Welcome to Disney Springs!

It’s official, Disney held a renaming christening party today for Disney Springs, the shopping and dining district formerly known as Downtown Disney!

9/29/15: Lunchtime crowd gathers at DTD for the name changing ceremony.

9/29/15: Lunchtime crowd gathers at DTD for the name changing ceremony.

New signage has gone up at WDW for Disney Springs. They no longer say Downtown Disney.

New signage went up at WDW last week for Disney Springs. They no longer say ‘Downtown Disney’.

Major construction continues at a fast pace from one end of Disney Springs to the other, and on all the roadways in-between!

Some concept art of what Disney Springs will look like in Spring 2016:

Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs.

Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs.  Opened today.

Mickey at the grand opening of M

9/29/15: Mickey at the grand opening of Morimoto Asia today.

Disney Springs Town Center (opening in 2016).

Disney Springs Town Center (opening in 2016).

Marketplace, West Side

Marketplace, West Side

The Landing (formerly Pleasure Island).

The Landing (formerly Pleasure Island).

Disney Springs logo

Official Disney Springs logo

Video of the backstory of Disney Springs:  Disney Springs 2016  

What DTD will look like in Spring 2016.

What DTD will look like as Disney Springs in Spring 2016 (lake view).

We’re less than a year away from the final transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs by Spring 2016. The construction works continues at a fast pace, with new shops and restaurants opening weekly!

Personally, we’re very glad to see all the work being done to expand Buena Vista Blvd. and the opening of the two new parking garages (finally!).

Disney Springs is being expanded to include more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment experiences.

It’s a 3 year construction project (2013-2016).

New Disney Springs signage everywhere.

New Disney Springs signage everywhere.

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Disney Springs logo.

They should have begun this expansion – especially the two new parking garages – back in 2000.  Parking’s been terrible at Downtown Disney for 10+ years and Lake Buena Vista hasn’t been able to handle the daily traffic loads for years.

Every CP we know, including us!, has sat on a bus in stopped traffic on Lake Buena Vista Drive going to and from work.

New I-4 interchange that will offer guests direct access to Disney Springs.

2016:  New I-4 interchange that will offer guests direct access to Disney Springs.

Widening Lake Buena Vista Drive from seven to ten lanes.

Summer 2016:  Widening Lake Buena Vista Drive from seven to ten lanes will finally be complete.

We can’t wait until it’s all finished!  We are definitely planning a trip in 2016 to see it all done!

Disney Springs 2016

Ariel view:  The Landing at Disney Springs shopping and dining district, Spring 2016

Disney Springs after dark.

Disney Springs after dark.  Almost double the restaurants and shops are planned.

Disney Springs, Florida logo

The official Disney Springs, Florida logo

Disney Springs Construction Work:

  • Roadwork on Buena Vista Drive  Through Mar. 2016
    Due to heavy roadwork, expect delays on Buena Vista Drive. It is recommended that Guests use complimentary Walt Disney World Resort transportation from Parks and Resorts to Disney Springs and plan to arrive early for reserved dining and entertainment experiences.
  • Parking Lots – Entrance 2 – Lots A-G  Dec. 1, 2014 – Aug. 1, 2016
    Loss of parking lot Entrance 2 to Guest/Cast traffic and associated lots A-G in preparation for the construction of Town Center and the East Garage.

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Two Girls

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

            by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.

http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Mouse-Tale-Elly-Collins/dp/1941500110/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430687055&sr=1-1&keywords=two+girls+and+a+mouse+tale

Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

***

Force Friday: May the Force Be With You!

September 4th: Force Friday

September 4th: Force Friday

Yesterday was global ‘Force Friday’ and we were there!

Our local Disney Store opened at 7am and the first 100 guests in line got a special Star Wars pin.

Special Star Wars pin

Special Star Wars pin for store guests.

The pins were gone in 15 minutes!

The Disney Store at Flatirons Mall, Broomfield, CO.

The Disney Store at Flatirons Mall, Broomfield, CO.

Worldwide release of new Star Wars merchandise.

