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Disney Days of Past: Downtown Disney Marks a Milestone

Nate Rasmussen

by , Librarian, Walt Disney Archives

Downtown Disney turns 40 today. Guests visiting today have quite a different experience than the shopping experience back in 1975 when the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village opened.


Home to shops like the Pottery Chalet, Posh Pets Etc., Toys Fantastique, and Gourmet Pantry (yep, it’s 40 years old too!), the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village was made up of shops in what we know today as the Marketplace. Pleasure Island didn’t welcome guests until 1989 and the West Side didn’t open until 1997.


Even at 40, Downtown Disney continues to transform and grow at Walt Disney World Resort. Through 2016, the property will welcome over 75 new venues as it undergoes its largest ever expansion, transforming into Disney Springs.


  • We visited it in 1990 and thought the shops were a bit different and unique especially a shop we don’t remember the name of that sold American products such as cute one of a kind bears and early cherished teddies. We miss that but think the opening of the Co-op has provided some great gift ideas

  • I remember visiting in the early 80’s when it was known as Disney Village. My mom was a cast member in EPCOT and my family and I would go to Disney Village on the weekends to get ice cream. Downtown Disney has really changed over the years.

  • I’d like to read a history of this area. Where the original shops were located, what they were like and the changes over the years. Does such a thing exist?

  • They really could have used a parking garage even back then.

  • What is are Gusts?

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