There is plenty of fun to be had at Walt Disney World outside the Parks. One of my favorite ways to break from the action of the Parks and to unwind is with a trip to Disney Springs. My family always schedules a vacation day for resort relaxation and shopping at Disney Springs. Even if you are not a diehard shopper searching for new merchandise, Disney Springs is worth a visit during your trip to Walt Disney World Resort. Here are some of the things I always do at Disney Springs.
*If Driving* Snap a Photo of Your Parking Space
The parking garages at Disney Springs are next level. In addition to the aesthetic appeal of the live greenery cascading from the outside of the garages, these are some of the most convenient parking decks I have ever used. Choose from the lime or orange garage for parking and drive up the deck to find a space, based on the space availability displayed on the screen on each deck level. That’s right, each level of the parking garage has a green numerical display at the entrance detailing how many available spots are on that level. No more wasting time aimlessly circling level after level!
Once you have found your spot, be sure to snap a photo of your space number and deck, so you can easily return at the end of your shopping day.
Snag a Dining Reservation
If you are hungry or are planning on staying several hours and want to enjoy a meal later in the day, go ahead and book an advanced dining reservation. Hop on the My Disney Experience App to browse open reservations and select a meal. For southern soul food, you cannot beat a meal at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’. If you are looking for delicious Asian Cuisine, look no farther than Morimoto Asia. Mexican Fusion lovers will want to check out Jaleo by Chef José Andrés. If you are dining with little ones and seeking a fun and interactive meal, look no farther than Rainforest Café or T-Rex Café.
If you would rather enjoy a quick service meal, you have a plethora of incredible options. D-Luxe Burger is my go-to for juicy burgers at Walt Disney World. Blaze Pizza serves up fast and fresh oven-fired pizzas that will melt in your mouth. Wolfgang Puck Café is a must-visit for those craving updated twists on gourmet dishes. Over in the Marketplace section of Disney Springs, you could snag a hearty and fresh sandwich from Earl of Sandwich.
You catch the drift, if you are craving it, Disney Springs can deliver. Do not miss the chance to enjoy a meal here. Dining is one of the things I always do at Disney Springs.
Browse World of Disney
Disney Springs is home to the largest Disney Store in the world. That’s right, you can find nearly any Disney souvenir, apparel, or home good you could ever want in World of Disney. Located in Disney Springs Marketplace, this store is the mecca for all things Disney. I always browse the merchandise at World of Disney at least once during a day at Disney Springs. The inside of the store is decorated with classic ink and paint-inspired sketches, jumbo paint sets, and iconic movie posters that tell the story of the early day of Walt Disney Company movie animation.
I love to snag character merchandise like plush toys, shirts, and Minnie Ears in World of Disney. If you are looking to purchase a gift for a loved one back home, World of Disney is a must-visit. There are endless gift options to choose from, and Cast Members are nearby to answer questions or make suggestions.
Sip a Cocktail & Enjoy Dessert
There are so many yummy drink and dessert options at Disney Springs. From Dole Whip trios at Swirls Over the Water to delicate éclairs from Amorette’s Patisserie to ice cream sundaes from Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop. There are a shocking number of desserts at Disney Springs. We have full articles on all the sweet eats and cocktails at Disney Springs if you are interested in a more comprehensive listing.
One of the things I always do in Disney Springs is slow down to snag a cocktail and dessert to enjoy on a bench. This is a great way to get off your feet and enjoy a slower pace that you will not get during the Park days on your Disney vacation. I love an icy Frose from Earl of Sandwich for chilling out on a hot day, but have also loved beverages from Dockside Margaritas and the sake slushie from YeSake Kiosk on the West Side of Disney Springs. Take some time to search out delicious dessert and drink options during your day and snag your favorite choices for an afternoon of delicious and restorative relaxation.
Listen to Live Music
After you have your beverage and snack of choice in hand, head to a nearby music venue to kick back and relax. There is an awesome lineup of live music that varies in musical styles and type at different musical venues around Disney Springs. Enjoy dining and music at venues like House of Blues, Paradiso 37, Raglan Road, and Stargazers Lounge.
If you are looking to enjoy a walk-up music experience, check out Waterview Park or Riverboat Square at The Landing, Sunshine Highline or Exposition Park on the West Side, or AdventHealth Waterside Stage in Disney Springs Marketplace. You’ll hear groups, individual artists, and even student performers on stages around Disney Springs.
Buy a Chocolate Chip Cookie to Enjoy Later
I know, I know, technically you’ve already had dessert today. It doesn’t matter, you’re on vacation and there are way too many delicious things available not to indulge in another treat. Disney Springs has two top-notch cookie options, so I never leave without purchasing a chocolate chip cookie to enjoy later in my Disney Resort room. Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop has a highly underrated chocolate chip cookie on its menu that I adore. Snag one of these savory, salty, and sweet cookies for only $3.95.
If you are on the West Side of Disney Springs and have time to join the virtual queue, consider a trip to Gideon’s Bakehouse. This gothic and fun bakery serves up massive cookies that are encrusted in chocolate chips and sprinkled with flaky sea salt. This original chocolate chip cookie rings in at $6.00 but truly is a large serving, weighing in at nearly half a pound.
You don’t have to purchase a Park ticket to have an awesome day at Walt Disney World. One of the ways to fill your day for a cheaper price and enjoy a laid-back itinerary is to hang out at Disney Springs. If you are looking to plan a Disney Park day in awesome places like Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom check out other guides.
Happy shopping, snacking, and sipping!