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February 21, 2013
Rumor Roundup: Downtown Disney's Future
There's a lot of buzz on the interwebs right now over the future of Downtown Disney. Rumors ranging from Disney developing a Tex-Mex restaurant -- to a full-scale makeover and expansion of the entire complex.
What I can tell you for sure. You won't see this coming:
The Hyperion Wharf makeover for Pleasure Island has actually been dead for a while now -- though Disney has not commented on it much one way or the other. Then again, that's Disney's style.
First - the restaurant. It was first started by a member of the excellent WDWMagic.com Forums named Dopey77 who posted (in part): "Disney chefs are currently working in the test kitchens to bring a new Mexican restaurant to downtown Disney.... the chefs working on the menu said it is California Tex-Mex inspired and all the chefs are on the Disney payroll."
Others claim it could be a replacement for the 2 1/2-Year-Old Pollo Comperlo in the Village Marketplace.
Disney does have a test kitchen in the shuttered Bonfamilles restaurant at Port Orleans. But what is interesting -- is the idea of a Disney-owned restaurant. Over the past decade or so, Disney has actively sought out third-parties to take over and build restaurants -- even inside the parks, like Animal Kingdom's "Yak & Yeti."
And if I am not mistaken -- Cap'n Jacks is the only Disney-owned restaurant in all of Downtown Disney. It has been there since the 70s.
I have no independent confirmation or denial of the restaurant rumor. But I can tell you something MUCH Bigger is in the works for the entire Downtown Disney area. Sources tell me an announcement is coming soon -- maybe in the next couple of weeks.
And Disney has already filed for permits with the Southwest Florida Water management District to change the stormwater and drainage throughout the Downtown Disney area.
The cover letter says "The BVD Corridor Stormwater Project allows the master planning of an existing 269.11 acre mixed use parcel."
So what will the makeover include?
The website ParkRumors.com recently posted a bold plan that claims Disney will rename the entire Downtown Disney area "Disney Springs" -- and claims it will contain "six distinct neighborhoods: The Gateway, The Town Center, The Springs, The Landing, The West Side, and The Village Marketplace. Each neighborhood will have its own distinct look and feel."
ParkRumors claims it will also contain a giant parking garage with on and off-ramps right from I-4 -- which would ease the terribly congested Buena Vista Drive.
Here's a link to the full post. It is well worth the read.
My sources can't confirm much to me yet, just that -- yes, the SWFMD permit is the first legal step needed before construction can begin. About the ParkRumors report, I am told that it has a lot right, but things are still in motion and Disney is waiting until everything is pretty much a go to make the announcement.
I'll keep you posted.
Here's a link to previousLocal 6 Theme World Blog entries... Including my last post on Universal's Construction Boom.