Worldwide release of new Star Wars merchandise.

The front 1/3 of the store was all Star Wars stuff.

The front 1/3 of the store was all Star Wars stuff.

Princess Leia costume complete with wig.

Princess Leia costume complete with wig.

September 4, a.k.a. Force Friday — the highly-anticipated midnight release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys, collectibles, gadgets, and more. It will be the world’s first chance to own official product celebrating the next installment of the Star Wars saga, and several retailers – including Disney – have “something special planned.”

May the Force (Friday) be with you!  🙂

11:58pm on Sept. 3rd at Downtown Disney Orlando. 200 guests in line to stampede into the World of Disney store at midnight!

11:58pm on Sept. 3rd at Downtown Disney Orlando: 200 guests in line to stampede into the World of Disney store at midnight!

star-wars

May the Fourth be with you!

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dole whip

Two Disney Sisters

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

*** 

Disney Springs Update

New signage has gone up at WDW for Disney Springs. They no longer say Downtown Disney.

New signage has gone up at WDW this week for Disney Springs. They no longer say ‘Downtown Disney’.

Major construction continues at a fast pace from one end of Downtown Disney to the other, and on all the roadways in-between!

Disney Springs logo

Official Disney Springs logo

Video of the backstory of Disney Springs:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7zSXqXPFIg

What DTD will look like in Spring 2016.

What DTD will look like in Spring 2016.

We’re less than a year away from the final transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs by Spring 2016.

Personally, we’re very glad to see all the work being done to expand Buena Vista Blvd. and the opening of the two new parking garages (finally!).

Disney Springs is being expanded to include more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment experiences. It’s a 3 year construction project (2013-2016).

ds logo (2)
They should have begun this expansion – especially the two new parking garages – back in 2000.  Parking’s been terrible at Downtown Disney for 10+ years and Lake Buena Vista hasn’t been able to handle the daily traffic loads for years.

Every CP has sat on a bus in stopped traffic on Lake Buena Vista Drive going to and from work.

New I-4 interchange that will offer guests direct access to Disney Springs.

2016:  New I-4 interchange that will offer guests direct access to Disney Springs.

Widening Lake Buena Vista Drive from seven to ten lanes.

Summer 2016:  Widening Lake Buena Vista Drive from seven to ten lanes will be completed.

We can’t wait until it’s all finished!  We definitely need to plan a trip to WDW to see it all in 2016!

Disney Springs 2016

Disney Springs shopping and dining district 2016

Disney Springs after dark.

Disney Springs after dark.  Almost double to restaurants and shops are planned.

Disney Springs, Florida logo

The official Disney Springs, Florida logo

***************************************

Two Girls

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

            by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.

http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Mouse-Tale-Elly-Collins/dp/1941500110/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430687055&sr=1-1&keywords=two+girls+and+a+mouse+tale

Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

***

Going to House of Blues – Round Two!

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House of Blues at DTD

I’ve been wanting to go back to House of Blues again since my first time going to HOB was such a bust.

I was finally able to convince my DAK friends to go since it’s their last week on the College Program.

We all got out of work at 7pm or 8pm, and raced home to get showered and ready.

By 9:30pm, we all realized how starving we were!  I once read a comment “If you ask yourself if you should order pizza, it’s already too late” which is SO true! haha

Once we thought about eating some pizza, we needed it ASAP!

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Pizza delivery! Yes!!

We ordered an Hawaiian BBQ pizza, a Spinach Alfredo pizza, and a cheese bread. Yum!

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Pizza Party!

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Kik and I getting ready.

Once we had all eaten, we headed over to the Chatham bus stop.

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My great CP friends: Kik (from Thailand), Samantha (from Mexico), and Nicole (from Canada).

I wasn’t going to bring a purse, so I had my friend Nicole hold onto my phone for me.

We all got on the bus, but then I realized I didn’t have my Housing ID!

The bus driver was really rude and even though I was super apologetic, but he wouldn’t let me on.  I asked to go and tell my friends really quick what happened, but he wouldn’t let me so I had to get off the bus.  Ahhh!

