Disney Springs is an outdoor shopping center at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida, near Orlando. The complex opened on March 22, 1975 as the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village and has been expanded and renamed at other times over the years. It was first renamed Walt Disney World Village in 1977; then to Disney Village Marketplace in 1989; and afterward to Downtown Disney in 1997. In 2013, plans were announced for a three-year renovation of the complex, and on September 29, 2015, the name officially changed from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs.
The complex includes four distinct areas: West Side, the Landing, the Marketplace, and Town Center. Buses and water taxis operated by Disney Transport provide transportation between Disney Springs and other areas of Walt Disney World.
The Marketplace houses many shops and restaurants reminiscent of the American Craftsman-style of the 1930s. The first restaurant in the Earl of Sandwich chain is located here. T-Rex Cafe is a dinosaur-themed restaurant operated by Landry’s Restaurants, which features animatronic dinosaurs. It opened on October 14, 2008. Landry’s Restaurants also operates Rainforest Cafe at this location. A walkway spanning the Village Lake and connecting Rainforest Cafe with the Lego Store—The Marketplace Causeway—was constructed and opened in 2015.
The Landing depicts the fictional town’s transportation hub and marina. The Landing features nautical-themed restaurants and shops, including Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar—an aviation-themed dive bar based on the character from the Indiana Jones films—and The Boathouse, which serves as the port for the amphibious automobiles that offer cruises of Lake Buena Vista.
The Landing was formerly the site of Pleasure Island, a nighttime entertainment district with two comedy clubs and four dance clubs. These areas closed permanently on September 27, 2008. On November 18, 2010, Disney announced a project named Hyperion Wharf, which was planned to replace the Pleasure Island complex. Pleasure Island would have undergone extensive renovations and re-theming to transform into the early twentieth century wharf-themed entertainment area. New shopping and dining locations would have also been added. In July 2011, it was announced that these plans were delayed. These plans were later canceled, and the former Pleasure Island became the Landing in 2015.
Town Center depicts the fictional town’s central business district, featuring Spanish Revival architecture from the 1920s. The Town Center area also features the namesake “springs”, which is artificial.
The area debuted in 2016, having been built on former surface parking lots, and features many well known retailers. The area will open in multiple phases, with the first phase having opened on May 15, 2016. Retailers to have opened in the first phase of Town Center include Anthropologie, Sephora, L’Occitane en Provence, Pandora,UGG, Johnston & Murphy, ZARA and Kate Spade among many others.
West Side depicts the town’s exposition center, having been developed in the 1950s, according to the town’s fictional history.
Expansion of the existing AMC Theatres Pleasure Island 24 venue opened with Downtown Disney West Side in 1997. In late 2010, renovations began which created theaters offering food service. The complex was renamed AMC Downtown Disney 24. In 1997, there were plans to open a Planet Movies by AMC entertainment complex at this location by combining the Planet Hollywood restaurant with a re-branded AMC megaplex. These plans were abandoned due to Planet Hollywood’s continued financial problems. The complex has now been renamed AMC Disney Springs 24.
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