Image via Disney Parks Blog
The NBA Experience, slated to open in Summer 2019
Disney Springs has seen dozens of new shops and restaurants open as part of the massive update to the former Downtown Disney complex. The crowds have discovered all the new offerings ranging from new retail shops, to new themed dining experiences, to a complete overhaul to the World of Disney store, but some of the biggest additions have yet to open.
At least five major new additions are still in the works for the shopping district with various smaller ones, including a reimagining of the Basin store, currently in the works.
The first of the five additions to open will be the Chicken Guy
counter service restaurant on the ground floor of the Planet Hollywood Observatory. The location, tucked in beside the Planet Hollywood retail shop, was initially rumored to be a burger joint but is now focused on fried chicken, a signature item on the Planet Hollywood menu. Hiring is already underway for the new fried chicken fast-casual concept that will include made-to-order sandwiches, salads, wraps, and soups.
Just across the pathway from Chicken Guy will be another new restaurant, though this one will be notably finer dining. The Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill
will be the second Wolfgang Puck restaurant for Disney Springs after the, now closed and extremely dated, Wolfgang Puck Café in the West Side district. The new Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill has moved from the West Side to the newly created Town Center section and has shed the 1990’s cartoon-like aesthetic for a sleek, California inspired modern design similar to the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Brill in L.A.
Image via bioreconstruct | Twitter
Jaleo by Chef José Andrés under construction at Disney Springs.
The former Wolfgang Puck Café location was leveled entirely and, in its place, another new restaurant is rising. This waterfront site will be the sixth location for Jaleo by Chef José Andrés
and the first in the southern U.S. The multi-level tapas-focused restaurant will be the largest and, according to the restaurant's official website, the most spectacular Jaleo yet. Jaleo should open this fall in its brand new glass and metal clad building.
Caddy-corner to Jaleo is what will be the most substantial addition yet to open at Disney Springs. According to the Disney Parks Blog
, the new NBA Experience will include “immersive experiences, a retail store and an adjacent restaurant” in a high-tech venue that draws inspiration from NBA arenas around the nation. Slated to open summer of 2019, the NBA Experience replaces the now-closed DisneyQuest, but like DisneyQuest, this attraction will include interactive games alongside the new restaurant and retail shop.
Image via bioreconstruct | Twitter
The NBA Experience under construction. The current Cirque du Soleil in the far right.
The final new addition to Disney Springs is an original show at the Cirque du Soleil location next to the new NBA Experience. No details on what the new show will be or when it will open have been shared, but late last year Cirque did confirm
the new show will focus Disney's animated films. The show will be a collaboration between Cirque du Soleil and Disney.
With the new show still likely a year or more away some have speculated that a temporary show might fill the live entertainment demand in the meantime. According to WDW News Today
, the original plan was to open the touring show this summer, but parking concerns pushed it back until this upcoming spring after the third parking garage, currently under construction, opens. In the same blog post, WDW News Today points to Luzia
as the potential temporary show headed to Disney Springs. The Mexican culture-inspired touring show has no scheduled shows after December 23. Currently, Luzia uses a giant whimsical looking circus tent for its shows. The tent might be used in Orlando allowing for extensive remodeling on the current Cirque Du Soleil theater while still meeting the demand for the show in Orlando.
According to WDW News Today, Luzia should open at Disney Springs sometime in the spring of 2019.
Past the five additions that have been confirmed other additions to the Disney Springs area includes a new hotel tower at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista on Hotel Boulevard, for which new public documents were just posted on Orange County’s website despite no announcements from any groups involved, and a rumored overhaul to other pre-existing establishments, including both Bongo’s and the Rainforest Café.
There’s plenty of new things to check out already at Disney Springs, but the plan looks like Disney wants to keep that fact alive for years to come.