What's New at Downtown Disney
Looking at the recent changes to Disney's shopping
Friday, April 8, 2005
by Sue Holland, staff writer
Downtown Disney. Photo by Sue
Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney started out in the 1970s as a collection of small
shops located at one end of the Disney property. Years ago it was commonly
referred to as The Village, and the most popular shop was a much smaller
version of today's World of Disney (but did not share that name).
In the late 1980s Pleasure Island was added, and then in the 1990s the West Side became the third section. The entire complex was renamed Downtown Disney, although each section is also known as either The Marketplace, Pleasure Island or West Side. This article focuses on what is fairly new at Downtown Disneyif your last visit was more than a year or two ago, these things may be new to you.
At the Marketplace there are a number of shops that are either new or under renovation. Disney guests must like to pamper their pets, as Disney has opened a shop called Disney Tails. Inside, shoppers find pet clothing, furniture, toys and even packages of edible dog treats. A giant statue of one of the Dalmatians is a popular photo spot. Some of the merchandise here has also been seen inside the World of Disney, so if you get a discount at that store it would make sense to check there before making the purchase at Disney Tails. This shop is cute inside, and even has windows shaped like a bonesimilar to a dog biscuit.
You can find dog bonestyle windows at Disney Tails. Photo by Sue
Right nextdoor is another new area, which is a first for Disney
property. In the hallwaytype location that used to sell plants and
garden items they now sell items costing $10 or less. Reviews have been
mixed, but it always seems to be busy. Some of the merchandise is not
particularly high quality, and nothing seems to be marked down. It is
all regularpriced merchandise that happens to be not more than $10.
If you enjoy garage sales and dollar stores, this shop may have great
appeal. Otherwise, it may not impress.
Everything costs $10 or less. Photo by Sue Holland.
Currently Goofy's Candy Co. shares a building with Earl of Sandwich,
but a new location is being created nearby in the spot that used to house
Disney at Home. It is scheduled to open in spring 2005 but no more specific
date was available. There's a very good chance opened after I filed this
article but before it ran, as I am sure Disney will do everything possible
to get it open prior to the busy Easter season. Until it opens the old
location will remain, but there is no word on what will happen to that
space once the move is made.
Artist's rendering of new Goofy's Candy Co. Photo by Sue Holland.
Another shop undergoing extensive renovations is the LEGO Imagination
Center. This is also due to reopen in spring 2005 and new LEGO creations
are already visible behind the construction fence. During the renovation
a tent has been set up outside World of Disney, and LEGO merchandise is
being sold from there. The playground area is behind the construction
fence and therefore will not be accessible until the renovations are completed
and the store reopens. The dragon in the lake appears brighter, so he
obviously had some work done. The other LEGO creations that are partly
visible over the fence all appear to be entirely new designs.
A new LEGO family is found near World of Disney. Photo by Sue Holland.
Pleasure Island is also seeing some changes. The Jazz club has closed
and an Irish pub will be going into that space. Unlike the other clubs,
the Irish Pub will not require Pleasure Island admission, and they will
serve food (beyond popcorn and pretzels). This venue will be operated
not by Disney, but by an independent organization (similar to Planet Hollywood
and Rainforest Cafe).
Disney has tinkered with the pricing structure at Pleasure Island over
the past year or so. The area used to be open to guests at no charge during
the day, but currently is not accessible to anyone before 7:00 p.m. There
is still an allinclusive ticket that sells for $20.95 plus tax that
gives access to all of the nightclubs for one night. For another $5 you
can add five additional consecutive nights.
There is a new ticket costing $9.95 plus tax that grants access to one
club for one evening, but excludes the Comedy Warehouse and Adventurer's
Club. The shops and street are open free of charge, but since the entertainment
cutbacks there really is not much to do here other than the nightclubs.
There are no longer live dancers performing on the outdoor stage, and
bands do not perform every night. The midnight New Year's Eve
show (performed seven nights a week) has also been scaled back to a 5minute
showing of a video and a smaller fireworks burst with no confetti. Pleasure
Island is still a fun place to be, but only if you have a ticket that
provides access to the nightclubs.
A new shop featuring Harley Davidson merchandise will soon be opened
next to the Adventurer's Club, in the spot formerly held by Mouse House.
The projected opening date is listed simply as spring 2005, so hopefully
this will be open in time for the busy Easter season.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Sue here.
Sue has been hooked on Walt Disney World since
her first visit in 1972 with her parents and younger brother. She kept returning
more frequently until she moved to Florida in 1986.
After joining the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) in
1997, she now visits almost monthly. She also spends time at
the DVC's non-WDW locations, and is experienced with the Disney cruise ships.
She takes many of these trips on her own, but
she's also toured WDW with large groups of people, including families, the elderly,
and people with disabilities.
She works as the Administrative Services Division Head
for a large residential facility administered by the Florida Department of Children
and Families. She currently resides in Southwest Florida with her teenage son.
Sue is one of our most prolific trip report writers.
Read her trip report archive here.
You can contact Sue here.
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Update: Walt Disney World.