Disney Springs is the district of Walt Disney World offering shopping, dining, bars and entertainment in the form of shows, a cinema, bowling alley and a theatre that is home to a permanent Cirque du Soleil production. It is made up of 4 areas, detailed below.
The area has had multiple re-developments over the years. Its most recent is its transformation from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs, which officially launched in 2015, following several years of development. This work has been incredibly well done, with the area barely recognisable in some parts, leaving it with a luxurious feel and a great option to explore if you want some time away from the parks.
Disney Springs Marketplace is home to shops, restaurants and a little entertainment. It is the probably the most child-orientated area of Disney Springs; you’ll find more quintessential Disney here than in the rest of the area, and there is also a couple of rides, including a small train and carousel. These are pay-as-you go and are designed for little ones.
The biggest store here is World of Disney – which is the world’s largest ‘Disney character’ store. It has 12 rooms and sells everything from toys, to jewellery, to clothes, to homeware. It is great for a browse or a good way of shopping for all those take-home gifts and souvenirs. If you are staying in a Disney resort hotel, we’d recommend visiting a few days before you leave, and using Disney’s deliver to resort service. You visit the cash register and pay as normal, then fill in a form and they will keep hold of the bags and deliver them to a designated spot (usually the shop) at your hotel. Saves you carrying it back with you.
The Marketplace also home to Bibiddi Bobbidi Boutique; the salon where your little one, aged 3-10, can have a Princess or Knight makeover. There are a range of packages to choose from, ranging from just hair, through to nails, makeup, accessories and full princess dresses. A tip for you – the official dresses in Disney World are pricey – and the Fairy-Godmothers-in-Training that perform the makeovers are more than happy for you to bring your own, so consider buying one in advance and taking it with you. The service is very popular, so call +1 407 939 7895 to make a reservation, up to 180 days in advance. This service is also available in Cinderella Castle, in Magic Kingdom.
Other shops in the area that the kids (young and otherwise!) might be particularly interested in include the Lego Store, Build-a-Dino store, Once Upon a Toy (build your own light sabre or Mr Potato Head, as well as plenty of other toys), Marketplace Fun Finds, Goofy’s Candy Co. Disney Design-a-Tee and Disney’s Days of Christmas. For clothes, you’ll find Tren-D, a great boutique store that sells Disney themed clothing that’s just a bit more fashionable than your average theme-park style merchandise, and Little MissMatched which sells odd pairings of socks and accessories. Grown-ups might like Art of Disney, Arribas Brothers, Basin, Mickey’s Pantry, The Spice and Tea Exchange, Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories and Marketplace Co-Op. There is also a customised baseball shop and Disney’s Pin Traders – the largest pin trading location at Disney World.
There are also lots of great dining options, most of which are included in the Disney Dining Plan:
- Earl of Sandwich – Dining Plan Quick Service
- Wolfgang Puck Express – Dining Plan Quick Service
- B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Company – Kiosk – Dining Plan Quick Service
- Rainforest Cafe – fun and noisy Rainforest themed restaurant – Dining Plan Table Service
- T-Rex Cafe – Dining Plan Table Service
- Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop – Dining Plan Snack Credits
- Marketplace Snacks – Dining Plan Snack Credits
- Starbucks – no seating – Dining Plan Quick Service / Credits
- Dockside Margaritas – Dining Plan Snack Credits
- Aristocrepes – Kiosk – Dining Plan Snack Credits
For those that visited before the renovation to Disney Springs, please note that the Disney Transport no longer operates from the entrance to the Marketplace. You’ll now find the buses over at the Town Centre.
The Landing is primarily restaurants and offers some great options for dining and some lovely views of the water. There are a few shops – some attached to the restaurants, and you’ll find they sell primarily food (The Ganacahry) or clothing (e.g. Sunglass Hut, Havaianas).
- Cookes of Dublin – Dining Plan Quick Service
- Morimoto Asia – Sushi and Pan-Asian dining – Dining Plan Table Service – 1 credit at lunch, 2 in the evening
- Paddlefish – Seafood (replaced Fultons House) – Dining Plan Signature Table Service – 2 credits
- Paradiso 37 – Latin food, with good reviews – Dining Plan Table Service
- Portobello Country Italian Trattoria – Italian restaurant with mixed reviews – Dining Plan Table Service
- Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant – Irish food, and live music in the evenings – Dining Plan Table Service
- STK Orlando – modern steakhouse – Dining Plan Signature Table Service – 2 credits
- The Boathouse – 3 different nautical themed dining rooms, and 3 bars, with live music – Dining Plan Signature Table Service – 2 credits p
- Erin McKenna’s Bakery – Gluten free bakery with no seating – Dining Plan Snack Credits
- Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar – Indiana Jones themed bar
- Tea Traders Cafe by Joffrey’s
- Vivoli il Gelateria – ice creams
One thing you won’t want to miss – whether to watch or try yourself, is the Amphicars, located at The Boathouse. These cars, driven by a captain, drive off the dock into the water, are rare and so much fun. They are available to hire, although it is a hefty $125.
