Downtown Disney is going through its second major overhaul since it opened in 1975 as Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village.
Initially designed to serve residents, the place began to gain more importance with the proliferation of hotels in the area. In 1995, with the opening of Pleasure Island and Marketplace, it became one of the most important destinations in Orlando, with shops, restaurants, nightlife and entertainment, besides having movie theaters and a permanent Cirque de Soleil. In 2008 the Pleasure Island was shut down in order to give more space for shops and restaurants.
Now the place is going through its biggest transformation. It is doubling in size, and will be called Disney Springs. A new entertainment space with the atmosphere of the early 1900s.
There will be a total of more than 150 attractions, with 75 brand new places, including restaurants, shows, stores and bars. It is expected to be fully completed by the end of 2016.
Renowned restaurants are now already under construction, and will join Wolfgang Puck and several other upscale dining options. These new restaurants include:
STK Steakhouse joining STK in Miami, New York and London
Morimoto Asia from Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto
Edison the same as The Edison in Los Angeles, at the Higgins Building, a former power plant that functions as a burlesque bar, nightclub and restaurant
Boathouse inspired by shipbuilding in the 30s
Store such as Zara, Lilly Pulitzer, Ugg and L’Occitane en Provence will also be a part of Disney Springs.
There will be 4 connected areas:
Town Center, shopping center and restaurants with old Spanish architecture
The Landing, a commercial district
West Side, with industrial atmosphere and show areas
Marketplace, with stores familiar to the Disney public
Disney Springs certainly will force a renewal also in Citywalk, the Universal Studios entertainment area, which will need new attractions and an expansion. Especially because the concept restaurant and NBA store, NBA Experience will relocate from Citywalk for Disney Springs.
Those who own a house in Orlando at Bella Vida are just a few minutes from Disney Springs, and better yet, can be here often as often as they like to visit the new Disney attractions.