By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.





A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: The Powerplant and the Air Terminal



By Dave Shute

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

THE POWERPLANT AND THE AIR TERMINAL AT DISNEY SPRINGS

By Jim Korkis

The newest restaurants at Disney Springs tie in to the area’s overall storyline of a restored Florida waterfront town. The Edison was once the power plant for the town. Its design is meant to evoke the steam powered age of innovation.

The restaurant is promoted as a “lavish industrial Gothic-style destination for fine food, handcrafted cocktails and exciting nightlife.” The impressive, detailed decor includes actual antique pieces and a large industrial-style mechanical clock at the main entrance.

Different dining areas have their own themes including: The Boiler Bar, The Ember Parlor, Telegraph Lounge, The Patent Office, The Tesla Lounge, The Radio Room, Waterfront Patio, and The Lab. Antique boilers are a focal point for guests who enter The Edison from the Enzo’s Hideaway tunnels and any guests that make their way downstairs.

Adjacent to The Edison, The Patina Restaurant Group operates three new restaurant venues. The group already runs Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs, Via Napoli and Tutto Italia at Epcot, as well as six restaurants at Disneyland. Patina will also manage the new space-themed restaurant to be built in Future World East at Epcot.

The other three restaurants exist in what was once supposedly Disney Springs’ Air Terminal. The story goes that the Italian immigrant couple Maria and Enzo ran a bakery in the airport lobby, but travelers diminished over the years because of larger airports with greater amenities and other forms of transportation increasing in use, so the location closed.

In addition to the bakery, they tried to sustain themselves by opening a small pizza by-the-slice restaurant (Pizza Ponte, whose logo references the nearby bridge).

The success of this venue allowed Maria and Enzo to fulfill their ultimate dream to restore and transform the long-forgotten terminal to its former glory, giving it new life as a grand restaurant showcasing the flavors of Southern Italy. They named the restaurant Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante.

Surrounding the main dining room, an impressive period-style mural depicts the destinations once served by seaplanes that departed the terminal as well as a period-style metal globe chandelier. Some of those destinations include New York, Daytona Beach, New Orleans and Cuba. It has an Art Deco structure reminiscent of those of the early 1930s and features fifty foot tall ceilings and expansive views of Lake Buena Vista.

The restaurant interiors showcase artifacts that reference air travel of the early 20th century, with maps and historic flight paths. Signage in the main dining room recalls its prior use as the departure lounge for the terminal. Diners may also be selected for seating in the smaller “First Class Lounge,” or request it when they make a reservation. The host and hostess staff dress like old-style flight attendants, and even the table settings match the 1930s era.

As the story of the complex continues, after the couple purchased the terminal, Enzo accidentally discovered a former “bootlegger’s hideout” in the tunnels beneath the terminal that connected it to the power plant next door. Now called Enzo’s Hideaway, the former speakeasy has a wall of graffiti that tells the tales of its storied past.

Enzo’s Hideaway speakeasy was inspired by Roman aperitivo bars as well as Florida’s history of rum running, and was supposedly a social center for Disney Springs during the dry years of Prohibition. The Hideaway attaches to The Edison next door through a secret passageway. Actually, some of the tunnels in real life previously included backstage Pleasure Island cast member areas and green rooms for performers.

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Thanks, Jim! And you can find reviews of these–and all other–Disney World table service dining venues in the book I co-author with Josh of easyWDW.com, The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit.

And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Secret Stories of Mickey Mouse, and his Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, all published by Theme Park Press.

 

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