Last week, Walt Disney World reached another milestone in its current transformation of Downtown Disney. In a ceremony on September 29th, the shopping and dining district was officially renamed Disney Springs. Although the water feature that Disney Springs takes its name from is still being constructed, there’s still somewhere else in the area to find a very different type of springs. As the song says, one of the wonderful things about Tiggers is that “their bottoms are made out of springs.”
This sculpture depicting Winnie the Pooh’s friends Tigger and Piglet is part of a photo opportunity located between the “Marketplace Fun Finds” and “LittleMissMatched” stores at the Marketplace. There, guests can sit on a log with these two on one side and Pooh enjoying a snack of honey on the other. While the placement of these characters may come across as a little random now, it actually serves as a reminder of an earlier tenant in this part of the Marketplace.
During the 1980’s, Sears department store had an exclusive contract as the only store to carry Winnie the Pooh merchandise outside of the Disney theme parks. When that contract expired in the 1990’s, it led to an explosion of new Pooh products in stores across the country. When coupled with new film and television productions such as “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” and “The Tigger Movie,” the characters from the Hundred Acre Woods now had a higher profile than ever. As a result, Walt Disney World now needed places to carry all of this new merchandise on top of the Disney Parks exclusive ones they already had.
One of the solutions was to create a store at Downtown Disney’s Marketplace to solely sell toys and gifts inspired by the beloved bear. The shop was christened “Pooh Corner,” a name inspired by A. A. Milne’s final Winnie the Pooh book, The House at Pooh Corner. As the initial rush for Pooh merchandise began to slow to more normal levels, other popular Disney characters began sharing space with Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore on the store’s shelves until “Pooh Corner” was completely replaced by the more general “Marketplace Fun Finds” in 2011. Today, this photo opportunity is as all that’s left of its previous incarnation. Ever since it opened in 1975 as “The Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village,” this corner of Walt Disney World has seen a massive amount of change over the years, and with additional construction projects set to continue into 2016, there’s still plenty more changes to come to Disney Springs.