Complete Guide to Disney Springs – Walt Disney World’s Retail, Entertainment & Dining District
Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney) is doubling the number of shops and restaurants as a new concept, Disney Springs, emerges as a re-imagined version of this popular retail, entertainment and dining district. Located just outside of Walt Disney World’s theme parks in Lake Buena Vista, this multi-million redo of Downtown Disney promises to be a great experience. It is scheduled to be complete in the summer of 2016.
Just imagine…or in this case re-imagine (as Disney has done)
A long time ago, there was this general store located next to a beautiful spring. One of its owners decided to make it into their home. Their family grew and so they continued to build rooms and out-buildings. The waterfront property became a sprawling complex and was then named The Boathouse; in a turn-of-the century lakeside town which became Disney Springs. A small Florida waterfront town which gradually, over time, became this retail, dining and entertainment district.
Many restaurants and eclectic and contemporary shops are already open and being enjoyed by locals and tourists. There is something for everyone in the daytime as well as night. We’ll continue to update this page as new retailers are added and dining experiences open. Disney Springs is a fun thing to do in Orlando, and best of all, it’s free! You do not need a theme park ticket to visit Disney Springs. You will want to save up some spending money though. There are so many shops and eateries, it would be difficult to come here and not spend any money. Even so, the scenery will be true to Disney standards – when it is complete. Coming here just for the view would not be unheard of with a promenade so inviting guests can relax, refresh and reconnect.
Retail Shopping at Disney Springs
Retail shopping will be great when the Disney Springs project is complete. Many brands are well-known and are already located in the Central Florida shopping landscape. While there may be occasional discounts, do not expect huge bargains here. Think more along the lines of ‘exclusive.’ If you are looking for ‘cheap’ or ‘deep discounts,’ the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores will suit your needs.
Restaurants and Dining at Disney Springs
From food trucks to expansive upscale restaurants, you can have your pick at Disney Springs. You can have your choice of location too. Care to dine outdoors? On a boat? How about on a rooftop? These choices and many more are offered at Disney Springs restaurants and bars. Even the establishments that have been here before the transformation from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs have been (or will be) updated with new dining features. Many themed restaurants will offer every type of food menu you can imagine, and many that you would never imagine!
Entertainment at Disney Springs
A wide range of entertainment is offered at Disney Springs. Most is located in the West Side. During constructions, it is recommended to arrive at least one hour prior to any show/event you are wanting to attend.
- Disney Quest Indoor Interactive Theme Park (soon to close and begin NBA Experience)
- DJ Kids Dance Party at Waterside Stage (Marketplace)
- Paradiso 37 Entertainment (The Landing)
- Raglan Road Live Music – Patio Stage (The Landing)
- AMC Movies at Disney Springs 24 (West Side)
- House of Blues Music Hall (West Side)
- La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil (West Side)
- Splitsville Luxury Lanes (West Side)
How to Get to Disney Springs
If staying at a Disney property, the best advice is to use their complimentary transportation. If staying elsewhere, getting to Disney Springs may be a bit of a hassle now, but very soon, it will be a much easier process.
Two new walkways connecting Downtown Disney guests from the Orange Garage to the West Side promenade are now open. Each walkway offers stairwells, escalators and elevators. These connections are adjacent to Splitsville Luxury Lanes and near Planet Hollywood (soon to be called Planet Hollywood Observatory). Enter the walkways from the second level of the garage. The walkways are beautiful with lush landscaping, evident of what the new Disney Springs will be like. Work continues on the parking lot of the Planet Hollywood complex, including a pedestrian bridge that now links across Buena Vista Drive.
Buena Vista Drive is being widened to 10 lanes and an elevated ramp is now complete leading from I-4 that allows WDW visitors to exit and drive straight into the West Side parking garage (Orange Garage). This helps the traffic flow between Hotel Plaza Boulevard and the entrance to Typhoon Lagoon. Parking is also being expanded with other parking garages (and lots) which will raise the amount of parking to about a total of 6000 enclosed parking spots. This is roughly half the capacity of the Magic Kingdom’s parking lot!
