Welcome again to Dateline Disney World! This week, we’re taking a look at some of the changes and construction at Downtown Disney as it continues its transformation into the new Disney Springs. Big changes are currently underway as part of the Disney Springs transformation including new buildings and shops, a permanent Food Truck Park, a major new parking structure and the addition of two new Starbucks Coffee locations. Let’s take a look…

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5207.jpg[/img]

In the parking lot in the back, this large building is going up.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5205.jpg[/img]

Mater and Lightning from Flower and Garden are now at the West Side.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5206.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5208.jpg[/img]

The Disney Food Trucks are currently scattered about Downtown until their permanent location opens sometime this year.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5209.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5210.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5211.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5212.jpg[/img]

Just in time for the World Cup, United World Soccer now has a shop here. Lots of Brazilian customers, for sure.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5213.jpg[/img]

The new and gigantic Starbucks is now open on the West Side.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5214.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5215.jpg[/img]

Really nice on the inside, and they have speciality coffees that can only be found at certain locations.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5216.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5217.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5218.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5219.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5220.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5221.jpg[/img]

There is also a moss wall outside that has a fireplace underneath it. Very nice location, and it is already a popular one.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5243.jpg[/img]

This sign probably won’t last too much longer.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5222.jpg[/img]

In front of the West Side, the humongous parking decks are being constructed.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5223.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5224.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5225.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5226.jpg[/img]

There is lots of concept art on the walkway over to the Marketplace area.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5227.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5228.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5229.jpg[/img]

As well as some new buildings going up.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5230.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5231.jpg[/img]

There are walls literally everywhere.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5232.jpg[/img]

The other Downtown Disney Starbucks is now also open, this one is just a walk up window though.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5233.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5234.jpg[/img]

Ghiradelli is now giving out caramel minis for free.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5235.jpg[/img]

More food trucks, this time on the Marketplace side.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5236.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5237.jpg[/img]

The new Marketplace Co-Op store is ‘opening soon’, and will be the place to go for the sort of merchandise that Disney geeks can get excited for.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5238.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5239.jpg[/img]

More walls.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5240.jpg[/img]

One last view of the construction on the lake.
[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5241.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld06012014-_DSC5242.jpg[/img]

As you can see, there is a ton going on over at Downtown. What are your thoughts? Would you enjoy visiting while the entire area is covered in walls? Let us know in the comments below!!

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If you enjoyed the column, especially the photos, and you want to check out more photos and tutorials on Disney photography, please check out my photo site, [URL=”http://www.DisneyPhotographyBlog.com”]Disney Photography Blog[/URL]. And if you like listening more than reading, you can hear us talk about Disney and photography on my podcast, [URL=”http://www.ISO5571.com”]ISO5571[/URL]

  • Imagineer45

    My hope is that they transform DD into a place like City Walk.

  • eicarr

    I like how WDW’s shopping mall is way off to the side so you can avoid it if you want. Most parks these days l force you walk through a cheaply themed strip mall going in and out of the park.

    • Hatty

      cough *Universal* cough

      • cruise

        cough *DLR, DLP, TDR* cough

  • michael darling

    Disney Springs is going to be a very welcome change in more ways than one. Getting rid of the tired and deserted mile-long middle section (PI) will do wonders. I was there a few days before Memorial Day, it was jam packed with tourists (East End) and bulldozers were working late into the night behind fences adjacent to guest walkways. So, at least this shouldn’t stretch on for years, one hopes. Dined at Fulton’s, and the deck area was dirty and unkept. I realize this is not a Disney entity (right?), but still. The new East End Starbucks looks odd, as it’s been inserted into the World of Disney façade. The West End one looks fantastic. The grass on the roof, and the palm growing thru the hole is Florida-cool.

    Looking forward to the changes. So far, stuff is matching the concept art. That’s a plus.

  • ChrisNJ

    the construction will keep me away for now. Bottlenecks that the construction walls can create freak me out. I encountered one there in 2013 in front of TRex and it was a battle trying to get through with no way around either.

    Hopefully this shopping area adds something for the locals. As a tourist it does nothing for me at all. Food trucks are everywhere in the NYC area – so that’s not a draw. We have Starbucks like most everyone else. Stores? Yeah those in the real world too. What Disney needs to bring is something that doesn’t exist everywhere else. Perhaps I’m just a resort geek but I’d rather visit every resort than go to Disney Springs for stores.

