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  1. #1

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    What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    Inspired by the Hyperion Wharf thread. Basically it's "What can be done to make Downtown Disney better"? We know for one thing it's needs to be more than just a large shopping and entertainment complex. It's needs that spark to make it an actual destination in itself and provide unique experiences that malls won't provide you. I just don't know what that is really.

    I do think that the areas should be rethemed as if it was a theme park experience in itself. The stores themselves don't necessarily need to apply to theme but it would make the place more interesting and inviting just to walk around.

    Chat time.

  2. #2

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    Re: What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    You hit it exactly. It needs some unique experiences to pull people into the area in the first place. Like many, what I'd want the most is a return of The Adventurers Club (for one thing anyway), but if Disney is somehow dead set against the obvious and easy solution, they need to figure out something else that is different from what we can experience at home. Movie theaters I have at home. Bowling alleys I have at home. There are aready plenty of places I can shop for Disney merchandise while in the parks or at the hotels even. What's left to draw me to Downtown Disney?

    Without compelling, unique and interesting draws like The Adventurers Club (or including the Adventurers Club), I'll skip the hassle of commuting down there at all and just stay in the parks longer, hang out at the hotel, or look elsewhere for entertainment.

    WITH something to pull me down there, I'd go back and probably do a little shopping along the way.

  3. #3

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    Re: What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    Quote Originally Posted by clockworkmonkey View Post
    You hit it exactly. It needs some unique experiences to pull people into the area in the first place. Like many, what I'd want the most is a return of The Adventurers Club (for one thing anyway), but if Disney is somehow dead set against the obvious and easy solution, they need to figure out something else that is different from what we can experience at home. Movie theaters I have at home. Bowling alleys I have at home. There are aready plenty of places I can shop for Disney merchandise while in the parks or at the hotels even. What's left to draw me to Downtown Disney?

    Without compelling, unique and interesting draws like The Adventurers Club (or including the Adventurers Club), I'll skip the hassle of commuting down there at all and just stay in the parks longer, hang out at the hotel, or look elsewhere for entertainment.

    WITH something to pull me down there, I'd go back and probably do a little shopping along the way.
    Just was thinking about a compromise that would keep hyperion plans and the AC. Because there are already a ridiculous 3 rain forest cafe restaurants at Disney already (One being the new dinosaur one that just opened). why not take the rain forest in the marketplace (something you can do at home or AK) and use the facade for a new adventurers club? That's a unique experience and the facade could be used towards the AC theme to save money then just reno the inside. I think a lot of people would like that.

    I'm not sure how the Splitsville is going to use all that space in that huge building but I'll like to see how it turns out. Its not the worst idea for the area and it does add an adult or night entertainment element back to DTD so hopefully it turns out well. who knows maybe there will be some other developments in the upper part of the building that aren't announced yet. (that's what I'm hoping anyways)

    Also I think if DTD had its own night show based around the hyperion warf theme it would be great. Maybe some fireworks with a light show from the buildings and the water, kind of like half spectromagic and half world of color type of thing that could work well.

  4. #4

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    Re: What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    I believe ALL of Downtown Disney's at any Disney resort need better nightlife and take major tips from Universal's CItyWalk's. =0}

    Downtown Disney in WDW did indeed come first before Universal's CityWalk in Hollywood in 1993, and many forget Downtown Disney in WDW has technically been around since 1975 (was known as Walt Disney World Village in 1977) but even then and (The Disney Village Marketplace and Pleasure Island folded into a newly-branded district that we all know as Downtown Disney) now, was/is blah.

    Then Universal did something that Disney tried to create but failed, CityWalk opened at Universal Studios Hollywood May of 1993, it was very unique & original to it's own. It's main target 18 and up, mainly for adults who wanted to do more then just stay in a theme park. At night, with all the cool lights, it was like a mini Las Vegas that created a lively vibe way into 2am. The architecture for one was a fun appeal that just lured you in like moth to a flame, then add the cool unique shops and of course the good restaurants to eat at and a good few choices of nightclubs.

