A lot has changed at Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney. Some restaurants and stores left, with new ones coming in. And don’t forget about the whole new section, with beautiful architecture styled after the Mediterranean! With so much happening, guests really need some help when visiting Disney Springs. That’s where I come in, with 10 helpful dos and don’ts for experiencing Disney Springs!
10. Do Visit
Yes, I know your vacation time is limited and precious and you have parks to visit. But make time in your vacation to stop into Disney Springs, especially if you’ve never been or haven’t gone in few years. The place has been reimagined and redesigned so there is a lot more to explore. A short visit to Disney Springs is a fun activity for a “down day” where you don’t go into the parks, or the morning before a hard ticket event. But honestly, you could easily spend an entire day at Disney Springs and not miss being in the parks!
9. Don’t Just Use The Parking Lot
Parking is free at Disney Springs, and there are several new parking garages. Parking at the theme parks is (at the time of this writing) $20. So it can be tempting for off-property guests to use the Disney Springs parking lots all day. Obviously, it’s an ethical gray area because you’re using a parking space but not staying at Disney Springs. But also, it’s a time drain. Buses don’t run from Disney Springs to the theme parks until 4:00pm, so you will likely need to take a bus to a resort before heading to a park. That’s a lot of transit time, but add to that, there’s road construction around Disney Springs to deal with too.
8. Do Make Dining Reservations
There are a ton of new restaurants in Disney Springs, like The Boathouse, STK Orlando, and Morimoto Asia, plus old favorites like Raglan Road and T-Rex. With so many choices, Disney Springs is a popular place for families to get dinner. If you want to be one of them, make dining reservations ahead of time. Do so online or by phone up to 180 days before you check in for vacation!
7. Don’t Skip Dessert
The sweet options at Disney Springs are seemingly endless. For starters, there’s Amorette’s Patisserie, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and my favorite, The Ganachery. And let’s not forget the Candy Cauldron! Plus the snacks and candy found in World of Disney, and the desserts at the table service restaurants.
6. Do Get Snacks
Disney Springs offers plenty of places to grab a quick snack. There is a range of new booths throughout the shopping complex. My newest favorite is Aristocrepes, for the smoked salmon crepe. There’s also B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co., The Daily Poutine, food trucks, Starbucks, and Joffrey’s smoothie kiosks. So if the munchies attack, you have tons of options before your Advanced Dining Reservation.
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5. Don’t Forget About Discounts
Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members can get discounts on merchandise via those memberships. When dining, ask about Tables In Wonderland, or membership discounts. As part of of Walt Disney World’s 45th anniversary, the resort is offering discounts to Vacation Club members and Annual Passholders at various dining locations. Always make sure to ask about discounts when checking out. You won’t get them everywhere, but it never hurts to ask!
4. Do Use Package Delivery
When checking out, ask Cast Members about having your package sent back to your on property resort. That way you can continue your day without being weighed down by bags. However, the package delivery can take up to 24 hours, so this service is not for your last day of vacation.
3. Don’t Just Shop
There’s way more to do in Disney Springs than shop. Go bowling, catch a movie, see Cirque de Soleil, listen to live music, drive an amphicar, ride in a hot air balloon, etc. With so many activities, shopping can quickly fall to the bottom of the priority list!
2. Do Look at a Map
Even if you’ve been to Disney Spring lately, a lot has changed. Buildings have been put up, torn down, and refinished. Chances are you won’t be able to navigate your way around simply by sight anymore. The buses even drop off guests in a new location. So take the time when you first arrive to look at those big “you are here” maps to orient yourself to this new experience. And when in doubt, ask a Cast Member for help!
1. Don’t Forget About Boats
Guests staying at Port Orleans (Riverside and French Quarter), Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs resorts can take a boat to Disney Springs. The boat ride is a lovely, relaxing way to travel, albeit a little slower than the bus!
What’s your favorite activity or restaurant in Disney Springs? Let us know!