When Walt Disney World was under construction, Roy Disney felt he was in a bind. He needed to promote his "Vacation Kingdom" which would look nothing like what his brother had described without cutting into DISNEYLAND's business. He decided to open a visitor's center near the construction site that could then be repurposed into something else. (Hopefully nobody would notice that the plans did not resemble the project that Walt Disney spoke about on television.)
After the facility had served its purpose and the Magic Kingdom theme park had finally become profitable, the company decided to turn its visitor's center into a "Shopping Village".
Originally, the company didn't intend for the entire property to be considered "Walt Disney World". The rest of the property outside the main theme park/hotel area would be referred to as Lake Buena Vista. To bring in needed cash, the company leased land across the street from its shopping village to outside hotel operators. None of the properties would be Disney branded or themed.
This area would be like the area across the street from DISNEYLAND in Anaheim, except it would be Disney controlled. Unfortunately, the property was too far from the main action and it wasn't very successful. Disney decided to finally put its name on the modest shopping village.
The quiet, outlet mall vibe of the village still didn't attract much attention, even with the Disney name. In the late 1980's, the village got a new name- Disney Marketplace and a new neighbor- Pleasure Island. The property is now part of the Disney Springs complex and is currently getting a facelift.