    Part of CityWalk's huge and still great success that it attracts those who just want to visit/party at CityWalk. A lot people in Los Angeles, Hollywood & Burbank area come to CityWalk for a good time, and the same could be said for it's sister in Orlando but the original takes the crown.

    The difference between the two (Downtown Disney & CityWalk) is night & day, and when those ask which place you rather hang out, want to dance, mingle, have a drink, catch a movie, and people watch. CityWalk wins the bet. Of course the one in LA has one great advantage, a concert pavilion.

    Some parts of Downtown Disney are cool, mainly for the bars but come on, after 9pm it's becomes a ghost town and seems like shops are always closing shop, LOL. That's venom to any shopping complex.

    ---------- Post added 07-12-2011 at 01:01 PM ----------

    Discovered this just a few minutes ago...
    Splitsville bowling, billiards, dining and dancing coming to Downtown Disney

    Jul 122011 Filed under: Disney, Downtown Disney, Sports Posted by: Matt Roseboom

    A new experience is coming to Downtown Disney West Side in 2012. Splitsville, which features bowling, billiards, dining and nightlife will be opening.


    The Disney Parks Blog reports that Splitsville will open in the current location of Ridemakerz, which is also where the Virgin Megastore used to be located. Ridemakerz custom remote control and toy cars will be moving to the Marketplace side of Downtown Disney.


    Construction on Splitsville is set to start this fall. Above is an artist’s rendering from the Disney Parks Blog which may change before the opening.


    In other Downtown Disney news, the Harley-Davidson store recently moved from Pleasure Island to the West Side. A new ladies boutique called Apricot Lane will be opening in the space formerly occupied by Harley-Davidson.


    The Disney Parks Blog also stated that they’ve identified opportunities to further refine their master plan for changing Pleasure Island into Hyperion Wharf and construction has stopped while they evaluate them. Disney said details about the changes will be coming.


    For more information about Splitsville, you can visit their website at splitsvillelanes.com. They currently have two other Florida locations, one in Tampa and one in Miami. Below are some photos from their website of the Tampa location.

    This will help Downtown Disney?
    Last edited by JMora; 07-12-2011 at 11:11 AM.

  5. #5

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    Re: What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    I have not been to Downtown Disney in Florida since I was in HS (approx 5years ago), but I liked it better than the one in Anaheim... that one could definitely could be imporved IMHO.

    I was not impressed by citywalk, however. Maybe its because I am not a big drinker.

    As far as shopping goes, I find Downtown Disney much better. Too much stuff at Catwalk is touristy/hollywood "collectibles"- like comic book charcter stuff, betty boop, I love Lucy, and those little action take thingies (you know the ones in black and white where they hit the bottom with the top in old school hollywood).

    I remember shops in various malls around where I lived sold the same stuff and they all failed...
    Sometimes we cannot help, but be a little over dramatic...

  6. #6

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    Re: What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    Wanna know how I would improve it? Starbuck's.

    Just one. Please. Dear Fate. Just one.

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  7. #7

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    Re: What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    ^There's a Starbucks in the nearby outlet mall, Roo.

    But yeah I get ya.

    Wonderpup thinks there should be a Dunkin' Donuts at DTD.

  8. #8

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    Re: What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    I know it, but I don't want to leave when I need my Carmel Macchiato. Or my mocha. And their coffee is one of the low points in the entire resort. I need my espresso to wander with me.

    I'd support a Dunkin too.

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  9. #9

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    Re: What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    First Disney has to decide who it's clientele is for DtD. They were indeed first before City Walk.. and also the first to get out of the City Walk vibe due to the many well documented issues @ Downtown Disney that go along with any 'adult' based entertainment venue at night. The concern ( and I believe had some validity) was that the on property visitors with kids were starting to avoid DtD because of some of the issues- usuallt fueled by alcohol - and a real or perceived tougher crowd. Was just down there and we did go to CityWalk one night as the team we were with wanted to go to the NBA restaurant. Even these 17 year old girls commented on the difference in crowds between City Walk and DtD.
    I am not passing judgement on either but also agree there is a difference...based on what is being offered and who it attracts.

