Walt Dated World
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Disney Village/Marketplace/Pleasure Island
Originally opened as Lake Buena Vista Village on March 22, 1975, this shopping village was later known as Walt Disney World Village starting in 1977. In 1989, it underwent another name change and became the Disney Village Marketplace. The name was changed yet again in 1996 to Downtown Disney Marketplace. Scroll down on the page to see shops, restaurants and events through the years.
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You'll need this bag for all of the stuff you're going to buy!
(These sometimes cheesy descriptions come mostly from the shopping guide maps.)
24KT Precious Adornments: A glittering array of fine jewelry and elegant gifts.
Anniversary Room: China, silver and giftware.
Apothecary: Cosmetics, film and sundries.
Artespana: A fabulous array of handcrafted gifts and decorative articles from the prestigious artisans and designers in Spain. Craftsmen demonstrate their creativity daily. Presented by Arribas Brothers.
Bath Parlor: Everything to make your boudoir and bath a showplace, from embroidered towels to shower curtains. The name of this store was also spelled as Bath Parlour.
Board Stiff: Surfers paradise. Boards, equipment, swimwear-all the right stuff.
Candy Factory: Watch candy being made as you walk past two walls of windows.
Cane, Wicker, Rattan & Suns: Woven items such as a wicker rickshaw, an 8-foot rattan gazebo and cane-backed rocking chairs.
Captain's Tower: This circular building was open on the sides and had a tall tower on top of it. It was often used for seasonal sales and promotions until April 28, 2002 when it became a Pin Trader's location. It was also known as the Character Kids Tower.
Carolyn's Couture: This clothing stores would sometimes host famous fashion designers.
Chalet Candle Shop: A craftsman could custom carve a candle for you here.
Christmas Chalet: European, American and handcrafted trim-a-tree ornaments and decor. Open year-round.
The City: The hottest new apparel, trendy accessories and graphic T-shirts for young men and women.
Couched Out: Great Florida atmosphere with tropical gifts, T-shirts and shells.
Country Address: Classic designs for the contemporary woman. Junior and missy dresses, evening wear and fashion accessories. Originally opened in March of 1975, it closed on July 23, 1994 and was replaced by The Art of Disney.
Cristel Arts: Fourth-generation crystal cutters demonstrate their age-old art. Beautiful glass sculpting and custom engraving available, as well as other crystal items for purchase. Presented by Arribas Brothers. Some promotional materials spell the name of this store as Crystal Arts.
Discover: Imaginative gifts inspired by nature to read, wear, listen to and play with.
Flower Garden: Sold both real and artificial plants and flowers.
Fototoons: Unique Disney photo opportunities for the whole family.
Gourmet Pantry: Food and kitchen accessories. Replaced in 2004 by the Earl of Sandwich.
It's a Small World After All: A fantasy in children's fashions. Precious outfits for the little ones that brighten up your life.
Michael's: Men's barber shop that also offered manicures.
Mickey & Co.: A unique selection of the popular Disney character fashions, featuring J.G. Hook.
Miss Merrily's Madness: Clothing for juniors. Walt Dated World reader Stacy sent in a memory about this store: "I bought a cute 1974 rayon summer dress in New York from a vintage dealer at the Manhattan Vintage show and it had the Miss Merrily's Madness label sewn in with the designers tag as well. It must have been a high end boutique."
Pipe Dream: Tobacco and smoking accessories and a Pipe Hospital for "pooped-out pipes".
Personal Message: Gifts, books, magazines, cards, stationary. Purchases could be personalized.
Plus You: It sold accessories to "plus up" a wardrobe. It was not a "plus size" shop for women.
Port of Entry: Included gifts from around the world.
Posh Pets: A real pet shop that sold dogs, cats, birds and fish. It also offered grooming.
Pottery Chalet: A grand gift center of home fashions and decorative accessories featuring: Collectibles in crystal, pottery and porcelain; candles in hundreds of shapes, sizes, colors and scents; hand-crafted pottery, with demonstrations daily; Florida gifts; specialty linens. The $7,500 Taj Mahal music box was one of the most expensive things in the store. It later became You & Me Kid and Personal Message.
Sachet In: From lilies of the valley to jasmine, a variety of scented soaps and sachets to surround you. There were over 100 varieties of soap here, including goat's milk, mink oil, milled soap, and imported soap. Soap for kids included french fry-shaped bars.
Sassy's: Trend setting fashions for women and children.
Shoe Time: Casual and dress shoes for women; handbags and accessories.
Sir Edward Haberdasher: The finest in men's and boy's wear, with personal and professional assistance. Active resort and dress wear, and a selection of men's shoes. The shop was named after Disney executive Edward Moriarty.
