Laurie brings us news on Disney Springs…….
Over the next year you will see changes occuring at Downtown Disney (DTD). Eventually at Planet Hollywood will be the anchor for Town Center shopping district that connects to Marketplace. This connecting path will be the easiest way across DTD as Pleasure Island aka The Landing is a hill with some steep paths across and up from Raglan Road, Portobello, and Westside. The alternatives are the ferries and eventually the second bus stop. Eventually there will be a second bus stop at Planet Hollywood just to the east of the current parking garage. Any trips to DTD requires planning of transportation due to the hills, crowds, and limited means of transportation. I recommend walking to one end then taking a ferry back especially if you have disabled guests or children.
Westside has space for two new stores and maybe some cosmetic changes in the future to tie Westside to the Disney Springs theme. The Food Truck park and the hub in front of Starbucks and Harley Davidson are two areas that have entertainment that may vary as well as the new park near the Boathouse. Planet Hollywood will become The Observatory and will have construction for the next year as a hub is formed in front of Planet Hollywood and AMC Theaters. This hub will be a focal point for the bus area, the garage, Town Center, and Westside. Just north of this hub is the hub for The Landing and Westside. Planet Hollywood will become an old observatory at the beginning of Disney Springs with the creek flowing between The Landing and Town Center. Menus will be worked over but many of the Hollywood memorabilia will remain inside The Observatory. World of Soccer has moved to a kiosk in Westside.
Pleasure Island aka The Landing has all the shops occupied and open. The Boathouse has opened up as well. Eventually there will be a terraced area to the west of STK that leads down to STK and to Town Center. The hill top has a road leading down to the main level at Portobello and a path along Raglan Road down to Town Center and the lower areas. At T-Rex will is a hub that leads to Town Center, the new parking garage, Marketplace, and The Landing. The remaining restaurants at The Landing will open when they are ready. Sadly The Boathouse is not getting rave dining reviews. It is designed as an old warehouse turned restaurant with added amenities to keep guests coming. It offers gondola and amphicar rides. The issues are the cost of food compared to other WDW restaurants and the noise in the restaurant. I compared Yachtsman, Shula’s, Boathouse and other restaurants to see if their prices were too high. Porterhouse 28 ounce and the filet mignon were cheaper at Boathouse with house salads cheaper and many items the same or less that Shula’s and Yachtsman. This is gourmet dining that with tips, taxes, appetizer, dessert, nonalcoholic beverage, and entree can cost at least $100 per person. Please read the menus and decide if you want to do fine dining on $4.50 an ounce steak or rather go to two nice restaurants like Turf Club and Kona Cafe for the same price.
The Causeway has opened up on the lake which makes for more walkways and less congestion. There are four new shops in kiosks on the causeway. Icon Jewelry by Bico, Florida Bath Co., Kate and Leo games and toys, and Flour and Sugar gourmet cookies are the current tenants. This is a good place to watch amphicars, gondolas, and other watercraft as well as take in the skyline. The bridges at the corner of Buena Vista Drive and Hotel Plaza Drive will be open shortly making for easier access for guests in offsite resorts. The Paradise Island barges are being demolished so do not hope for a dock at The Landing for a long time if ever. There is no word on when the bus depot at Planet Hollywood will open but hopefully soon.
The Marketplace will remain with the same footprint with exception of some additional buildings in the east side. The new construction will be reported as part of Town Center updates. There will be an expansion of World of Disney and cosmetic changes to Marketplace to make the area more in tune with the Disney Springs them. I will have to update my records on Town Center before adding new information. Rumors are that Fulton’s will get a menu and theme change as there will be so many similar restaurants in the area. Lego store should have all walls down and a new statue. The old waterfront Margarita Bar was closed to make way for more seating and to change the theme. There will be a faded old Disney Springs themed sign that reads “Fresh Picked Produce” which implies that someone turned a produce stand into a bar. This is one of the little details of Disney Springs where we no longer have a bar but have a bar with a history. It will be named Dockside Bar and offer Floridian themed drinks such as Florida Citrus Freeze, Sugar Cane Mojito, Orange Grove Rum Runner, and Sunset Margarita. They will use Floridian citrus juices, sugar cane syrup, and Orlando Orange Vodka.
Town Center will have Edwin Pearl jewelry, Joffey’s Tea with drinks and merchandise, and Vivoli Gelateria selling paninis and gelato. More when information is available. I am still on hiatus due to health and finances. I will try hard to keep you informed on anything new in WDW even if only my heart is there, hugs, Laurie.