    Once Disney decides who it wants to cater to- you can't do everyone -- then they can decide how to proceed.

    Now something like the Adventurers Club can be re-instated IMHO regardless.
    " Disney Parks- far from perfect- but still a great shelter from the storm "

  10. #10

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    Re: What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    Something that makes me want to go there period. Right now there's not a food place, book store, activity place that makes me say "let's go to DTD!". Right now it's just a dumping ground to pick up an overpriced drink because you can't get one in Disneyland.

  11. #11

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    Re: What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    Quote Originally Posted by clockworkmonkey View Post
    ... a return of The Adventurers Club...
    Yup

  12. #12

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    Re: What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    My family has always spent at least a half day in DTD while on vacation there because of the big Disney store. We don't shop in the parks all week and just buy everything we want but don't need in one trip. I'm a huge Wizard of Oz fan so we always have to eat at Hard Rock because of the costumes (even though I'm not a big fan of the food). The only other thing we've ever done there is Cirque, but that was only once many years ago and we probably won't see it again. It was a really good show, but it's still the same show. According to the website, they are "transforming" Pleasure Island, which I think could help if done correctly to attract a nightlife. During the day, however, they need something to make adults want to take their kids to the big Disney store. I don't think a hot air balloon ride is going to cut it either unless Peter Pan himself is taking the kids up (and I don't think characters should be incorporated into DTD).

  13. #13

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    Re: What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    For Walt Disney World, Downtown Disney has indeed suffered a bit with the loss of my absolute favorite thing in the entire resort: Adventurer's Club.

    So I get it. Maybe the string of drinking areas isn't the most profitable solution for a resort that's majority families. But was it right to get rid of ALL of them? no.

    Bring it back.

    Also, a really cool Marvel store/experience would be rad. If they want to make it a real attraction, they can make it a museum and prop display house as well. And maybe a display of every Marvel action figure ever made. That'd get my spidey senses tingling with joy.


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  14. #14

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    Re: What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    Quote Originally Posted by VBdad55 View Post
    The concern ( and I believe had some validity) was that the on property visitors with kids were starting to avoid DtD because of some of the issues- usuallt fueled by alcohol - and a real or perceived tougher crowd.
    Indeed, some of the issues were attributed to that. Though Disney should point a few fingers at themselves for creating that problem, what with removing entry gates at PI, and then shutting down the walkthrough (underpass) that folks could use to head under the Island (to get to West Side or the Marketplace), rather than have to go through it. But, what's done is done. *shrugs*

    I agree with many here that The Adventurers Club is missing. It might not have been everyone's cup of tea, but many (myself included) had enjoyed it greatly, and I miss seeing such creativity and innovation come to life in the DTD area. I miss seeing those CM's in those roles, interacting with the crowd and bringing smiles and laughter to so many. The complex seems very much devoid of Disney "outside of the box thinking" (even at a basic level) right now.

    Roo and aimster - Have you had the coffees (and/or mochas) over at Ghirardellis? They're not too bad. Sadly I can't have coffee as it's started making me ill this year (switched fully over to hot tea), but I can't deny a fellow coffee appreciator a decent cuppa joe.

  15. #15

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    Re: What's missing in Downtown Disney?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trinitys Ghost View Post
    I agree with many here that The Adventurers Club is missing. It might not have been everyone's cup of tea, but many (myself included) had enjoyed it greatly, and I miss seeing such creativity and innovation come to life in the DTD area. I miss seeing those CM's in those roles, interacting with the crowd and bringing smiles and laughter to so many. The complex seems very much devoid of Disney "outside of the box thinking" (even at a basic level) right now.

    Very well said. The AC was pure Disney magic.

    Splitsville? Nice, I suppose. But not Disney magic. Not by a long shot.

    Without Disney, it's just Downtown.

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