The Landing is just about recognisable as what used to be Paradise Island, for those that have previously visited when the area was still Downtown Disney.
The Town Center is the main shopping district at Disney Springs, although it has some good dining options too. This is the first time Disney has offered real shopping on site – with brand names you’ll mainly recognise.
There are around 30 shops including, Zara, UNIQLO, Pandora, Ugg, L’Occitane en Provence, Anthropologie, Lacoste, Under Armour, MAC Cosmetics, Oakley, Sephora, Levis, Superdry among many others.
Some of the shops offer a good opportunity to buy Disney themed items, that are a bit different to the usual style, as they are branded, but not produced by Disney. UNIQLO, for example, have a huge range of Disney clothing, especially T-shirts, that are significantly cheaper than the ‘official’ ones you’ll get in the Disney stores. Pandora, which can also be found in the theme parks, have a Disney range, as do Alex and Ani.
Dining options are also plentiful here:
- Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza – Dining Plan Quick Service
- The Daily Poutine – Canadian Kiosk – Dining Plan Quick Service
- D-Luxe Burger – Gourmet burgers – Dining Plan Quick Service
- Polite Pig – BBQ – Dining Plan Quick Service
- Frontera Cocina – modern Mexican – Dining Plan Table Service
- Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine – Southern American food – Dining Plan Table Service
- Planet Hollywood- ‘American’ food with a Hollywood theme – Dining Plan Table Service
- Amorette’s Patisserie – Pastries – some items can use Dining Plan Snack credits
- Sprinkles – Cupcakes, ice cream and cookies
For those that have visited in the past, you won’t recognise this area – the Town Center was built for the launch of Disney Springs.
West Side is a true mix of dining, entertainment and shopping. Unlike the rest of Disney Springs, it is probably the entertainment options that lead the way:
- AMC Cinema with a ‘dine in’ option – see what’s on and book your tickets
- ‘Characters in Flight’ hot air balloon ride
- Cirque du Soleil – the current production of La Nouba is coming to an end in December 2017, but a new production will soon follow.
- House of Blues – live music. Book your tickets ahead of time
- Splitsville Luxury Bowling Alley
Your dining options are:
- Bongos Cuban Cafe Express – Take out window serving Cuban and Carribean food – Dining Plan Quick Service
- Bongos Cuban Cafe – Cuban and Carribean food, with live music – Dining Plan Table Service
- House of Blues – American dining and bar. Serve a Brunch with a Gospel Choir on a Sunday. Dining Plan Table Service
- Splitsville – Sushi and American – Dining Plan Table Service
- Starbucks – Dining Plan Snack credits for some items
- Wetzel’s Pretzels – Dining Plan Snack credits
- Haagen Dazs
- Food trucks – in the Exposition Park area of Disney Springs are 4 food trucks – although they may not all always be all there and one sometimes pops up in the Marketplace. These serve a variety of options and take the Dining Plan, usually as snack credits.
The Disney Transport operates from the back of the Town Centre – you’ll find the buses on the ‘West Side’ end of the area. Buses operate from all Disney Resorts throughout the day. In the past, you’ve not been able to get a bus to or from the theme parks, but this has now changed, and you’ll be able to get from the parks to Disney Springs from 4pm. This is one way, however. If you want to get there earlier, you can get a bus to the closest park, and transfer from there, or take a bus to Old Key West, Saratoga Springs or Port Orleans and try out the boats.
Disney Springs has 3 docks – at Marketplace, The Landing and Westside and boats continually run between the three. You can also get a boat to either Westside or The Landing from Old Key West and Saratoga Springs, or to the Marketplace from the Port Orleans Resort hotels.
If you are driving, there is free parking, in two garages. The Lime Garage is behind Town Centre – so good for a visit to Marketplace, The Landing and Town Centre. The Orange Garage is behind Westside, so a good option if you’re visiting there, or the west-side of The Landing and Town Centre.