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  • [Idea] The Disney resort entertainment district that really could've used an expansion

    If you ask a Disney World tourist about Downtown Disney in Orlando they'll usually mention how crowded it is. What to do when you're staying on-site in one of Disney World's 20+ on-site resorts and aren't up for another trudge through the parks, or aren't visiting parks that day? It turns out that if you don't have a car there isn't much else to do but Downtown Disney, just a free bus ride away. Its also one of the few things to do in the Orlando area that doesn't involve a theme park admission charge. So while Downtown Disney has suffered from the loss of Pleasure Island and other closures, there's still a great interest in visiting.

    Out West, Downtown Disney doesn't have that much of an on-site tourist base to draw upon. And it has to compete with Southern California's impressive mall offerings; compared alongside them, there just isn't much to do at Downtown Disney to draw large amounts of local visitors. Not to mention the sad fact that its one of the last remaining, mostly unreformed relics of the Pressler era. You might think DTDA is just fine: the best, most successful part of the Pressler-era Disneyland Resort. It can't compete with SoCal malls anyway. Until you compare it to the entertainment district concepts Disney originally had planned for Anaheim (I remember a lake and pretty architecture) before it was axed and we were left with the cheap mixed bag that exists today.

    It seems like DTDA already struggles to retain tenants, and GardenWalk is a stark nearby example of failure in this area - because of the economy or local competition, I don't know, but that seems like the major factor holding back expansion.

    We've heard rumors over the years about expanding Downtown Disney into the parking lot near the Disneyland Hotel and past the park gates towards Harbor Blvd., but nothing has ever come into fruition. DLR has finally achieved having two great, successful theme parks. Is it time to expand Downtown Disney, one of the remaining pieces of the puzzle to make Disneyland a great resort destination (aside from the obvious better parking, another park, and hotels)? Or is it already doing good enough, unable to really compete, from a tourist perspective or otherwise, with the multitude of superior malls and other attractions SoCal has to offer?


  • #2
    Re: The Disney resort entertainment district that really could've used an expansion

    For the most part, DTD is getting foot traffic from hotel guest going back and forth and park visitors going there for meals. The dining locations do well.

    If Disney builds more hotels on the west edge of the resort, that may be the time to expand. Though they may build more dining/retail inside the parks to capture the dollars instead of rents.
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    • #3
      Re: The Disney resort entertainment district that really could've used an expansion

      Originally posted by WDWorldly View Post
      We've heard rumors over the years about expanding Downtown Disney into the parking lot near the Disneyland Hotel and past the park gates towards Harbor Blvd., but nothing has ever come into fruition. DLR has finally achieved having two great, successful theme parks. Is it time to expand Downtown Disney, one of the remaining pieces of the puzzle to make Disneyland a great resort destination (aside from the obvious better parking, another park, and hotels)? Or is it already doing good enough, unable to really compete, from a tourist perspective or otherwise, with the multitude of superior malls and other attractions SoCal has to offer?
      I think DTD at DL/DCA is good enough, but I'm not really much of a shopper. I buy most of my stuff online or at Costco.

      However, DTD at WDW is a dump, and it's way too hard to get to. I wanted to run over there, get some food, and get back to a theme park. It took me almost three hours to do that, and I'll never waste time going there again. FIrst, it closes way too early. Second, you have to connect through a resort to take a bus there. Third, nothing is happening at night now that nightclubs are gone. Finally, the shopping is already good enough on Main Street.

      So why head over to DTD? Because the theme parks close early.

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      • #4
        Re: The Disney resort entertainment district that really could've used an expansion

        DTD in Anaheim is crowded, but it's never unbearable. Like swampymarsh said, a majority of the foot traffic seems to be hotel guests and dining guests. Most people just standing around are usually on a wait list for a restaurant.
        The busiest stores are the Lego Store and World of Disney. I've never found it too crowded in any other store like Quicksilver, Fossil, or anything like that.
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        • #5
          Re: The Disney resort entertainment district that really could've used an expansion

          The only change I've really thought about would be if they added clubs like the ones they close down in Florida, such as the Adventurer's Club. That could really distinguish it from the multitude of shopping malls in the area.
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          • #6
            Re: The Disney resort entertainment district that really could've used an expansion

            I've only been there twice, and the place just screams Eisner Hip and Trendy to me. I would probably like it OK if it was in my hometown, but as part of the DLR, all I could think was..."It's a mall...it's just a mall." I don't expect Disneyland-level theming but it seems like something could be done to make it more charming, cozy and distinctive. Maybe then I'd have more motivation to visit and spend money there.

            Also, it annoys me that there's a store called Ridemakerz that has nothing to do with making theme park rides. But I think that's just me .
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            • #7
              Re: The Disney resort entertainment district that really could've used an expansion

              I don't think it needs an expansion since, as its been pointed out, it doesn't get too much foot traffic. It just needs a makeover to increase interest because right now, it's painfully boring to walk through, especially with the parks at the finish line.

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              • #8
                Re: The Disney resort entertainment district that really could've used an expansion

                What is an example of a "superior mall"?

                Second question: What would you pay to enter a unique experience like "The Adventurers' Club" in DTDA?

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                • #9
                  Re: The Disney resort entertainment district that really could've used an expansion

                  Originally posted by sediment View Post
                  What is an example of a "superior mall"?

                  Second question: What would you pay to enter a unique experience like "The Adventurers' Club" in DTDA?
                  As to your first question, I would say The Irvine Spectrum, in terms of venue selection, attractions, and even theming. Gardenwalk even offers a little bit better of an experience I think

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                  • #10
                    Re: The Disney resort entertainment district that really could've used an expansion

                    Originally posted by sediment View Post
                    What is an example of a "superior mall"?
                    The Grove, Westfield Century City, Hollywood & Highland, Universal CityWalk, Fashion Island, South Coast Plaza, Americana at Brand, Irvine Spectrum, 3rd Street Promenade
                    Last edited by WDWorldly; 03-15-2013, 08:12 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: The Disney resort entertainment district that really could've used an expansion

                      I've been the DTD at WDW once and didn't care for it. To me it seemed very industrial. The one place we wanted to go into was... can't recall the name, but had the video games, hands-on stuff. It would have cost the four of us over $100. We had a limited time since we were catching a flight home later that afternoon.

                      I really like our DTD. I think it is pretty and has a nice variety of shops and dining options. We usually hit Rainforest Cafe every morning before going into the Parks.

                      I wouldn't mind at all if they expanded!
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                      • #12
                        Re: The Disney resort entertainment district that really could've used an expansion

                        Both Parks are great full day parks and I spend multiple days in each. Why would I spend anytime in a mall? In California they just cannot compete with the over saturated mall market filled with superior offerings like The Grove/Farmers Market. It's fine it's size for giving people stuff to do on early closeing nights.

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                        • #13
                          Re: The Disney resort entertainment district that really could've used an expansion

                          It seems like DTDA already struggles to retain tenants, and GardenWalk is a stark nearby example of failure in this area - because of the economy or local competition, I don't know, but that seems like the major factor holding back expansion.
                          not sure how you think DTD Anahiem is doing poorly, it's doing really really well. Gardenwalk is the one that wasn't doing so well, but they have a new investor so maybe things will change. either way DTD is in my mind retaining it's tenants just fine. I think that Gardenwalk did poorly becuase of the planning of the shops and design and the marketing of it. You really can't compare the WDW DTD to california's DTD, it's comparing apples and oranges...and most of our malls here are now outdoor malls, so DTDA is a outdoor mall to me and i like it the way it is



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