Michael Davie has a huge imagination. The 20-year Disney veteran is at the center of reimagining Downtown Disney to an outdoor dining, shopping, and entertainment destination.
Davie, a senior project manager for Walt Disney’s Imagineering team, is at the heart of a major transformation and rebranding of the area now known as Disney Springs.
“It’s having a vision and understanding the Disney brand,” said the Chicago native in a sit-down interview with UrbanGeekz. “My responsibility is working with the entire team and taking those ideas and bringing them to fruition.”
Inspired by Florida’s waterfront towns, the expansive makeover comprises of four distinct districts – West Side, the Landing, the Marketplace and Town Center. It’s the latest incarnation of an area that Disney opened some 40 years ago primarily for locals.
“This is was a unique project because there was a lot of assets already existing that our guests love. But we’re going to create something new for our guests to experience. From food and beverage and the retail experience and we want to make sure that the experience is seamless from Marketplace to Westside.”
The main gateway to Disney Springs will be at Town Center, which features Spanish-revival style architecture drawing from a rich history of explorers that landed in Florida centuries ago. Like the rest of Disney Springs the district is brought to life with the same focus on storytelling that goes into all Disney brands.
“Downtown Disney as it used to be was made up of different areas. What we want to do with [Disney] Springs is create this central story that would allow all the entire property to work together cohesively with one unifying story and that’s based on the whole idea and notion of the Springs.”
Three years in the making Disney Springs, which officially opened over summer, will include a plethora of businesses. From intimate boutiques to well-known brands, the revamped complex will be home to over 150 businesses along a mile-long walkway focused on the waterfront.