Downtown Disney in Walt Disney World used to be a great place to spend some time as a local or tourist. This area in Walt Disney World is currently being transformed into Disney Springs. The project is expected to be finished in 2016. If you visit during the construction you should keep it mind it is going to be challenging if you drive here and expect to find a parking spot easily. I highly recommend taking the bus if you are a WDW resort guest.
If you are a fan of construction walls and cranes you have come to the right place. My home state of Pennsylvania uses a saying on their construction signs that should become the tag line for Downtown Disney. Temporary Inconvenience, Permanent Improvement. Can’t you picture this on a t-shirt with a picture of the area? I keep in mind when I visit just how beautiful it is all going to be when it is completed.
When construction is completed there will be four different areas of Disney Springs. The Town Center – this area will be brand new and will have shopping and dining. The Landing – this was Pleasure Island. You will find more dining and shopping here with views of the water. Marketplace will have a larger World of Disney Store and a new walkway over the water. West Side – this is where you will find entertainment venues. There will be some new elevated spaces with shade and overlooks the area. You will also be able to enjoy the two new parking garages. The first one should open in late 2014.
Pictures of the new areas on the construction walls.
I worry what first time visitors think when they see all the construction. Disney is usually pretty good at distracting you from construction going on but I think they just gave up on a good guest experience for this project. If you are driving, be aware that traffic patterns seem to change overnight. Buena Vista Drive is eventually going to be 10 lanes with dedicated bus lanes. Many of the parking lots are closed so you may want to go early to find a spot. They do have 2 valet lots. One is located near Cirque du Soleil, the other is behind the World of Disney store. The charge is $20 per car. If you have a Tables in Wonderland Card, valet parking is free with a dining receipt. If you have paid for valet parking at your WDW resort, you will need to pay again at Downtown Disney.
If you are used to pulling into the parking lot across from the Hess Station you will find a few changes. The good news is that you will not be bothered by the Disney buses. The bad news is that the Pleasure Island bus stop is now closed. There is only one bus stop now.
If you attempt to enter Downtown Disney from the entrance by the T- Rex restaurant be aware you will not be able to turn right to head towards the Marketplace. This is closed off. They have created a new walkway to reach the Lego Store and the Marketplace.
The new pedestrian walkway, and the construction around the lake.
As you move towards the former Pleasure Island you are greeted by more construction walls. Paradiso 37 and Raglan Road are open. The bridge to the West Side is behind the construction walls. You will also find construction walls up around Portobello and Fulton’s Crab House. They are open also but it is a challenge to find your way to these restaurants.
There is no boat dock in the Marketplace any longer. You will need to use the other boat dock if you would like to travel to the West Side or the resorts on the water.
We are now on the West Side. There is a future Food Truck area coming and you can see the first parking garage rising in the parking lot.
We haven’t stopped going to Downtown Disney. We just go early in the day now to avoid the parking lot hassles. This isn’t the place to forget about life for awhile like you can do in the theme parks. It is an area under construction. Just keep telling yourself it is going to be beautiful when it is all done. Would I say avoid the area? No! Just pack your patience and remember you are in Walt Disney World after all! See you in the parks!
Category: Disney World