Disney Springs is HERE! That's right, Downtown Disney is now officially Disney Springs.
Photo by WDW Shutterbug
This is one of the most diverse areas in all of Disneydom. There's a little bit of everything here. From restaurants to shopping, to entertainment to even some nice places to sleep, Disney Springs has it all.
As with all Disney experiences, there is a nice background story to tie this area together (unlike Disney Springs). Disney Springs will be a celebration of the timelessness of the lakeside towns seen throughout Florida at the turn-of-the-century. The “Town Center” will be home to natural springs that were known to attract new settlers to the town and will ultimately connect the surrounding “neighborhoods”: The Landing, Marketplace, and West Side.
Construction is on going as Disney Springs comes to life. Be sure to check out Dad's Blog where you can find the most up-to-date information on the transformation as it becomes available. Dad wants to make sure you stay in the loop. Also, you can get the latest from the Disney Parks Blog.
The Town Center offers a sophisticated mix of shopping and dining along with a promenade where guests can relax and refresh. It occupies the previous west parking lot area. It will run from the World of Disney to Planet Hollywood Observatory. In the middle of Town Center will be Disney Springs, a series of “natural” springs around which the town was built. This is home to lots of shops and restaurants - which are opening now through the end of 2016.
Now this is a cool ride
The Landing (formerly Pleasure Island) has world-class dining and incredible waterfront views. Some of the restaurants not to be missed include The BOATHOUSE, STK Orlando, Morimoto Asia and Raglan Road. Plus, you’ll definitely want to check out the Amphicars. Trust me, they are beyond cool.
The east side is called The Marketplace. This is the home of family-friendly venues such as the World of Disney, which is expected to expand, and an over-the-water pedestrian causeway. You will definitely want to check out Marketplace Co-op and Disney’s Days of Christmas for some unique souvenirs.
The west side of the complex is called, oddly enough, West Side. This is where a lot of the fun occurs. The big entertainment venues are down on this side, but there are also some pretty good places to eat and a really interesting shopping area. The West Side provides an exuberant atmosphere with live entertainment, along with a series of new, elevated spaces that provide shade and an overlook to the activities below.
Cool Things to Do
In addition to all of the great shops and restaurants you can find in The Landing, The Marketplace, and West Side, Disney Springs/Disney Springs has some cool entertainment you should look into. There’s a little something for everyone including a movie theater, bowling alley, incredible dining experiences and an acrobatic show that will blow your mind. Let’s take a look.
Let's go to the Movies
Want to get away from the parks and sit down and watch a movie in comfort? The AMC Disney Springs Theater is the place to do just that. Not only can you watch all the latest from Hollywood, or escape the rain or heat, but you can also get dinner. Dinner and a movie. What an idea.
Now this is just cool. Disney Springs now has one of the most interesting bowling alleys anywhere. Splitsville Luxury Lanes combines the fun of bowling with some really great food. You can either bowl and eat, or just eat (the food’s that good). Check it out.
La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil
The “Circus of the Sun” – Cirque du Soleil performs daily at Disney Springs. This is an amazing show full of all kinds of performers. It’s a great way to spend an evening outside of the parks. The show was created just for Disney and you can't see it anywhere else - plus they just added some neat new acts. Check it out.
From the very beginning of Downtown disney there were hotels that were an integral part. Through the years the hotels have undergone transformations, but they are still the closest hotels outside of Disney World.
These hotels offer affordable options to the Disney Hotels but still are close enough to be part of the Magic.
There are so many great places to eat at Disney World, but this area may have some of the best. There is everything from fine dining to quick snack foods.
There is something for everyone (except for McDonalds lovers) here. Kids will love T-Rex and Rainforest Café. Adults will really enjoy a great meal at Fulton’s Crab House or Crossroads at House of Blues. If you want to splurge, The BOATHOUSE is not to be missed. There are even Food Trucks if you are looking for something quick and yummy. Check out all the offerings.
The whole reason Disney built Downtown Disney was because there wasn’t enough room in the parks for all the shops- and boy are there a lot of shops. There is everything from the biggest Disney Store in the world to a place where you can actually buy mismatched socks. No, I’m not kidding.
There are a lot of name brand and specialty shops in this area. You can visit the Art of Shaving (yes, a shaving store), a variety of apparel shops, a Christmas store, and even a place that sells amazing chocolate.
Make your Reservations Today
Who's going to Disney World? You can. It's easy. Just go over to Dad's Destinations to Travel page and fill out the little form. Before you know it, you'll be enjoying all that DTD has to offer.
Dad's Bottom Line
The transition from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs will be ongoing for a couple more years, but so far it's really cool. The new shops, restaurants and entertainment are top notched. If the crowds are any indication it's a home run!