Known as Downtown Disney since the late 1970s, the shopping and dining district of Walt Disney World has undergone a season of refurbishment with the transition to the newly renamed Disney Springs, set to be complete in late 2016. Once complete, the area will have doubled the number of shops and restaurants, growing to one million square feet of space.
The area will feature four distinct neighborhoods with plenty of shopping from high-end fashions to those looking for the perfect Disney souvenir with a variety of dining and nightlife options. The Landing, Marketplace and West Side are open for business, with the Town Center set to be complete in summer 2016.
Take a stroll around the springs, enjoy live entertainment throughout the area and partake in casual and fine dining experiences. Here's a look at how Disney Springs has transformed itself into a vacation destination all its own.
New dining experiences include Morimoto Asia from celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto, featuring Pan-Asian dishes alongside an exclusive sushi bar and lounge. STK Orlando, a modern steakhouse experience, opens later in 2016. There are more affordable eats like Sprinkles, the world's first cupcake bakery. The Boathouse offers upscale, waterfront dining with nautical-themed rooms and menu. Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar, named after Indiana Jones' pilot in the classic movies, features an aviation theme with a variety of small plates and cocktails. For more sweets, the Ganachery is home to hand-crafted, custom-made chocolates mixed with unique spices and flavors. Family favorites like the Rainforest Café, Earl of Sandwich and T-Rex Café will remain in the area.
The World of Disney store serves as the centerpiece of Disney Springs with a 51,000-square-foot store known as the biggest Disney shopping destination on Earth. Other stores new to Disney Springs include – Fit2Run, featuring running apparel and high-end technology to pair runners with the best shoe for their running needs. The Orlando Harley-Davidson store is set to be the largest and most interactive of its kind, including a production area to create your own biker vest. The Star Wars Galactic Outpost features the latest in apparel, toys and collector items. Havaianas, a Brazilian-based shoe store, Erwin Pearl, featuring fashionable jewelry and Tren-D are just a few of the fashion-forward shops found at the new Disney Springs.
Disney Springs is also home to quality family-friendly entertainment. La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil features acrobatics, dance, song and circus-like performances nightly. The AMC Disney Springs 24 Dine-In Theatres features the latest movies on the big screen. Six of the theatres feature the Fork & Dine experience where patrons can order quesadillas, flat breads and more right from the theatre with both reserved seating and table-top dining available. Splitsville Luxury Lanes is a two-story building featuring 30 upscale bowling lanes, live entertainment and a full menu of food including a vibrant sushi bar. DisneyQuest, an indoor, interactive theme park, features games and rides in a variety of settings, including 3D, virtual reality and arcade games.
Disney Springs. 1486 Buena Vista Drive, Orlando. 407-939-6244, www.disneysprings.com.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.