Disney World overhauls its 'downtown' district

Kelsey Nash, Digital Editor

disney springs map

As traffic at Disney World grows, so too must the dining and retail options that serve it. That idea drove the resort to make over its shopping and dining district as Disney Springs, Downtown Disney’s next frontier.  Part of the revamp includes adjusting to the way diners eat today, says Maribeth Bisienere, SVP of Disney Springs, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Disney’s Water Parks & Mini-Golf. Downtown Disney’s four food trucks—among the first dining options to roll out as part of the Disney Springs transformation—give visitors an on-trend quick-service option beyond a brick and mortar. From there, additional casual formats followed. 

Restaurants from top chefs

rick bayless

Restaurants from top chefs appeal to visitors’ diverse appetites. Rick Bayless brings his brand of Mexican cuisine to Disney with open-kitchen Frontera Cocina, and local chefs James and Julie Petrakis will next year open Polite Pig, a fast casual with a strong bar focus.

New casual concepts

dluxe burger fries shake

New concepts offer more casual formats to enjoy a meal, including limited-service D-Luxe Burger, bakery Amorette’s Patisserie and kiosks Aristocrepes and The Daily Poutine. 

Disney World meal plans

wristband disney

 Seeking to up the ease for park-goers, many Disney Springs eateries are included in Disney World meal plans. Guests use cashless meal payment via a keycard or tech-enabled wristband that doubles as their entry to the theme park.

Planet Hollywood Observatory

planet hollywood observatory interior

Planet Hollywood is taking its star-centered brand literally, reopening this fall as the Planet Hollywood Observatory with an updated look and a new menu featuring sandwiches and burgers by Guy Fieri. The Observatory’s beefed-up terrace and bar will overlook Disney Springs, and plays up celestial touches, such as planet-inspired light fixtures. 

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