If you’re a regular reader of our Weekly Photo & News Reports, you’ve seen a lot of construction walls lately in the Downtown Disney District. Some stores have been vacated, some expanded and others remodeled. I have also heard quite a few rumors as to who may be filling some of the vacant spots and I want to help consolidate some of the information for you.
La Brea Bakery
The La Brea Bakery is a very popular dining location that sits on the very end of Downtown Disney, closest to the two theme parks. They have been original Downtown Disney tenants since the shopping and dinning district opened in 2001. According to an OC Register article, the location was originally built for a Disney owned restaurant, however the space was occupied by the famous Los Angeles bakery instead. Walls started to appear around the quick service side of the restaurant the first week of January, which we first showed you pictures of on our Twitter Feed. The full service, restaurant side will remain open during the majority of the construction which will add 900 square feet to the building itself. The bakery is adding a kitchen to exclusively serve the quick service side and staff will bring food to customers tables when they reopen in March. Mark Olcott, La Brea Bakery’s senior vice president of fresh operations was also quoted in the article as saying, “After the remodeling, La Brea will bake fresh items throughout the day, giving the scent of cinnamon rolls in the morning and, perhaps, cookies in the afternoon. Customers will be able to watch preparers roll dough for pastries and make other items, some in a new wood stove”
In a blog post, Disney commented on the new menu items, calling them “inspired by La Brea Bakery’s founder, Nancy Silverton” and specifically naming double-dipped French Toast and fontina strata on the breakfast side as well as burgers, salads and panini’s throughout the day. (link)
The newly remodeled version of the La Brea Bakery will relaunch in early April.
LEGO Imagination Center
Another original store to receive some work will be the LEGO store, located next to the Downtown Disney Monorail station. The LEGO Imagination Center, it’s full name, has been a very popular retail space where children are encouraged to build and play with LEGOs. The LEGO store has temporarily moved into the space recently vacated by Island Carters, a clothing retailer, so that their entire space can be remodeled and updated. The LEGO Imagination Center is expected to move back into the remodeled location in the spring of 2012.
Compass Books and Cafe
Compass Books and Cafe, located between the AMC Theater and the Disneyland Hotel is yet another original tenant closing it’s doors. Compass Books is well known for it’s hard to find Disney book collection and is a favorite spot to pick up coffee, espresso and even Krispy Kreme Donuts. But after 11 years, the store’s last day of operation will be March 31st. Disney has not yet officially announced a replacement tenant for the space, however it is rumored that Disney may be in negotiations with Starbucks and possibly even Earl of Sandwich to split the space.
UPDATE (2-8-12): Earl of Sandwich has been confirmed to move into the space currently occupied by Compass Books & Cafe. Read More About the Announcement Here.
UPDATE (4-28-12): Disney has confirmed that Starbucks will be coming to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure park. Read More About the Announcement Here.
In addition to all these changes to the retail and restaurants locations, Disney is also using this time to do some maintenance on some planters, concrete and sprinkler systems around the Downtown Disney District.