Major Facelift Planned for Downtown Disney

Major Facelift Planned for Downtown Disney

Here we go again. After the abandoned Hyperion Wharf plans that were supposed to revitalize Pleasure Island, Disney is once again attempting to breathe new life into the area. This time, however, the plans detail a much, much larger scope, which will give virtually the entire Downtown Disney district a much needed facelift.

The project has been dubbed “The BVD Corridor Stormwater Project” and phase I of the plans were filed with the SFWMD yesterday. Phase I simply consists of the necessary groundwater infrastructure changes to facilitate the expansion of Downtown Disney. To quote the letter filed with the plans “The BVD Corridor Stormwater Project allows the master planning of an existing 269.11 acre mixed use parcel.”

SFWMD Letter

The next phase of the plans is where it gets interesting. The Downtown Disney area as a whole will be re-branded into “Disney Springs”, which encompasses six distinct neighborhoods: The Gateway, The Town Center, The Springs, The Landing, The West Side, and The Village Marketplace. Each neighborhood will have its own distinct look and feel, described briefly below.

The Gateway, as you probably could have guessed, will be the main access point into Disney Springs. Its main goal is to improve the current parking woes and traffic nightmare Downtown Disney faces during peak seasons. The biggest addition to The Gateway will be a five level parking garage that will sit roughly where the current parking lots C and D are. Parking lots A-H will be removed to support the necessary infrastructure for the new garage, as well as a new, larger bus drop-off and pick-up area.

After The Gateway you’ll encounter The Town Center, located on what will have been parking lots E-G. The Town Center will be a busy area featuring many new retail establishments. Following The Town Center you’ll arrive in The Springs, a peaceful, relaxing area along the waterway that runs between it and the former Pleasure Island. Cross one of the new bridges, and you’ll end up in The Landing, full of dining and drinking options and offering nice views of Village Lake. Here you can expect to see several new restaurants and retail locations, as well as a new amphitheater by the water’s edge, next to Paradiso 37.

The West Side and The Village Marketplace will remain virtually the same as their current state, with a few small additions. On The West Side, the most notable changes include Planet Hollywood being turned into something called ‘The Observatory’ and losing its surrounding body of water, and a new Starbucks location replacing the current Wetzel’s Pretzels. An overhead railway (for thematic purposes only) will also run above the main stretch of path from Disney Quest down to the new Starbucks. Meanwhile, over in The Village Market Place, the former bus drop-off and pick-up area will become home to two new retail buildings, and a new bridge leading to Saratoga Springs will be constructed.

So there you have it, a brief overview of Disney Springs, the future of Downtown Disney. Below I’ve included a colored and labeled overlay of what the proposed plans will transform the area into. It’s definitely a massive project, and one that will likely create its fair share of headaches during construction. But overall, it looks to be a worthwhile addition to Walt Disney World, and hopefully one that will solve some of the current issues and criticisms that Downtown Disney faces.


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    This entry was posted by PR Admin on Saturday, February 16th, 2013 at 12:35 am and is filed under *, Rumors, Walt Disney World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
    • Alex K.

      Bravo! I hope this actually turns out to be true. The traffic and parking is a nightmare!

      • Dvcblt

        Reminds me of that old ‘Yogi Berra’ quote: ‘No one goes there anymore, it’s always so crowded’……

    • Roodlesnouter

      Believe it when I see it.

    • Terri

      Please, Please bring back the Adventurers Club!! It is so greatly missed !!

      • breezanemom

        Agree! That was the best part of Pleasure Island!!!!

    • I hope this comes true as well.

    • Somebodyfoldedmyunderpant

      I don’t like the name change at all

    • I’m in the crowd of “I’ll believe it when I see it”. Perhaps, it’s wishful thinking but I really don’t like the new name. Sounds kinda like a retirement community name.

    • Kokomo2118

      Great anything to help parking nightmare and something new to refresh the area is very welcome

    • I honestly dont’ understand why they don’t turn the Adventures Club into a Dinner theater. I mean all of their current Dinner theaters always sell out so why not?

    • Rob

      when is this going to start

    • LOVE the FIVE-level,. VIEW OBSCURING parking hulk. That and the new, Uninspired, area names is further proof of the death of creativity that began with the unnecessary closing of the Adventurers’ Club which had an unheard of 99% guest approval rating! Mediocrity marches on!!!

