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News Downtown Disney Update

Discussion in 'Walt Disney World News & Rumors' started by Tink, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    We visited Downtown Disney's West Side yesterday, for the first time in a long time! Much is in upheaval, and if this were my first experience with Downtown Disney, I'd probably not be quick to return.

    We parked on the West Side (essentially behind Cirque and House of Blues. It used to be an empty parking lot, but now many guests are being directed there, so parking was a bit more challenging but a place found found fairly easily. Disney Security have a presence there with patrol cars and the elevated "in the sky cubicle." Not sure if that is because there is concern about safety, or if because this area is new to so many and they are there for information.

    You are greeted by construction walls almost immediately. We entered via the walkway that brings you to the rear of Cirque. There are other options to the left of the walkway entry we chose.

    The place was busy but not overly crowded. There are cranes in the sky interfere with that view, and the water construction interferes with the view of the lake, and Saratoga Springs resort.

    We wandered in and out of a couple of shops, Something Silver and Hoi Polloi. Something Silver, when it first opened was quite nice and welcoming, and now as with too many places, they realize that this a tourist area and have stopped being welcoming and the items on offer are no longer unique or nice, simply mass produced "available anywhere" types of things.

    Hoi Polloi has sharply reduced what they have on offer, and they have a scent that they are using that is very pervasive and strong so we didn't stay long. We didn't see many people buying things, rather browsing and visiting with their companions.

    To walk from the West Side toward Pleasure Island you must now walk along a walkway at the edge of the lake, or take the walkway that borders the parking lot. We chose the lake. The temporary (?) walkway is very nice to walk along and wide enough to accommodate a good flow of traffic. You are not walking through Pleasure Island, rather along where it used to be. Pleasure Island seems ready to fall to the construction of the new version of Downtown Disney. You can access the Latin American Restaurant, from this area, and Raglan Road, which is where we were headed.

    Raglan Road was busy (isn't it always) with people buying gifts from the shop there. We stopped with our party at Cooke's of Dublin as most in our group were hungry. Fish and Chips, and Scallops and Chips were the choices made. Herself and I didn't eat there, but everyone else who did pronounced the food hot and very nice. We did notice that the prices are up, and portion size sharply down, but that's the way of things today, no? One in our party went to the little bar and ordered Guinness for some of the others. He was a hit with the female bartender. :lol: He ended up with a free Guinness! :D There are new pint glasses now. They have a twist shape built into them. Makes the Guinness easier to pour, or so the story goes. :yes:

    We made our way as far as Ghirardelli's, where some of us sat under the umbrellas, while the others shopped here and there. Ghirardelli's is still giving out free chocolates. Today's was milk chocolate squares with caramel filling. Those who had some, said it was nice. :yes:

    Herself checked out the food trucks that were parked between Ghirardelli's and the huge Disney Store. They had $11.00 grilled cheese sandwiches, and some other offerings. Oh, glass noodle salad, corndogs, etc. Nothing to unique, but certainly easy access. There did not seem to be many people ordering from the trucks.

    On our way back to the cars we chose the walkway that kept you along the water (starting at the entrance to the West Side) which was much less crowded and had a nice breeze. We were on the backside of the construction of the building that used to house Haagen Das and Wetzel's Pretzels… it's seems to be slated for a huge Starbuck's. :unsure:

    The walk back to the parking lot was easy enough. As we were leaving (close to 5:00 pm by now) the place was starting to fill in quickly. It was that time of evening where guests start looking for alternatives for dinner and maybe some bits of entertainment here and there.

    House of Blues did have a coffee house style singer on the front porch, and Raglan Road had a three piece celtic music band at the outdoor pub nearest the main entrance to the restaurant.

    It's a bit of chaos there, so honestly if you really don't need something that you can only get there, leave the place out of your plans until all or most of the rebuild is completed.

    There are artist impression poster stuck up all over all the construction walls and they are very pretty. :yes: If the rebuild produces anything at all like what is being depicted, the new Disney Springs will be well worth the wait.
     
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    Excellent report thanks Tink!

    I found the DTD experience pretty painful on our last trip. We often like to go for a movie and perhaps a quick planet hollywood but all the car parks down that end were closed making it a longer walk from the back of cirque.

    We did try valet parking to see if that would work well but we ended up walking nearly the length of the car park to collect the car anyway :/
     
  3. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    I don't know how you would access Planet Hollywood now, other than from the parking lot side. There didn't seem to be any other way.

    We learned some time ago to just head to the West Side parking lot. Much easier than trying to find a spot in any other lot. It does make for a longer walk to the Marketplace side, to be sure. But, we like to walk and usually build that into our Disney visits.

    It's hard for Herself right now though. She struggled quite a bit yesterday with just being at DTD. It's all connected to her Sister, and memories, as treasures they maybe, can also be extremely painful.
     

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