After three years of revitalizing and doubling in size, Downtown Disney officially became Disney Springs September 20, 2016. The design of the dining-retail-entertainment district was inspired by Florida’s waterfront towns of the 1940’s.
This is not the first re-do and re-naming of the area. It has quite a history of change and I have been there for it all! I wouldn’t be surprised if this area has been re-imagined more than any other area on Disney World property.
It all began in 1975 when a quaint “village” named Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village opened primarily for people living in Walt Disney World. However, since more hotel rooms than residences were being built, the area became targeted toward guests at Disney World and so was renamed in 1977 as Walt Disney World Village.
Then, in 1989, along came the addition of Pleasure Island (adult nightclubs) and the complex became known as the Disney Village Marketplace.
After nine years, Disney Village Marketplace and Pleasure Island were combined into a branded district named Downtown Disney.
I’m not finished yet, because later that year (1997) Downtown Disney WEST SIDE was created. Gradually the nightclubs in Pleasure Island were phased out in 2008 to make room for new dining and shopping.
And this brings us to present day with the completion of the huge expanded district now known as Disney Springs. Even though the new area is several times larger and grander, my heart still remains in the original quaint little Walt Disney World Village.
(Photos by Walt Disney World)