As of September 29, 2015 Downtown Disney is officially renamed Disney Springs. Announced back in March of 2013, the rebranding of the popular but aging shopping area has been highly anticipated. Although the entire project will not be completed until late in 2016, we’ve already seen some really exciting changes come to the dining and shopping district. While there is much yet to come, here are 4 things to be excited about right now at Disney Springs.
4 – Welcome Change in Atmosphere
Disney Springs has the feel of a small Florida town in the early 1900s and features four distinct areas: Town Center, The Landing, Marketplace and West Side. The first phase, The Landing (see #1), is almost complete. We’ve also seen some subtle changes in the Marketplace and West Side sections to reflect the new atmosphere. Long gone is Pleasure Island, a club district, which felt outdated and out of place. Disney Springs’ goal is to create a welcoming, comfortable space where families can enjoy time together and feel at home. With opportunities to relax, shop and enjoy world-class dining, Disney is well on their way to accomplish that goal!
3 – Food Trucks in West Side and The Marketplace
Disney Springs now features four different food trucks: Fantasy Fare, Namaste Cafe, Superstar Catering and World Showcase of Flavors each with its own theme and offerings. The food trucks bring the tastes of the parks into Disney Springs. Fantasy Fare features dishes from the many Magic Kingdom’s around the world: corn dogs of Disneyland, homemade chips from Magic Kingdom Orlando and pickled veggies from Hong Kong Disneyland. Namaste Cafe offers tastes from Animal Kingdom and includes butter chicken and slow-cooked beef short ribs. Superstar Catering features variations from Hollywood Studios and a 1930s Art Deco diner. Finally, World Showcase of Flavors brings the best of Epcot’s’ Food and Wine Festival.
2 – Easier Access and Parking
In November 2014, the first of two parking garages opened to the public, adding 4000 much needed parking spaces. Anyone who has ever tried to park at Downtown Disney knows what a big deal that was. Finding parking was a nightmare, particularly on weekend nights and holiday times. The addition of two parking garages will ensure guests do not need to lose precious time trying to find a parking spot. Also, getting to those parking garages will also be vastly improved! With a new exit ramp from Interstate 4, a widened 10 lane Buena Vista Drive, and two pedestrian bridges will make getting to Disney Springs a pleasure!
While construction is still in progress, the growing pains have lessened. Getting into the Orange Parking Garage is now easier than ever with its own ramp from Buena Vista Drive (on the right!). One pedestrian bridge has opened and the lane widening has surprisingly not impacted traffic as one might expect. We still recommend taking a resort bus and giving yourself extra time to get there, but everyday we see improvements in traffic flow around the area.
1 – The Landing: Restaurants and Lounges
“Iron Chef” star Masaharu Morimoto has teamed up with Patina Restaurant Group for a Pan-Asian eatery, Morimoto Asia, which will be located in a 36-foot tall, two story layout. This restaurant opens September 30, 2015. You can find the menu here. Watch our page for our review-coming soon!
The Boathouse, a nautical-themed, waterfront restaurant, has been very well received. The restaurant features dream boats from the ‘30, ‘40s, and ‘50s, along with steaks, fresh seafood and bars. Read our review of The Boathouse here.
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, located next the The Boathouse, shares a prime waterfront location and (as usual) spectacular theming. Featuring food and drinks inspired by Jock’s (Indian Jones’s pilot) globe-trotting to all continents – everything from a Hovito Mojito to Dr. Elsa’s She-Deviled Eggs. The Hangar is stocked full of airplane parts and mementos from Jock’s travels around the world. See the full menu for this spectacular lounge here.
Finally, STK Steakhouse, is coming to The Landing. STK will have a 14,000 square foot, two level dining room, including the only rooftop dining venue in Disney Springs. STK Orlando will be a modern steakhouse, featuring a DJ and a “sleek lounge”. No opening date other than 2015 has been announced. Watch our page for updates!
What you you most excited for at the completely reimagined Disney Springs?