ParkSpotting at Downtown Disney – See how Disney Springs begins to truly take shape

in Entertainment, Food, Walt Disney World

This week’s ParkSpotting adventure takes a closer look at the ongoing changes to Downtown Disney… or should I call it Disney Springs?

Opening Spring 2016
Grab a coffee and then go on a balloon ride!

It was a gorgeous day in Orlando and the new West Side parking garage continues to be extremely convenient. The parking garage does make it easier to find a spot but it’s still a slow process getting to one. Hopefully this will change in the future.

A trip into D-Street always means finding something cool and rare inside.

Cutest art ever by Jerrod Maruyama.

Rare artwork and collectibles is one of this store’s trademarks. I hadn’t seen any of this merchandise anywhere else on Walt Disney World property. D-Street is also the location to go to if you want to find Vinylmations, Marvel and Star Wars merchandise.

Hipster Mickey and Oswald merchandise.
I wonder if they will release 101 Vinylmations?
Caribbean music made a lot of guest shake their tail feather.

With the transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs we have slowly seen some new areas pop up like, this food truck park called Exposition Park. Disney’s own food trucks make this their home but you can also find one local food truck visiting to mix it up some. People were swarming this area like crazy this past weekend and with the live music going it was a hopping place.

You can pick food from 4 different food trucks: Namaste Café with flavors from Disney’s Animal Kingdom; Superstar Catering with favorites from Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Fantasy Fare with Magic Kingdom Park goodies like the corn dog, and World Showcase of Flavors with Epcot.

Another new food offering that has recently showed up at Downtown Disney West Side is “Starbucks Evenings.” After 4 everyday, Starbucks has started offering wine, beer and small food plates.

After the hustle and bustle of Downtown Disney you may just need to unwind with some wine.
Yummy chocolate

The food ranges from savory plates like truffle mac & cheese to more sweet offerings like chocolate brownie bites. All the plates range from $4-8, which is a pretty high price for the small plates you get. Though this Starbucks has a lovely atmosphere with an open fireplace and lakeside seating, I think I will stick with just coffee.

Artichoke and Goat Cheese flatbread does look amazing

These new lampposts really give this area some much-needed charm.

Walking over the bridge from West Side into the previous home of Pleasure Island you now see plenty of construction in place for Disney Springs. Even though you mostly just see walls, it’s exciting to think of new things to come.

New Disney Springs logo.
Scaffolding around The Boathouse restaurant tower came down recently. Looks very Old Key West Resort.

Walking into the new section of Downtown Disney Pleasure Island – now called the Landing – you are met with a nicely themed area that soon will have several new restaurants opening.

This new area is called Waterfront Park and is supposed to host live music performances that you can sit and enjoy but nothing was going on the moment I walked by. The view of Saratoga Springs is quite nice though.

This area looks quite unused when no live music is being performed there.

To the left of Waterfront Park we have a yet to be revealed venue called the Hangar. A new boat structure has popped up next to the restaurant, an outdoor bar with accompanying fireplace. I can’t wait to have a drink here.

A boat, a lake view, a drink and an outdoor fireplace. What more do you need?
The boat’s name is apparently Reggie.

To the right of Waterfront Park we have the new restaurant The Boathouse.  This pretty building will offer waterfront dining and “Dream Boats”. The Dream Boats will take you out on the lake and serve drinks and desserts. I definitely want to try it out.

Seems the Dream Boats will take off from here.
Can’t wait until The Boathouse really looks like this.
This reminds me of the chef from the Little Mermaid, anybody else?

Continuing walking towards Marketplace you see lots of new, so far empty, store fronts in this nice brick wall style. The whole new theme of Disney Springs seems to be more ‘old school’ charm, which I really enjoy and it feels like a huge improvement from the previous theme of Pleasure Island.

The Marketplace causeway/bridge is coming along beautifully. Cross the lake this way will be nice.

New kiosk recently showed up out on the bridge

Checking out some of the shops at Marketplace I found these new MagicBands at the Pin Central Store featuring Cinderella Castle and Little Mermaid. These new themed bands are really popular, with many people snapping them up.

There is also a Belle and Disney Princess MagicBand available for all Disney Princess lovers.

The clothing store Tren-D received some nice new Beauty and the Beast themed window displays. Some may think this Mrs. Potts look a bit scary, but I think it’s a really artsy choice.

Stackable cuteness

The ever-popular Tsum Tsum plush toy collectibles have completely restocked shelves inside the Once Upon a Toy store featuring both Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Toy Story.


Perfect ending

I ended my Downtown Disney trip back at Starbucks West Side. Sitting out in the sun with a view of the lake is a great way to spend some time at Downtown Disney – soon to be Disney Springs.

Make sure to come back next week for even more Disney Park adventures with ParkSpotting!

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