Walt Disney World in Florida has been busy Expanding and re-branding their Downtown Disney retail and restaurant district, which provides a focal point to the WDW hotel experiences. Hotel guests can take a bus or water taxi from their resort hotel to the District which originally opened as Lake Buena Vista in the 1970’s.
Now, as Disney Springs, this expansion is more than doubling the size of the complex adding about 70 new shops and restaurants. The final phase of the expansion is due to open this summer, and includes Tommy Bahama and Na Hoku retail stores. Disney’s new Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Restaurant, based on the pilot from the Indiana Jones movies, and Iron Chef Morimoto’s restaurant have recently debuted to high praise.
The re-branding story is inspired by small Florida towns of the early 1900s, Disney Springs’ story goes like this: the spring brought its first settlers more than a century ago, and over time the “town” grew into the four districts — Town Center, The Landing, Marketplace and West Side. The architecture in each district pays homage to different historic periods. The video above discusses the new central feature: The Springs.
“I hope [guests] fall in love,” Theron Skees, executive director of Walt Disney World Imagineering, said. “Our hope is that creating something that is so authentic, that guests will really get a feel for what natural Florida is like.”
Imagineers used various shades of bright glass pieces and a pigmented cement to make the floor the of the spring look as realistic as possible. Natural elements like oak trees and plants were saved and incorporated into the design.
Read the article by Matt Mauney in the Orlando Sentinel at this link: