Nearly two years ago, Disney announced plans for a massive re-imagination of Downtown Disney called Disney Springs that would roughly double the size of the existing area, with more dining, shopping and entertainment options. Since then we've been tracking the progress of Disney Springs, from the construction of two new parking garages (with a total vehicle capacity around 6,000), to the actual work on the new areas within Disney Springs. At last, the name change has become official. Downtown Disney is no longer.
With the change, Disney Springs brings it its own story that reflects the history of Florida and draws from the numerous waterfront towns that grew up around a spring. The first new section of Disney Springs — The Landing — opened this spring, with new restaurants such as The Boathouse and Dockside Margaritas making their debuts.
Most of The Landing is now open, and enhancements have been made to the Marketplace and West Side, the Town Center and second parking garage is expected to be completed in by summer 2016. Today, we're walking you through the progress of Disney Springs, what's opened, and all of the retailers and restaurants that are set to open in the coming weeks and months. And we'll be adding to this post as new announcements are made.
Disney Springs' The Landing
The Landing, taking over the area formally known as Pleasure Island, is the first of four "outdoor neighborhoods" within Disney Springs. Three new restaurants have been announced for The Landing in 2015. First up is The BOATHOUSE, an upscale waterfront dining experience.
The new dining concept is the product Schlussler Creative, the creators of Rainforest Cafe, T-Rex and Yak & Yeti at the Walt Disney World Resort. The BOATHOUSE is now open, offering live music, guided tours aboard the Captain's 40-foot Italian Water Taxi (with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries), and guided Amphicar rides that launch from land but enter the water for a 20-minute tour of Disney Springs. The BOATHOUSE features steaks, chops, seafood and a raw bar.
The food is quite good, and the seafaring theme adds both a casual but upscale vibe. We highly recommend the Oysters on the Half Shell and SKY HIGH Gibson S'mores Baked Alaska.
Tea Traders Cafe by Joffrey opened recently in a 1940s warehouse setting, offering hot teas, blended teas and even teas with spirits. You can also enjoy edible tea-based cookies and treats. An on-site Tea Smith hand-blends the teas and can make recommendations.
Morimoto Asia from Chef Masaharu Morimoto of "Iron Chef America" opened in September. It features pan-Asian cuisine such as Peking duck carving and dim sum. It offers waterside seating, terraces, a grand hall and a cocktail lounge.
Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar also opened this fall, tucked between the expanded Paradiso 37 and the BOATHOUSE. The aviation-themed lounge bears the namesake of Indiana Jones’ trusted pilot, who appeared in the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The venue features unique cocktails and small plates, all meticulously chosen to enhance the theme. Look for the homage to Jock’s pet snake, Reggie, amidst the vintage travel posters and aviation décor.
Rounding out the new dining options is STK Orlando, a modern steakhouse. At 14,000 square feet, it is set to be one of the largest STK restaurants in the world. An opening date is not yet known.
In 2016, The Landing will welcome an expansive dining and nightlife experience, The Edison, a lavish, industrial-gothic style venue in the theme of the 1920s. The Edison will reflect an era brimming with invention and imagination in each of its themed areas: The Lab performance space, The Ember Parlour, Telegraph Lounge, The Patent Office, The Tesla Lounge, The Radio Room, and Waterfront Patio. Cabaret style performances, palm readers, contortionists, and DJs will entertain guests as they explore the sumptuous venue and enjoy American food and craft cocktails. These new experiences coming to Disney Springs embody a return to the immersive storytelling that Disney is known for.
New Retailers at The Landing:
- APEX by Sunglass Hut
- Art of Shaving
- Chapel Hats
- Erwin Pearl
- Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC
- Sound Lion
- Vivoli Gelateria
Disney Springs' The Town Center
Another one of the outdoor neighborhoods, The Town Center will offer a mix of shopping and dining along with a promenade where guests can relax.
Disney Springs Marketplace
Part of the existing Downtown Disney, the Marketplace is adding an expanded World of Disney Store and new retailers. The Village Causeway, connecting one end of the Marketplace near The LEGO Store to the other near the Rainforest Café is now open.
Along the causeway, guests can find retailers touting a variety of fun finds. The retail booths at the entrance to the causeway offer an array of trinkets and toys as well as local indulgences from Florida Bath Co. and Flour & Sugar, which offers Florida inspired cookies.
Dockside Margaritas along the waterfront on the Marketplace side received a facelift and expanded menu, including a selection of craft beers from Florida breweries, tropical Florida wine, and new cocktails.
Disney Springs West Side
Also part of Downtown Disney, the West Side will provide lively entertainment plus new elevated spaces to provide shade and better viewing of the entertainment.
Most recently announced is the opening of an NBA experience, which will include dining, retail and interactive opportunities. It is taking over the space now occupied by DisneyQuest, which will be closing to make way for an expansion.
New Retailers at West Side:
- Superhero Headquarters – offering merchandise for fans of the Marvel Universe
- United World Soccer
Additional Retail at Disney Springs
The following retailers are set to arrive at Disney Springs, date and location unknown:
- Tommy Bahama
- Lilly Pulitzer
- L'Occitaine en Provence
- Edward Beiner
Additional Dining at Disney Springs
The following dining outfits are set to arrive at Disney Springs, data and location unknown:
- Blaze Pizza
What are you most excited to experience at Disney Springs? Share your thoughts and any questions you have in comments below!