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^I think it's a much different level of tacky. Rainforest's Volcano and outdoor 'lush atmosphere' at least fit with a theme and look decent. Same with T-Rex. PH looked like something from the 80's that faded during the 90's and was never fixed.

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If Planet Hollywood has to get rid of its tacky decorations, I wonder what's going to happen to T-Rex Cafe and Rainforest.


I am interested to see what is done with the outside of T-Rex. That fake foliage painted on metal on the "back and sides" of the building is going to be the front on all sides in the new design (or at least three). I really hope they do something to it. The front works fine, but the other sides need work.

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Planet Hollywood's Robert Earl knows he has the perfect chance to grow his restaurant brand's image with the planned redesign going on at Disney Springs.


Earl, the Orlando-based company's founder and chairman, thinks Disney Springs has opened the door for his company to target more business, as well as re-theme itself into something that keeps some of its classic movie look while adding a small-town feel.


For example, Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs' Hollywood globe will be transformed into a large observatory, and the eatery will feature multiple new hangout spots for guests, such as bars with a starry night feel.


The redesign should be done in 2016.


Here, Earl discusses the plan:


How were you asked to redesign your location in Disney Springs? Disney came to me and said, "We will give you the opportunity for a new lease, but we want you to be a part of this new project," which hadn't been named Disney Springs at the time. They showed me this whole vision where someone could walk through day and night to eat and shop, and they told me they chose to start the flow of Disney Springs' spring right at the base of our restaurant site, and I thought that was great.


Why bring an observatory feature to Planet Hollywood? Disney Imagineering found out that observatories were unique buildings that counterbalanced those types of towns in those days. So we concluded it would be a transformation of the globe shape.


What's going on inside that globe? The concept of dining amongst the stars always has been my pitch related to celebrities with movie clips, trailers and memorabilia. Then I saw this sort of double-play on it where the guest could be inside the observatory that would show both type of stars — the solar system and celebrities.


What else is happening during the redesign? They have given me two new spaces that will become a terrace and an outdoor bar where we will have live entertainment called Stargazers.


Does it open a bigger opportunity for new business? Yes, we will aim for the larger, higher-spending attendees around Disney and Orlando. Our building seats nearly 700, but if it's a standing event, we can do a larger number.


So has it been fun to rethink this? Well, except for my checkbook strains, it's been fun. The excitement for me also comes from what's happening at Disney Springs. The implications are enormous .

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Look for big changes at Planet Hollywood and Paradiso 37 at Downtown Disney, with Paradiso 37 wrapping up its expansion in summer 2015, Planet Hollywood in spring 2016.


Paradiso 37’s expansion capitalizes on its beautiful waterfront setting. “We’re nearly doubling the seating, adding more terrace dining, a new outdoor performance stage and expanding to add a greater presence on the new Disney Springs promenade,” said Rashid Choufani, chief executive officer of Paradiso 37.


The menu, a “Taste of the Americas,” will continue to offer a culinary tour of North, Central and South America, with popular dishes including ceviche, jalapeño burgers, Argentinian skirt steak, whole crispy chicken and Chilean-style salmon. Beverages include wine, beer, and specialty rum and tequila cocktails inspired by the cuisine. (The restaurant takes its name from the 37 countries in the Americas.)


Paradiso 37 will remain open while undergoing renovations.


Planet Hollywood gets a complete makeover – you may not recognize the place as it’s transformed into a four-story stargazing observatory to match the design aesthetic of Disney Springs. While the exterior is turn-of-the-century, the interior will feature spherical, planet-shaped lighting fixtures and stylish finishing to create a welcoming atmosphere for fans to celebrate a new generation of superstar entertainers. And the memorabilia from movies stays, a perfect fit to “Dine Amongst the Stars.”


A new outdoor terrace and outdoor bar space called Stargazers will feature live entertainment while music in the main dining room will include a DJ. Favorites remain on the menu, but look for new tastes too, and a trendy beverage menu – everything from milkshakes and smoothies to wines, bottled and draft beers and cocktails.


Check back for more details!

Edited by jedimaster1227
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Quick area calculation off of Google Maps shows the land area of Disney Springs (including all parking) is about 125 acres.


The Magic Kingdom is apparently 107 acres, Hollywood Studios 135 acres, Epcot 300 acres, and Animal Kingdom 500 acres. I don't think these numbers include the parking lots though because I just pulled those from a Google search...I didn't actually calculate like I did with Disney Springs. But yeah, pretty close to a park size.

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When I first read about the expansion and all the additional infrastructure improvements to the roads and building access to I-4 and such, my immediate thought was how similar that sounded to Disneyland's resort expansion project done in the late 90s that was ultimately finished in 2001 with DCA.


Those pictures really remind me of the the huge dirt fields seen during those years!

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  • 4 weeks later...



ORLANDO, Fla. —Authorities with the Florida Highway Patrol confirmed a deadly accident at Disney World.


Troopers said the accident occurred at the Exotic Driving Experience at Walt Disney World Speedway at World Drive and Floridian Way.


A Reedy Creek Emergency Service spokesperson said a vehicle hit a guard rail just after 3:30 p.m. One man died and the other was taken to a hospital with injuries.


Florida Highway Patrol said the driver of a Lamborghini lost control. They confirmed the passenger in the car died at the scene.


Officials announced in February that the Exotic Driving Experience will close in June to make way for transportation improvements.


The target date for closure was June 28. Nearly 70 people work at the speedway. Disney has not provided details on what the transportation projects include.


Stay with WESH.com for breaking news and information.






