Disney Springs is Changing in Some Big Ways. Here’s How

– Reported by Theme Park Tourist

It has been just over a year since Downtown Disney officially turned into Disney Springs, and in that time this shopping district has changed dramatically with the addition of nearly a dozen new restaurants, the completion of the Lime parking garage, and most recently, the opening of the all new Town Center district.
However, it looks like Disney Springs is headed for even more big changes in the future, including one that will bring an experience that was previously exclusive to Walt Disney World’s theme parks to the World of Disney store in just a few days.

1. Characters are officially coming to Disney Springs

With a very few exceptions, Disney Springs (even when it was Downtown Disney) has been a character-free zone. However, that is all going to change beginning this weekend when Disney debuts a limited time (for now) experience at the World of Disney that will bring some of Disney’s most iconic characters out of the theme parks and into the retail shopping district.

Starting this Saturday, October 1, 2016, Disney will be opening the back area of World of Disney (which was formally home to the Bibbidi Boppidy Boutique before it moved to the back of Once Upon a Toy) to make way for a rather unique limited time Disney princess meet and greet.

Known as the Princess Royal Reception, this new experience is currently scheduled through November 1, and will allow guests to meet, take photos with and even get an autograph from a single princess. The princess lineup will change daily, and right now we know that Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora, and Tiana are among the confirmed character options for this all-new meet and greet experience. However, if you’re worried about long queues for this new experience snaking around the World of Disney shopping area, Disney has got that covered with a queue management system similar to what has been used in the past for Santa meet and greets around the holidays.

Instead of standing in line, guests who want to check out this experience can visit the World of Disney between the hours of 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM each day and check in with a designated Cast Member right in front of the meet and greet area. This Cast Member will not only tell guests who the day’s princess is, but give guests a specific return window that will ensure each guest can meet the day’s princess without delay while shopping at Disney Springs.

Image: Disney 

The addition of this new experience at Disney Springs is certainly interesting, and definitely marks a new chapter for the shopping district, which has really reinvented itself over the past year. While the former Downtown Disney really operated as its own entity, Disney Springs with its careful theming, attention to detail, and now character inclusion, is coming in to its own as an extension of the theme park experience, instead of something outside of it.

While Disney is currently saying that this new experience is temporary, we wouldn’t be surprised if Disney swaps out princesses for Santa Claus (who has a long history of meeting guests around the holidays in this shopping district) in November, and then brings Disney characters back to this space sometime early next year.

2. Seasonal treats now available at Disney Springs

Image: Disney

If you’re thinking about heading down to Disney Springs this month, you might want to know about some seasonal treats you can grab while you’re there. Much like other eateries around Walt Disney World, Disney Springs is celebrating the fall season with a number of fun, limited time sweet treats that should delight guests looking for something a little different at the shopping district this fall. Here’s the lineup:

Amorette’s Patisserie:

Pumpkin Mickey (available from October 1 to 31): This fun-shaped cake features decadent layers of chocolate chiffon cake, milk chocolate mousse and orange blossom pate de fruit.

The Fall Time Petit Cake (available September 11 to November 10): Designed to look like a charming birch tree with a lovingly carved “A” for Amorette’s, this cake features delicious layers of baked apple, salted caramel, milk jam and spiced chiffon cake.

Image: Disney

Vivoli il Gelato:

Zucca (Pumpkin) Gelato (available this fall): This new gelato flavor is now available by the scoop and can be enjoyed in either a cup or a waffle cone.

D-Luxe Burger:

Caramel Apple Shake (available from October 1 – November 10) This milkshake features a creamy vanilla gelato base which is perfectly complemented with tart green apple and sweet caramel flavors before being topped with whipped cream and a caramel drizzle.

Aristocrepes:

Cinnamon Apple Crepe (available this fall): Sweet dulce de leche, cinnamon apples and chiffon crumbs in a warm crepe topped with powdered sugar.

Image: Disney

The Ganachery:

Seasonal ganache flavors (available this fall): This sweet location is now offering a number of truffles featuring fall-inspired flavors, including Pumpkin Spice Latte and Cinnamon Apple.

3. A new parking garage will be built next year

Finally, looking far into the future of Disney Springs, news broke a few days ago that confirms that a third parking garage at this shopping district will be built over the next few years. The Reedy Creek Improvement District has officially given this project a green light, and construction on this new garage (which will be located on the south side of Buena Visa Drive near the Casting office and Speedway gas station) is currently slated to begin sometime in 2017 with an expected opening date in 2019.

The new garage is expected to accommodate at least 2000 parking spaces, and will provide direct access to Disney Springs via the already constructed pedestrian bridge that spans across Buena Vista Drive. Similar to the Orange and Lime garages, this new parking structure will feature the same parking sensor technology that allows guests to see how many parking spaces are available on each level before they enter the garage.

How do you feel about Disney Springs’ transformation? Are you excited for what the future holds for this shopping district, or do you long for the simpler Downtown Disney days?

 

 

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Tina & Don Korta are the Owners of "Destinations with Character Travel Services, LLC., An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner” and “An Universal Orlando Authorized Retailer”, along with many other travel industry awards and certifications.
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