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Has it really been eight months since we last peeked over the fence to see how construction of Disney Springs was going?
Photo by Jim Hill
Earlier this week, Nancy,
Angela & I drove over to Walt Disney World to see how the reinvention of
Downtown Disney is progressing. And as we took to the Epcot exit off of I-4 ...
... it was hard not to notice all of that construction ...
... & timber
clearing that was going on in the stretch of forest between the highway &
Buena Vista Drive and next to the Team Disney Orlando building.
Which makes me wonder if we should start giving some
credence to those rumors that say that WDW officials want to eventually build a
feeder road & ramp which will allow tourists to go straight from I-4 to the
West Side garage.
And speaking of the West Side garage ... Since traffic
flow has been restricted in & around Planet Hollywood
& the AMC Downtown Disney 24 portion of this complex ...
... I had to circle around to the Cirque du Soleil side of
things. Where -- as you can see by all of the cranes hovering over this
worksite -- Disney's doing everything it can to hurry this huge construction
As you can see by the photo below, they've already begun working
on the third floor of this structure (which -- based on what I've been told --
Disney hopes to have open by late January / early February of 2015).
Meanwhile, near the old Planet Hollywood side entrance to Pleasure
... work is proceeding on the West Side Starbucks.
Which -- believe it or not -- will be one of two new Starbucks that will be
added to Downtown Disney as part of its Disney Springs make-over.
Starbuck No. 2 is actually being attached to the front of DTD's World of Disney
superstore. Which -- as Angela pointed out -- probably isn't going to thrill
the people who run those two snack shacks right across from World of Disney
next to Downtown Disney's Waterfront Stage.
And speaking of Downtown Disney's waterfront area ... Now that Cap'n Jack's
restaurant and its attached marina complex has been completely pulled down, work
can begin in earnest on the causeway bridge.
As I understand it, this will be similar in style to the boardwalk that was
constructed around Downtown Disney's old Pleasure Island complex ...
... which -- as you can see -- is in the process of being reconfigured so that
it can then become "The Landing." Which is one of four new zones that
the Imagineers have dreamed up for Disney Springs.
Interesting side note here: WDW officials were supposed to have announced the
names of all the restaurants & shops that will be opening during Phase One
of the Disney Springs project back on March 15th. But since all of the
executives associated with this multi-million dollar makeover couldn't make it
down to Orlando for that specific
date, this announcement then would up getting pushed off 'til mid-April. So we
should only be a few weeks away from learning the official name of the
waterfront restaurant that's being constructed
in the photo below.
Meanwhile, just beyond the old main entrance to Pleasure
... site prep is beginning on Disney Springs' Town Center.
... which will stretch all the way over to where the recently demolished Pollo
Campero building used to be located.
I won't lie to you folks. Navigating Downtown Disney's
gauntlet of construction fences is something of a challenge right now.
And you genuinely have to feel for the people who are trying
to lure WDW Guests into their shops & restaurants right now. Take -- for
example -- the Portobello Italian Country Trattoria. This is how the entrance of
that restaurant now looks if you're coming at it from the Marketplace side of
Thank goodness this trattoria looks a lot better if you're approaching
Portobello from the Pleasure Island
side of the complex.
And speaking of food ... One of the more eagerly anticipated elements of the
whole Disney Springs is Food Truck Park. Which -- as the sign says -- is
supposed to open sometime during the Summer of 2014.
Since I wanted to get a sense of what these Disney-designed food truck might
offer, I deliberately dropping by the one that was parked on the West
Side next to Wolfgang Puck's Grand Cafe.
One of the more intriguing items that the "World Showcase of Flavors"
truck was serving was (and I am honestly not making this name up) the
Smokehouse Piggylicious Bacon Cupcake with marple frosting & pretzel
Which I have to admit was surprisingly tasty.
As Nancy, Angela & I wandered back to the car, I had to admit that it was still depressing to see the Adventurers Club standing empty & abandoned behind that construction fence.
But even so, I am trying to stay optimistic about Downtown Disney's
multi-million dollar makeover. That I am hoping -- just like that old Pleasure
Island exit sign says ...
... that this whole part of Walt Disney World will " ... just get
better" once construction of Disney Springs is complete.
And speaking of construction ... We did notice something pretty usual as we
were walking into the West Side's parking lot.
Do you see what's dangling from that white crane in the middle of the above
Yep. That's a porto-potty.
I dearly hope that there was no one inside of that blue box as it flew through
the air. Because were that crane to accidentally drop it, whoever was inside
would undoubtedly have to see a doctor.
Peter Capaldi & Jenna Coleman on the set of
"Doctor Who." Copyright 2014 BBC. All rights reserved
And in a totally unrelated matter ... Season 8 of "Doctor Who" is
supposed to begin airing on BBC One & BBC America beginning in July.
So what are you folks looking forward to more? A completed Disney Springs or seeing
whether Peter Capaldi proves to be a worthy successor to Matt Smith's Doctor?
The AC building, iirc, was originally scheduled for demolition, the reasoning being that you couldn't really do much with such an exotic-looking building. Be careful around the construction area, Jim. You wouldn't want to Krakatoa on some broken cement.