I am in love with Disney Springs. Everything about it (except the crowds on busy nights) is right up my alley. The mix of Disney and national retail shops, the dining, the lounges, the entertainment and just the atmosphere all create a wonderful environment that I now plan time to spend in during my vacation. Here are my top 6 things you must do at Disney Springs:
6. Live Entertainment
Whether you are visiting in the day or night you are likely to find some fun live entertainment happening at Disney Springs. It may be a “strolling” entertainer, an impromptu performance, or a stage show. Some of my personal favorites are the rolling piano player/singer and the living statues. Take a few minutes to support the youth performers on the main stage, they work so hard to get there between fundraising and practice. Dancers, choral groups and bands are often featured there between other shows hosted by a DJ. During the holidays we found even more entertainers like stilt walkers out to keep the crowd in high spirits. One other option for live entertainment is to purchase tickets for a Cirque du Soleil La Nouba show. The acrobatic performers will amaze you with their talents.
5. Go on a Journey
Disney Springs offers a couple of unique opportunities for experiences. The first is the amphicars that launch from the Boathouse. This one of a kind experience starts in a car on land that rolls right into the lake surrounding Disney Springs. Your Captain will take you on a tour giving you a very fun perspective of Disney Springs and the Saratoga Springs resort. Chartering a cruise can be pricey, but check for possible discounts depending on the time of day you want to go, and by eating at the Boathouse (yummy food & a fun boat ride). The other experience is to take a flight in the tethered Character in Flight balloon. From high in the air you can see so much of Disney property for a very unique perspective you can’t get anywhere else. Be aware that the balloon cannot ascend if there is inclement weather or if it is too breezy outside.
“Not all those who wander are lost” J.R.R. Tolkien Sometimes when I’m in Walt Disney World I like to just wander around. I wander my resort early in the morning before the world wakes up, I wander in the parks admiring the fascinating details that the Imagineers have incorporated into every nook & cranny, and I even like to wander at Disney Springs. Goodness knows that if I did more than window shopping each time I visited I would have no more Disney vacation money left. The grounds at the Springs are beautiful with the clear waters and lantern floating. The themed architecture fits in perfectly. I love the vistas across the lake looking toward Saratoga Springs. The entertainers I encounter. The interactive elements. And even the window shopping.
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One of my favorite activities at Disney Springs is bowling at Splitsville. Maybe not on your very first visit, but I do recommend trying it out at least once. The retro atmosphere is so fun, and the service is really great serving up some good food right to your bowling lane. I recommend going during the day—and it is a particularly good thing to do when it is raining outside. If you go later in the day you may want to look into reserving a lane ahead of time. Also ask for discounts when you arrive—you may be able to get an Annual Pass discount, a Disney Vacation Club Member Discount, or a discount with your Disney Travel Company package voucher.
This one is pretty clear—don’t miss the dining opportunities at Disney Springs. Let’s start with the quick or counter service eateries serving up really great food at really good prices (compared to the rest of Walt Disney World). My current top picks are Blaze Pizza and Earl of Sandwich in the good food/good price category. In the slightly more expensive category you can try out D-Luxe Burger for some truly good burgers and shakes. If you are looking for a sit down meal your table service options are pretty unlimited at Disney Springs. Art Smith’s Homecoming serves up delicious Southern/Home Cooking, The Boathouse has really good seafood and steaks; Morimoto Asia has a menu of all kinds of Asian specialties; several other options are available as well with great food, fun themes and nice views. If you are looking for drinks Disney Springs is a great place with Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, the Coca-Cola Rooftop Beverage Bar and some really good bars attached to the table service restaurants. And if dessert is what you want look no further. You can choose from Ghirardelli, Amorette’s Patisserie, the Ganachery and Sprinkles Cupcakes. Any of these options are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Well of course you come to Disney Springs to shop. But I love it for the unique shops you can find here. On the Disney side of things you can find some of the most “complete” shops for all of your Disney souvenirs: World of Disney for everything under the sun; Disney’s Days of Christmas for all of the holiday merchandise; Art of Disney for collectibles, sketches and framed art; Disney’s Pin Traders for just about every pin in the world; and Once Upon a Toy for lots of games, toys, Star Wars merchandise and all of those Disney Potato Head Parts. Then there are specialty Disney shops as well. My favorite area is the Marketplace Co-Op that has changing sections of the store featuring unique Disney merchandise for your home, for travel, for your electronic gear, along with clothing and accessories. Tren-D is another great shop for unique Disney clothing and accessories for ladies, like a Disney specialty boutique. With the addition of the Town Center you’ll find major national retailers, specialty shops and some unique stores that you won’t find in your local shopping mall. You can find Lilly Pulitzer, Columbia, UGG, jewelry shops like Pandora, Alex & Ani and Na Hoku. One of my son’s favorite places to shop is Uniqlo (like Old Navy from Japan meets Disney). You definitely need some time to shop when you visit Disney Springs.
What are your Must Dos at Disney Springs?