Like I’ve mentioned before in previous blog posts, I’ve been coming to Walt Disney World for more than 15 years. Through the years as I’ve been visiting these amazing theme parks and areas, one thing has stayed constant, and that is that nothing ever stays the same. I think it’s great that Disney is always renovating and finding ways to make the parks feel exciting and new each time you visit.
I’ve lived in central Florida for over 5 years and a few years back, Disney announced that they would be doing renovations to the classic and free to visit, Downtown Disney. This area had always been a favorite of mine to visit, especially when I didn’t have tickets to the parks.
Before they renovated, Downtown Disney was separated by three major sections, Marketplace, Pleasure Island, and West Side. Each area had different and unique shops, restaurants and activities to enjoy.
Since the renovations, Downtown Disney has grown into Disney Springs and personally I really liked it! Disney Springs, now has four major areas including Marketplace, Town Center, The Landing Dock, and my favorite West Side. Each area features restaurants, shops, activities and tons of live street entertainment.
Because of the renovations, they have also expanded the parking lot to lots of large parking garages named by fruit such as, Lime, Orange, Watermelon, Mango, Grapefruit, and Strawberry. Having the new parking garages have really helped with parking and is one of the best things they’ve added to the area. There is also a bus and transportation area where you can get a taxi, Uber, or one of the many buses to the Disney Resorts.
Closest Parking Garage: Lime (The bus transportation area is right by here too.)
This is the perfect place to get into the Disney spirit if you don’t have tickets to the park. This area also includes the biggest Disney Store in the world, along with many other cool Disney themed shops including:
TrenD: Unique Disney clothing styled by what feels like Fairy Godmother herself.
LEGO Store: A builder’s dream store with Disney statues made out of Legos.
The Pin Shop: They have every pin you could ever possibly want.
365 Days of Christmas: It’s always Christmas in the shops just like the name says.
This place also includes a number of fast food and and dine in restaurants like:
Rain Forest Cafe
Earl of Sandwich
This area also has a huge stage which regularly stars different musicians, school groups from around the world and occasionally a DJ.
My recommendation is to definitely visit the Disney Store here along with the other shops in this area because of how unique and full of Disney Spirit they are! My personal favorite place to eat is Earl of Sandwich because of the amount of healthy food and sandwiches they have.
Closest parking garage: Lime
The newest edition to Disney Springs is filled with beautiful stores all set in Spanish styled buildings. This place truly feels like an expensive shopping center filled shops you’ll recognize from home like Zara, Levi, Francesca’s, Pandora and much more! This area is also features lots of cute little unique shops and restaurants to visit.
Being that this place is so new, I recommend just walking around and checking out all the different shops and things to do in this area. They are also some cool people dressed as statues you can go by and watch.
THE LANDING DOCK:
Closest parking garage: Lime or Orange
Right by the water is this beautiful area filled with restaurants, bars and lots of live entertainment such as:
Paradiso 37: Latin food with a really great bar selection.
Ragland Road: An Irish pub and restaurant featuring live Irish music.
The Boathouse: A seafood restaurant nearly on top of the water right by the sailboats.
and many more!
I definitely recommend eating here if you’re in the mood for something fancier and afterwards taking a look at all the live entertainment they have out on the street.
WEST SIDE: My favorite area!
Closest parking garage: Orange, Watermelon, Grapefruit, Mango, Strawberry (I highly recommend parking in Orange by West Side since it’s nearly in the middle of everything.)
This area has always felt really local to me because a few years ago, back when I lived closer to the parks, the movie theatre here was the closest one to my house and I always manage to bump into my fellow classmates there as well.
This area features so many unique activities, places to eat and shops such as:
The AMC 24 Theatre: Personally one of my favorite theaters of all time which was recently renovated a few years ago. It even has a Dine In theatre!
Planet Hollywood: Come to this restaurant filled with many different films props to feel a little bit like old Hollywood.
Aerophile – The World Leader in Balloon Flight (Hot Air Balloon): I haven’t been on it but I’ve heard you can see the whole Walt Disney World Resort from up there.
Splitsville: An expensive bowling alley I’ve tried out that is cool but I’m not sure it’s worth how expensive it is.
Bongos: One of my favorite restaurants in Disney Springs where you can either eat fast food outside or dine in and watch a live band and dancers perform.
Food Trucks: A recent edition to this area is the different food trucks Disney Springs now offers.
House of Blues: This place has room for small concert venues to larger ones where if you can get them in time, you can grab some really great tickets to see some amazing musicians.
Cirque Du Soleil: A show I have yet to see but I’m told it’s spectacular and highly recommended.
Street performers here include two guys battling it out through rapping, guitar players, and much more!
I recommend trying as much as you can here, because if it was up to me I would hang out here all day!
I hope you enjoyed my little quick guide to Disney Springs and that it helps you out in some way. At the end of the day, this whole place is just so cool and you should all check it out if you’re in the area whether you have Disney tickets or not.
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