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All in the Details: Imagineers Unveil the Storyline of Disney Springs

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

How does Walt Disney Imagineering re-imagine an area of Walt Disney World Resort that guests have enjoyed for more than 40 years?


That’s the creative challenge our Imagineering team, including Executive Creative Director Theron Skees, has been tasked with – to transform the area currently known as Downtown Disney into Disney Springs, a destination that’s being expanded to include more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment experiences. From an Imagineering perspective, this means developing a storyline and creating a sense of time and place that influences everything from the architecture to the costumes.

We were also excited to share that our Imagineers will continue to share updates here in our “All in the Details” series in the coming months as their work progresses. Here’s the first piece, in which Theron introduces the Disney Springs project and Imagineering’s role in it.

The first “neighborhood” in Disney Springs – the opening of The Landing – is set for 2015. Construction on Disney Springs will continue into 2016, so be sure to stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more behind-the-scenes looks at the progress happening as Downtown Disney transforms into Disney Springs.

For more about Disney Springs, visit the stories below:


  • Disney has preserved Mannequins for a reason. Will it be a part of this new “dining and entertainment venue” ? thx Rick.

  • Jennifer, I love the storyline behind “Disney Springs” it’s sounds like a wonderfully magical place to relax and shop, dine and unwind. I can’t wait to watch the story unfold and a new one told. Hoping to take a ride down in November and see what all the buzz is about!

  • I miss The Fireworks Factory. What great food.

  • I was recently to visit Downtown Disney while passing through the area. I noticed the new parking structures being built. The one thing that was great about Downtown Disney was that you didnt have to pay to park, but it was still an extension to your Disney vacation. Are they planning on making you pay for parking when it is all finished?

  • Very much looking forward to seeing what the new “Disney Springs” has in store for our family when we fly to Florida in October 2015. This will be our 10th visit to Florida and to Downtown Disney and we have seen a few changes at Downtown Disney in that time but nothing this big. Cannot wait!

  • I miss Pollo Campero already… but at least my favorite movie theater is still there!

  • sounds amazing… leave it to the Imagineers to bring such a cool touch to tie it all together! When is construction in the area supposed to be completed?

  • Wow that looks amazing I can’t wait to see this when I go back ^-^

  • The renderings are incredible – that new island in the middle – AMAZING! and yes #5 Anne that is precisely why we come back every year – always changing and yet comfortingly familiar

    • Thanks, James!

  • When they first announced the “Springs” name, I naturally thought they’d tie Saratoga Springs into the story, right across the bridge/water, and have Saratoga be the “resort town” of Disney Springs.
    Although that sounds a bit too much like Disney Village, where it all started in the first place.

  • Wow! It is this type of attention to detail that keeps me and my family coming back year after year. I can’t wait to visit Disney Springs next year.

    • 🙂

  • It was originally named Lake Buena Vista Village, and was Walt Disney World Village when they added “Empress Lily” in 1977. It changed to Disney Village Marketplace in 1989 and Downtown Disney in 1996.

  • I’m dating myself, but what was the area called way back when the docked paddleboat was “Empress Lily?” I remember a great buffet on the top floor of the boat.

  • I live 5 minutes from Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs) in Windermere, FL. I am SUPER excited about the changes coming. Not only will this make it different that the Downtown Disney district in California at Disneyland, but it will really bring a much-needed upgrade to this park of the parks and make it more of a destination.

    THANK YOU Disney for doing this! Our family is looking forward to all of this!

    • That’s great to hear, Ethan. As a local myself, I can’t wait to try out all the new options this area will bring!

  • How very interesting. I’ll definitely miss the ring that Downtown Disney had, but I’m sure that just the way that California Adventure was relaunched, this too will be an amazing transformation that everyone will fall in love with.

    I’ve never been to Disney World before (just Disneyland) so it’ll be fun to see it one day! But I can’t wait to see more details as you guys release them. Here’s to a new wonderful venture!

    • With Imagineers at the helm, I’m sure it will be amazing! Stay tuned for more updates!

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