Over the years Disney Springs was first Disney Village then Disney Marketplace. It was once a small little shopping venue with a few restaurants. Now it's a massive shopping, dining and entertainment complex that seems to grow by leaps and bounds every few months. I love coming here to enjoy some Disney and non-Disney themed shopping as well as dining at one of many fabulous restaurants.
When it comes to restaurants there are plenty located here. Some of my favorites are: Morimoto Asia, Fulton's, The Boathouse, Paradiso 37, T-Rex, Raglan Road, Portobello and STK. Restaurants range for casual to upscale with a range of cuisines and price ranges to suit any budget or palate. If you are on a Disney Dining Plan you can use it at these restaurants depending on your plan. Check the Disney website to see if your particular dining plan is accepted at the restaurant of your choice as well as how many dining points are required.
Shopping at the Springs is an event. I love the Disney themed shops especially the Art of Disney Store, Disney Design a Tee, Days of Christmas, Mickey's Pantry and World of Disney. Definitely bring back a personalized Disney Christmas Ornament as a souvenir; I have a whole tree dedicated just to Disney at home for Christmas. There are non-Disney shops at the Springs such as Tommy Bahama, The Lego Store, Alex and Ani, Chapel Hats, Basin, Arriba Brothers and much more. Shopping here is fun and quite easy if you are staying at a Disney Resort. If you are staying at a Disney Resort; request that your purchases be sent back to your hotel so you don't have to walk about carrying bags. You can even have your packages mailed from the Springs as well so you have less issues with overweight or additional luggage.
**There are photopass opportunities at the Springs so make sure to see a Photo Pass cast member to have a fun vacation photo taken.**
**Disney Springs is open to the public which means you do not need park passes. Due to the huge amount of people that frequent this area try to take Disney Transport if you are staying on Disney property and the parking situation can be a bit hellish especially on weekends.**
I've only been to WDW once before (although we went to Disneyland when we lived in California) and that was in 2000 when my mom had a family reunion there. I wanted to go to Epcot, but they raised the price to $90 each for a single day, and since we were only going to be there a couple of hours, I opted to just go to Downtown Disney (which is free). We had tickets to Cirque de Soleil and the theater is there in Downtown Disney
I didn't realize that there were two stops at Downtown Disney until we got to the first stop, so we got off at the second stop and made our way down to the Cirque de Soleil building. I had been told to get there at 4:45 so as to be in line for the 5:30 opening but I misunderstood and thought I was to go up the elevator at 4:45 and all that was meant was to get in line. So we went off and went through a few stores and looked around. I tried to explain who the Blues Brothers were - I knew John Belushi was one of them, but it was difficult for me to do as I've never seen the movie.
I thought the venue was interesting although the attractions were somewhat overpriced - we didn't do anything except stroll along the street. We did go to BabyCakes NYC™ the bakery that had gluten free products and buy some of them.
If you are staying in one of the Resorts in Disney then it is free to catch the boat to Downtown Disney or as it is called now, Disney Springs.
Disney Springs has shopping, dining and entertainment. It is nice to just walk along and take in the sights.
We dined at a Mexican Restaurant right near where the boat comes in. Meal and accompanying beer was real nice.
Saturday October 31, 2015
Today everyone was doing their own thing. Hans and I wanted to take the ferry to DISNEY SPRINGS and spend the afternoon there. We took the complimentary ferry boat at the dock located behind the Main Resort building. Ferries leave about every 20 minutes.
What an awesome place.Everything you need for a great afternoon.
For Shopping, there was World of Disney and many others.
For Dining, there was Wolfgang Puck, The Boathouse, T-Rex, Rainforest Cafe' and many others.
Hans and I walked around most of the afternoon, but by 4:00 p.m. it was getting so hot that we had enough. So I picked up some take-out pulled pork sandwiches at the Smokehouse, boarded the ferry back to the resort . All in all a very fun day.
A fun evening can be had in the recently opened Splitsville, which is in Downtown Disney. Splitsville is 2 floor, upscale bowling center / restaurant area / bar area with tons of TV monitors and free wifi. It's next to the movie theater so the whole family can go together in the car and also do their own thing...
