Walt Disney World is more than just the four theme parks and two waterparks. But did you know that you can enjoy some Disney magic without a theme park ticket? Yes! By taking a trip to Disney Springs, you will find some of the best shopping, dining, and unique experiences for your family.
Formerly known as “Downtown Disney”, Disney Springs has exploded into a location that offers everything from a fun night out for grown-ups, to an amazing bowling alley, to family fun. I am going to share the Best Spots You Should Visit at Disney Springs!
Disney Springs is a shopping and dining area on Walt Disney World property. It is a huge, outdoor mall basically. This is split into several sections – West Side, The Landing, The Marketplace, and Town Center. “The Marketplace” and “The Landing” are what most of us remember as Downtown Disney before its huge expansion. “Town Center” is the newer area, with many retail shops and restaurants as well. Buses drop off and pick up guests near the Town Center area.
To access Disney Springs, guests at most Walt Disney World Resorts will take a motorcoach. Motorcoaches do NOT currently run from the theme parks to Disney Springs. Guests must transfer at a resort.
RELATED READING: The Complete Guide to Disney World Transportation
Guests of Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs can access Disney Springs via a water taxi.
Dining at Disney Springs
Perhaps one of the most well known activities at Disney Springs is the dining options. Disney Springs offers well over 50 dining options, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them! My top dining recommendations for Disney Springs are:
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ is located in The Landing area of Disney Springs. This farm to fork menu gives guests the best of Florida’s freshest flavors. Chef Art Smith, the award winning chef himself, has created all the recipes! It’s the epitome of comfort food, and even features an adjacent “Southern Shine Bar”. Brunch is very popular here, but my favorite meal is the Thigh High Chicken and Biscuits.
Raglan Road is located in The Landing area as well. This Irish Pub features an authentic Irish menu, AND live Irish dancing! The Irish music, award winning menu, and authentic atmosphere make it a long standing favorite. They offer live dancing and music daily, and are known for properly poured Guinness.
D-Luxe Burger is located in the Town Center area of Disney Springs. To me this is a huge hidden gem of Quick Service deliciousness. It’s a ranch inspired eatery, with amazing burgers and shakes. They also serve sandwiches, such as Buffalo Chicken, and plant based burgers. Their shakes are to die for, and if you can get a seat outside, you have nice views of the water. It’s worth the visit, and will become one of your favorites.
RELATED READING: Disney’s Best Quick Service Dining Spots for Families
While a whole post could be written about dining at Disney Springs, those are my top recommendations for dining at Disney Springs.
Shopping at Disney Springs
One main reason guests visit Disney Springs is to shop. While you will find some chain retail stores (Under Armor, Lily Pulitzer, Vera Bradley, Kate Spade, and Zara to name a few), you will also find some fabulously unique options as well! We like to do a lot of our souvenir shopping at Disney Springs. Chances are, you will find al the park merchandise you need – and then some – at World of Disney.
World of Disney is located at the Marketplace at Disney Springs. This houses the largest collection of Disney merchandise in the world. Mouse Ears, sweatshirts, jewelry, exclusive merchandise, and even your favorite snacks are here. What I really love about World of Disney is how organized it is. All the stuffies are in one area, the mugs in another, the mouse ears are easy to find, etc. It’s super easy to shop, and before you know it, your basket is full!
Basin is located in the Marketplace area as well. This enchanting shop is full of all natural, good smelling body and bath products. They also carry hair products as well. Our favorite purchase here is the shower bombs and the chap stick! They also offer fun soaps with Mickey heads, as well as the opportunity to try their products in store. It’s a treat to shop here!
Ever After Jewelry Co & Accessories is found in the Town Square of Disney Springs. The aesthetic of this shop is simply stunning. As soon a you walk in, you feel as if you are in a fairytale. They sell Disney themed baubles, handbags, jewelry, and so much more. We have also seen exclusive Loungefly bags in this shop!
Unique Experiences at Disney Springs
While the shopping and dining are the main draw to Disney Springs, there are also some fun, unique experiences to enjoy as well!
The Coca Cola Store is located in Town Center at Disney Springs. This is the ultimate shop for the Coca Cola fan! They offer branded Coca Cola gear, collectibles, home goods! This is modeled after a 1920s bottling plant, and it has a rooftop bar!
On the upper level, guests can pose with the Coca Cola Polar Bear for a photo op. Or the rooftop bar offers amazing views of Disney Springs while you enjoy your favorite beverage. There is a Club Cool Freestyle Machine, so guests can sample up to 5 flavors of Coke!
The Christmas Tree Trail is a free, fun scavenger hunt around Disney Springs. This takes place mid November through December. You can pick up a map at one of the participating retailers. As you make your way around Disney Springs, guests can mark the themed trees they see along the trail. When finished, return to a retailer and claim your prize! The trees are STUNNING, each decorated after a theme. Princesses, movies, theme park attractions….so much Christmas magic!
Splitsville Luxury Lanes is located on the West Side of Disney Springs. Splitsville is more than just bowling lanes. This retro, 2-story bowling alley offers one of the best sushi bars (check out the menu here) on all of Disney property. Splitsville has been a part of Disney Springs since 2012, but I think it is a hidden gem that a lot of people miss.
This bowling alley not only gives your family something fun to enjoy on a hot (or rainy) Orlando day. But also some amazing food. The food portions are huge, and the drinks are amazing as well. They have a very extensive drink menu. Plus, who doesn’t want to bowl with Mickey or Minnie Mouse bowling balls?!
A visit to Disney Springs has become a must do for many Disney guests. As it grows and gives guests more options, it really has become a great way to spend a non theme park day, or some down time from the theme parks!