It’s the end of an era for many Walt Disney World guests and Cast Members as the last remaining businesses in the Crossroads shopping center near Disney Springs have closed up shop.
- Crossroads Plaza, located near what is now known as Disney Springs just off Walt Disney World property on SR 535 is set for demolition as part of a project expanding nearby I-4.
- It was announced in 2018 that the plaza would close and eventually decided that in August of 2021, all the businesses in the plaza are to be cleared out as construction on the I-4 Ultimate Project would turn the plaza into a series of off-ramps and retention ponds off the famously congested freeway that would lead drivers directly onto Walt Disney World’s Hotel Plaza Boulevard.
- Now, that time has approached and the last remaining businesses have shut their doors, almost literally paving the way for the new development.
- Built in 1988 as part of an expansion led by the Walt Disney Company that also included the new college program housing complex known as Vista Way. The plaza and Goodings supermarket were added to assist those college program students, as well as the nearby Disney Vacation Club resort, now known as Disney’s Old Key West Resort.
- In the photos, you can see McDonald’s and Taco Bell in the plaza are now shuttered, as well as the Red Lobster and Buffalo Wild Wings. Prior to these, the COVID-19 Pandemic had closed other businesses in the plaza, including Sweet Tomatoes, TGI Friday’s, Moe’s, and The Knife. Some businesses were holding on, though barely. On The Border remained open but offered mobile ordering only up until its final days well after stay at home orders were lifted.
- Crossroads has been the home to many popular locations for tourists, locals, and interns alike. Jungle Jim’s was a popular spot for years before it closed in early 2007, and the plaza was also home to the first and only McKids shopping location in the southeast, as well as major brands that continue to operate (elsewhere) to this day like Taco Bell, Pizzeria UNO, and Perkins.
- Interestingly, signs were spotted mere weeks ago saying locations were hiring, namely the bigger chain establishments (like McDonald’s and Taco Bell) that already have or are building new franchise locations nearby.