Tonight was the official "name change" ceremony that changed "Downtown Disney" into "Disney Springs" along with a private party at the Hagar Bar and official opening of the all-new Morimoto Asia restaurant. The events and ceremonies were just fantastic. Personally, I *LOVE* the Downtown Disney property and I have been thrilled to see the changed that have been made to convert it to Disney Springs. Even going as far back as Splittsville opening there have been continuous new dining and shopping options opening up over that time.
From flagship venues like The Boathouse, Morimoto, and Hangar bar to smaller but also important upgrades and changes like the new Margarita Bar, Paradiso 37 expansion, Starbucks on both ends of the property, and loads of new shops, quick service, and other dining options the entire area just feel so refreshed and amazing! And there is still more to come! Big name restaurants like STK and Edison, shopping such as UNIQLO, and quick-service restaurants like Blaze are still under construction and there is a lot more besides them!
Anyway, into some photos from tonight's event!
Upon arrival we saw it was official! New area guidemap now says "Disney Springs!"
First stop was the new Hanhag Bar inspired by the Indiana Jones movies!
And of course we start out with some drinks and sliders! What a great way to start a party!
Its eclectic décor includes everything from spare airplane parts to nostalgic postcards and antique maps tacked to the walls...
All a nod to the “Indiana Jones” films in which Jock Lindsey was Indy’s pilot and sidekick.
Jock has retired from that gig and has now opened his own bar!
And along with the drinks is some amazing food...
everything we sampled was top notch!
Random artifacts like this "ice machine" which made mold-a-rama like ice cubes.
Just love the inside of this place.
More drinks? Yes, please! =)
There is plenty to look at while hanging out at the Hangar Bar!
The one thing I will say is that the inside is a bit small. But thankfully there is a huge patio outside where you can get all the same food & drinks.
Let's take a look at the menu, shall we?
Some of the drinks have special collectible glasses.
I love the Reggie's Revenge! lol (Who knows who Reggie is?)
I think this one was my favorite.
Walt Disney Imagineer Jeff Abraham was one of the creative minds behind the Hangar Bar.
Jack and I decided that the "Bedtime Story" was our favorite drink so far. Sweet, fruity, an delicious! Just like us!
And the view is amazing! I love the Amphicars out there from The Boathouse!
The outdoor patio has these cool areas like this boat to sit in and hang out.
It was time for the official name change! Maribeth Bisienere, Vice President of Downtown Disney, now Disney Springs introduces some speakers.
George Kalogridis, President of Walt Disney World greets the media and talks about more new features coming to Disney Springs in the near future.
And now...Downtown Disney becomes...
Disney Springs! Yay!!!! There was much rejoicing.
Now lets head over to Morimoto Asia for the grand opening of Disney Springs' newest restaurant!
Some of you may remember this building as the old "Mannequins" from Pleasure Island, but the building has been completely re-done.
Here's the kitchen. I love this open glass look.
The restaurant is just beautiful. It really says "high end" which it is!
The opening ceremony started with some Japanese Taiko Drums...
And a Chinese dragon. These two things signify the clash of Japanese and Chinese cuisine you'll find at Morimotos. Photo: Jack Crouse
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto came out to open his restaurant! Photo: Jack Crouse
The president of The Patina Group, who have partnered with Morimoto for the restaurant speaks about the amazing food, service, and how great it is to be part of the new Disney Springs.
Iron Chef Morimoto wows the audience by singing some karaoke! He is Japanese after all! =)
The top brass of Disney (Mostly Mickey Mouse!)
I just love Morimoto! Even in what seems somewhat serious moments, the guy is having fun. And this is how he's been on Iron Chef and other shows. He's just awesome to watch and that shows in his restaurant, too.
A Japanese tradition to break the Saki barrel!
This is a guy that really knows when to be serious and when to have a great time! I respect that! Photo: Jack Crouse
Drink up, lads!
"Here, would you like a little bit more?" Photo: Jack Crouse
We had quite the assortment of Japanese and Chinese food. Everything from Orange Chicken to a Pekin Duck Burrito to Tuna Sushi Pizza.
The chicken dumplings were amazing, too!
On the dim sum menu was Chicken Shumai.
This LA BBQ Kalbi...WOW!
And yes, the drinks kept coming as well!
It was so awesome to meet Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto tonight! Kinda fanboying out here as I've been watching him since the original Iron Chef show!
The restaurant just looked fantastic!
The sushi bar on the second level.
Some of the private dining areas reminded me of something right out of Japan!
Here's from the top level looking down. Awesome!
Some delicious Orange Chicken!
And more dumplings!
More dim sum!
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto showing how to carve a 100 pound tuna!
Everyone was given these awesome wooden saki cups. Love this!!!
He's still going at it on that tuna!
Now, along with the president of Patina Group, and using the tuna they just carved up, Chef Morimoto is going to make a 60 foot tuna roll!
Ok, everyone get ready to roll!
You too, Mickey!
Yes! There it is! 60 feet of sushi!
It was delicious!
Next came dessert...this is a "churro" but it's unlike any churro you've ever had. It melts in your mouth and it comes with some vanilla creme as well!
This chocolate puff was just fantastic and it literally exploded in your mouth!
The desserts were so pretty you almost didn't want to eat them.
But they were all just seriously delicious!
I just love that Morimoto came back out in shorts and a T-Shirt. He's just so super casual just can make some seriously awesome food at the same time!
Here's a look at the outside of the building at night.
And stepping back, it really looks like a building you would see right in the heart of Tokyo. I just loved this new restaurant and everything coming to Disney Springs is super exciting! I can't wait to see what else opens in the coming months!
Huge thanks to the Disney and Patina Group teams for putting on such amazing events! Thank you!
Last edited by robbalvey on Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:57 am.
Great report, I am super excited to see the 'finished' product of Disney Springs. I know it will be ever changing, but I think its safe to say the transition is significant enough to warrant a name change. Everything they have opened up is immersive, unique, and very Disney. I am excited for some more affordable quick service locations to open up. The full menu for Morimoto looks wonderful!
I was pretty critical of Downtown Disney a few years back for being home to lots of uninspiring chain food, mall kiosk level shops, empty buildings, and the tragedy that was and presently is Disneyquest, but they've finally managed after various starts and stops to turn it around. It might not be the sort of thing that appeals to me as an individual with no plans to stay on property right now, but if I was, I'd be ecstatic about these alterations.
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