Downtown Disney renovations finally happening?

A new set of filings with the South Florida Water Management District suggest Disney is ready to proceed with major renovations at Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney.  

Years have passed since the shuttering of the last Pleasure Island night clubs and announcement of the stillborn Hyperion Wharf makeover.  While Disney has battled the stagnant economy and managed to attract a few new tenants like Raglan Road and Splitsville, many of the area's problems remain today:  insufficient parking, a poor layout and empty storefronts.  

But rumors of an expansive Downtown Disney makeover are finally gaining steam.

Website ThemeParkInsider.com spotted recent filings with the South Florida Water Management District which suggest major changes to the Downtown Disney area.  While these filings relate almost exclusively to bodies-of-water in the area (remove one pond, expand another, etc.), they neatly mesh with plans reported by the site ParkRumors.com.  

Major physical construction includes two multi-story parking garages--one on the current Marketplace side adjacent to World of Disney and the other near the West End (Cirque du Soleil, DisneyQuest.)  Meanwhile the center lots adjacent to Pleasure Island would host expanded bus depots and new Downtown Disney retail space.  

Traffic flows would be improved with roadway modifications, perhaps linking one of the new parking structures directly to nearby I-4.

Permits submitted for the water management project cite a project start date of March 2013.   

Bear in mind that these are still rumors with no confirmation from Disney.  For additional details, visit ThemeParkInsider.com and ParkRumors.com.  

Should Disney move forward with some version of this project--in particular, the parking structures--one can only hope that more stringent parking policies will be enacted, too.  Off-site guests parking at Downtown Disney (free) and then walking to Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa for transportation to theme parks has placed an increasing burden on the Saratoga Springs bus system since the resort opened in 2004.  

Reader Comments
Re: Downtown Disney renovations finally happening? -- tblythedvc
2013 Feb 24 08:09:39 AM
ll sounds great SSR is our favorite resort especially for the proximity to Downtown.The new bridge would be great except I hope they have a plan in place to keep the non staying guess out of the resort which is becomming an increasing problem especially at the pools
Re: Downtown Disney renovations finally happening? -- denlo
2013 Feb 24 04:17:28 PM
I have to admit that I am hoping that the Magic+ system will eliminate non Disney resort guests from the bus system. I really think that is the main reason DTD parking is so horrific, because non resort guests park there and ride a bus to the parks.

And since it wasn't that long ago that there was a big announcement regarding the Hyperion project, maybe that is why nothing is being mentioned regarding this latest filing. Is it possible that all the changes in this filing is just part of the Hyperion project?
Re: Downtown Disney renovations finally happening? -- KNWVIKING 2.0
2013 Feb 24 04:48:30 PM
denlo wrote:
I really think that is the main reason DTD parking is so horrific, because non resort guests park there and ride a bus to the parks.

I don't think it, I know it.

Go to DTD at 8:30 in the morning. Count the cars and then walk thru Marketplace, PI and West Side and count the people.
Downtown Disney renovations finally happening? -- marcel54
2013 Feb 25 03:28:17 PM
As a local, we hope the parking gets a lot better. The 2 garages sound great. Disney needs to make sure only AP holders, CM, or people with park tickets park there. :oweye:
Re: Downtown Disney renovations finally happening? -- twoehr
2013 Feb 26 03:26:34 PM
I could've sworn that when I went to WDW in 2003 you had to show your KTTW card to get on the bus at Downtown Disney. Either I'm nuts or it was a good idea, that must not have been well implemented. If the FP+, or whatever they're calling it, will enable that type of check that would be great.

Both parking and bus service in and out of there is bad. We usually only go on our first or last day. Even when we are only making a souvenir run, and not an event of it, Downtown sucks up as much time as going to a park. (Actually, I think I can do Animal Kingdom faster!)

Tim

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