Downtown Disney Will Transform to Disney Springs by 2016

Posted by Rachel S on Monday, September 23rd, 2013

3D model of Disney Springs concept

If you’ve ever visited Downtown Disney at the Orlando Disney complex, you may have found that parking can be a hassle and your exhausted tots don’t appreciate the mile long hike to Chef Mickey for dinner. But fear not intrepid Mouseketeers! Our cries of anguish have not fallen on deaf ears (though they may be black, round and perched atop their heads): WDW has launched a massive three-year facelift to transform Downtown Disney to Disney Springs. Here’s a look at what to expect…

WDWs Retro Vision for Rehabbed Downtown Disney

Disney Springs is modeled on old school Florida towns of the early 1900s. Expect a large stylized entry way and water tower emblazoned with the dining and shopping district’s new moniker. Renderings show lots of Mediterranean revival style elements with a smattering of stucco, arches and clay roofing mixed in. This seems an amalgam of the most common elements of South Florida architecture that prevailed in the early 20th century and should blend nicely with the deep blue waters nearby.

Curb Your Enthusiam (About the Parking Situation)

The good news is that the renovation will spawn two parking decks that will together hold 6,000 vehicles in close proximity to all the good stuff. The bad news? To build each of these structures, Disney has to shut down existing parking! By late 2014/early 2015 deck one will open and then they’ll shut down another swath of parking to allow construction of deck two. To deal with the inevitable parking shortage, WDW will offer guests spaces in staff parking and at the nearby SunTrust lot. It’ll be a hike (but what isn’t at Disney) and the renovation promises a shorter stroll in the not-too-distant future.

Shuttered Pleasure Island Put to Better Use

Pleasure Island was an interesting (if relatively short-lived) idea to encourage adults to party while at WDW. For those of us that travel with kids (and without a nanny), this wasn’t an area we could readily explore. Shut down since Fall 2008, Pleasure Island has already seen the Comedy Warehouse and Fireworks Factory torn down with many more to follow. Construction fences abound as work progresses from its start a few short months ago.

Most Venues Will Remain Open

Disney is expert at major renovations under our noses, so you can be sure they will leave as many money churning venues open as possible as the construction progresses. Once all is said and done, there will be more multi-level pedestrian thoroughfares and a number of walkways to crisscross the waterways of Disney Springs and easily get you to double the shops and eateries that will be installed by 2016.

To combat the reluctance of those who prefer to avoid the parking complications amidst construction, WDW has launched a new ad campaign to remind us of all that Downtown Disney has to offer. If they really want to keep pulling us in despite the construction, they need to affix more festive headwear to the omnipresent laborers. Monsters Inc hardhats would suffice, but heavy duty mouse ears affixed to their protective helmets would be even more apropos (and much more amusing).

image sources: JimHillMedia.com, EquipmentWorld.com

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