Updated February 11, 2021
Full disclosure: It took me to a while to really enjoy Disney Springs like I do today.
As a Disneyland fan, I was initially turned off by the sheer size of it, as it makes our darling Downtown Disney look quite small.
But! I persevered to find my favorite stops. And, now I love it.
Here’s what you need to know before visiting.
In this article
Disney Springs is the shopping and dining district that supports Walt Disney World.
It currently includes 99 shops, 64 dining locations, and 22 entertainment venues. It’s enormous. Here’s a map for reference.
It’s free to enter and dine/shop at Disney Springs. This area is run by Disney and includes standard protocol we are familiar with at Disney Parks and Resorts.
Use Disney transportation included in your vacation package to get there. From each resort, a bus is designated to run from the resort, to Disney Springs, and back again. If you’re at a theme park, a bus will take you there, too.
When to Visit
Consider Disney Springs for a non-park day or for dinner after you finish at the parks.
Absolutely use the My Disney Experience app to make a reservation. Many options will include a lengthy wait if you walk up to put your name on the list. A reservation is ideal.
- The Boathouse – This restaurant is huuuuuuuuge. It includes indoor and outdoor dining, occasional entertainment, fantastic service (say Hello to the general manager, Tony!), and yummy food. Their wedge salad is my go to dish here. You can rent an Amphicar (amphibious vehicle) for a cruise around the water. Or, relax on one of their many patios. This is always my first stop when I arrive. This link has lots more info.
- Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ – If you’re looking for southern, decadent, DELICIOUS food, head to Homecomin’. They get everything right. This link has photos, what you must order and more details from one of the many meals I’ve enjoyed at Homecomin’.
- Morimoto Sushi – This restaurant is pricier than many others, but worth it. The food is good and the ambiance is so lovely. Shrimp Tempura and Pork Dumplings are my favorite dishes.
- Chicken Guy – If you’re on a budget, Chicken Guy is your best option. Nearly everything on the menu is $10 or less. And, it’s all good! The Big Bite B.L.A.T is a big sandwich and costs only $6.99. Shakes are only $4.99. Click here for photos and more info.
- Jock Lindsay’s – This bar and restaurant is designed like a 1940’s airplane hangar turned dive bar – ex-home of Indiana Jones’ sidekick and pilot. It’s smaller than other spots at Disney Springs and fills up quickly. The kitchen stays open late, so keep this option in mind for snacks after drinks…..or, while you’re still sipping on cocktails. The bartenders and wait staff are really attentive, so anything you order will be good.
- The Edison – With the original in Los Angeles, The Edison in Orlando mimics the same steampunk design with elaborate detail and pieces from the L.A. location, which was actually the city’s first power plant. Go here for signature cocktails (favorites include the French 75 and Electric Mule), cool areas to lounge in, and occasional entertainment. While you’re there, don’t miss sneaking back to see both Enzo’s Hideaway as well as Maria & Enzo’s. They’re all three connected and beautifully themed. Photos of the Edison can be found here.
Disney-Focused Favorite Shops
My original impression of Disney Springs was that it felt too much like an outdoor mall I can find at home in San Diego. Meaning, when I’m in Orlando, I want everything to be “Disney”. I can shop at Anthropologie at home.
Fast forward to 2020 when I really dove into this district and found what I was looking for. In addition to the bars and restaurants detailed earlier in this post, I recommend these Disney-filled favorites for shopping:
- Marketplace Co-Op – This store is ever-changing, but always filled with Disney favorites, including some unique items you won’t find elsewhere. I stop in during each visit to see what’s new.
- Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – Similar to WDW’s other locations (inside Magic Kingdom and the Grand Floridian Hotel), you can indulge in a prince/princess makeover here. So convenient for a day off from the parks.
- The LEGO Store – As the name suggests, this store is all about LEGOS. Check it out to see their latest (always incredible) LEGO creation or shop for your own LEGOS.
- Disney’s Days of Christmas – Not unlike Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Magic Kingdom, go here year round for personalized ornaments, holiday decor, and more.
- World of Disney – If you don’t have time to browse, but need to shop, head to World of Disney. It’s the largest souvenir/apparel/toy shop on site.
- Basin – This isn’t exactly themed for Disney, but it’s one of my favorites. Also with a second location at the Grand Floridian, the Disney Springs spot is bigger. Go here for luxury bath bombs, soaps and more. The best part? They ship pretty much anything for around $7! I love sending gifts to friends from Basin.
- Coca-Cola Store – Indulge in tasting unusual sodas like you did when Club Cool still existed. (RIP) Head up to the roof top bar for fantastic, panoramic views of the area. Shop for Coca-Cola merchandise.
- Goofy’s Candy Company – Like all Disney run candy shops, this one has pretty much everything. Don’t worry about sugar or calories. They don’t even count when you’re on Disney property!
Aerophile – The Big Balloon
Want to see Disney Springs from the sky?
Check out this link for lots of info.
There are lots of fun entertainment options in Disney Springs.
I love the AdventHealth Waterside Stage. Find that and more here.
Questions? Leave me a comment. If I don’t have the information you’re looking for, I’ll find out who does.