Upon Completion, “Disney Springs” will be the premier shopping and dining experience for anyone living in or visiting the Orlando area. The “Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village”first opened on March 22, 1975. As more Hotel Resorts moved into the area, the shopping village was renamed the “Walt Disney World Village”. Then, in 1984, under new management, namely Michael Eisner, Disney began looking for new ideas to keep guests on WDW property longer. Over the next few years new businesses were added, like Pleasure Island, Cirque du Soleil, Disney Quest, and several other exciting shops and restaurants, along with a new name, “Downtown Disney”. Today, “Downtown Disney” is getting a spectacular refurbishment, with even more distinctive shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, and new title, “Disney Springs”. Listed here are four new or newly renovated restaurants for your dining pleasure.
1. Planet Hollywood Observatory — Even though this is not exactly a new restaurant, the redesign of “Planet Hollywood” into “Planet Hollywood Observatory” will offer a new an innovative dining experience. The original “Planet Hollywood” is being converted into a four-story stargazing observatory. Their new catch phrase will be “Dine Amongst the Stars” and will feature a newly expanded outdoor terrace and outdoor bar space called “Stargazers”, which will include live entertainment, while music in the main dining room will be accompanied by DJ performances. New upholstery, spherical planet-shaped lighting fixtures, wall and glass displays throughout the massive building will feature imagery and memorabilia from various famous movies from the past, present, and future. The menu has not yet been released, but the word is that the new menu will be updated with items such as milkshakes, smoothies, wines, bottled and draft beers, and cocktails. There are also plans to bring in celebrity chefs to work on menu changes.
2. Morimoto Asia — Chef Masaharu Morimoto(a star on Iron Chef-Food Network)brings his highly acclaimed culinary talents to this new location in Disney Springs, a 36-foot tall, two-story layout, including open terraces, grand hall, private rooms, long bar, cocktail lounge, waterside seating, and much more. The pan-Asian menu will offer a variety of specialties originating from Asian countries, including China, Japan, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, India, etc. Chef Morimoto’s perfectly balanced Asian flavors with both Western and Japanese ingredients will surprise and delight guests of all ages. There will also be street-food stalls, and exhibition kitchens showcasing traditions like Peking duck carving and dim sum. Morimoto Asia is an extraordinary dining addition to “Disney Springs”.
3. Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza — “Blaze Fast – Fire’d Pizza” is a modern day “pizza joint” best known for its custom-built artesian pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’mores pies. What is extra special about this pizzeria is the interactive assembly-line format that allows diners to customize their pizzas, choosing from over 40 fresh, artesian toppings—and all for one price. The 11-inch pizzas are “fast-fired” in a blazing hop open-flame oven and ready to enjoy in just 180 seconds. I’ve head it on good authority that the spicy red sauce and olive oil drizzle add a whole new flavor to the pizza. After you have demolished your pizza, you can satisfy your sweet tooth with a s’mores pie, graham cracker cookies, chocolate and marshmallows, melted to perfection. The orange blood lemonade is made using blood oranges(a special variety of orange which acquired its name because of its dark maroon coloring and distinctive raspberry-like flavor),lemons, and simple syrup(sugar & water)all blended together to create this refreshing beverage. This is no ordinary pizza joint—it is “Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza”.
4. Edison — The famous “Edison” Restaurant in Los Angeles was the inspiration for this newest addition to Disney Springs. This lavish industrial gothic-style restaurant, bar, and nighttime venue is themed to resemble a 1920’s-period power plant, with a décor that celebrates an era of invention and imagination, with a blending of science, art, and industry. The furnishings and accessories will transport you back in time to an abandoned power plant circa 1920, which has been transformed into an extravagant lounge and restaurant, with musical accompaniment right out of the “roaring 20’s”, flapper-style. The menu features such unique choices, such as “The Edison” cocktail, a blend of bourbon, pear cognac, and lemon honey; Edison Fries, which are shoestring potatoes tossed with vinegar and crushed red pepper, Cabernet Braised Short Ribs served with mashed potatoes, creamed leeks, and roasted heirloom carrots; and for dessert, try the “Elvis Presley”, a pan fried sandwich filled with peanut butter and bananas, served with a Cajeta caramel sauce. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? The “Edison” is sure to “blow your mind”!
“Disney Springs” is going to offer travelers and local residents a brand new and exciting venue for shopping, dining, waterfront activities, and soe much more, including several entertainment activities for the whole family. I would venture to say you really need an extra day or two added to your vacation itinerary if you would like to explore all of “Disney Springs” and its exciting new additions. I know I will!
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