Disney Springs Construction Update: Summer 2018
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!
i’m a huge NBA fan, and I’ll definitely check out the experience, but I can’t help but wonder if a venue of that size and type would be better suited for the NFL which has a much bigger fan base.
I must say, this post seemed like you hate Disney Springs’. As the author of a “tourist blog”, I would think you would provide info on everything that is available to tourists in the Disney area with an open mind. I’ve eaten at Terralina and Maria and Enzo’s as well as Wine Bar George. All provided great food and service… and I enjoyed WBG even thought I’m not into wine!
I think I’m gonna unsubscribe… thank God for the Disney Food Blog and other vloggers!
I dined at Terralina last Saturday. After being ignored for several minutes, I was given a waiter and a substantial discount on my bill. I chose, instead of an entree, to have the fried olives appetizer and the caprese salad together as my meal. I enjoyed them, and the fried olives were a new experience. I think the whole cost of the olives was taken off my bill, and it ended up being substantially less than $20. Like yourself, I can be a bit of a “Disney completist” at times, so I had to try this restaurant, because, well, “it’s there!” Besides that, I am an Italian-American, and I do enjoy Italian restaurants.
On a less related note, I’m a local WDW passholder, but I long to visit the Disney Parks worldwide. I have been to the original Disneyland, but I may never get to Paris, China, and Japan. Reading your articles on the Disney Parks further afield allows me to vicariously travel through you. 🙂
We will be staying at SS for the first time in December. We are looking forward to it because it is close to Disney Springs and we are curious. We live 30 minutes from the inspiration for the resort so it will be fun to see how well Disney recreated Saratoga.
We live in DC and LOVE Jaleo, and hope you and Sarah do too once it comes to Disney Springs! Assuming the menu is the same, I strongly recommend the Rossejat (squid and shrimp in a “paella” of thin toasted noodles) and the Jamon Iberico (I prefer the thin sliced prosciutto style jamon to the cooked Iberico dishes, as you can really appreciate the delicate flavor of the meat eating it just on its own). My husband’s favorite is the deep-fried bacon wrapped dates. I expect they will probably do something for Disney Springs like Morimoto where they have a mix of accessible and authentic options, but even my picky-eater six-year-olds like the authentic food at the Jaleo here because it is just so good.
Jaleo has 3 locations in the DC area and can be hit or miss . That being said, it has stayed around for a long time because overall the food is good; there’s a interesting mix to the menu; and it’s a good choice for social eating with a group. If you’ve ever done the meal with 8 people you know how hard it is to find the place that works for everyone, but Jaleo usually does.
AGREE 100%.COULDNT OF SAID IT BETTER.BRING BACKVTHE CLASSIC FIGURENES IN ART OF DISNEY TOO
You’ve been talking to Josh at EasyWDW – “the exterior now looks a bit like a Transformer mated with an Awesome Blossom”. I love it. I couldn’t decide what Jaleo was beginnig to look like, and you nailed it. Thank you!
I wonder if it is meant to look like an artichoke? That would sort of make sense given the cuisine.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who questioned the popularity of the NBA experience. At least Disney Quest appealed to the majority of Disney’s goers but NBA????
We have been staying at Saratoga Springs going o 10 years now. Disney Springs is what keeps us returning to that resort every year. Although a lot of changes have happened through out the years we enjoy the atmosphere and people watching. The eveni g has great entertainment from the East to the West side. Only decision I still do not agree with is letting Disney Quest go.
I’m super excited for our trip to SS. We’re staying at Pop the first 5 days, but I feel like SS will remind us of some of the best things about Universal, which was the quick walk to CityWalk. Good to hear that the food is pretty good at SS too!
You truly missed out on an experience at Wine Bar George.
I’m looking forward to Jaleo, if for no other reason than to have a new type of cuisine at Disney Springs. I hope they at least do the food as authentic as possible and not water it down for tourists.
I’ll miss World of Disney’s old look for sure, but I’m excited to see what the Imagineers come up with!
“I hope they at least do the food as authentic as possible and not water it down for tourists.”
In circumstances like this, I think the best course of action–from the outset–is having authentic cuisine with a few safety net items for typical Walt Disney World guests. It prevents a ‘situation’ or complaints, while also keeping the restaurant reasonably accessible. With as much competition as already exists at Disney Springs, those restaurants probably don’t want to push away potential guests.
As much as i like the clean look of the new springs area, it looks way to 5th ave to me. Too many expensive stores. Most of the restaurants are a little pricey for us so we usually don’t eat at them. Bring back regular food, micky d’s. Chic filet . Nba experience is a waste . They should have just refurbished quest. There was a reason it was always packed . I like walking around by the earl of sandwich area as that is disney to us . Not 5th ave.
Terralina looks fairly generic from the outside from the picture you sent, but the fact that it’s the first Tony Mantuano restaurant outside of Chicago is the “hook” (at least for those fashioning themselves as “foodies”). Tony and his restaurants have won James Beard awards and Michelin stars – he also competed on “Top Chef Masters” and a couple of his proteges have been past finalists on Top Chef (including last year’s winner) and are now stars in the food world themselves. If Tony’s flagship (Spiaggia in Chicago) was magically teleported to Orlando, it would be the top restaurant in the city (surpassing Victoria and Albert’s).
But it’s hard to know whether Terralina will even come close to that level of food and service, and I understand the reticence toward spending a great deal of time and money to find out. Rick Bayless is another world-renowned chef from Chicago with a place in Disney Springs but aside from the price point Frontera Cocina doesn’t appear to be on the level as his places in Chicago (I haven’t been yet to check it out).
Personally I’d probably rather go to a Jose Andres restaurant, as well (his places in DC in particular are outstanding) just for the fun and unique elements they bring to the table — especially in a place like Disney World where I want to be entertained and amazed, not just “wined and dined”. But to be sure, folks plugged in to the national dining/restaurant scene will most certainly have strong interest in Terralina.
I totally forgot a celebrity chef was attached to this restaurant. Based on past experience, I’m very skeptical that Tony Mantuano will have any meaningful involvement (let alone it being on par with his flagship concept), but perhaps we will check it out at some point.
I think you’re right to be skeptical, though Tony does partner with really great chefs so it’s likely Terralina will be at least very solid if not spectacular.
But you’re probably better off coming to Chicago for the real deal. And on that note, we need some more Chicago posts and pics on Travel Caffeine! If you need an excuse, Walt was born here, after all!
We ate at Jaleo in Washington DC. It didn’t live up to the hype for me (they could not properly cook an egg), but the decor certainly wasn’t bland hipster. It was odd.
After so much sameness, I will happily take odd.
Has there been any news/rumors about a Cirque replacement? Last I heard they were designing a new show to replace the retired La Nouba, but I haven’t heard anything in quite some time.
This. Have you heard anything, Tom?
Disney announced that there was another Cirque show in development. The last I heard anything was at the end of last year–no opening date has been set to my knowledge.
Proximity to Disney Springs is what keeps us coming back to Saratoga Springs. The outdoor entertainment, variety of dining / desert options, shopping… all make Disney Springs a great place to visit on non-theme park days and water park days. As much as I would enjoy a stay at a different resort (Boardwalk, Wilderness Lodge), the five minute boat ride / ten minute walk to DS and all it has to offer keeps SS high on our list.