Last week Walt Disney World officially opened the most ambitious part of its Disney Springs reinvention project: the all-new Town Center shopping area. Built over what once was an expansive parking lot, this new outdoor shopping mall brings dozens of familiar retailers (including popular brands like Lacoste, Pandora, Sephora and more), plus new eateries and experiences to Disney Springs in an effort to provide Walt Disney World visitors with the opportunity to shop at their favorite stores without having to head out to places like the Orlando Premium Outlets, Mall at Millenia, Florida Mall, or one of the other dozens of shopping plazas that can be found in the Orlando area.
If you are planning on heading out to this new shopping location sometime in the near future, there are some interesting things you'll notice when you visit, especially if you've been following the transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs. And like most modern things at Disney, there's a mix of good and bad happening here. But first, let's talk about the one big improvement that pretty much every guest who heads over to Disney Springs in the near future will notice immediately:
1. Parking is a snap thanks to the new Lime garage
When Disney Springs opened the Town Center expansion last week, it also opened the new Lime parking garage as well, which effectively doubled the amount of parking available at Disney Springs. This parking garage is conveniently located right near Hotel Plaza Boulevard, which makes it super convenient for guests coming to this shopping area from local destinations (as opposed to I-4, which has a ramp that leads directly to the Orange Garage).
Though it was rare that the Orange parking garage filled to capacity prior to the Lime parking garage's arrival, this addition was still very much needed, and will ensure that even during the busiest times of the year, there will still be ample parking at Disney Springs, and guests won't have to worry about parking on the roof or at Team Disney's overflow space. However, in the short term, you can pretty much park wherever you want because…
2. There’s not a lot of people visiting the newly expanded Disney Springs…yet
Last week’s grand opening of the Town Center expansion at Disney Springs drew a big crowd as Walt Disney World guests as well as central Florida locals alike flocked to the shopping district to check out all the opening day festivities. However, in the days since this grand opening, there hasn’t been much guest traffic in the new area of the shopping District, with most Disney Springs visitors still hanging out in the Marketplace area of Disney Springs near the ever-popular World of Disney, Marketplace Co-Op and Once Upon a Toy stores.
The only real exception to this rule has been the new Sprinkles bakery, which has been commanding some pretty big lines almost every day, both for guests visiting the inside of this sweet shop as well as those looking to use its innovative Cupcake ATM machine (which has its own, separate line, and is actually available for guests to use until 3:00AM).
Though it seems like there aren’t exactly a lot of people rushing out to spend an afternoon at Disney Springs quite yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Disney Springs expansion and re-theme is inherently a failure. Especially because of one big reason…