A 36-year-old Davenport man was killed in a crash at the Exotic Driving Experience at Walt Disney World Speedway Sunday afternoon, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.


The attraction, which allows guests to drive high-end sports cars, sits on Disney property on World Drive.


Troopers said a male driver lost control of a Lamborghini while on the track and struck a guardrail.


His passenger died at the scene, troopers said.


The driver was transported to Celebration Hospital with minor injuries.


Troopers were called to investigate the crash at about 3:30 p.m.


They originally said the crash happened at the Richard Petty Driving Experience, which is close to the Exotic Driving Experience attraction.


The victim and the driver have not been identified.


Edited by robbalvey
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No matter how many safety precautions they take, there's always an element of risk in an attraction like this. Very sad news, indeed. I'd like to see more details about what happened.

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Sad news. There is always a risk on injury, it's just too bad when it happens. If you look at the news videos, it looks like the car slid sideways and the barrier speared the passenger side door.

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  • 3 weeks later...



Those coveted cups include the Uh-Oa!, Krakatoa Punch, Nautilus, Polynesian Pearl, HippopotoMai-Tai, Rum Flight shot glasses in the three colors and the Shrunken Zombie Head – all available only at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.


It’s a pretty popular spot, with waits some evenings up to two hours at peak times as guests ooh and ah over more than 1,200 pieces of memorabilia and have a good time with the staff. The handcrafted cocktails are delicious, and just order an Uh-Oa! and see what happens with the special effects.


If you want a table and there’s a wait, Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace is almost as cool as the lounge, with a lava rock waterfall and live Hawai’ian-themed entertainment every night with the gorgeous backdrop of Seven Seas Lagoon and a seat for the Magic Kingdom Park fireworks.


Walt Disney Parks & Resorts recently won a VIBE VISTA Award in the category of “Best Spirits Program in Hotels.” The award represents “exemplary creativity, execution and results in an extremely competitive field,” as judged by the faculty at Johnson & Wales University. And Trader Sam’s helped land the prestigious award.





One of our favorite times of year – Copper River Salmon has made its way back to menus at three Walt Disney World Resort restaurants: Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Flying Fish Café at Disney’s Boardwalk area.


It’s so special because this prized salmon is available for a very short window of time – mid-May to mid-June. Every year those beauties travel up the Copper River in South Central Alaska, covering a distance of about 3,200 miles to their spawning ground. All that hard work means fish that is flavorful and full of goodness. The Alaskans call them Chinook or Tyees, and the largest on record is a whopping 126 pounds.


Keep an eye on the menus, but the best way to serve Copper River Salmon is simply grilled. Artist Point used cedar planks, and California Grill is planning “a la plancha” style, or grilled on a metal plate. Chef Brian Piasecki at California Grill says he’s hoping that local Zellwood corn will accompany in some form or fashion. And we’ll wait to see what the chefs at Flying Fish Cafe create.


Make your reservations now – 407-WDW-DINE.



Edited by jedimaster1227
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  • 4 weeks later...



Since unveiling plans for Disney Springs, we’ve been sharing regular updates as we reimagine and reinvent this corner of the Walt Disney World Resort. Today, we’re thrilled to share the names of 13 new high-profile tenants coming to the area, including fashion retailers Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO and PANDORA.


Here’s a list of the 13 new retail and dining experiences announced for Disney Springs:



  • Zara
  • Tommy Bahama
  • Lilly Pulitzer
  • UGG
  • L’Occitaine en Provence
  • Edward Beiner


  • Edison
  • Sprinkles
  • Blaze Pizza
  • Vivoli Gelateria
  • Tea Traders by Joffrey’s Tea

When work is completed in 2016, Disney Springs will have expanded to more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment venues. The area will include four distinct, outdoor neighborhoods with a high-quality, diverse mix of retailers – including premium, affordable luxury and fast fashion options – and sophisticated restaurants.


We have more information on the retail and dining experiences here. Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog for more details in the future as Downtown Disney continues its expansion into Disney Springs.



Tucked in between the soon-to-be-expanded Paradiso 37 and recently opened BOATHOUSE restaurant, a new Disney owned and operated Food & Beverage offering has been taking shape. Today, I’m thrilled to share more details on this aviation-themed lounge, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar.


With a prime location along Lake Buena Vista and seating for 150, the venue will feature unique cocktails – such as the “Hovito Mojito” with Barsol Quebranta Pisco, fresh lime juice and simple syrup – and small plates such as “Air Pirates Everything Pretzels” with house-made mustard and beer cheese fondue.


The design team has gone to great lengths to ensure that every element – from the propeller-based ceiling fans and diving bell “booth” to the “Rolling Boulder Meatballs” on the menu – fits within the storyline.


And just what is that story? Ardent fans of the “Indiana Jones” films may recognize Jock Lindsey as Indy’s frequent pilot; he’s also the owner of a pet snake named Reggie – an important detail, trust me on this! In the main room, guests will discover an expansive bar, aviation decor filling the room, vintage travel posters covering the walls and correspondence between Jock, Indy and their fellow adventurers on display. Guests can eat, drink and be merry outside as well, in Jocks’ old steamboat, now in permanent dry dock and aptly named “Reggie;” and in nearby seating on the adjacent deck.


Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is set to open this fall at Downtown Disney. If you’re as excited about this next adventure as I am, let me know in the comments below!



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...With a prime location along Lake Buena Vista and seating for 150, the venue will feature unique cocktails – such as the “Hovito Mojito” with Barsol Quebranta Pisco, fresh lime juice and simple syrup – and small plates such as “Air Pirates Everything Pretzels” with house-made mustard and beer cheese fondue...


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