This morning (March 14), Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs gave the press a sneak peek at the Disney Springs expansion of Downtown Disney, which is now official. Check out this article with a video of the detailed model that used at the press conference.
Although the model gives a good flavor of what to expect from this expansion, you can get more of an idea of what to expect in terms of ambiance by checking out the slideshow above. It's based on concept art provided by Walt Disney World and photos of the artwork that was on display at Staggs's media talk.
The artwork gives a few clues about what to expect at Disney Springs, although it doesn't show the specific merchants and restauranteurs who will be among over the 150 businesses expected to be in place when the project is completed in 2016. That will more than double the current offerings, which consist of 75 stores, eateries, and entertainment venues.
If you watched the interview with Imagineer Kathy Mangum in my earlier article (jump back to it now if you missed it), you'll notice that she places heavy emphasis on the water and even hints at water transportation. Boat docks are visible in the concept art, and it also appears that Downtown Disney boat rentals will continue.
The iconic water tower planned for the area is shown very prominently in one of the pictures. You can also see the elevated walkway that will be a major new feature on the West Side, as well as what appears to be street performers. You can also see indoor areas that would make Disney Springs an attractive spot on rainy days.
Even though the completion date is still three years away, Staggs said Disney Springs will open in phases rather than all at once. That means locals and tourists will get to experience the new areas as they're completed.