Disney Springs is primarily a shopping and dining destination within Walt Disney World resort. The area has gone by many names over the years since it first opened in 1975, most recently it was called Downtown Disney. In 2016, the re-theming and additions to the shopping complex were largely completed. The newly coined Disney Springs is themed after a fictional waterside town and has four distinct areas: Town Center, The Landing, West Side, and Marketplace. For guests unfamiliar with Disney Springs, here are eight rookie mistakes and how to avoid them on your vacation!
8. Going Late in the Day
Crowds build as the day goes on, just like at the theme parks. But unlike the parks, where the crowds peak around midday, at Disney Springs the crowds reach their peak at dinner time. That’s because resort guests and locals alike converge on Disney Springs to grab dinner. So if you want to enjoy Disney Springs without the crowds, head over earlier in the day.
7. Trying to Do All Their Shopping on the Last Day
Disney Springs is a popular destination for a first or last day of vacation. And for good reason, since you probably don’t want to use a park ticket if your plane lands or leaves in the afternoon. However, don’t think that you can fully experience all of Disney Springs on your last morning of vacation! The stores are varied and interesting: there’s World of Disney, boutique-y Chapel Hats, the Lego store, Sephora, a Christmas store, Co-Op Marketplace, and so many more possibilities. If you want to see it all, give yourself plenty of time to meander through everything, plus time for snacks and resting.
6. Not Allowing Enough Time
This tees off the previous tip. Even if you’re visiting Disney Springs mid-trip, give yourself enough time to get there, walk around, and get back. Disney Springs is a bit removed from the rest of the Walt Disney World property, and the road construction surrounding it make it time consuming to get there. If you have plans later in the day (like a hard ticket party or a dinner reservation elsewhere) give yourself plenty of time to to travel and walk around Disney Springs. I always allocate at least one hour to get from point A to B anywhere on property.
5. Not Make Dining Reservations
Disney Springs has tons of dining options, with many brand new restaurants. You should have no problem finding somewhere to eat within the shopping center. However, if there is a specific restaurant that you want to try, or return to, then you absolutely should make Advanced Dining Reservations.
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4. Not Bringing A Poncho
Most afternoon showers blow over in about twenty minutes, but not all do. Sure, you can duck into a store to get out of the rain. But unlike the stores on Main Street USA or Hollywood Blvd, these ones aren’t all connected to each other. If you’re in World of Disney you’re probably ok, because that store is so big, but some of the stores are quite small. Having a poncho or umbrella gives you the freedom to keep on with your day and remain dry.
3. Underestimating the Amount of Walking
Spending the day at Disney Springs is not like going to your local mall or shopping center. Disney Springs is sprawling, and takes a lot of walking to explore. The new pedestrian bridge makes getting from one side to the other quicker, but of course, if you want to look inside all the stores, then you’ll have to go the long way! Bring along a pedometer or Fitbit. You’ll be amazed by how many steps you take even though you’re not in a theme park.
2. Not Drinking Water
Lots of walking plus Florida sun can add up to a sweaty afternoon. Plus, there’s very little shade in Disney Springs. Sure, you’re in and out of stores and restaurants most of the time, not standing in sunny lines. But you’ll need plenty of water all the same, especially if you’re also enjoying a drink from Dockside Margaritas or Jock Lindsay’s Hangar. Don’t set yourself up for a bad time later, drink water!
1. Thinking It’s All Eating And Shopping
There’s more to do in Disney Springs than eat and shop! Take a ride in an amphicar or a hot air balloon. See a movie or the Cirque de Soleil. Go bowling. Sure, there are a ton of stores, but there’s more to entertain the whole family. That’s why it’s so important to give your family enough time to really experience everything Disney Springs has to offer!
What’s your favorite thing to do at Disney Springs? Let us know!