By Paula K
Downtown Disney has transformed into Disney Springs, and the results are amazing. The number of food and shopping options has doubled. There are now four lands; West Side, Town Center, The Landing, and Marketplace. While some things still recall the old district, there is a fresh, new feel to much of it. Town Center is especially impressive, as is The Landing. Plan to spend several hours at Disney Springs, and you still won’t be able to see it all. Here are ten things that you need to know before you head to Disney Springs.
10. Free Parking
The words “free” and “Disney” do not go together all that often at Walt Disney World, which is why free parking at Disney Springs is a welcome perk. There are two parking garages, and there are also lots. A third garage is planned, but is still years away. Free parking makes Disney Springs a popular stop for tourists and locals alike.
9. No Buses to the Parks
Don’t plan to park at Disney Springs so you won’t have to pay for theme park parking. So many people have done that in the past that Disney did away with buses to the parks. There are some buses that run from the parks to Disney Springs, but you won’t be able to make it a round trip.
8. Follow the Parking Lights
One more point about parking. If you decide to use one of the two parking garages, it is easy to find a space. There are lit signs on each level, telling you how many open spots are available. When you pull into a level, a sign will tell you how many spots are open in each row. Once you pick a row, look for the lights over the spots. A red light means that the spot is taken, a green light means that it is open. The system isn’t infallible, but it does work pretty well.
7. Arrive Early
While you don’t need to show up at Disney Springs right when it opens, arriving early is advisable if you plan to see and do as much as possible. The crowds at Disney Springs grow rapidly, and in the evenings and on the weekends they can be huge. Mornings are much more reasonable, and there a few places to grab a delicious breakfast.
6. Live Entertainment
If you stay into the evening hours, you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of live entertainment. Most of it is free. You’ll see local bands, human statues, dance parties, and more. Some of the entertainment is associated with the restaurants, and some is out in the open, waiting for you to walk by. All of it is enjoyable.
5. Don’t Forget West Side
There’s an entire land at Disney Springs that some guests tend to miss, especially if they park in the Lime Garage. West Side is where you’ll find big names such as House of Blues and Spiltsville Luxury Lanes, but there are also smaller treasures such as Disney’s Candy Cauldron, Curl by Sammy Duvall, and Star Wars Galactic Outpost. West Side is also the home of Bongos Cuban Cafe, three Wolfgang Puck offerings, and AMC Disney Springs 24 Dine-In Theaters. If you don’t stop by West Side, you will be missing out.
4. “Cheaper” Dining Options
If you’re tired of paying high prices for food at Walt Disney World, Disney Springs has two “cheaper” options that are also quick. The first is Earl of Sandwich. Located in Marketplace, they sell toasted made-to-order sandwiches. Salads and wraps are also available. The second option is Town Center’s Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza. You’ll be amazed by how little time passes between placing your order and your pizza being ready! Both eateries can be busy, but the lines move quickly. If you want a filling meal for less than you’ve been paying in the theme parks, they are both good choices.
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3. More Changes Are Coming
Even though the name has changed and the construction walls are mostly down, the changes aren’t done at Disney Springs. As already mentioned, a third parking garage is on the way. The NBA Experience is coming to West Side. More restaurants are also set to open, including signature dining and a wine bar. Disney Springs is designed so that it can continually evolve and improve, making it a great destination whenever you’re in Central Florida.
2. World’s Largest Disney Character Store
Looking for the perfect souvenir? You are sure to find it at World of Disney. It is the largest Disney character store in the world, and it has a little bit of everything. You will find plush toys, T-shirts, hats, cooking items, jewelry, collectibles, and so much more. World of Disney has 12 rooms to wander through, and they are all packed with things to make any Disney fan happy. Shopping at World of Disney is one reason why you will want to arrive at Disney Springs early, it gets packed as the day goes on.
1. Signature Restaurants Galore!
If you love fine dining, you will want to visit Disney Springs more than once on your Walt Disney World vacation. You’ll find seafood, steak, Asian cuisine, and more. Some of the menus have been created by world famous celebrity chefs. The best part about signature dining at Disney Springs is that more choices are on the way! If you want a memorable meal, Disney Springs has plenty of restaurants to choose from.