No longer a “side show” to the Disney theme parks, Disney Springs has become a destination unto itself worth planning some time into your Walt Disney World vacation just to see everything it has to offer (and maybe a couple of opportunities to eat). There are major opportunities for Disney Shopping, dining, entertainment and name brand shopping as well. And the atmosphere is really vibrant at Disney Springs—here are 10 things we think you will love about it.
10. The VOID
Star Wars and gaming fans will love the VOID at Disney Springs. This is a multi-sensory Virtual Reality experience that takes you inside the Star Wars Universe. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is currently running at the VOID where you are disguised as a Storm Trooper working together as a team to get Imperial intelligence and help the Rebels. Other games are in the works including one with a Ralph Breaks the Internet theme—no announcement on timing or locations yet though.
9. The Parking Garage
I love the parking garages at Disney Springs—except when they are full which can happen particularly on Friday and Saturday nights. First of all, you have a covered parking space so you are out of the rain, and your car is shaded from the intense Florida sun. But the coolest thing is the technology for the garages. As you enter you are told how many spots are available on each level. Then as you drive through each level signs hanging from the ceiling tell you which rows have spots available. And when you turn up that row there are lights above each spot signaling the open spots. Genius! It isn’t 100% accurate all of the time, but it does help when trying to find a good spot.
One of the most fun things at Disney Springs is the Amphicars that launch from the Boathouse. Whether you are just watching or actually taking a ride it is fun to watch these cars drive right into the lake, and right back out! The retro cars are the real thing purchased from private collections around the world to bring to Disney Springs. There are less than 400 still around today. You can take a 25 minute ride around the lake, and although it can be pricey there are several discounts available for groups like Annual Passholders and even those who have enjoyed meals at certain times at the Boathouse, so always inquire if there are any discounts you qualify for.
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7. Live Entertainment
Adding to the lively atmosphere at Disney Springs you will find several live entertainers throughout the complex. Most are there in the evenings, but you will catch a few shows during the day. On the big stage near the World of Disney shop you can catch a DJ at certain times, or performances from groups that the Disney Performing Arts program brought in. There are roaming musicians (including a moving piano), musicians stationed at certain restaurants outdoors like Art Smith’s Homecomin’ and Raglan Road, and other entertainment like the Living Statues. Strolling around Disney Springs is made more fun by the entertainment you encounter along the way.
6. Food for the Soul
Disney Springs is home to many delicious restaurant options from quick/casual to very fancy. All types of cuisine are offered, but I’m hear to tell you about the Soul Food, Home Cooking, Southern Goodness that is offered at a couple of my favorite eateries: Art Smith’s Homecomin’ and The Polite Pig. You really can’t be the effect of comfort foods, especially when they are done as well as these two restaurants. Homecomin’ is a table service option where dining reservations are recommended. You’ll find fried chicken, hush puppies, mac & cheese and some out of this world desserts—all made in a Southern style with farm fresh ingredients. Over at The Polite Pig smoked meats are the star of the menu with delectable sides that make you feel right at home. If you are looking for some amazing comfort food, you’ll love the choices at Disney Springs.
What is more fun that a round of bowling? Splitsville is the perfect place to enjoy a few rounds—the retro atmosphere is colorful and fun, and it is a great place for families. You do sometimes have a wait for a lane, but it makes a great rainy day activity or a fun break from the parks. Splitsville also has a really great menu of food that you can order up at your lane and eat while you bowl. The best part? The bowling balls with Mickey & Minnie on them!
4. The Edison
One of the newer arrivals at Disney Springs is The Edison—a themed atmosphere that serves up food and entertainment for guests. As the name implies, the atmosphere is an electric company from the era of the 1920s, so a very industrial feel. The menu has a range of items from The Edison Burger to salads to salmon and prime rib. Throughout the day entertainment roams the restaurant representing steam punk style characters like inventors. At night the atmosphere really comes alive with cabaret style entertainment including contortionists and aerialists. After 10pm the atmosphere changes slightly allowing only guests ages 21 and over to enter and adding a dress code.
3. Specialty Shopping
Disney Springs has added so many retail specialty shops to their line up that it is really a one stop shop for just about anything you would need. Some of my favorites are the Lilly Pulitzer shop, Pandora, Alex & Ani, Basin, Uniqlo (which is like a Japanese Disney Old Navy), Na Hoku (Hawaiian Jewelry) . . . and the list goes on & on. If you are a shopper make sure you give yourself time to browse all of the shops at the Springs.
2. Amorette’s Patisserie
There are a lot of places to satisfy your sweet tooth at Disney Springs like chocolatiers The Ganachery and Ghiradelli or fun spots like Goofy’s Candy Company. But my favorite is Amorette’s Patisserie. Located near the World of Disney, this small bakery is packed full of wonders for both your eyes and your taste buds. The entire style of the shop is a dreamy Art Nouveau, but the real beauty are the treats in the counter. Many of the cakes are styled after your favorite Disney characters (the Mickey Mousse is a personal favorite). But all of their pastries are beautiful—both in appearance and taste. Amorette’s also offers macarons, cheese cake and other treats as well as specialty beverages and Deli Style sandwiches.
1. Disney Shopping
The number 1 reason I think you will love Disney Springs are all of the Disney shopping opportunities you can find there. The most obvious is World of Disney the largest Disney store in the world. Just having undergone renovations it is a fun space that is filled with just about every Disney souvenir, piece of clothing, toy, etc. under the sun. But there are other Disney shopping destinations at Disney Springs. The Marketplace Co-Op offers several specialty shops that offer Men’s Clothing, Tech Gear, Housewares, Disney dresses and women’s accessories. Tren-D offers clothing and accessories for ladies (many of which are not found in other places). Once Upon a Toy is a fun stop for Disney toys. 12 Days of Christmas is the place to find your souvenir ornament (and personalize it) or your holiday décor. The Art of Disney is a great place for collectibles and one of a kind art pieces. And Disney’s Pin Traders is a mecca for pin collectors and traders. Not to mention several other shops that may be season specializing in all kinds of Disney merchandise. Save your pennies for a Disney Shopping spree at Disney Springs!
What do you love about visiting Disney Springs?