When we think of Walt Disney World, our minds typically go straight to one of the four incredible theme parks filled with attractions and characters. But, let’s not forget about what we call the “5th Park” of Walt Disney World… Disney Springs! When Disney Springs was “Downtown Disney,” we found this area to be a great place to go shopping. However, not everyone in our family is the shopping type, leaving Disney Springs (Downtown Disney at the time) off our vacation plans for most trips. With the transformation and loads of entertainment, dining, and, yes – still shopping available at Disney Springs, it has become an area we visit each and every trip. Taste new eats, check out new merchandise, and be wowed by unexpected entertainment. Disney Springs is where it’s at! BEFORE you embark on your adventure around the Springs, check out these ten things you’ll want to know before you go.
1 – It’s Free!
Yep, no park ticket is required here, friends! There is no fee to enter Disney Springs, nor is there a parking fee (unless you valet). This makes Disney Springs an especially great place to visit, in our opinion. Not many things are “free” at Walt Disney World, so take advantage of this opportunity and enjoy a day of exploring. Of course, you’ll want to spend money on the delicious food you’ll smell and that cute shirt you just have to have – but hey, at least you enter at no charge!
2 – Schedule a Half Day
Whether you are a local planning a quick visit or creating your itinerary for a week-long trip to Disney, you’ll want to be sure you schedule a full day for Disney Springs. This wasn’t always the case, but now you’ll be surprised at how much time you can actually spend here! From an early brunch to a late-night movie, drinks, or entertainment – you’ll easily be able to spend half a day at Disney Springs.
3 – Use Disney Resort Transportation
Editor’s Note: Currently, Disney does not offer transportation from the theme parks to Disney Springs. We hope that it will return.
Complimentary Disney Resort transportation to and from Disney Springs is available, making the Springs easily accessible for Disney Resort guests that may or may not have a vehicle. Disney buses travel to and from each Disney Resort. Buses also travel from any of the theme parks to Disney Springs after 4 pm – but at the present time, you cannot catch a bus from Disney Springs to a theme park. If staying at Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, or Port Orleans Resorts, you can take a ride on a boat to reach Disney Springs. Saratoga Springs also offers a walking path that drops guests off in the Marketplace portion of the Springs.
4 – The Parking Garages are “Smart”
Disney Springs currently has two parking garages (a third in the works!) – the Orange and Lime Garages. Check out a Disney Springs map to decide which garage to use according to where you plan to spend most of your time. We call them “smart” parking garages because they will actually tell you how many parking spaces are available on each floor and if there is a parking space down a particular lane. There is also some ground parking on the West Side of Disney Springs.
5 – Security is Impressive
The rules and regulations of what you can and cannot take into Disney Springs are the same as for all Disney theme parks. There is now the same kind of security screening at entrances into Disney Springs. Just think – as much security as you are seeing – there is that much, if not more, you aren’t seeing! Measures to continually improve security across the Walt Disney World Resort property is a high priority – and it shows even at Disney Springs.
6 – You’ll Want to Study the Map
Just like you would study the map for Disney’s theme parks, you’ll also want to check out the map for Disney Springs. There are four different sections (Marketplace, The Landing, Town Center, and West Side). Having an idea of what is in each of these areas and how to get to them easily will make your visit much more enjoyable in the long run. We use the My Disney Experience App to navigate the Springs as needed. Tip – don’t forget to wear comfortable walking shoes.
7 – Dining Is No Joke!
Ok, honestly – if there is one reason to visit Disney Springs, we would say it would be for the food. The extraordinary eats in every form are incredible! This is truly a foodies oasis! Food trucks, kiosks, food carts, quick-service dining, table-service dining, and fine dining – Disney Springs has it all and in vast numbers. If you go hungry here, it’s 100% your fault, and we mean that in the nicest way possible. This is the place to have your cake and eat it too! Just be sure to make dining reservations if you have your eye on a table-service restaurant you want to try. Even Disney Springs restaurants fill up fast!
8 – Shopping is Bountiful
Shopping isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we must say Disney Springs has a way of appealing to the masses. If you want the best of the best Disney merchandise, this is the place to be. If you want to shop in an outlet-style experience and practically forget you are in Walt Disney World, this is also possible. You’ll find more merchandise variety at Disney Springs than we have ever seen in a mall or outlet. Save those pennies and get ready to shop till you drop!
9 – Entertainment is for Everyone
Upon entering the Disney Springs areas, you may see a huge blue balloon floating in the sky. This beauty is known as Aerophile. A tethered helium balloon lifts guests into the sky for outstanding views of the Walt Disney World Resort. Maybe the kids need a spin on the cute carousel or even a ride on a small train. Have a seat in the open atmosphere stage and listen to band performances and artists entertain. Or better yet – if you need some adult time, check out the drinks and nightly entertainment at the Edison. Raglan Road’s Irish dancers and music, Splitsville’s bowling, and real-life statues in surprise locations… you’ll have no trouble finding entertainment for everyone at Disney Springs.
10 – Get a Disney Perk at “Offsite” Disney Springs Hotels
Did you know there are seven resorts located on Hotel Plaza Boulevard (walking distance to Disney Springs) that receive some of the same Disney Perks you’ll find while staying as a Disney Resort Guest on-site? Guests staying at a Disney Springs Hotel receive the Early Entry perk – resort guests can enter a theme park 30 minutes early and get a jump on their day ahead of non-resort guests. Plus, you can typically find room rates more affordable than you may find on-site. Check out disneyspringshotels.com for booking options and details.
For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.