Disney Springs is thriving at this time! There is just as much to see and do as ever. There may be a few walls up and the paths might be a little bit crowded in places, but you’ll still want to spend some time at Disney Springs while you’re in Central Florida.
Coming up with a list of 9 things that you must do at Disney Springs was nearly impossible. You’ll notice that I cheated a little bit and made a couple of subcategories. There are still things that you and your family might enjoy while visiting the district that didn’t make it. Not only is Disney Springs a great place to spend a day off from the parks, you can find last minute souvenirs and great food. You’ll have a great time visiting Disney Springs if you try at least a couple of things from this list.
9. Free Entertainment
There is no fee for parking Disney Springs, and there is also plenty of free entertainment that you might want to try. The area comes alive in the evenings, with musicians and dance parties. You will definitely want to spend some time watching the human statues. It is funny to watch how other people interact with them. Make sure you get a picture yourself, it will be one of the most unique shots from your vacation since you never know what the statue is going to do. If you’re looking to relax for a little while grab a bench by an interactive fountain. Trying to figure out the water patterns can be mesmerizing. Better yet, bring your bathing suit or a change of clothes and head into the water with your kids. You’ll have a great time and you won’t have paid a large fee for a water park.
8. Characters in Flight
Ever want to see what Walt Disney World looks like from a bird’s eye view? Characters in Flight offers you a chance to do just that. For a small (by Disney standards) fee you can board a tethered balloon that will take you 400 feet into the air. The trip lasts about ten minutes, and you’ll be able to see 360 degrees around Disney property. Characters in Flight soars only when the weather is good, high winds as well as storms will ground it.
7. AMC Downtown Disney 24 Dine-In Theatres
The phrase “dinner and a movie” takes on a whole new meaning at AMC Downtown Disney 24 Dine-In Theatres. Also known as Fork & Screen, you can catch the latest movie while dining on delicious cuisine. The available food is not just popcorn and candy. You can enjoy burgers, quesadillas, flatbread pizza and even Blackened Salmon. Don’t forget the Chocolate Brownie Sundae for dessert. Cocktails are available to those of age. Guests must be at least 18 or accompanied by someone who is 21 or older. Your movie popcorn back home will taste rather bland after experiencing Fork & Screen.
You might wonder what a conewich is. The idea is simple, it is a sandwich that is in a special bread cone. Disneyland sells them in Cars Land and they are so popular there that someone had the smart idea to sell them in Orlando. Conewiches are available at Marketplace Snacks. There are currently two choices; a Meatball Cone and a Chili Cone Queso cone. They are definitely a hit.
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You might think that a bowling alley does not belong on a “must do” list. Splitsville is more than your average bowling alley! There are 30 lanes on two floors, and the menu is unbelievable. Instead of cold burgers and warm beer you can indulge on an 8 oz fillet or Mahi Mahi with Voodoo Shrimp. The menu is inspired by celebrity chef Tim Cushman. There is also live music and dancing at scheduled times. Splitsville is so popular that reservations are recommended
4. Unique Shops
Disney Springs is known for its shopping. There are more than 40 stores, and is up and running. All of the stores are special. Whether you’re looking for that last minute souvenir, something different for your Christmas tree, or the pin that you are missing, you’re sure to find an incredible selection at Disney Springs. A few of the stores deserve an extra recognition.
-Disney’s Candy Cauldron and Goofy’s Candy Company
If you have a sweet tooth you will want to make a trip to Disney Springs! There are two unique candy stores and both of them are delicious. Disney’s Candy Cauldron features the Wicked Queen from Snow White. You can purchase fudge, dipped pretzels, cotton candy, and candy apples…if you dare. The cast members are half of the fun, speaking in Old English and asking the “villagers” (that’s the customers) to pay in pebbles. Goofy’s Candy Company is the opposite. You’ll find a whimsical theme and you can create your own snack. The store also hosts birthday parties in a private room.
-LEGO Imagination Center
Kids love LEGOS, and they’ll see more than they ever imagined possible at Disney Springs. There are giant LEGO statures outside of the Imagination Center building, and there’s a safe place set up for your kids to play and create for a while. Inside the store you’ll find more finished products and plenty of kits for sale so that you can take one home and create a LEGO masterpiece yourself.
