The Festival of the Masters, a popular fine-arts festival that features creative works of art from award-winning artists, has been canceled for 2014l. This festival, which typically takes place yearly at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney, will not occur due to the massive amount of construction taking place in the shopping and dining district. According to Disney, much of the area that traditionally houses the Festival of the Masters is unavailable due to this expansion work. (And if you’ve been to Downtown Disney recently, you’ll quickly understand.)
This would have been the 39th annual Festival, which is known for showcasing artisans who are skilled in things like jewelry, painting, sculpting, chalk, glass work, photography, and much more. The Festival also often featured family-friendly events, craft activities, live music, specialty food dishes, and more. The Festival seemed to be growing larger and larger each year, and I was curious to see what this year’s event would offer.
I guess we’ll have to see if the event will return for 2015 or if Downtown Disney/Disney Springs construction will make it prohibitive for the festival to run next year, too. The first section of Disney Springs is expected to debut in Spring 2015, with the opening of The Landing. Disney Springs won’t fully be finished until sometime in 2016.
Today we are finishing up our three part photo tour of Downtown Disney. Part One looked at the West Side, the new parking garage, and the current construction going on around Pleasure Island. Part Two looked at several venues within the Marketplace and the new pedestrian bridge across Village Lake. We’re going to close out with a look at some items from two of my favorite stores to walk through in Downtown Disney. First up is the Marketplace Co-Op, which opened up earlier this summer replacing the awful Team Disney store. I personally always thought that Team Disney had the opportunity to sell some really unique items based on all the incredible sports movies that Disney has made over the year. Imagine hockey jerseys based off the characters and teams from the Mighty Ducks series of films, or shirts with various Disney characters in the gear of professional teams or even just made up teams from the Disney Universe like maybe a Junior Woodchucks soccer team from the DuckTales universe. Instead, Team Disney for the most part just sold the same MLB and NFL stuff you could get any Sports Authority or Target near you.
Miraculously, Team Disney was transformed earlier this summer into the Marketplace Co-Op, a store which is already among my favorites in all of WDW property.
In part one of this photo tour of Downtown Disney we covered the West Side and all the walls surrounding Pleasure Island. We start off part two with one of the only references to Disney Springs that you will see in the entire Downtown Disney area. Even the concept art doesn’t have “Disney Springs” on it. Several lampposts outside of Fulton’s Crab House were emblazoned with the Disney Springs logo earlier this spring.
It has been a while since I have done a photo tour of Downtown Disney, and it was time to head back into what might be the construction capital of the world. There are major projects going on in every single section of Downtown Disney, making a day trip there a potentially stressful challenge. However, it seems as though the area has finally turned a corner, and we are starting to see developments that make Downtown Disney a place worth checking out rather than avoiding because of the construction hassle. Looking at my previous Downtown Disney article from April shows some rather significant changes, so here is what is going on now….
Status of parking garage on West Side of Downtown Disney near Cirque du Soleil
The parking garage is looking massive, and the map of the area says it should be completed “Early 2015.” Busch Gardens should have done that for its long delayed Falcon’s Fury ride that is “Opening Sometime in 2014.” As ugly as Downtown Disney is right now because of the overall construction, far and away the biggest problem is parking. It was bad enough before huge sections of parking spaces were completely shut down to make way for a much-needed parking garage, and now it can be maddening. For the Guardians of the Galaxy showings this past weekend, the AMC movie theater at Downtown Disney was advising guests to arrive an hour early to give themselves time to find a parking space, with many guests being directed to the overflow areas across the street at Team Disney and Casting.
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Top Six Reasons to Visit Downtown Disney in its Current State. There is a lot of construction going on right now at Downtown Disney as the area is being converted over to Disney Springs. “A lot” may actually be an understatement, as there is work being done in every single area of Downtown Disney: the parking lots, West Side, Pleasure Island, and the Marketplace. Parking can be – at best – inconvenient and – at worst – something that can trigger even the most peaceful person to go “Michael Douglas in Falling Down.” Construction walls are everywhere. However, there are still some very good reasons to overcome these obstacles and spend a day or evening there, and today we are going to count down the top six.
I went to check out the latest developments at Downtown Disney this past weekend and finally got a chance to stop by Splitsville for lunch. I have heard nothing but positive reviews since it opened in December, 2012, in the former home of the Virgin Megastore, but I often end up taking visiting friends and family to the Rainforest Cafe or T-Rex Cafe because of the theatrical nature of those restaurants. I personally enjoy going to House of Blues, Raglan Road, and Cookes of Dublin when I’m by myself or with friends, so it was high time to check out this relatively new venue.
Splitsville is located on the West Side of Downtown Disney, directly next to the AMC movie theaters.
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’ll be visiting the Magic Kingdom to check out progress on all the renovations there then heading over to Downtown Disney to see what’s new. We’ve got a lot to cover so let’s get started with a sunny Saturday morning at Cinderella’s Castle. It looks like it isn’t that crowded from the photo but when I arrived at the gates at 8:45am they’d already started letting people in the park. I knew there was no way I’d get to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train without a long wait so I took my time wandering into the park.
It’s been a while since we’ve been shopping so I stopped into the Emporium. This early in the morning you can see how empty it is in there. You can also hear a bird that flew into the shop and was hanging out!
I also encountered a few of my favorite things on Main Street….
If you are a huge fan of the Cirque du Soleil show, “La Nouba”, then you will enjoy Disney’s latest backstage tour! Called L’Experience, guests who book this tour will not only receive a ticket for the show, but they will also get an unprecedented, unique look at some of the backstage happenings of the popular, long-running show.
This brand new tour experience gives fans of the show the opportunity to take an inside peek at the whimsical costuming, to get a unique look at the backstage area, and to meet a performer from the show. Tour participants also receive popcorn and soft drinks and a gift bag filled with Cirque du Soleil merchandise, plus, they get a 10% discount coupon for The Cirque Boutique shop. Finally, Front and Center category tickets for the 6:00 p.m. show are included.
This package is available for performances on Fridays and Saturdays and costs $250 (plus tax) for adults (ages 10+) and $215 (plus tax) for children (ages 9 and under).
For more information or to purchase tickets, call (407) W-DISNEY or the Cirque du Soleil box office at (407) 939-7600.
If you’ve been to Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World recently, you’ll have noticed that the food truck phenomenon has arrived. Most evenings of the week, Disney has four different food truck options spread throughout the shopping district. They include Namaste Cafe, World Showcase of Flavors, Fantasy Fare, and Superstar Catering.
However, if you visit Downtown Disney’s West Side on June 21, you’ll have not only get the option to stop and grab a bite from one of the four Disney trucks, but there will also be local trucks on-site. This is part of the first-ever event called “Trucks on the Town at Downtown Disney West Side.” The event will take place from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. in the Cirque du Soleil courtyard. and there will be 14 different options in all for guests to enjoy. Dishes will include empenadas, cupcakes, cheesesteaks, barbecue, seafood, sliders, flatbreads, and more. The trucks that will be featured are:
Do you hear that sound? It’s my wallet crying. You see, today at Walt Disney World the all new Marketplace Co-Op store opened on the Marketplace side of Downtown Disney. This new shop is home to six different specialty boutiques all under one roof. The store’s purpose is to be a testing ground for new Disney retail concepts, shops, and products, although it also appears it will sell some unique items that you can only get by stopping inside.
When guests enter they see a main common area with the shops forking off of the main area. There are six different shops that guests can choose to visit, each one selling rare and exclusive merchandise. Each boutique has a different theme, selling merchandise that fits that particular theme.