Downtown Disney will undergo a major renovation, including the demolishing of the popular Earl’s Sandwich Shop, former AMC Theaters, and other stores, to make way for a new mid-century modern-design for the Anaheim Shopping Mall next to Disneyland. Huh.
Work will begin in January on a multi-year project that will remodel the downtown Disney outdoor shopping center, according to Disney Parks chairman Josh D’Amaro.
D’Amaro made the announcement during the Destination d23 fan convention on Saturday, November 20 at Walt Disney World in Florida.
The Earl of Sandwich Shop, Sugarboo Store and Starbucks West End Coffee Shop will be closed and those locations, along with the former AMC theaters, will be demolished.
The work will take place in Downtown Disney’s West End, once envisioned as the location for a fourth Disney hotel project that was canceled in 2018.
The new Downtown Disney renovation project will be part of an existing development agreement with the City of Anaheim and does not require as many city approvals as the fourth hotel project that was canceled.
“As we have seen during the pandemic, shopping, dining and the people visiting are as important to Anaheim Resort as a city,” Mike Lister, Anaheim’s chief communications officer, said in a statement sent via email. “We welcome this project, which will take up less space and bring new ways for people to shop and dine in Anaheim.”
The former ESPN Zone and Star Wars Trading Post in the former Rainforest Cafe location in Downtown Disney’s West End were not mentioned as part of the renovation project.
The renovation project will broaden the shopping, dining and entertainment offerings at Downtown Disney.
The renovated section of Downtown Disney will feature a Southern California mid-century modern architectural style, incorporating a multicultural design aesthetic.
The new Downtown Disney renovation is not part of the recently announced Disneyland Forward project that envisions theme park attractions near the West End of the shopping district.
In other news, D’Amaro announced that the Hey Disney Virtual Assistant smart speaker system is coming to Disneyland Resort hotels and revealed new details about the Disney Vacation Club Tower building under construction next to the Disneyland Hotel.
The Hey Disney virtual assistant that works with the Amazon Alexa smart speaker will debut at Disneyland resort hotels in 2022. Hey Disney — already announced for Walt Disney World hotels — is expected to roll out over time at Disneyland Hotels, Disney’s Grand Californian, and Disney. Paradise Pier Hotel.
Hey Disney works similarly to Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, with users summoning the system using the phrase “Hey Disney”. Hey Disney will offer vacation planning tips and storytelling entertainment with over 1,000 potential interactions in Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel character voices.
D’Amaro also revealed that the Disney Vacation Club tower will include a new pool inspired by an artist’s palette and rooms featuring original art inspired by classic Disney movies.