Disney Springs, previously known as Downtown Disney, is an enchanting outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment complex situated at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The sprawling 120-acre expanse offers a magical experience with its four distinct areas: the Marketplace, The Landing, Town Center, and West Side. Disney Springs beautifully combines the magical allure of Disney with a comprehensive and immersive shopping and dining experience.
History and Evolution
Early Years and Expansion
Originally opened as the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village on March 22, 1975, Disney Springs has undergone various expansions and rebrandings. The idea behind the creation of Disney Springs was to offer guests a captivating and enjoyable shopping destination. Over the years, to keep guests within the Disney property, new attractions were added. In 1989, the Pleasure Island nightclubs were introduced, featuring Disney’s creativity and top-notch quality, followed by other entertainment spaces like the Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park.
Reinventing Disney Springs
In the late 1990s, with the growing popularity of Walt Disney World, Disney Springs began a significant expansion, investing in new projects across the resort. The complex was re-branded as Downtown Disney in 1997, introducing major enhancements including the world’s largest Disney store, the World of Disney, and other popular venues. In 2015, the complex was officially renamed Disney Springs, marking a new era in its evolution.
The Four Fascinating Districts of Disney Springs
Inspired by the American Craftsman-style of the 1930s, the Marketplace houses a variety of shops and restaurants. From the first-ever Earl of Sandwich chain to the T-Rex Cafe with its captivating dinosaur-themed setting, the Marketplace is a shopper’s paradise.
Representing the fictional town’s transportation hub and marina, The Landing is home to nautical-themed restaurants and shops. It is the port for the Amphicar, the amphibious vehicle offering intriguing cruises of Lake Buena Vista.
Depicting the central business district of the fictional town, the Town Center showcases elegant Spanish Revival architecture from the 1920s. It is home to the artificial “springs”, which add to the overall charm of Disney Springs.
The West Side portrays the town’s exposition center, designed to replicate the 1950s aesthetics. Notable attractions include the AMC Disney Springs 24 and the Cirque du Soleil.
Disney Springs offers a plethora of parking and transportation options for visitors. These include the Orange, Lime, and Grapefruit garages along with the Lemon, Mango, Strawberry, and Watermelon parking lots. Disney Springs is well connected with Disney resort hotels through Disney Transport buses, offering a seamless travel experience. Ferry services and bus routes further enhance the accessibility of this magical destination.
Disney Springs is a magical fusion of entertainment, dining, and shopping, creating unforgettable experiences for all ages. The rich history, intriguing themed areas, and seamless transportation options all contribute to the charm of Disney Springs, making it an essential destination for any visitor to the Walt Disney World Resort.