POSTED: Saturday, March 16, 2013 - 5:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, March 16, 2013 - 5:04am
CNN — Downtown Disney is set to fade into history, making way for a bigger new community.
Over the next three years, the entertainment district at Florida's Walt Disney World will be transformed into Disney Springs, a new shopping, dining and entertainment area that will double the size of the existing complex.
"Disney Springs will be a timeless, vibrant place where Walt Disney World guests and local residents can relax, shop, dine and be entertained in an imaginative setting where they'll instantly feel at home," said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, in a Thursday press release.
The new area will feature "distinctive brands, world-class restaurants and unforgettable entertainment," Staggs said, "with the same focus on storytelling and attention to detail that goes into our theme parks, resorts and cruise ships."
Disney Springs, which will be modeled on Florida's waterfront communities, will feature four outdoor neighborhoods with more than 150 shops, restaurants and other establishments. The four areas will be connected by a spring and lakefront.
Construction is scheduled to start in April and sections will open in phases. The project is expected to be finished by 2016. The largest private single-site employer in central Florida, Disney estimates it will add 1,200 construction jobs and 4,000 operations jobs.