  • Disneymike

    Those tables and chairs in the big Starbucks look like they were purchased from some
    cafeteria that was going out of business. Hoowy, those are ugly.

    • ChrisNJ

      and the stools are bad too – look at how far the legs extend. Once the space is crowded the stool legs will be a trip hazard.

  • gracin7

    What about news on Animal Kingdom and the new Harambe Theater?

  • Klutch

    I don’t like the dilapidated look of that area covered in corrugated tin with “Club” over the door. What is that anyway? Is it supposed to be something in Kenya? That’s what it looks like.

    • michael darling

      I think that’s part of the stuff that’s on its way out. But, I don’t remember it from before. No caption on that one. Corey???

    • Amy VandenBoogert

      That’s the entrance to the concert hall part of the House of Blues.

  • Big D

    So are the food trucks all owned by Disney or are they local and does that mean you will get different ones one different days? Also, I’m assuming that the “Co-Op” is just theming and that it won’t have real local farmers selling things, right?

    • CaptainAction

      WDW isn’t about to let trucks which they don’t profit from on property.
      WDW has been acting like Mr. Krabs from Spongebob, for the last 12 years.
      Someone drops a penny and Mr. Krabs grabs him with his claw, “Drop the penny or the arm comes off”.
      Of course things are about money but WDW is so obvious with the greed the last 10 years.
      The only change at a WDW waterpark in the last 12 years was to start charging $25 to swim with the sharks. That used to be free.

      • cruise

        I felt this way too, but to be fair, its doesn’t make any sense at WDW to have local trucks on-property. Because most guests are from out of town, their would be no added appeal over Disney’s trucks.

        However, at DLR where you have a more local crowd, local trucks might make more sense.

      • Amy VandenBoogert

        It’s too bad because the food truck movement in Florida has been growing rapidly. The Orlando area along has some amazing food trucks (Treehouse Truck, Yum Yum Cupcakes to name a couple). Last year at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, they held the World’s Largest food truck rally where over 100 trucks showed up. The people who put it on did another one this past March and over 200 trucks participated – they broke their own record! Not all the trucks were from Florida but most of them were.

        But I can see why Disney won’t… because they wouldn’t see any of the money these trucks rake in. But they could charge the trucks to park on property for the day. I dunno. The Disney food trucks just don’t appeal to me because they’re basically selling the same stuff you can get in the parks.

  • Darth Goofy

    Yawn! whatever happened to detailed imagineering…looks like any shopping center… Pier Park in Panama City Beach, FL seems more themed than this place http://www.visitpanamacitybeach.com/things-to-do/pier-park/

  • Laura P

    I’d probably still go on shopping trips/restaurant trips while construction is going on, but I can’t wait till it finishes and this becomes a place to possibly plan an entire day of, instead of just a couple hours here or there. It looks like it would be a nice places to unwind too, if there are lots of places to sit like the food truck pavilion.

  • billyjobobb

    I’ve never understood going on vacation and then eating at some chain restaurant that could be anywhere.

    I lived in New Orleans, and people would ask me for directions to planet Hollywood? Dude, you’re in the French Quarter, where some of the all time best food can be found. There are people who come here just to eat at these restaurants….. and you want a burger at Planet Hollywood?

    • Marko50

      I can see where you’re coming from, but Planet Hollywood really isn’t that prevalent anymore.

    • WesternMouse

      How long ago did you live in NOLA? I was there three weeks ago and was shocked. Granted, my last trip was in 1993. However, the jazz clubs on Bourbon St have ALL been replaced with strip clubs. I had to go out of my way to find a restaurant in the French Quarter. Katrina really did a number on that place. I’m sure the music and food are still there, but in other places. With all the filth, NOLA makes Las Vegas look like Disneyland.

  • Jabroniville

    Question: What used to be where the Starbucks & Soccer place are now? When I was at Downtown Disney, I noticed there were scrims (and bottlenecked crowds) everywhere, but no closed buildings that I remember.

  • Micayla4873

    Disney should add mango lassi drinks to the menu on the Namaste food truck. They are so good!