Today, as part of the Awaken Summer kick-off event, we were given a "behind the wall tour" of The Springs and Town Center expansion of Disney Springs. After months of seeing buildings pop up and press releases of new residents, getting a chance to step into this new area was very welcome. But unfortunately, no photos were permitted, leaving me only with the ability to say it well exceeded any expectations I had.

image1 (3)The Springs, as the story goes, is the center from which the rest of the Disney Springs grew. The spring, which drew the founding fathers of Disney Springs, is the focus with its crystal clear water while the buildings nearest to the water were the homes of the first settlers have all been repurposed as new shops and restaurants. The "first building" of The Springs in now home of D-Luxe Burger and since "originally built in the late 1800s, has been expanded three times." As you walk around, you can see the change in architecture that reflects this story. The Springs adds not just a kinetic flow to the area but also has some floating lanterns that will add a beautiful ambiance to enjoy each evening.

The Town Center area, which I had feared would have more of a mall feel, could not be more beautiful. As the story of Disney Springs expands to The Town Center, this area gives a more industrial feel to the main shopping area as you can see the influence of the residents over the years. Walking around you see how the different settlers that came from all around the world added a bit of their own heritage to the architecture. As we have all come to expect the detail is mind blowing in this area with any chance the Imagineers had they would work to tie water into the story since everything revolves around the spring. Once we were lead toward a new area of Town Center, we were all left in awe as we (mostly local bloggers) got our bearings and realized we were standing at the base of the escalator to the new parking structure. But, to our left was the new entrance to the World of Disney store and we were standing behind the T-Rex Restaurant.

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I really can not say how blown away I was by the architecture, detail, and story of the Disney Springs as told to us by some of the people who helped create it. When we did ask about how the overwhelming story will be conveyed to guests, it was explained that The Springs Visitor Center, where guests will be able to sit, charge phones, and make dining reservations, will have Cast Members that will help tell the story with the help of seven watercolor paintings representing each of the neighborhoods of Disney Springs.

Be ready to be impressed when these new areas spring to life later this summer.