– World Of Disney Store
Disney Springs is home to the largest Disney character store in the world. World of Disney Store is huge, there are 12 rooms worth of things that you will want to take home with you! You’ll be able to find things for your kitchen, plush toys, T-shirts, keychains, and thousands of other items. World of Disney Store is also one of two homes of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where fairy godmothers help little girls ages 3-12 transform into princesses. Reservations are strongly suggested. Each afternoon around 2:00 watch the Princess Parade as the girls all show off their new looks.
3. House of Blues
If you think that House of Blues is just another restaurant, you’ve obviously never been there. It is part restaurant, part concert venue, part lounge, and part store. You can enjoy incredible dishes such as Trio of Cheese Rigatoni or Applewood Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf at Crosswoods at House of Blues. The Front Porch is a lounge that sometimes will have live entertainment. If you’re a music fan you can catch a concert by internationally known artists at House of Blues as well. Local acts are also featured. One event that you will not want to miss is the Sunday Gospel Brunch. Southern favorites are served buffet style. Enjoy world class Gospel music acts as you dine. The brunch is served at 10:30am and at 1:00pm. Reservations can be made by calling 407-934-BLUE (407-934-2583) up to 180 days in advance.
2. Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil describes itself as a “dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment”. The different troupes perform shows all over the world. Some of the shows are traveling, others have a permanent home. Even if you have seen Cirque du Soleil elsewhere you need to give this one a chance because it is different from all of the other shows. You’ll see amazing acrobats, jugglers, trapeze artists, clowns, and more. The costumes, makeup, lighting, and music all add to the experience. There are 15 countries represented in the show and over 65 performers. Tickets are required and can be purchased online at shop.omniticket.com/wdw/wcq/index.cfm. The times and number of shows daily will vary.
1. Unique Dining Experiences
If you’re hungry while at Disney Springs you will not have to go far to find something to eat. There are world class restaurants just a few feet away from wherever you’re standing. When the transformation to Disney Springs is complete there will be almost twice as many options. You could want burgers, sandwiches, pretzels, or ice cream and you will be able to find it without a reservation. If you need something to satisfy your sweet tooth but can’t eat gluten or sugar you can still have a delicious snack. Downtown Disney offers everything from fine dining to free chocolate squares. While all of the restaurants at Downtown Disney are incredible, here are three that deserve special mention.
-Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant
Looking for authentic Irish food and drink while in Central Florida? Look no further than Downtown Disney. Raglan Road is located in Pleasure Island. Master Chef Kevin Dundo has created a menu featuring Fish & Chips, Keen Eye for the Shepherd’s Pie, and dozens of other items. Those of age can order Irish, American, or European beers and other drinks. There is live family-friendly entertainment nightly. Sundays you can enjoy the Host the Roast brunch, which features roasted meats and sides. There are authentic Irish dancers and the house band Creel will entertain. A good time will be had by all.
-Rainforest Cafe at Disney Springs
If you’re looking for a loud but fun meal for the entire family, you’ll want to make a reservation at Rainforest Cafe. It’s located in the Marketplace section of the district, just look for the giant volcano. Audio-animatronic animals fill the restaurant and there is a “storm” from time to time. The food at Rainforest Cafe is fun, with names like The Beastly Burger and Taste of the Wild. If your family has room for dessert consider splitting a Sparkling Volcano. It’s an ice cream and brownie cake sundae that is meant to be shared. If you want a similar meal with a dinosaur theme, reserve a table at T-REX. It is also a lot of fun.
-Wolfgang Puck Times Four
World renowned chef Wolfgang Puck has brought his recipes and specialties to Downtown Disney. What is nice is that you can enjoy them no matter what your schedule or your budget look like. If you’re in a hurry but have a craving for a bowl of Butternut Squash Soup, try Wolfgang Puck Express at Disney Springs or The Express at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe. Both are counter service. If you’d like to sit down and relax in a chic setting, make a reservation for lunch or dinner at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe. Try a salad, a flatbread pizza, or a pasta entree. Don’t forget to order a specialty cocktail or a non-alcoholic creation. If an intimate dinner for two is what you want, make a reservation for the Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe. This signature experience features the tastes of California and Asia, with a pinch of Austria thrown in. There is an extensive wine list available. The spectacular views will add to an evening that you won’t ever forget.