One request, if you go. Bring home a live, baby alligator for me, Eric.
Hyperion Warf, take two.
It will be interesting to see how they handle the transitions to West Side and The Marketplace. All of Downtown Disney needs to be rescued from the 90s. Maybe if this goes well they will extend the theme.
Personally, I don't really don't get the style choice. If they wanted to stick with the turn of the century Florida theme, wouldn't it have made more sense to build this around the Grand Floridian? This is why Walt Disney World has next to zero overall unity. They just plop ideas down wherever, even if the same idea already exists (albeit with a slightly different purpose) elsewhere on property. Instead of creating a large Old Florida District that could have been at the very least as awesome as the Boardwalk, we get two unconnected dots.
Of course they need something to fill the old Pleasure Island area which is why Disney Springs is going here instead of a place that makes more sense. Why does Disney always gravitate toward early 20th century architecture? It's probably because historically based styles don't need to be updated. They hate having to do that. Disney has done the old time mainstreet so much and so well that many upscale outdoor malls are designed with the same style in mind. While Disney Springs, will probably be more detailed than the local outdoor mall isn't anything all that unique anymore.
Disney could have put literally anything in this space and they decided to play it safe and go with what they know works, which will turn out to be boring. They should have gone with something more unique. A unique district, something unlike anything anywhere else will draw people in just to experience the atmosphere regardless of what shops and restaurants are put inside. Those almost become an afterthought when your goal is to create an area that attracts people simply because it exists here and doesn't exist anywhere else.
They could have done an ultra modern port town of the future with sleek architecture, pretty colored non obnoxious lighting, and a people mover that takes guests from one end to another allowing them to window shop on the way. They could have done the retail version of Discovery Bay/Mysterious Island and made it some weird steampunk island lair. It could have been a coastal trading post, your last sign of civilization before heading off into the uncharted wilds, essentially making the whole area The Adventurer's Club. They could have gone a thousand more interesting directions each with unique entertainment possibilities, because face it, entertainment is what brings people into these places. They can shop and eat anywhere and usually for a lot less. Instead, they stuck to the script and went with the old reliable main street.
And they still forgot the monorail station.
I agree with everything you are saying
All I want is a place to relax and shop. Not a theme park, shopping mall hybrid. They need something that will stand the test of time. I'm sure there will be entertainment of some type, but we don't know yet.
I have a feeling they backed off of Hyperion Warf because of the impending competition on International Drive.
The central difficulty with creating a unique, one-of-a-kind atmosphere at DTD is the 3rd Party Model that, unfortunately, isn't going away.
For example, I'd love to see a uniquely and heavily-themed "Last Trading Post" environment as DapperDan mentioned, but as soon as the scores of familiar shopping mall retailers/restaurants fill up all the space, the illusion/escapism goes up in smoke and the theme-ing feels a little silly... like 'why bother'. (I'd still take it over standard American mall-itecture, but it would feel hollow).
This why mall-fying theme park retail/dining is such an insidious trend. Take Main Street, U.S.A.: Designed and intended to have lots of individual, unique, history-based shops, restaurants, facilities, with merchants in those roles (e.g. a barber, a jeweler, a book store owner). As such, it was an incredible and unique environment. It was "themed." Slowly, Main Street has moved towards "a giant Disney Store, dressed in Victorian-styled architecture" - and the end result is a lot less compelling than a romanticized re-creation of a turn-of-the-century downtown.
This is a difficult change to stomach within the parks (thankfully Hogsmeade bucked the trend and showed truly-themed retail/dining can be very profitable) because it does so much sub-conscious damage to theme, story, place, etc. that generations of brilliant designers worked to create. Outside the parks, at a place like DTD, mall commercialism is a lot more palatable. Again, I would like see the place truly, uniquely themed, but it would require mandating all 3rd-party retailers to operate within the standards of the theme (e.g., Starbucks at Buena Vista Street).
You can't mandate what they will sell. You can already prescreen the retailers and decide if their business fits into the themed environment. Even Disney is not restrictive enough to try to limit their productline that trying to fit into a theme. Exactly how can they enforce a theme? No one wears hoopskirts anymore. T-shirts are really underwear in those days. Men are supposed to buy a suit ensemble instead of shorts and T-shirts.
As for the mall commericalism, is this such a bad word? The only thing Disney can do is a pleasant architecture to entice people to go. Then offer the products that they will buy. This includes Starbucks in all its glory. Adhering retailing to a theme is such a loaded concept that it becomes meaningless. How will you do this?
WDW made the announcement today. Here's a link the the Orlando Sentinel story with a 30 second clip of artists renderings.
We don't have "bubbling" springs down here in Florida. Bubbling springs are usually due to subterranean volcanic or tectonic activity such as what Yellowstone National Park is. We do have lots of natural cold water springs also called boils. We even have natural sinks where water and sometimes rivers go underground through a large hole or cavern also known as a "sink" into the Floridan Aquifer and yes it is spelled that way. I do believe Silver Springs near Ocala is one of, if not the largest springs in the world by flow rate.
In the Orlando Sentinel, it gives more info.
Okay, the bubbling part is an exaggeration.Quote:
The vibe and look of the makeover was inspired by small Florida towns at the turn of the last century and the company's own Sunshine State heritage, Staggs said. Walt Disney's parents met and married in the Central Florida town of Kismet in 1888, he said.
"In our story, Disney Springs grew up around a series of natural springs here in Central Florida. It became a thriving community," Staggs said, adding that he wants it to be a place where guests "feel instantly at home."
Despite the historical looks of the buildings, it is just a front to the modern retailing inside the stores to ensure a casual feel. Frankly, I don't have a problem with this since so many shopping centers do this. They have a pseudo themed environment with all the name brand stores.Quote:
Disney Springs, inspired by life in the early 1900s, will break down into four "neighborhoods," said Kathy Mangum, executive producer with Walt Disney Imagineering. Two — The Landing and Town Center — are planned in the space where Pleasure Island nightclubs operated until 2008.
"It sounds like to me they're taking it from an urban to a more suburban setting kind of feel, a more casual feel, which is in keeping with the way things have gone," Speigel said.