Each lane can accommodate a group because there is a small table with bench and seats. Bowling pricing is per person and depending the size of the group can last from 1 hr to 1 hr 45 minutes. Smaller kids can also join in on the fun because there is a bowling ramp you can put the ball on and the kids can just push it off into the lane. Music is blasted throughout so you can groove as well...
It's about the only place to cool off indoors and avoid the heat without feeling crowded like the people shopping in the stores in Downtown Disney.
When in Downtown Disney, make it a point to stop by the Ghirardelli store. To the right of the main Ghirardelli entryway where you order ice cream, there is a smaller entrance where they sell chocolate. As you enter, a cast member with a basket greets you with a sample square of Ghirardelli's.
At the end of the trip, we caught the boat from Port Orleans to downtown. While the main purpose was to have dinner at Raglan Road, we also wanted to get our shopping done.
Downtown is not full of attractions, rather this is an area focused on shopping and dining. There are a number of dining choices here (please check out my reviews for Raglan Road.) There are also several chain restaurants (Earl of Sandwich, House of Blues, Planet Hollywood, etc.)
You'll also find an AMC Theater, Cirque du Soleil show, and Disney Quest.
There is also plenty of shopping here. A LEGO store, toy store, sporting good store, Christmas store, candy stores, etc. The centerpiece of Downtown is the World of Disney gift store. This place is massive, and has anything and everything you could imagine under the sun with the Disney theme. For the most part, I would avoid spending time souvenir shopping at the parks, and just concentrate on doing it here - no fuss, no muss :)
It also should be pointed out that if you do not have any admission or parking fees to visit Downtown Disney, so if you're just in town and need Disney themed stuff, stop on by.
Downtown Disney is one of the rare Disney attractions with free parking and free admittance. Downtown Disney includes the Marketplace, Pleasure Island and the West Side. Downtown Disney opened in in 1975 as the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, and slowly evolved over the years to its present state. The Marketplace features the Lego Imagination Center along with several small shops and fast food restaurants. Pleasure Island began in 1989 as an area of adult dance clubs and comedy venues, but these clubs closed in 2008 and have been replaced by a few shops and restaurants such as Fulton's Crab House. West Side offers Cirque du Soleil, a movie theater, DisneyQuest, and numerous restaurants such as the Wolfgang Puck Cafe.
Downtown Disney's West Side has a great movie theatre. 34 theatres with the majority of them with stadium seating. Sometimes you just want to catch a flick instead of watching another fireworks show or going to a park.
I would reccomend catching a show here especially if ther is a cartoon movie such as Madagascar 2.....what a fun flick.
Downtown Disney is a commercial center with lots of shops, restaurants and entertainments.
It's a good place to go to walk and watch without spending too much money if you don't want. I do know that it's not easy but just try it...
Downtown Disney has three areas:
Marketplace: it includes places like Rainforest Cafe, LEGO Imagination Center, World of Disney, Once Upon A Toy, Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop, Fulton's Crab House, Cap'n Jack's Marina, Earl of Sandwich plus another shops.
Pleasure Island is mainly a nightly entertainment complex, with 7 dance places like 1930s Explorer's Club, The Comedy Warehouse, 8TRAX, The Rock 'n Roll Beach Club, BET, Motion, y Mannequins Dance Palace.
In West Side there are luxury restaurants, big malls and entertainment areas, including Virgen Megastore, Cirque du Soleil - la Nouba, the House of Blues, DisneyQuest, Planet Hollywood, the Wolfgang Puck Cafè, Bongos Cuban Cafè.
IF you have a chance check out Downtown Disney. Its a shopping and dinning experience. The good news, it's free to park and there are tons of things to do. If you don't want to spend money..look around its a great way to check out shops and get yourself prepped for your Disney Experience. Look at the times because part of Downtown Disney closes later than the other side. If you have a tight schedule this might help you take advantage of extra hours.
For a night out for the adults, try stolling along the streets of Downtown Disney. A couple of restaurants, shops, and a huge AMC theatre. I saw Episode III of the Star Wars saga. After, we had a cool one at the Blues restaurant.