    • rsylvania2

      When will this start

    • Too many “Springs” – – this will be very confusing to guests. Weak naming program throughout. Uninspired.

      • David_poe_13

        Disney Imagineers are Old school (Old) and are running out of new Ideas.

      • Baddogsboy

        I agree. Downtown is universal. French and Spanish guests knows what downtown is. Not Springs.

      • keep in mind this is located in florida. the state of rivers, springs and lakes. kind of the norm for us locals! lol

    • I don’t understand what “fly over bridge” means in the bottom illustration. Can someone explain that?

      I really hope when they build this they make it very elegant, because I want an elegant and fun place to go to where I can relax and have a nice time.

      • I think Buena Vista Drive will be elevated in front of that area and there will be a dedicated bus lane in the middle of BVD. The eastbound buses then can turn north into Disney Springs by going under BVD. At least that’s how I interpret the map.

    • Perry Hacker

      I hate the new names. As a SSR DVC owner, I am loving the proposed bridge. Still, I am also on the side of believe it when I see it.

    • I thought it was a Cars Park with that name …

    • Loudinni

      There are plenty of other areas that need re-investment first. They will invariably cut the plan in half and do as little as possible.

    • Mike

      Maybe the whole area won’t be Disney Springs, just the “new” area.

    • Bcurt2895

      I hope they plan on bringing back some form of nightclubs. They are losing a lot of business to Universal’s City Walk. They should bring them back as a restaurant and nightclub. That way the reataurant could bring in money when the nightclub is not busy.

    • Mcrtnyfan

      When do they plan to start this? When will it be finished? Bummer I liked Planet Hollywood and I loved Wetzels Pretzels.

    • Mike

      A bit overdue – glad to see it … they are always thinking and growing. It will be interesting to see how the phasing works out.

    • Keep it as Downtown Disney – way friendlier sounding

    • I definitely like Downtown Disney better – its what everyone has come to know that area as – I would keep it as Downtown Disney and add the different neighborhood names to each sub section

    • Bonnie

      How about an old 1940’s – 50’s style dinner/drinks/dance nightclub. One night could be ballroom dancing, the next night jitterbugging!!!Just looks at the old movies for inspiration!!The over 40 crowd has no place to have fun but at the Boardwalk.Can you imagine what big name acts they could get there?Almost like an East Coast Las Vegas!!

    • Steelergirl12

      I really hope they bring back the clubs that they removed, worst thing they could have done in my opinion. People have no where to go in the evenings for some music, dancing and a few drinks . It is not the same.and we never go anymore. They lost alot of business as as i can see.

    • Rcapobiancojr

      Sounds pretty good. Like the parking garage, but would love to see a people mover type transportation to get you from Disney Village to West Side.

      • Guest

        Or maybe a train, or a trolley? 🙂

    • Ron

      “Disney Springs?” WTH – who came up with that? Downtown Disney is better, but if change is coming, come up with something better!

    • Sinister Kahuna

      If all they actually end up changing is the freeway access and the parking garage, that will be enough in and of itself to help the area greatly; To be honest, I won’t miss Planet Hollywood much when it goes.

    • Jen

      I totally agree with Terri. I miss the Adventurers Club, too. I do think that this is a super idea, and the Springs, depending on what type of theme they’re planning, could be an excellent place for an “Exotic Entertainment Venue” like Adventurer’s Club. I, for one, would be willing to pay a small cover charge to visit, too, as long as it’s just like the old one, with interactive theatre programs and ‘Disney Magic’ components that made the place so special. Sure do miss Babylonia’s Brew, too!!

    • Jen

      As for the name, I agree, Disney Springs is a bit lame and not only that, redundant, since Saratoga Springs is across the water. Maybe the powers that be are trying to link the two areas so that SS will appear to have this huge dining/shopping/etc area. But it would be more interesting as something else, my choice would be something more tropical or at least exotic in nature, that way, they can bring back AC and with all the water, make it a truly interesting place that people will WANT to visit.
      Disney has always been known for its exclusive themeing, let’s not mess this one up, ok?

    • Jen

      Good Point, Sinister K… I have only one thing to add to the parking garage idea. Can we pleaaase do something to theme the outside of the garage, or even hide it, so it will not be a visible eyesore from the relaxing part of the “Springs” Area? I think if they could just camouflage that side of the garage or paint it interestingly, with something that coordinates with the theme of the place, it will be so much better, and not look so utilitarian.