With no phone, I had no way to contact my friends and they didn’t know what had happened to me.

I quickly ran back to my apartment, feeling like SUCH an idiot.  I grabbed my ID (I had left it in my work bag) and ran back to the bus stop.  I only had to wait about 10 minutes for the next bus and when I got on, there was my ICP friend, Tiantian.

He had come over for pizza, but didn’t want to come out to HOB with us.  After he saw us leave, he realized he wanted to go too so he had raced back to his apartment to get his passport to join us.  Nice!

Thankfully, it all worked out and I didn’t have to go alone to HOB and try to find my friends inside.

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My ICP Tiantian (from China) and me on the bus to DTD. He is really good at editing pictures!

We got to DTD and my friends had been kind (and smart!) enough to wait for me right at the bus stop, instead of trying to find each other inside the nightclub.

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At House of Blues

We walked into HOB and immediately it was AWESOME!

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So packed!  Great music!

There was no stupid dance-off going on like last time, and the DJ was actually playing good music.

We stayed for about 1 1/2 hours and left at 1:30am.  We got to the bus stop right as the housing bus got there at 1:45am.

Even with leaving HOB early, I didn’t get home and in bed until after 2:30am!  Yikes!  (You all know how I love going to bed early!)

I am SO glad that I got to go out to HOB again.  I finally understand what people are saying when they say HOB is fun.

We had a blast!  🙂

***************************************

Two Girls

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.

http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Mouse-Tale-Elly-Collins/dp/1941500110/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430687055&sr=1-1&keywords=two+girls+and+a+mouse+tale

Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

***

New Vivoli Gelateria Gelato at Downtown Disney

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Vivoli Gelateria Gelato

There is a brand new gelato place in Downtown Disney.

I’ve never had gelato before so I definitely wanted to try it!  It’s been soooo hot in Orlando this summer!!!

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The menu

There are three sizes and you can get multiple flavors in one cup.

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There are also drinks and snacks like a nutella brownie! Yum!

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Italian cookies and treats to go with your gelato.

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Small hand-sized sandwiches too, with Italian ham and cheeses.

There are tons of flavors, so don’t forget to test taste some before you decide.

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All made fresh onsite.

I ended up getting the Chocolate Hazelnut one and my friend Katie got half Apple Cinnamon and half Mango.
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It’s decorated with family photos of the owners of the store.

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Photos of the original Gelato store in Italy.

The original store opened in Italy many years ago.

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Pastel colors for the cups. No Baskin-Robbins neon pink color here!

I love the themeing and all the pretty colors in the store!I

The gelato was so smooth and creamy.  LOVED IT!!!

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Taking my gelato outside to eat.

Such a nice treat to eat while you’re walking around Downtown Disney on a hot summer’s day!

To read more about Vivoli Gelateria Gelato, click here.

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Two Girls

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.

http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Mouse-Tale-Elly-Collins/dp/1941500110/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430687055&sr=1-1&keywords=two+girls+and+a+mouse+tale

Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

***

Dinner and a Movie at Downtown Disney

Having Dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express Cafe at Downtown Disney Marketplace

Wolfgang Puck Express at DTD Marketplace

Wolfgang Puck Express Cafe at DTD Marketplace

Express ordering stations

Express ordering stations

Dining room with tables for 2 or 4.

Dining room with tables for 2 or 4.

I got a chance to return to Wolfgang Puck’s for dinner this week.  There are two Wolfgang Puck Express cafes at DTD – one at the Marketplace and one on the West side.  We went to the one at the Marketplace.

I ordered the Meatloaf Sandwich, which was very good, and my friend got one of their signature salads with chicken.

The service was fast (maybe not “express”, but fast for DTD eating!) and we were able to make our movie at 7pm.

Afterward eating, we went out to see Jurassic World at the AMC theater in DTD.  Good movie!

