Sunday, March 3, 2013

Thoughts on Disney Springs

Ok everyone, time to get some bourbon, time for another talk.

Bitter Storm at Napa Rose. It has bourbon in it. And it's Disney.
The next round of leaking Disney Springs has occurred, with WDW1974 and WDWNT dropping new information and concept art today.

The news is very similar to what Park Rumors spilled a few weeks ago, with new divisions, parking garages, and fountains detailed. WDWNT adds to the knowledge by leaking nice, water color concept art. WDW1974 adds to this on WDWMagic by breaking the bad news there will be no I-4 ramps or additional on site transportation to the village.

Raven also adds some photos of a slide show presentation highlighting the concepts of who they want in the Disney Spring (HINT: Think expensive, think fancy, and think Apple).

Disney Springs is a re-concepulaization of Downtown Disney. Disney has learned a lot since 1971, 1989, and 1998, with the pinnacle of the concept being DTD Anaheim. This shows in the Disney Springs concepts, as water, trees, and vertical height are added back into the warehouses and fake mountains acting as restaurants. But this is only half of Disney Springs.

Disney Springs, simply, is keeping foreign tourist dollars on property, especially Brazilian. User Skyway gets this concept across well: while I might have a Gap, Apple Store, and Brooks Brothers within a 30 minute drive of me, many 'coming of age' and 'destination teen trips' by those from foreign countries do not. It is not uncommon for Millennia Mall to be swarmed with Brazilian teens, cold cash in hand,  buying up computers, printers, iPads, iPhones, clothing, shoes, and more. It's not simply an access issue either, Brazil has a massive electronics import tax. This is money NOT on Disney property. So it shouldn't be a surprise that the concept pitches Team Disney Orlando heard had Apple, Brooks Brothers, Coach, and more on their 'concept' list.

Disney's response to Church Street and mom & pop stores is dead. Drinks can be had at the resort and you can buy fancy soap can be bought at home. The angle Disney wants now is Destination Shopping, not unique, not themed, and not entertainment. There's no room left for Emil Bleehall from Sandusky or vintage slides.
The good ole days. From George Thomas.
The momentum introduced by the Eisner era and Pleasure Island isn't thought. Everything must have a backstory, a reason, and a purpose. Theming isn't simply a design choice or visual style, it's a STORY, a BACK STORY, and non-functional decorations. And Disney Springs has them all, from the forced concept to the non-functional train tracks.

Image from rowanb73.
Despite my pessimism and nostalgia, I think Disney Springs is a nice project. I would be more receptive if this amount of money was put back into the parks also, but beggars can't be choosers (so I'll just end up going to ride Transformers). What Disney Springs is the continuation of Disneyland's emergency support system: a well decorated destination mall for big brands.

Here's a picture of Darth Vader in the old Village Marketplace. Note the dude in the back left with the awesome white sport coat. Image thanks to Alison at Walt Dated World.


  1. Hi it’s Alison from the Walt Dated World website. Thank you for including a link to my Walt Dated World Darth Vader picture. My site now has a new address of If you could update the link on your post to I would appreciate it. Thank you!