Time to head back to Walt Disney World’s shopping and dining district, Downtown Disney (DTD). In my last several photo reports of DtD I have skipped over just how many construction walls have popped up all over the place, so today we’re going to get up close and personal with those, as well as a new bridge connecting DTD to the Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. We’ll also check out the Fit2Run store on the West Side, look at some new merchandise at World of Disney, artwork at Art of Disney, collectibles at D-Sreet and give a full report on whether or not Theme Park Tagalongs actually do what they say they do (as I had my doubts when I first saw them). So sit back and get ready to take a tour through the construction capital of the world (and don’t forget that clicking on any picture will bring up the full size version). Ready? Well let’s get to it!
We’ll actually start off in the parking lot on the West Side, where some Disney Springs signage has shown up in the form of parking signs. In DTD there are very few actual references to the upcoming transition to Disney Springs, so it’s neat to see the transformation getting more concrete.
Small snack to start off the day at The Smokehouse quick service located in front of the House of Blues
Got the pulled pork sandwich that is served with a side of house made cole slaw. This was fantastic ($9.99).
Fit2Run is a nationwide chain catering to runners; its DTD branch is located in the West Side between DisneyQuest and Splitsville. Not a bad store to have at DTD, considering the boom in runDisney events down here in Florida. Lots of sneakers, shirts, shorts, and other running accessories.
Now that D-Street is focusing mostly on non-Vinlymation toys and collectibles, I find myself stopping in on every trip. I thought these “steam punk” inspired pieces looked fantastic. Steep at $95 each, but they look sharp.
The Haunted Mansion Vinylmation series has been out for a little while now, and the Mickey and Minnie versions aren’t that bad at all. These are $24.95 each and come with two Vinyls: a Butler Mickey (or Maid Minnie), along with a blind box character.
Across from D-Street is this very strange section of overhead track which makes little sense unless it is just being used for decoration. The picture following explains where this piece is in relation to the upcoming Food Truck Park area. Since the picture has been taken, the walls have come down, and foliage has been added to the elevated area.
As you see in the background, the Food Truck Park will have a second level walkway/dining area, and this stand-alone piece outside D-Street matches that look exactly. #story
Right past this area we approach the walls surrounding Planet Hollywood. They go for as far as the eye can see.
When parking is full at DTD, guests are encouraged to go to the overflow parking available at several locations across the street. One of these locations is Team Disney. There are shuttles that will bring you to DTD, or – if you’re crazy – you can walk it.
This ad for the AMC Dine-In Theatres on one of the construction waslls caught my eye because it shows an experience that is not the one you get at DTD’s Fork & Screen theaters. The set-up inside the AMC has one long table serving four guests seated next to each other. It also has seats that are further back than the ones in these photos.
This picture doesn’t really help much when it comes to seeing what the Fork & Screen is like at the DtD AMC movie theaters, but it is one of my favorite ways to see a movie on the big screen. They have a full bar, a terrific menu (for a movie theater), and the servers will get you whatever you need whenever you ask (such as refills for soda and popcorn).
Pretty much the entirety of Pleasure Island is behind construction walls. The walkway that takes you around the entire area dumps you out here, next to Raglan Road.
Next to Raglan Road is one of my personal favorite counter service restaurants on Disney property, Cookes of Dublin. The construction walls will guide you to Portobello Country Italian Trattoria and Fulton’s Crab House.
The walls take a quick break in front Portobello….
But then pick right back up in front of T-REX Cafe.
I stopped into T-Rex Cafe and am happy to report that the first tank that cracked several months ago has been completely fixed, and the fish have returned.
Concept art for the upcoming – and desperately needed – parking garage for Disney Springs.
Once we pass T-REX, this is the corridor that will lead you to the Lego and World of Disney stores.
The LEGO displays in front of the LEGO store are worth going out of your way to see. Very impressive stuff.
Construction walls block off one of the former exits to the LEGO Store.
Let’s take a quick run into the World of Disney store. The “mini-character” hats are apparently quite popular in Japan. They are $21.95 each. Each has a big head that you wear, and then the character’s body dangles on your neck. I think like Duffy the Bear this may be one fad they won’t translate as well over here.
I couldn’t get anyone to actually wear one, so here is a picture of a mannequin wearing one in a display at the Everything Pop! gift store at the Pop Century Resort.
Once again, very little Frozen merchandise at World of Disney, but this Animator’s Collection Kristoff doll arrived. This is one version of the Disney dolls that I enjoy a lot, and I wouldn’t mind seeing comic books or animated films done in this style.
Time for the Theme Park Tagalongs scientific experiment! I was intrigued by the concept of Theme Park Tagalongs when I first saw them, although I doubted that they would actually work. The Tagalongs come with two pieces: a figure and a magnetic base. You place the base under your shirt and then put the figure on top of it on the outside the shirt, so that the figure is resting on your shoulder.
First I had to buy some Tagalongs. In previous articles I have showed pictures of the Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Jiminy Cricket Tagalongs along with the wonderful Angel & Devil Donald Duck set. Here are some of the other Tagalongs available.
The Pascal Tagalong was purchased and a top secret double blind case study was performed at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. First we opened up the package….
Then we placed the Pascal Tagalong on the volunteer’s shoulder.
And then we performed the experiment…
I can’t believe it. THEY ACTUALLY WORK! I now believe the Theme Park Tagalongs to be one of the greatest pieces of merchandise Disney has ever created. I bought the Jiminy Cricket and Donald Duck set and now will be keeping my eyes open for characters I want to see like Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy, Heimlich from A Bug’s Life, and Mushu from Mulan.
While I’m recovering from my mind being blown, here’s a picture of the only Tsum Tsums that were available. These were at Once Upon a Toy and were pretty big. There were no small Tsum Tsums available at any store in Downtown Disney, and word is there will not be any for a while. I’m hoping that’s true, because I don’t want to write the words “Tsum Tsums” for the rest of 2014.
A quick stop at Goofy’s Candy Co. to get a Goofy Glacier. For all intents and purposes a Goofy Glacier is a slurpee, just much more expensive. I got a pink lemonade version in the souvenir Olaf cup for $8.99. Gold does not cost as much per ounce.
Next stop, a brief look into Art of Disney store, where there was a display in the front focusing on Beauty and the Beast artwork
Presented without commentary.
I can not get enough Scrooge McDuck pieces.
We’ll finish up this week with a look at the new bridge that connects the Marketplace to Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. There is a boat dock located off this bridge that will bring you to the Pleasure Island and West Side boat docks, as well as to the Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter resorts.
I couldn’t leave without getting one of my favorite Disney collectibles: a pressed penny. This Downtown Disney penny is probably one you should think about getting before it is removed for a Disney Springs penny (or, more likely, and Anna or Elsa penny).
We finished our day with a meal at Bongo’s Cuban Cafe, which I have already blogged about. It was a very nice surprise after being completely disappointed walking into the main House of Blues restaurant.