This shopping, dining and entertainment district was formerly known as Downtown Disney. Disney Springs has no entry fee. The shops and restaurants you find here are a mix of chains and independents. Some shops are heavily Disney-themed whereas others are simply stand alone stores. This place is busy. You have a mix of people staying on site at Walt Disney World and people who are simply coming to get their Disney fix. There are four separate sections of Disney Springs: Marketplace, The Landing, Town Centre, and the West Side. From one end to the other it’s .65 miles. That is the direct route. It’s a lot of ground to cover, especially when you take into account the amount of mileage you put in at the different stores. Hours for Disney Springs are 10am until 12pm. Each individual retailer and restaurant can be different so if there’s a particular place you plan on visiting be sure to check before heading into the busyness of Disney Springs.
There is one bus stop at Disney Springs, it’s located a Town Centre. Putting you in the middle of the shops.
This part of Disney Springs screams Mickey Mouse. From the World of Disney store to the Carousel, this is the part of Disney Springs where you’ll find great souvenirs, unique toys and some fun things for the kids to do. On a hot day head to the parking lot entrance to the left of Once Upon a Toy to cool off in the splash pad. Fountains spray up in an unexpected pattern. Be sure to bring your little a change of clothes and prepare to let them play for a half an hour (washrooms are located in between Once Upon a Toy and Tren-D).
Go for a ride on the carousel for $3.00 a piece. Be sure to check out the LEGO store, where you can spend time building with all kinds of different blocks they have out. And take a look at their amazing LEGO structures.
Be sure to go into the World of Disney. They have everything and anything you could be looking for to take home with you. You can also use this as a chance to get your shopping done. Shop here for your souvenirs and skip the shops at the parks. Head to the information booth if you’re looking for something specific. They will be able to tell you where you can find it. Whether it’s within the store or at one of the shops at a park or resort. As you’re walking by the Marketplace stage, in front of World of Disney, check out the schedule to see if there is anything of interest on that day. This is world class entertainment with no fee.
Located between Marketplace and West Side, against the parking lot, this area is a mix of counter service food and your everyday apparel companies. There’s nothing particularly special about this area. You could be at any shopping complex in America, this one just happens to be on Disney property. If you’re looking to do some regular shopping then this is a great spot to check out, if you’re looking for souvenirs from your Disney vacation this is not going to have what you’re looking for. There is a small live entertainment area called Springs Overlook, check it out to see if there’s anyone performing that would interest you.
Hugging the water, this area hosts some great table service restaurants: Raglan Road, The Boathouse, Paradiso 37 Taste of Americas and Paddlefish to name a few. There are also unique boutique style shops. Not ideal for going into if you have young ones but would be really fun to check out with tweens and teens. From a really chic hat store, Chapel Hats, to the Art of Shaving store you can have a lot of fun popping in and out of these places. Window shopping or finding something special. Heads up for parents with strollers these shops are not built for these rigs. Either leave them outside or trade off with the other parent.
The West Side
Here’s where you’ll find entertainment and dining. Head to Splitsville for some bowling or check out the latest release at AMC Theatres. Along this strip you’ll find some more Disney skewed merchandise stores. More inclined to adults. Walk by Disney’s Candy Cauldron and watch as delectable candy apples are made. In the evening check out the food trucks at Exposition Park, nestled next to Starbucks. Not afraid of heights? Head onto Character of Flight. This hot air balloon takes you up in the sky and gives you the ultimate view of Walt Disney World property. It’s a beautiful sight and an awesome experience to be up in such a balloon. At $20 per adult and $15 per child it’s not something I would do every trip but if you’re a Disney nerd like myself it’s cool to get up that high and see the ongoing construction of the different projects across the park. We’ve done it once and will likely do it again.
How To Get Here?
From all resort areas, with the exception of the Disney Springs resort area, take the Disney Springs bus from your resort’s bus stop. This bus will also stop at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. It takes a while to get to Disney Springs and there are not too many buses that are on rotation to get you there so you can be waiting a while to get there. For guests of the Disney Springs resorts you can take a bus to Disney Springs or you can take the boat. You can also walk from Saratoga Springs and Old Key West.
Overall, there is A LOT to see and do at Disney Springs. I always mark a day to come here and do some shopping but I am always exhausted by the end of it. Which really ruins a non-park day. It can also get very hot because there’s no natural shade, especially on the West Side. If you are heading here without kids, it’s an awesome place to come and enjoy the evening. There’s so much night life on the Landing and the view of Saratoga Springs is spectacular. When you’re going with kids it’s quite an excursion. There’s no need for this to be a must-do on your trip.