Disney Springs is evolving into an amazing place to visit! With all of the new shopping and dining that is being added along with the beautiful landscaping and detailed backstory it really is a place to schedule into your vacation rather than visiting just “if you get a chance.” Here are my top 10 tips & secrets for Disney Springs:
You know, my kids and I love to go to Costco when they are handing out the samples—and at certain times of day at Disney Springs you can have the same experience. I’ve been able to get samples at Ghirardelli, Goofy’s Candy Company and the Ganachery (yum!!). And I love going to Basin to sample the scrubs and other soaps.
9. Parking Garage Lights
I hate parking garages, even though I am barely over 5 feet tall when I ride through them I feel like I need to duck. Not this one—I love the Disney Springs parking garage. Did you know that as you pull in it will tell you how many parking spots are available on each level? Then on each level there is a sign at the end of the row telling you how many spots on that row are available. Even better—there are green lights above the available spots. No more driving aimlessly up & down full rows looking for a place to park—so convenient. It isn’t 100% free of glitches—sometimes it shows a green light with a car parked there, but it is better than most other places.
8. Daytime Bowling
Splitsville has become one of my favorite Disney Springs destinations—the kitschy retro theming is fun and the food is very good. If you go at night you will likely have to wait and the prices are high, but during the day time they offer a variety of discounts and there is usually not a long wait. Also—if you have a Magic Your Way package you may have a discount coupon in your travel document booklet, check to see the current offers.
7. Earl of Sandwich
Looking for the best value/most economical/totally delicious meal on property? I present Earl of Sandwich for your consideration. This eatery offers a variety of sandwiches (both breakfast and lunch/dinner varieties) along with countless side item and dessert options. I guess it isn’t really a secret based on the consistent lines to order, but here’s the tip: the regular prices are a great value but ask about discounts—they accept a variety including Annual Pass & AAA (last time I ate there). You can even join their birthday club online for a free sandwich!
These are definitely not a secret as the awesome Amphicars have been all over the internet since the opening of The Boathouse. The tip is that there may be some discounts to be had for your Amphicar ride (which can be pretty pricey). Last time I went, I received a discount on an Amphicar tour after eating lunch at The Boathouse. I would suggest checking out their website for current offers: http://www.theboathouseorlando.com/amphicar/
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5. Guest Services
Here is a tip—there is a guest services location in Disney Springs. This is nice because if you have anything you need to do to your tickets, like upgrading a Magic Your Way ticket to an annual pass (which you can’t do at your resort), you could come to Disney Springs to take care of it on your arrival day without having to go to a park. Other things that require Guest Services/Guest Relations like purchasing a Tables in Wonderland card (if you are eligible), dealing with any Magic Band issues, etc. can also be handled here. It is really a nice convenience to have it there.
4. Open Table
Did you know that several of the restaurants in Disney Springs have reservations available through OpenTable.com? This is great news because: a) there is no cancellation penalty if you need to cancel the day of the reservation (but please still cancel if you are unable to make your reservation) and b) you may be able to find availability that you can’t find through Disney directly. OpenTable also has some perks like earning points, etc. that you may be familiar with through restaurants in your hometown.
3. Bottling Company Souvenir
So part of the backstory (see #1) of Disney Springs, is obviously the Springs. And the bottling company that opened up to distribute the water. There is a large Bottling Company sign over Morimoto Asia, and inside there is a really beautiful chandelier made out of the bottles from the company. Did you know you can purchase one of those bottles as a souvenir? I was so excited to find one at World of Disney (& at a very reasonable price). It is a unique item that can be used for many different purposes, and it doesn’t scream Disney but is one of the subtle things that brings the magic home and reminds you every day of your happy place.
2. Food Trucks!
I’m not sure that everyone knows about the Food Trucks at Disney Springs that have various food options from around the parks (even from the West Coast). These fun trucks even offer you a taste of some of the signature restaurants like the Cobb Salad & Grapefruit Cake from Brown Derby. Or maybe a corn dog is more your speed. If you are looking for a quick meal or can’t get a reservation at one of the great new restaurants in Disney Springs these are a nice option.
This one is not much a secret because the theme of Disney Springs is really revealed in every detail the Imagineers carefully planned for this destination. From the meticulously designed natural springs, to the Bottling Company signage to the bridges and more—Disney Springs is a beautiful place to visit. You can find all of the details in this Inside the Magic article, http://www.insidethemagic.net/2013/03/the-story-behind-disney-springs-imagineers-bring-natural-florida-attractions-into-modern-day-walt-disney-world/. Essentially there was a natural hot spring that was a popular tourist attraction (like many that are still around the Orlando area), and a small town grew up around it. The architecture in the various “neighborhoods” reflects eras in Florida history from the turn of the 20th century when Henry Flagler was opening up Florida represented by rustic architecture to Industrial architecture of more recent decades and even all the way back to the Spanish architecture of the earliest explorers. All of this combines to make a visually interesting and appealing area for guests. But I think it is nice to know that it has that backstory that has guided all of the decision making and ties it all together.
What is your favorite tip or secret about Disney Springs?