Toledo Arts: Watch artisans engraving on forged steel with 24 karat gold threads.
Toys Fantastique: This Mattel-sponsored shop closed once the Hasbro Once Upon a Toy store opened.
Village Bookstore: Best sellers, storytime favorites, stationary, cards and gifts.
Village Gifts and Sundries: A Florida gift emporium, with sundries including cosmetics, film, magazines and Florida T-shirts.
Village Spirits: Purveying a wide assortment of spirits, liqueurs, and ales from around the world, along with the perfect mixers, and such bar items as decanters, glasses, serving trays and related gifts. An outstanding selection of fine wines-from California Zinfandel to French Bordeaux.
Von Otto's Antiques: Antiques.
Windjammer Dock Shop: Everything under the sun in gifts, fashions and accessories with a tropical Florida flavor. Later sold Cap'n Jack's logo merchandise.
Virgin Megastore: Closed May 12, 2009
You and Me Kid: Opened in 1988, this store offered children's toys, games, gifts, clothing, activity area, and a unique photo opportunity. There was a Disney Channel show by the same name. It closed in 1995.
For many years, there was a playground slide with covered climbing tubes in Walt Disney World Village. Later painted blue, it was most likely taken out due to liability reasons and there was a giant kaleidoscope-type sculpture in its place near the World of Disney Store for awhile. Some press materials referred to the slide as the "Village Whatchamacallit". Mouseketeer Alison models on the slide in this photo from 1978.
(As noted above, these descriptions are mostly from old shopping guide maps.)
All American Sandwich Shop: Specialty sandwiches in a deli setting.
Captain Jack's Oyster Bar: The name was changed to Cap' Jack's Restaurant on February 20, 2000.
Donald's Dairy Dip: Custom-made ice cream sundaes, milkshakes and fresh waffle cones.
Goofy's Grill: Burgers, sandwiches, and salads.
Heidelberg's Deli: Stacked sandwiches of freshly cut meats and cheese; salads and desserts. Imported beers; snacks and soft drinks. Presented by Hormel.
Lakeside Terrace: Hamburgers, chicken and fish sandwiches. Soft drinks and beer.
Lite Bite: Hamburgers, sandwich specialties, hot dogs; fries, salads, beer and soft drinks. It later became Goofy's Grill.
Minnie Mia's Pizzeria (Later changed locations in the Village and was known as Minnie Mia's Italian Eatery): Fresh deep-dish pizza, whole or by the slice. Soft drinks and beer. Also later served perfect pasta from "Minnie's secret family recipes."
Pluto's Dog House: Hot dogs and all the fixing's, corn dogs, pretzels, beer and soft drinks.
Verandah Restaurant: Chilled strawberry soup, Monte Cristo sandwiches, Chicken Parisian, and more.
Village Ice Cream Parlor and Bake Shop: Serving ice cream cones, a variety of sundaes and fresh baked pastries.
Village Lounge (Later combined with Disney Cartoon Theater): Outstanding musical entertainment nightly. Cocktails and specialty drinks.
Village Restaurant (Later known as Chef Mickey's Village Restaurant): A restaurant overlooking the Buena Vista Lagoon. A luncheon menu was available from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Valet parking was available. Beef, chicken and seafood specialties. It opened in 1975 and became Chef Mickey's in July, 1990 and closed on September 30, 1995 to make way for the Rainforest Cafe. A Chef Mickey's buffet is now located at the Contemporary Resort.
Darth Vader (and Luke Skywalker?) at Walt Disney World Village!
Long before Star Wars weekends at the Studios, the Dark Lord of the Sith was visiting Disney property. In October of 1977, Darth Vader took time out from his busy schedule to visit Walt Disney World Village during the height of the original Star Wars mania. Scott Santmyer was lucky enough to be there and sent in these pictures to Walt Dated World. He recalls that "autographed" posters were given out similar to the ones shown in the background of these pictures. It appears that this event was most likely held in the Captain's Tower in the Village.
Michael Widell also remembers that day but he recalls that Darth Vader wasn't the only Star Wars character there. "We lived in Tampa at the time and my parents went shopping quite often in the Village. It just happened that one of the weekends we drove over was during this event. There were other costumed characters from the movie but all attention was on Darth, the line for Mark Hamill was very small and he left shortly after the event began." Can anyone else confirm this?
David Simpson also remembers this event: "I grew up in Orlando and was at the poster signing event for Darth Vader in 1977. Those posters were shown on the Antiques Roadshow 2009 Chattanooga show Episode 2. It was valued at $2,000.00. The lines were very long for the signing and other stars from the movie were present, but everyone wanted to meet Darth Vader. The signing did take place at the Captain's Tower and went on into the evening hours."
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