Local 6 Theme World: Disney Springs - What was and wasn't announced

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By Ken Pilcher - Producer
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March 14, 2013

Well -- after months of speculation -- rumors and people on the interweb asking "They're going to name it what?" It's official -- Downtown Disney is being expanded and rebranded as Disney Springs. At 1.1 million square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space -- it is a far cry from its humble beginnings.

When the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village opened in 1975 -- it was meant as the commercial hub of what Disney hoped would eventually be an actual city - with actual residents.

That's why the old Disney Village resort's buildings (Now bulldozed for Saratoga Springs) were mostly townhomes.

Over time -- it became the Disney Village Marketplace. Then Pleasure Island was added in 1989 & the West Side in 1997.

Pleasure Island has been a ghetto of closed clubs since late 2008. Now, after at least 2 false starts construction is finally set to start next month.

It will feature a lot of water features -- and will seem to spring from an actual spring.

Sources tell me the lead design on the revamp was designed by Elkus Manfredi best known for designing LA's swanky "lifestyle center" (read: mall) The Grove.

But they work with Disney a lot: Master planning WDW's World of DIsney Store -- which is getting a large expansion -- and all of Downtown Disney California.

Enough history -- here's your first look at the NEW Marketplace (which will keep that name but expect a large upgrade and expansion)

The new marketplace will include a new bridge from Rainforest Cafe to the T-Rex Cafe area.

Disney didn't release that image. It was posted on WDWMagic.com by user Lee. Any black & white images are reposted here are from his sources -- and I appreciate his help.

While they announced Pleasure Island is becoming "The Landing"   there's also a new area being built called "Town Center" --which Disney says: "offers a sophisticated mix of shopping and dining along with a promenade where guests can relax, refresh and reconnect. "

Disney also announced the West Side will keep its name. And now will "provide an exuberant atmosphere with lively entertainment, along with a series of new elevated spaces that provide both shade and an overlook to the activity below."

Disney also released concept art of the new entrance -- and emphasis on the Waterfront area.

And Disney released a picture of the model of the whole area -- which is due to open in phases by 2016 -- doubling the size of Downtown Disney.

How is there room to double the size? the model doesn't clearly show -- two new parking garages will be built to hopefully ease congestion and make room for the new Town Center. (Don't worry -- Disney says parking will still be free)

Take a look - you can see the water tower at the front of that model. Town Center is behind it -- as is the new main entrance.

But There's a lot that was left out of the announcement. Including who will fill all of that new space. These images have been floating on the internet -- and are reportedly from cast member briefings.

An Apple Store? American Girl? Dior? There's also a logo for The Edison -- an upscale themed bar and eatery in Downtown LA. Here's a link to its page.

Now -- this could just be a Disney Wishlist. Sources tell me the big names want their own announcements. Those should start coming once construction begins.

And take a closer look a the left side of the model

That's the Planet Hollywood building -- which is getting a whole new look -- but as of now -- I hear it will still be a Planet Hollywood.

And I'm sorry Pleasure Island fans -- the Adventurer's Club is not coming back.

Here are two ideas for retheming the building. Not sure if this is the final look.

Disney also announced to cast members that Captain Jacks restaurant will be closing - but cast members will be transferred -- not fired. It and many of the other original 70's buildings will be torn down or heavily rebuilt.

Here's a link to a FAQ on Disney Springs from our friends at WDWMagic.com

There's a lot of news still to come and we will keep on top of it for you!
Please keep emailing me your tips and questions.

And here's a handy link to other Theme World blog posts.

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