When you’re looking for some fun and relaxation beyond Walt Disney World’s theme parks, Disney Springs is the place for you. This massive shopping, dining and entertainment complex has enough to keep anyone occupied for days! But you probably don’t have that long, so you’ll want to be selective. With that in mind, we’ve created a list of ten essential experiences you must have at Disney Springs. We’re pretty sure you’ll want to try them all!
10. Ampicar Tour
Perhaps the most unique experience you can have at Disney Springs is taking a spin in a vintage amphicar at The Boathouse. You’ll start on land, and then splash into the lagoon for a 25 minute tour of Disney Springs’ landmarks. This guided tour is conducted by your knowledgeable captain, and we can’t think of a better way to tour Disney Springs – especially for fans of classic cars or boats!
9. Dine with Dinosaurs
One of our favorite essential experiences at Disney Springs is dining at T-Rex Café – it’s a great option for any paleontology lovers in your family, or those who enjoy unique, immersive dining experiences. You’ll eat amid a prehistoric rainforest, with a variety of larger-than-life animatronic dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures moving and roaring around you. And of course, who could forget the meteor shower every 20 minutes? And don’t miss the dino shop before or after your dino expedition!
8. Luxury Bowling
You may not associate Walt Disney World with bowling, but if you’re looking for a fun, family-oriented activity outside of the parks, head to Splitsville Luxury Lanes in Disney Springs. You’ve never seen a deluxe bowling complex like this! With two storeys and a dining section, this 50,000 square-foot location will make you feel like you’re bowling in the lap of luxury. There are 30 lanes, as well as live entertainment, and plenty of food options from pizza to sushi.
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7. Virtual Reality Adventures
While you’re waiting for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to open at Hollywood Studios, get your Star Wars fix at Disney Springs by entering the virtual reality world of Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire. Or maybe you’re a Ralph Breaks the Internet fan? Two amazing VR experiences await at The VOID. The whole family can be totally immersed in a virtual environment that uses state of the art technology.
6. Free Stuff
There’s no shortage of free stuff to do at Disney Springs, and it would be a mistake to miss these essential experiences! Kids can play to their hearts’ content at the Lego Store, and build any creations they like without making a purchase. Or set them free at Once Upon a Toy where they can create custom lightsaber. There’s an abundance of free entertainment throughout Disney Springs, and don’t forget the fun – and totally free – splash pad on a hot day!
There’s nothing we don’t love at Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop! The moment you walk in the door, you’ll be confronted by all things chocolate. You can shop a wide selection of yummy chocolate flavors to bring some goodies home as gifts or souvenirs – and while you’re there, don’t forget to snag a free chocolate sample! But our favorite thing to do here is to grab a gourmet hot chocolate or sundae to go. The sky’s the limit here, so if you can dream it, they can create it for you!
4. Balloon Ride
If you’ve ever wanted to see Walt Disney World from a whole new vantage point, you’ll want to check out this essential Disney Springs experience: a ride on the giant Aerophile helium balloon. The 10-minute ride takes guests 400 feet into the air, for panoramic views of Walt Disney World! It’s an experience you won’t soon forget. And insider tip: arrive early in the morning when lines are much shorter, and when they’ve been known to run an Early Bird Special with discounted pricing!
Ok, so it’s no surprise that Disney Springs is shopping central in WDW. And shopping, especially for one-of-a-kind items, is an essential experience here! Head for shops that you don’t have in your area back home. The Coca-Cola Store has three massive floors of specialty merchandise you’ve likely never seen and Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC specializes in vegan and gluten-free baked goods. And make sure you personalize a set of Mickey Ears or a Christmas ornament before you leave Disney Springs, for a unique souvenir to remember your trip by.
2. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar
Don’t be fooled by the name: this is much, much more than a bar (and children are welcome)! Jock Lindsey’s Hangar is a must for Indiana Jones fans. Keep your eyes peeled for artifacts from around the world, and see how many Indiana Jones references and easter eggs you can find! You’ll find specialty drinks here of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic kind, and also a tasty menu of appropriately-themed finger foods.
1. The Edison
If you’re seeking some adult fun away from the kids, then we recommend the eclectic Edison. The Edison mixes 1920s chic with the rawness of an industrial plant, for an effect that Disney refers to as “industrial gothic”. Part of the charm here is the entertainment that’s constantly on hand – you’ll enjoy everything from cabaret to contortionists to aerial feats, all while dining and drinking in style. This is one essential experience you will only find at Disney Springs!