Downtown Disney to be transformed into 'Disney Springs'

Downtown Disney to be transformed into 'Disney Springs'

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

Walt Disney World Resort has unveiled its latest plans for a revamped Downtown Disney and Pleasure Island, which will include a name change. 

In an effort to "reimagine and reinvent" this commercial and recreational area of the resort, the whole complex will be rebranded as Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort.

In 2010, Disney had released plans for Hyperion Wharf, a rethemed restaurant district in the same 120-acre area.  Those plans were put on hold a year later.  Preceding the Hyperion Wharf announcement were the closures of several popular nightclubs at Pleasure Island.

Once complete, according to the Disney Parks Blog, Disney Springs will expand from 75 to more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment venues, "featuring some of the world's most iconic brands and restaurants."

Disney Springs will center around a large water feature designed to look like a series of bubbling, natural springs and will celebrate "the turn-of-the century lakeside towns that dotted the Florida landscape."

There will be four outdoor "neighborhoods" interconnected by the flowing spring and lakefront. In addition to a new gateway with a signature water tower and grand entry, the destination will feature:

The Town Center, which offers a mix of shopping and dining along with a promenade where guests can relax and reconnect.  This area is mostly set aside for parking right now near the Pleasure Island and T-Rex Cafe entrances.

The Landing with inspired dining and beautiful waterfront views.  This area will occupy the lakefront space behind the existing Portobello's and extend along the lake where the Pleasure Island nightclubs "Motion" and "Rock 'N Roll Beach Club" used to be.

The family-friendly Marketplace will continue to delight, combining new experiences, such as an over-the-water pedestrian causeway, along with classic Disney favorites, including an expanded World of Disney store. 

West Side that provides an exuberant atmosphere with lively entertainment, along with a series of new elevated spaces that provide both shade and an overlook to the activity below.

Glancing at artist renderings, it appears existing parking lots will be reconfigured to include a multi-story garage for Disney Springs visitors and a new bus terminal for Walt Disney World Resort guests. 

Construction is set to begin next month. The expansion will open in phases with an expected completion date sometime in 2016.

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