seats for Fantasmic! too.

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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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