Blockbuster movie of Summer 2015

Blockbuster movie of Summer 2015

Lunch and Dinner Menu, July 2015

Soups

Butternut Squash in cardamom cream, chives $7

Chicken Noodle with carrots, chives $7

Salads

Butter Lettuce tomato-goat cheese crostini, balsamic vinaigrette $8

Caesar romaine, parmesan, tomato crostini $9; with chicken $13

Roasted Beet butter lettuce, goat cheese, oranges, candied pecans, balsamic vinaigrette $11

Signature salad

Signature salad

Chinois Chicken Napa cabbage, wontons, cashews, ginger & sesame honey dressing $13 [Recommended!]

Baby Spinach & Quinoa golden raisins, apples, shaved fennel, lemon vinaigrette 10; with chicken $14

Roasted Turkey Cobb romaine, arugula, eggs, green beans, tomatoes, avocado, bacon, gorgonzola, balsamic vinaigrette $14

Greek butter lettuce, feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, peppers, Greek dressing 11; with chicken $14

Barbecued Chicken romaine, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, corn, crispy tortilla strips, poblano peppers, black beans, ranch dressing $13

Sandwiches

All served with house-made chips; substitute fries, sweet potato fries or butter lettuce salad for $1.50

Chicken Salad grapes, apples, butter lettuce, Dijon aioli, whole grain bread $12

Rotisserie Turkey Club avocado, bacon, tomatoes, mixed greens, pepperoncini aioli $14

Chicken Aioli provolone, tomatoes, red onions, cilantro aïoli $12

Chicken Meatball fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce $14

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf smoked mozzarella, crispy onion rings, garlic aioli $14 [Recommended!]

Whole Wheat Hummus Wrap cucumbers, arugula, feta, red onions, Kalamata olives, tomato vinaigrette $11

Pizzas

Margherita fresh mozzarella, plum tomatoes, basil $12.50

Classic Cheese parmesan $11.50

Pepperoni Pomodoro caramelized onions, basil, parmesan $13.50

Barbecued Chicken smoked mozzarella, cilantro, caramelized onions $14.50

Four Cheese pesto, roma tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes $13.50

Roasted Mushroom goat cheese, arugula, garlic cream sauce $13.50

Chicken Meatball mushrooms, red onions, ricotta $13.50

Pastas & Entrees

Rotisserie Chicken with mashed potatoes

Rotisserie Chicken with mashed potatoes

Half Rotisserie Chicken rosemary, mashed potatoes, garlic butter $16

Oven Roasted Salmon cauliflower puree, marinated tomatoes, broccolini  $20

Ravioli ricotta, basil, tomato cream sauce $15

Spaghetti & Chicken Meatballs basil, parmesan $16

Spaghetti Bolognese broccolini, herbed ricotta $18

Cavatappi Chicken Alfredo mushrooms, baby peas, goat cheese $16

Macaroni & Cheese $12

Crispy Chicken Tenders french fries $13

They have the best meatloaf!!!!  Try it as a sandwich like I did!

They have the best meatloaf!!!! Try it as a sandwich like I did!

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf mashed potatoes, onion rings, port wine sauce $16

***************************************

 Two Girls

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

  by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.

http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Mouse-Tale-Elly-Collins/dp/1941500110/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430687055&sr=1-1&keywords=two+girls+and+a+mouse+tale

Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

***

Girls Night Out at Downtown Disney

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Shopping at World of Disney with my friends.

My DAK coworker friends and I got off work at 7pm and decided to take the bus over to DTD instead of heading home to our apartments.

The sun was setting by the time we got to DTD and got changed out of our costumes and into street clothes.

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In our Mickey ears.

We had dinner at Earl of Sandwich – delicious!! – and walked around seeing all the changes and construction.

That hit the spot!  :)

That hit the spot! 🙂

(Downtown Disney will become Disney Springs in summer 2016.)

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Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop at night.

When it was time for some dessert, the place to go was, of course, Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop! 🙂

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YUM!!

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I got a Cookie Dough Sundae.

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Two Girls
Two Girls and a Mouse Tale
by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins
We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.
We included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.
http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Mouse-Tale-Elly-Collins/dp/1941500110/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430687055&sr=1-1&keywords=two+girls+and+a+mouse+tale
Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.
***