Walt Disney World unveils new vision for Downtown Disney


Walt Disney World Resort today unveiled a new vision for Downtown Disney, with new shopping, dining and other experiences including a completely re-imagined Pleasure Island. Also planned are numerous enhancements to popular Downtown Disney locations, as well as additional theming and storytelling by Imagineers.

To make way for the new offerings, all of the clubs currently on Pleasure Island (8 Trax, The Adventurer’s Club, Mannequins Dance Palace, BET Sound-Stage Club, Motion and The Comedy Warehouse) will close on Sept. 27. Other locations on Pleasure Island, including Raglan Road, Fuego by Sosa Cigars, Curl by Sammy Duval, Orlando Harley-Davidson and outdoor food and beverage locations, will remain open during the transition.

“We are committed to offering guests new and exciting experiences they can only have at Walt Disney World Resort,” said Downtown Disney vice president Kevin Lansberry. “Our bold new vision for Downtown Disney reflects the feedback we receive from our guests each and every day and will enable us to continue to offer the high-quality entertainment that is our hallmark.”

Over the next year, the 120-acre entertainment-shopping-dining complex will add a number of one-of-a-kind, immersive experiences for guests. Downtown Disney will even get its own iconic attraction, in the form of a giant, tethered balloon that will take guests 300 feet into the air to view the vistas of Walt Disney World Resort.

Other new experiences include:

• In fall 2008, guests will enter a world of prehistoric creatures at T-Rex: A Prehistoric Family Adventure. The dinosaur-themed family eatery will serve up pizzas, pastas, seafood and more, and will feature life-size animated dinosaurs that dwell among bubbling geysers, waterfalls and a fossil dig site.

• Also this fall, a design-your-own T-shirt store from Hanes will add to the growing collection of merchandise guests can personalize at Downtown Disney.

• E-brands Restaurants, an Orlando-based, multi-concept restaurant group, will premier its newest concept at Downtown Disney in spring 2009. The high-energy, casual eatery will feature authentic Central and South American cuisine, specialty drinks and live music along the waterfront.

Guests also will enjoy a brand new mix of shopping and dining experiences at Pleasure Island as it is transformed over the next two years.

“Our guests tell us they want additional shopping and dining experiences at Downtown Disney,” added Lansberry. “We are currently considering a number of unique concepts from around the globe as we re-imagine Pleasure Island and look forward to sharing our progress over the coming months.”

To complement these new experiences, many popular Downtown Disney locations will undergo enhancements.

• Beginning this summer, Portobello Yacht Club will be transformed into a Tuscan Country Trattoria. The refreshed menu will feature authentic Italian dishes and signature favorites and a re-designed interior along with an outdoor dining space.

• This fall, Goofy’s Candy Company will add a special new room that will enable families to host birthday parties at Downtown Disney.

• The Marketplace Stage will be completely replaced with a larger, covered stage this fall to welcome even more entertainment to Downtown Disney and serve as a new premier venue for Disney Magic Music Days.

• Fulton’s Crab House will update its interior fixtures and furnishing and exterior in Spring 2009. The enhancements include a refreshed third floor deck dining area to offer additional guests and larger private parties the traditional Fulton’s experience.

• Next year, Wolfgang Puck Café will update its interior fixtures and furnishings and will feature an enclosed glass patio offering guests a year-round outdoor dining experience.

These efforts come on the heels of recent enhancements at World of Disney, Wolfgang Puck Express, Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop, Earl of Sandwich and Cap’n Jack’s Restaurant.


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  1. Wow… I don’t know what to think. Hopefully it’ll all turn out great, and they’ll manage to keep the Comedy Warehouse, the Adventurer’s Club and DisneyQuest.

  2. “We are committed to offering guests new and exciting experiences they can only have at Walt Disney World Resort,” said Downtown Disney vice president Kevin Lansberry.

    Soooo… this unique experience is more stores and restaurants while closing the most unique experience found anywhere? That experience being the Adventurers Club. I was looking forward to taking my friends there on our next trip, but we’ll be happy giving our money to CityWalk at Universal.

  3. I’m very dissapointed that Adventurers Club is going away. It is my favorite place in Pleasure Island. Any idea if they would just move it?

  4. I just walked through Pleasure Island on my way from the Marketplace to the West Side last week. Pleasure Island is like a ghost town right now, with only two or three retail shops and the Raglan Road left. It made me sad to see the Adventurers Club and the Comedy Warehouse as I walked by. It’s been seven months and so far I haven’t seen much re-imagining going on.

  5. Gee. Maybe Disney can start reflecting the real world. You know… The one where people no longer toss away their earnings on Chinese-made crap and overpriced eateries. The one where families spend time with each other talking instead of grinning like monkeys at contrived hospitality and formulaic entertainment.

    Watching Pleasure Island die is a lot like watching a bloated evil demon starve and croak for a lack of poisoned souls to feast on. Now if only the Disney Channel would see the same fate. Sorry to harsh your buzz gang.

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