Walt Disney World is most famous for its parks and there is no doubt that they are the best in the world. Disney Parks embody what dreams are made of, the certain type of magic that you can only experience there. While they are indeed amazing there is so much more to do on property that is often overlooked, especially for newcomers. There are amazing waterparks, golf and mini golf courses, resorts, private tours, and of course shopping and nightlife options. If it’s the latter that you are looking for then head over to Disney Springs after the Parks close for some cocktails and shopping!
The area that Disney Springs now occupies was once called Pleasure Island. It was a nightlife paradise in its heyday for resort guests and I can’t even begin to describe how much fun it was. That all changed sometime around 2006 when security started to become a bit more relaxed and crowds of rowdy local teens started frequenting the venue. It was no longer the image that Disney had originally imagined for adults to enjoy an evening out. In 2008 Pleasure Island closed for good and they started imagining a newer, cleaner, more upscale version of nightlife for guests to enjoy. While it was met with much resistance from fans of Pleasure Island, Disney did what they do best. They decided to go about their plans and realize that the naysayers would be changing their tune when they visited their new nightlife mecca that is Disney Springs.
I have to say, as one of those who was disappointed that my beloved nightlife spot had been taken away I was skeptical, but what I have experienced has truly given me a new respect for the way DIsney reinvented a great area. For adults who love Disney and also love nightlife here are some places that you should really check out.
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar –
This 1940’s airplane hangar turned dive bar is located in the Landing area of Disney Springs. It is themed to be the ex-home of Indiana Jones’ pilot and sidekick. The atmosphere here is so different from anything you have probably experienced at a bar. Drinks in an airplane hangar while it feels like you are in Indy’s world? Yes please. They have a creative cocktail list featuring drinks called Air Pirate’s Mule, Reggie’s Revenge, and the Scottish Professor. Take a step out of reality and into the favorite movies we all grew up with for a truly unique evening.
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Dockside Margaritas –
Also located in the Landing is this fabulous 1960’s Florida fruit stand themed bar. Not only do they have a whole menu of fabulous margaritas and local beers to cool you off after a long day but they also have live entertainment and great views of Buena Vista Cove. They are currently doing a fun #throwbackthursday promotion through September 28th where they offer drinks specials on popular drinks that were once featured at the Pleasure Island bars. Good job with the nostalgia Dockside!
This chic, ultra- modern steakhouse located in the Landing will truly make your night out memorable. With their outdoor patio and in- house DJ, this nightlife spot is makes you feel like you are at one of the trendiest upscale places in LA or NYC (coincidentally they have locations in both of those as well). Their dinner menu is to die for with its truly top- notch steaks and accompaniments but in addition to that their “bubbles and wine” menu has some great offerings that you won’t find anywhere else on property. If you find those impressive then their cocktail menu will blow your mind. They have such uniquely crafted and delicious cocktails that most folks will never get the chance to try at their local bar. Plan an evening here and you can enjoy a great steak, grab a delicious drink and head out on the patio to dance to great music all night.
The Polite Pig –
If you love beer, bourbon, and good southern cooking then this place is for you. Polite Pig offers traditional southern favorites like cheese grits, fried chicken, and baked beans with burnt ends…..yum. There is no doubt their food is great but their bourbon list is just ridiculous. They have so many great bourbon choices that it would be impossible not to find one that you love. Polite Pig allows guests to experience the best of Kentucky in Orlando.
If you are looking for a more low- key evening then perhaps this bar is for you. Located at AMC movie theater on the West Side, MacGuffins has a fun and upbeat atmosphere. The space is open air and has your basic American fare. The perk to this bar is that because it is part of AMC theaters you can bring your food and drinks in the movies with you! If you don’t feel like barhopping then throw on some comfy clothes, grab a movie ticket, and prepare for a great casual night out. Don’t forget to grab your Oreo Mudslide (alcohol and Oreos make an amazing combo) and your Waffle sundae (complete with candied bacon) and prepare to kick back, relax and enjoy.
Raglan Road –
A favorite among Disney guests for many years now, this bar was one of the originals in Disney Springs. It’s been there since 2005, three years before Pleasure Island closed. It’s your traditional Irish pub times ten. The bar itself was imported from Ireland and this bar screams Emerald Isle from the minute you walk in. From the amazing Irish inspired live music to the whiskey and beer lists that would interest even the most discerning of drinkers, it has everything you would ever wish for in a pub. There are constantly people on the dance floor, the bartenders are fantastic and friendly, and everyone mixes, mingles, and leaves with a smile. One visit to Raglan Road and you will be a fan for life.
Disney Springs offers so many great nightlife and dining options, these are just some suggestions for unique places to try on your next trip. What are your favorite spots at Disney Springs? Have you had a great experience at any of these? Feel free to share your own experiences, opinions, suggestions and as always “cheers” to your next drink at the happiest place on earth.