Thursday, December 8, 2016

DS Update: White Elephants?

Heard there were some white elephants out at Disney Springs so I drove there to see them for myself!
The term "white elephants" as used here refers to venues at Disney Springs that no longer seem relevant to the modern world and even less so to the new and improved Disney Springs.  We begin with the DisneyQuest play center which continues to hang in there a year since its closure was supposed to occur. You'll recall it was announced that NBA City, which closed its restaurant at Universal CityWalk on August 31, 2015, was going to take over this spot as the much larger NBA Experience. Link. It's been 1.5 years since the announcement and nothing has happened. White elephant.
The first of the celebrity chefs to open a signature restaurant in Downtown Disney, Wolfgang Puck Cafe now appears very dated following the opening of so many new celebrity chef restaurants on Pleasure Island and in Town Center. If it's going to stay, seems like it needs a fresh look at least. White elephant.
Relevant in the 80's and perhaps even the 90's, singer Gloria Estefan's Bongo's Cuban Cafe remains in business serving Spanish-Caribbean food.  We published a rumor early last year from Screamscape which stated that the company that owns Splitsville had bought the lease for Bongo's and was going to turn it into a Mexican restaurant.  Nothing ever came of that but if you look at the popularity of Mexican restaurants around town, it's a no-brainer. For now, white elephant.
House of Blues to me is foremost a music venue.  But the Crossroads Restaurant that is part of the complex remains in business and seems popular, especially on concert nights when dining there allows you to "skip the line" for the concert.  That said, Blog sources say that when the lease is up in 2019, they're out of there.  Disney allegedly forced HOB to cancel its hugely-popular Sunday night Service Industry night last year and it exerts strict control of music artists and music genres that are allowed to play there.  HOB is not a white elephant but if it's really leaving, maybe we'll just call it a lame duck.
Planet Hollywood was an 80's era white elephant when it closed earlier this year to begin serious renovations to the place. It will reopen later this month as Planet Hollywood Observatory.  New attractions within and a revamped menu make PHO quite relevant again.


Troy said...

Disney announced a month or so ago that Disney Quest would remain "through 2017." Not sure if that means it'll be there all year, but I think it definitely means the NBA Experience deal must have fallen through.

And, I assume, that creates an issue for Disney. I'd always heard rumors that Disney doesn't want the building torn down because of how big a hole it would create at West Side, but what on earth could go there? Putting a restaurant in Mannequins was hard enough; how do you fill a spot as big as Disney Quest?

KingBob said...

Yeah, not only does DisneyQuest have a large footprint, it's multiple levels too. But they did find someone for Mannequins and they did find someone for the Virgin Megastore space, so who knows. Thanks, Troy!

Anonymous said...

House of Blues might be going to Universal's side of town.

Anonymous said...

So no hip hop allowed at HoB?

meome said...

Wolfgang has a new restaurant coming to Disney Springs called CUT, he has directly said this in a conversation I overheard. I imagine it's what they are building next to the Edison and across from STK.

KingBob said...

Anon at 12:33PM, yes, HOB will be closer to Universal.

Anon at 9:20PM, you're not going to hear Hip Hop anywhere in Disney Springs.

Meome, interesting information but would they really put one upscale steakhouse across the aisle from another?