    • This doesn’t look very great to me. With the amount of traffic at peak times….getting into and out of the parking garage is going to be hell.

      I like the idea of splitting each area up and having various themes throughout….but like many of the previous comments….Disney Springs? Really? Really?

      Downtown Disney is a great name already….no need to try to re-brand something that is already good.

      But, then again they have the numbers….so maybe their DD sales/visitors are somewhat declining and they are trying to come up with new revenue by changing and expanding. Will wait and see how it goes.

    • I agree. They lost a lot of grown-up traffic to CityWalk. They should definitely bring back the clubs…..both teen and 21+

    • HMMM

    • Dgg1115

      Why is Starbucks invading Disney now? It’s going to be at Magic Kingdom and now Downtown? I am not a fan of overpriced coffee products that, quiet honestly, are way too strong. Can’t stand Starbucks…

      • Jim

        I agree on that one!

    • Dnt57

      ‘Disney Springs’? Makes me think of Mickey bouncing all around. Terrible change! Leave the name “Downtown Disney” alone. It’s perfect.
      It’s bad enough you changed ‘MGM’ to ‘Hollywood Studios’. I still call it ‘MGM’.
      What next?…..’Magic Kingdom’ to ‘Disney Palace’?
      I know you want to attract a new generation but if those of us in the generation that made Disney are alienated we won’t be bringing that new generation there.

      • Jtizzle1023

        someone doesn’t like change… I agree though with the DTD name. I like it, not to big on the name of Disney Springs. But for Hollywood Studios I think that name works much better than MGM. Allows it to be more broad rather than a single brand.

        • i think it’s feeding off of the Cars film. Radiator Springs is a location at disneyland that has become extremely popular. i think they are trying to bring that here with Disney Springs.

      • DisneyDude

        They changed ‘MGM’ to ‘Hollywood Studios’ because the naming rights for MGM ended, but I still call it ‘MGM’ too.

    • David_poe_13

      Bring Mannequins back, that was a great club. The rest of downtown Disney is boring as hell. I’m tired of just shops and food. Bring back the dancing and the fun!

    • JALoller

      Disney, please: leave the names Downtown Disney and Pleasure Island alone and bring back Mannequins Dance Palace.

    • Is it possible to attract more relatively high-end destination stores?

    • Tammyb1970

      As long as they keep Raglan Road!

    • Joni

      Great!! Hopefully this does not go by the way side like Hyperion Warf did. They Really need to fix the traffic problems it is horrible to get around there during the day not so bad but at night I haate to even go near!!!
      Will be nice to have a new place to try out. New Resturants etc.
      Would love to see and the Adventures Club and a Fireworks Factory back. Wouldn’t that pack the place.!!

    • unless it is once again going to have a nightclub district as Pleasure Island once was…a place for the adults to unwind and let loose after all the running around in the parks with the kids or the couple on vacation or honeymoon to burn sparks of life and excitement into their relationships, this is just another dead waste of a project. Disney has no one to blame for the woes of Downtown Disney but Disney themselves. It was a hub of life when it had Pleasure Island. When they messed with and ultimately destroyed that piece of Disney joy for the adult kid, they ultimately sealed their fate with DD. Sad they let Eisner destroy so much before they finally decided to remedy the cause of the illness.

    • Guest1125

      I hope the parking structure is similar to Disneyland’s Mickey & Friends Parking Structure. Having been DLR Annual Passholder in CA for so many years, I have experienced this & it is awesome how you get to & from your parking spot. Now that I live here on the East Coast, I am an Annual Passholder for WDW and hopes that they mirror this concept.

    • Disneycrazyhockeydad

      Well I like the idea of a new bridge to SSR. Suprised about Planet Hollywood.

    • Tami01

      I have been talking with a bunch of friends and we all do not like the name change. Keep it Downtown Disney.

    • Gregmchin

      The new parking garage and the new Bus Depot are the main things that are needed. Also, the flybridges to make it safer for pedestrians. So, this is good.

    • jason

      rebuild westside first that section stinks.

    • Billy

      YES! Bring back the dancing and fun!

    • they are also expanding another park…i’m hoping for hollywood studios. they need an expansion!

    • MzD

      The name sounds like a water park.