Top 10 Tips to Take Advantage of Disney Springs

Disney Springs is worth a trip. Disney Springs is a great place to spend an “off day” during your Walt Disney World vacation. You’ll still be surrounded by all things Mickey and his friends, but you won’t have to pay for another day in the parks. You might also want to head to Disney Springs if you’ve been to Animal Kingdom or a water park for the day, since you’ll have your evening free. The area is open late and there is plenty to see and do. If you’re staying on Disney property, getting to Disney Springs is as simple as catching a bus at your resort. Driving there is easy as well, make sure you pay attention to the signs.

This list does not cover some of the major attractions at Disney Springs. You can watch a movie, bowl in style, catch an unforgettable view of Walt Disney World from up to 400 feet in the air, or play five floors of video games in Disney Springs. House of Blues often hosts live concerts with world renowned artists. La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil is incredible and worth the time if you have it. None of these things are included on this list. These tips are more to help you have a great time as you stroll around, checking out the area to see what it is all about.

10. Visit All Three Sections

There are currently three different parts to Disney Springs; Marketplace, The Landing, and West Side. All three sections are worth a look. You will find unique dining options, fun shopping experiences, and even live entertainment in the evenings in all three. Do not limit your Disney Springs experience to World of Disney and Once Upon a Toy Store. If you do, you’ll be missing out on a lot of good stuff.

9. Arrive Early

Disney Springs gets crowded in the late afternoons and the evenings. If you want to be able to take your time and browse, arrive early. While you can still sleep in for your off day, you will be able to explore more if you and your family arrive before the crowd gets too big. Disney Springs is a favorite of locals as well as tourists, remember that when planning your time there. Most mornings Disney Springs opens at 8:30 and the crowds are usually light at that time.

8. Enjoy the Entertainment

If you want to see free entertainment, head to Disney Springs! While there are sometimes events going on during the day, the place really starts hopping at night. Live bands or singers can be found in all three sections. The Waterside Stage in the Marketplace area is host to a dance party or other fun event most evenings, weather permitting. The human statues will amaze your whole family. Take your picture with one; if you dare. You will be surprised by how much free entertainment is offered at Disney Springs.

7. Take a Boat

It’s hot and you do not want to spend your off day walking. There is a simple solution, take a free boat across Disney Springs. There are stops in all three sections, so you can take it easy and enjoy the ride. If a slow boat ride is not your thing, rent a boat. Different crafts for two to ten people are available. You can also take a specialty cruise around Village Lake. And the Amphicars at The Boathouse are a special treat! You know that you want to go for a boat ride, your off day at Disney Springs is the perfect time to do just that

6. Watch a Different Type of Parade

If you’ve already been to the Magic Kingdom, chances are that you have seen some princesses in a parade. At Disney Springs you can watch smaller versions in a different type of parade. The Princess Parade features the children who have been transformed that day at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Participation is optional, children do not have to be in it if they do not want to. It runs each day (weather permitting) around 2:00pm in the Marketplace area. It is led by the Fairy Godmothers who helped in the transformation and starts outside of World of Disney. It does not last long but it is adorable if you happen to catch it.

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5. Use a Map

While Disney Springs is not all that complicated, you might want to pick up a map. You can get one while in a store, or you can check the large maps that they have along the way. The best way to know what you want to see while you are there is to have everything in front of you. Read the descriptions of the stores and restaurants so that you will know where you want to go and what you think that you can skip. You’ll save time if you have a map with you.

4. Let the Kids Have Fun

You might think that there is not a lot for kids to do in a shopping, dining, and entertainment district. You would be wrong. Disney Springs has plenty of things to keep the little ones occupied. LEGO Imagination Center has a play area that the kids won’t want to leave. The kids can put Mr. Potato Head together inside Once Upon a Toy Store. Hot little ones will love playing in an interactive fountain. The dance party at the Waterside Theater is fun for the whole family. For a small fee kids can ride a train or a classic carousel. If you are willing to spend the money, your child can be transformed into royalty at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (it’s not just for girls). There are even restaurants such as Rainforest Cafe that the entire family will love. You might be surprised when your children don’t want to leave.

3. Save Your Souvenir Buying

Disney Springs is a great place to buy souvenirs for yourself and for those back home. Spend your park time on the rides, hold off on buying souvenirs until your off day. World of Disney is the largest Disney character store on the planet. There are 12 rooms that are filled with vacation memories. The shopping does not end there. You can buy Christmas items all year long, cookware, engraved baseball bats, socks that don’t match, pins, artwork, and a million other items. If you forgot to buy something in a park there is a good chance that you will be able to find it somewhere in Disney Springs. It is a shopper’s paradise.

2. Know Where to Park

If you are staying at a Disney resort all that you have to do to get to Disney Springs is to take a bus. For the rest of the guests, it is a little more complicated. Parking at Disney Springs is free. The new parking deck is a great addition to the parking options. As you enter the rows tell you how many spaces are available and then on that row there are red & green lights to lead you to your spot. The deck is somewhat centrally located, but you will still have a bit of a walk to the farthest reaches of Disney Springs.

1. Enjoy a Meal

The dining options at Disney Springs are incredible! You can enjoy an inexpensive meal at Earl of Sandwich, or savor a romantic meal for two at The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe. You’ll find Cuban, Italian, Irish, and seafood favorites, with plenty of options in between. Skip the entree and go right to dessert at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop. There are currently over two dozen snack or dining options at Disney Springs. As Disney Springs grows wonderful and unique dining opportunities are opening up almost monthly featuring celebrity chefs like Morimoto and one of a kind experiences like Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar. Remember to make a reservation if there is a full service restaurant that you must try. With sushi, pretzels, gluten-free vegan baked goods, healthy choices, animatronic animals, movie memorabilia, and many other surprises, dining at Disney Springs can be an experience that will enhance your overall vacation.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.