Disney Springs, formally known as Downtown Disney, is a marketplace in Disney World full of restaurants, shops, boutiques, and entertainment. Not only is it entirely free to walk around and explore, but has a ton of things to do and see. I’ve been going here ever since I was a child and I have so many amazing memories with my family and friends. Over the years the downtown centre has undergone numerous transformations- today it is a complete masterpiece. Both a hit during the day and night, Disney Springs is a must see while in Orlando.
I like to spend a few hours here usually for lunch or dinner with enough time to shop around and pick up some Mickey Mouse souvenirs. It is a pretty busy complex so definitely grab a map before you leave and pick a few places you want to visit. Here are a few recommendations on where to eat, what to do, and what to see:
How to Get Here
If you’re driving to Disney Springs there are two brand new parking garages colour coordinated Orange and Lime to help you find your way. By boat cruise on over by complimentary water transportation, departing from a few select Disney resorts. My personal favourite is the easy-to-use and convenient Walt Disney World complimentary bus transportation option. These buses are fast and frequent. You’ll be seeing them everywhere on Disney property.
Where to Eat
For one of the most memorable dining experiences in Disney Springs board the anchored Paddlefish boat and indulge in some of the freshest seafood around. With an impeccable rooftop view of the marketplace, an exquisite culinary team, and an inviting ambience this restaurant is not to be missed. Favourites from dinner included the Half Chicken with Carolina mop sauce as well as the Shrimp & Grits with spicy black pepper-butter sauce. I can definitely see myself back here again soon!
A late night cupcake ATM, gourmet colourful treats, what more could I look for in a bakery? Sprinkles is known for its rotating menu of cupcakes, ice cream & cookies. If you’re looking for a tasty dessert try this place! I ordered the Vegan Red Velvet cupcake and it was freaking delicious. Enjoy your cupcake with a grand view of the crystal clear waters of the Springs right out front or take it to go and wander around the Landing.
What to Do
From browsing the boutique stores in the Town Centre to finding with your favourite Disney toys in the Marketplace, there are tons of areas to shop around Disney Springs. If you’re looking for high-end brands such as Anthropologie, Sephora or Lacoste head over to the Landing and Town Centre, a newly renovated complex where you’ll get lost in a shopping experience like no other.
Disney Springs is packed with entertainment. Cirque Du Soleil, Disney Quest, House of Blues or Splitsville Lanes, can all be found within the downtown core. There’s a wide variety of unique possibilities ranging from live music to nighttime spectaculars. (I worked a shift at Cirque Du Soleil during my time in the Disney International College program, and the show was incredible definitely go see it!)
For leisure or public transportation Disney operates a complimentary shuttle boat which crosses Lake Buena Vista. You can take it to a different part of the Springs either east or west. Or, you could try riding it down the river to Saratoga Springs Resort and Old Key West Resort. It is a fun way to see Disney all the while taking it easy and enjoying the sights.
- Plan to spend at least 60 mins here, you wouldn’t want to miss out on anything.
- Try a free chocolate piece from Ghirardelli Chocolate. They are so so good!
- Pay a visit to Rainforest Cafe, the animatronic animals and rainforest show are cool to watch.