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It's wall-to-wall construction walls as WDW's Downtown Disney is gradually transformed into Disney Springs

It's wall-to-wall construction walls as WDW's Downtown Disney is gradually transformed into Disney Springs

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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 ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... it was hard not to notice all of that construction ...


Photo by Jim Hill

...  & 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.


Photo by Jim Hill

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 ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... 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 project along.


Photo by Jim Hill

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).


Photo by Jim Hill

Meanwhile, near the old Planet Hollywood side entrance to Pleasure Island ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... work is proceeding on the West Side Starbucks.


Photo by Jim Hill

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.


Photo by Jim Hill

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.


Photo by Jim Hill

As I understand it, this will be similar in style to the boardwalk that was constructed around Downtown Disney's old Pleasure Island complex ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... 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.


Photo by Jim Hill

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.


Photo by Jim Hill

Meanwhile, just beyond the old main entrance to Pleasure Island ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... site prep is beginning on Disney Springs' Town Center.


Photo by Jim Hill

... which will stretch all the way over to where the recently demolished Pollo Campero building used to be located.


Photo by Jim Hill

I won't lie to you folks. Navigating Downtown Disney's gauntlet of construction fences is something of a challenge right now.


Photo by Jim Hill

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 Downtown Disney.


Photo by Jim Hill

Thank goodness this trattoria looks a lot better if you're approaching Portobello from the Pleasure Island side of the complex.


Photo by Jim Hill

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.


Photo by Jim Hill

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.


Photo by Jim Hill

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 crunch.


Photo by Jim Hill

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.


Photo by Jim Hill

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 ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... 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.


Photo by Jim Hill

Do you see what's dangling from that white crane in the middle of the above photo?


Photo by Jim Hill

Yep. That's a porto-potty.


Photo by Jim Hill

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?

Your thoughts?

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  • 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.

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