Disney Springs' Main Thematic Problem

Marc Davis Fan

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We all know that Disney Springs has a contrived backstory that was developed to tie together the existing offerings and the new shops they wanted to build.

For the most part, it works. Some of the "storytelling" could be a little bit more clear, but it's decent for what it is.

Except for two things: T-Rex Cafe and Rainforest Cafe. They could not be more out-of-place and thematically confusing. The main problem with them is, they are themselves immersive (even if not high-quality) themed environments. But since they're in the "town" of "Disney Springs," they are now themed to be themed restaurants - far too confusing for guests to appreciate, just like "Dino-Rama."

And like Dino-Rama, these two places result in a jarring visual conflict with their environment. Second-rate "mountain" rockwork design (some of which was actually designed by Zsolt Hormay, but with insurmountable constraints) detracts from the Disney Springs "town" theme/aesthetic, and also cheapens the full-quality rockwork/mountains design in the parks.

Disney has been continuing to remove jarring visual elements from Disney Springs, e.g., the giant pineapple, so is there hope for these being among the next?
 

Marc Davis Fan

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I think you’re overthinking it. With that thinking, lego, amc, splitsville prob dont fit either

Yeah... I probably am overthinking it. And most people will just see Disney Springs as a shopping center either way.

On the other hand, Disney does set the global standard for narrative design, and WDW is their flagship property.

I actually do think toning down the exterior of the Lego store would be a plus, from a "unified aesthetic" perspective. AMC and Splitsville fit alright with the aesthetics of their surroundings, though.

Disney Springs is a contemporary revitalized tourist town. Pretty much anything and everything fits.

You're right that all those things fit the "auto-themed" backstory. However, that would go for all the characteristics of Dino-Rama and Paradise Pier 1.0 as well... but they are aesthetically weak / visually jarring. In a similar manner, Disney Springs could improve its aesthetic / holistic experience by continuing to replace (or at least tone down) visually jarring elements - the main ones being Rainforest Cafe and T-Rex Cafe (and indeed, maybe also the Lego store).
 

Raineman

Well-Known Member
Disney Springs is probably the only place on WDW property where theming really doesn't matter to me personally. My DW and DD love to shop, so DS is fun for them. I don't mind it, but if there was a trip where we missed it, I wouldn't shed a tear. The best part of DS is the water taxi ride from POFQ and back.
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
Well it isnt a park where is as necessary to be themed and even the parks arent totally themed all around. For 99% of the guests their only major concerns are... The kids want to eat there... Can we get a table and how expensive will it be.
 

denyuntilcaught

Well-Known Member
Yeah... I probably am overthinking it. And most people will just see Disney Springs as a shopping center either way.

On the other hand, Disney does set the global standard for narrative design, and WDW is their flagship property.

I 1000% agree with you, but the other part of me is missing the crucial question - what's the impact on the guest?
 

mergatroid

Well-Known Member
We go often and yet neither my wife or I have ever even thought about it. To be honest maybe I'm too busy trying to stop her spending money than worrying about anything else though.
 

Marc Davis Fan

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I 1000% agree with you, but the other part of me is missing the crucial question - what's the impact on the guest?
We go often and yet neither my wife or I have ever even thought about it. To be honest maybe I'm too busy trying to stop her spending money than worrying about anything else though.

A big part of the parks' and resorts' design philosophy is that there's a holistic impact when everything "fits," and how strong the impact is will depend on how well everything fits (or, put another way, the impact is weakened when there are visual contradictions, even if guests don't pay attention to those particular things expressly).
 

Cmdr_Crimson

Well-Known Member
Yeah, lets not forget how WoD looked liked before all of the flair was removed..
Image from tripadvisor
 

Giss Neric

Well-Known Member
When you look at Disney Springs in a map or when you're on top of characters in flight, you might see it, but when you're walking on the ground, it's just like any other district.
 

mergatroid

Well-Known Member
A big part of the parks' and resorts' design philosophy is that there's a holistic impact when everything "fits," and how strong the impact is will depend on how well everything fits (or, put another way, the impact is weakened when there are visual contradictions, even if guests don't pay attention to those particular things expressly).

That's fair enough but it still stands that both my wife and I have never even thought about it. I'm not denying that the OP feels this way or anyone else in fact, it's just not something that we've ever noticed. It may well be because our mindset when we go there isn't that of "We're going to a Disney park today" and is more "We're going to Disney's shopping district today". For that very reason maybe we don't 'judge it' quite like we do the parks? I mean we like it clean and everything with friendly staff, which in one way may mean that subconsciously we're expecting 'Disney standards'. It's just that the thought "That part there doesn't fit with the theme" has never even struck us.
 

Joesixtoe

Well-Known Member
I just went for the first time a few days ago, and I did notice the theming, however I did not understand what they were going for. I essentially saw well designed themed buildings within a shopping mall on a lake. I enjoyed it much more than I thought.
 

NickMaio

Well-Known Member
We all know that Disney Springs has a contrived backstory that was developed to tie together the existing offerings and the new shops they wanted to build.

For the most part, it works. Some of the "storytelling" could be a little bit more clear, but it's decent for what it is.

Except for two things: T-Rex Cafe and Rainforest Cafe. They could not be more out-of-place and thematically confusing. The main problem with them is, they are themselves immersive (even if not high-quality) themed environments. But since they're in the "town" of "Disney Springs," they are now themed to be themed restaurants - far too confusing for guests to appreciate, just like "Dino-Rama."

And like Dino-Rama, these two places result in a jarring visual conflict with their environment. Second-rate "mountain" rockwork design (some of which was actually designed by Zsolt Hormay, but with insurmountable constraints) detracts from the Disney Springs "town" theme/aesthetic, and also cheapens the full-quality rockwork/mountains design in the parks.

Disney has been continuing to remove jarring visual elements from Disney Springs, e.g., the giant pineapple, so is there hope for these being among the next?
I honestly never really understood the new downtown, I mean Disney Springs.
I didn't even know there was a story behind the remodel.
I thought WDW wanted to make the big spenders happy.
We used to go to Atlantis in the Bahamas. Disney Springs reminds me of this place.
Not in a good way though.
 

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