New restaurants and construction work continues at Disney Springs, with a few large projects slated to open between now and Summer 2019. In this post, we’ll walk around Town Center, Landing, West Side, and Marketplace at Disney Springs, sharing photos of what has debuted recently, and the progress behind the construction walls.
While most of the “exciting” restaurant and shopping additions have now opened, there are still several projects–such as World of Disney’s overhaul and the revitalization of the West Side–that are being worked on. Moreover, we’re likely to see new projects started at some point, as the dated areas that were “new” additions to Downtown Disney in the late 1990s or early 2000s now stick out as compared to aspects added in the last few years to Disney Springs.
Oddly, we didn’t do a Disney Springs update after our previous visit to Walt Disney World, when we stayed in multiple third party hotels in the resort area (yielding our Disney Springs Resort Area Hotel Rankings post) and dined at numerous new restaurants (yielding our new Counter Service Rankings for Disney Springs and an update to our Table Service Rankings).
With that said, let’s look at what’s going on at Disney Springs right now…
The only major project on the retail side of things right now is the World of Disney re-imagining.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I think the previous style was looking a bit tired, and clearly a product of the 1990s. On the other hand, at least it had character, whereas the new style appears it’ll be the same boring aesthetic that exists all over Disney Springs.
Moving along to restaurants, Terralina Crafted Italian finally opened a few weeks ago after being delayed from its original opening last fall. I’m guessing most of you didn’t notice.
The restaurant’s grand opening occurred during our trip, but after perusing the menu, we decided to give it a pass. While we have reviewed many restaurants at Walt Disney World that don’t matter to us “for the sake of research,” we’ve found that reader interest in a lot of these Disney Springs offerings is minimal.
We’re right there with you on that. Having variety is great, but you’ve got to wonder just how many Italian restaurants Walt Disney World needs. The same could be said for restaurants, generally, and Disney Springs.
It seems like we’ve passed the saturation point. It’s also tough to get excited about Terralina when it ostensibly offers no unique hook, and has what we feel are fairly outrageous prices. (And will likely have a substantially different menu within a year.)
That’s a long-winded, roundabout way of saying that we won’t be reviewing future Disney Springs restaurants unless the concepts interest us (like Jaleo). Again, we’re guessing most of you won’t notice the lack of coverage.
Nearby, we have Wine Bar George. In case you forgot, Wine Bar George is a 6,000 square feet renovated winery, touted as featuring “wood ceilings, warm lighting, and an inviting old world atmosphere.”
I stepped inside and didn’t get any sort of “old world” vibe from it. Having zero interest in Wine Bar George, we also decided to skip it.
Now let’s bounce over to the West Side of Disney Springs…
Work progresses on Jaleo, a concept by world-renowned Chef José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup that is replacing Wolfgang Puck. Above is a look at the West Side from the boat en route to Disney Springs; Jaleo is on the left of the frame.
The space has transformed–quite literally–and the exterior now looks a bit like a Transformer mated with an Awesome Blossom.
I joke, but at least this looks different and I’m on board with that.
Watch me have to eat my words when this opens a year behind schedule and features the same insipid rustic hipster look design found in 75% of the other restaurants and retail in Disney Springs.
Originally set to open at some point in 2018, I’d say we’re now looking at a Spring 2019 opening at the earliest for Jaleo.
After José Andrés’ work following Hurricane Maria and his outspoken remarks on Twitter, I’ve become a fan and am eagerly awaiting this restaurant.
Jaleo will bring the “spirit and flavors of Spain” to Disney Springs. The restaurant will feature an extensive menu of tapas that reflect the rich regional diversity of traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine, such as paella cooked over a wood fire, hand-carved Jamon Iberico de Bellota, and wood-grilled Iberico pork.
Sounds interesting and different. Here’s hoping it delivers on bringing something new to the table at Disney Springs.
Across the walkway, work continues on [checks notes] the NBA Experience. It now seems like we’ve passed the point of no return, and that this addition is unlikely to be cancelled at this point. It looks like we’re still a year (if not 18 months) from the debut of the NBA Experience.
I’m vaguely interested in the NBA Experience, but still think it’s an odd choice for such a huge venue. Perhaps I’m underestimating the audience for such an addition? We shall see.
Per tradition, I ended this stroll around Disney Springs on a hot and humid day with a walk over to Saratoga Springs Resort. By the end of that “delightful” stroll, my shirt was soaked with sweat, but it was worth it, as we had a shockingly good meal at Artist’s Palette. We’ll have a full review soon, but suffice to say, this now ranks among the best counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World.
Saratoga Springs continues to grow on us. Between the proximity to Disney Springs, and perhaps just a greater appreciation of the subdued style, I’m really looking forward to our next stay here. (And with DVC availability increasingly difficult, we very well may need to book Saratoga–our home resort–at the 11 month window next time!)
That’s it for this update on Disney Springs. As work winds down and only a couple of projects remain (before another phase of restaurant renovations begin?), we probably won’t be back for another update here for a while. That’s probably for the best, as Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the resorts have enough walls and projects to keep us occupied!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Are you excited for any of the restaurants that will be opening at Disney Springs in late 2018 or 2019? Any thoughts on Jaleo, NBA Experience, or anything that has opened recently? Other construction insights or observations? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!