Feature: Can Disney Springs Click with Guests?
Today, Disney unveiled numerous sketches and a video showcasing the story that will transform Downtown Disney (at Walt Disney World) into Disney Springs, a small town waterfront market that is seeing a boom period. Trying to capture a bit of the magic they created with Disney’s Boardwalk area, the new revitalized Disney Springs could be a brilliant idea or a bust. Let me quickly lay out my bias thoughts before I play devil’s advocate here.
The Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village opened in 1975 as a place resorts guests could go beyond the monorail loop resorts and Magic Kingdom. Over the decades the eventual Downtown Disney grew to have two other sections, but the conglomerate was just a nice, clean shopping district. It wasn’t like much of the resort hotels and theme parks. Most of Walt Disney World has a story, a vision. Downtown Disney had some of that, especially with Pleasure Island but as the adult nightlife section of Downtown Disney closed, even that small story was lost.
Now I’m not a fan of the Disney Springs name. I’ve said that in countless articles and Modern Mouse Radio shows, but I do think that Downtown Disney needs something to “plus” it. I am spoiled and I understand that. The family that visits a Disney resort once in their lifetime doesn’t mind the fact that it’s just a shopping district, but for veterans of the parks, we want something a bit more. Despite lots of planning, sketches, and time, I’m still skeptical of the Disney Springs concept. I preferred the former Hyperion Wharf concept but that’s personal taste. Let’s look at this as if Disney Springs succeeds despite my small gripes. What does Disney gain from it?
Disney’s Animal Kingdom has succeeded due to many reasons, but it’s layers of depth add to the experience of the park and continue to keep repeat visitors coming back. The details that went into Disney’s Animal Kingdom are astounding. The guys over at Jambo Everyone can tell you that extensively, but I won’t go into detail there. Can that translate to Disney Springs? It’s possible that the amount of time spent at Disney’s shopping district will and should increase with the new additions. Depending on the level of detail and the quality of experience, we could see guests visiting Disney Springs multiple times during their trip. With a shopping district, the more time spent means more money being spent. That’s a simple enough formula to me. I don’t mind the idea of spending more than one evening exploring, playing, eating, and shopping as long as I have something wonderful to embrace as a guest. For the general public, they may just waltz on by the story and appreciate the beauty of the place, while more seasoned Disney shoppers will look at the architecture in detail and scout for those small details that make Disney Imagineering great. Disney could be able to expand upon the success of Disney Springs into other ventures such as revitalizing shopping districts at other Disney parks, or creating Disney shopping areas in other towns across the U.S., bringing Disney magic to more destinations….but what if it’s a flop? |
Disney Springs is a large project and despite other entities fronting part of the bill for the redevelopment, Disney has quite a bit riding on this, especially when much of the retail space is rented out. Having only a few spaces vacant can make the difference between a guest thinking this is a thriving small town waterfront or a once exciting district on the decline. On the other side of this, it all depends on what the individual guest wants and how can Disney cater to the preferences of the masses? For example, I’m not a fan of American Eagle clothing. I never have been and never will be. It’s just my personal preference. Despite wrapping a story into the building and creating probably the prettiest American Eagle store you’ll ever see, I’m still not going to buy a pair of jeans. That’s the same for every guest going to Disney Springs. Sure I might spend extra time in a store I wouldn’t normally bat my eyes at, but at the end of the day, my money won’t be spent there. Disney Springs may have to introduce unique brands, more Disney related products, or exciting experiences to really develop a serious increase in sales.
I won’t write Disney Springs off until I experience it for myself. If they can earn even $1 dollar more than I would have spent at the former Downtown Disney, they have succeeded. I am excited to experience something new and hopefully unique at the redeveloped shopping district in the near future and they have brought new experiences like bowling to the area which I would give a big thumbs up. I will probably partake in something like a billiards game on my next trip, but you still won’t get me to buy those jeans Disney!
Posted on August 20, 2014, in Articles and tagged #DisneySide, concept art, dining, Disney, Disney Side, Disney Springs, Disney World, Downtown Disney, Food, Josh Taylor, Modern Mouse, Modern Mouse Radio, new, Shopping, Walt Disney World, WDW. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.