By Boat: The promenade is accessible by complimentary water transportation, departing from the following Walt Disney World Resorts and arriving at the Marketplace and The Landing:
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Parking is free and the new garages use smart technology to help drivers locate parking easier. Each level displays how many spaces are open with a green light indicating availability. Red lights indicate the space is full. A blue light indicates handicap parking. Valet parking is also available starting at $10 for the first 2 hours, up to $20 for 3 or more hours (gratuity not included).
The Four Neighborhoods of Disney Springs
While Disney Springs is under construction, expect some hassle and less than pristine views. When complete, Disney Springs will be developed into four distinct, outdoor neighborhoods. These neighborhoods will include high-quality retailers and restaurants, as well as daytime and evening experiences, which will lure families, tourists and convention-guests with all that it offers – retail shopping, entertainment and a variety of dining experiences.
- The Town Center
- The Landing (formerly known as Pleasure Island)
- West Side
The Town Center at Disney Springs
The Town Center offers a sophisticated mix of shopping and dining along a promenade. Built with a Spanish-style architecture, you may think this is an old town restored from buildings erected by explorers that landed in Florida centuries ago. It is, however, a new and thriving Orlando experience. Without a distinct area designated within Disney Springs as The Town Center, this handy map showing all of the locations might come in handy.
- Alex and Ani
- American Threads
- Edward Beiner
- Everything But Water
- Johnston & Murphy
- Kate Spade New York
- L’Occitane en Provence
- Lucky Brand
- MAC Cosmetics
- Melissa Shoes
- Na Hoku
- Tommy Bahama
- Under Armour Brand House
- Vera Bradley
The Landing at Disney Springs
The Landing (formerly known as Pleasure Island) is one of four outdoor neighborhoods which make up Disney Springs. A perfect location for day and night, this area features an older look with rustic buildings that give you the feeling as if they’ve been around for decades. A flagship restaurant named The Boathouse offers steaks, seafood and many other delectable items. The upscale waterfront dining experience is not to be missed. Spring for a guided Amphicar ride which begins on land but enters the water for a 20-minute tour of Disney Springs.
- APEX by Sunglass Hut
- Art of Shaving
- Chapel Hats
- Erwin Pearl
- Set the Bar
- Shop for Ireland
- Sound Lion
- Sublime Gifts and Finds
The Marketplace at Disney Springs
The Marketplace is the entryway for many Disney guests staying on the resort property. Buses to Disney Resort hotels drop off and pick up here. There is also a walkway to Hotel Plaza Boulevard at the Marketplace. Walk along the promenade or over the pedestrian walkway to get to The Landing and Town center. At the Marketplace you will find many restaurants and retailers.
- Arribas Brothers
- The Art of Disney
- Basin Gifts & Housewares
- Disney Springs, Disney Springs Marketplace
- Build-A-Dino® by Build-A-Bear Workshop®
- Disney Design-a-Tee
- Disney’s Days of Christmas
- Disney’s PhotoPass Studio
- Disney’s Pin Traders
- Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories
- Ghirardelli® Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop
- Food & Spirits
- Goofy’s Candy Company
- Hallelujah Art
- Happy Hound
- Icon Jewelery by Bico
- Initial Rings
- Kate & Leo
- Leather Goods
- Lefty’s – The Left Hand Store
- The LEGO® Store
- Magic Ink Artisans
- Marketplace Co-Op
- Marketplace Fun Finds
- Mickey’s Pantry
- Name Works
- Once Upon a Toy
- Pearl Factory
- Rainforest Cafe® Retail Village
- The Spice & Tea Exchange®
- World of Disney®
- Dockside Margaritas
- Downtown Snow Company
- Earl Of Sandwich®
- Forty Thirst Street Express
- Ghirardelli® Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop
- Lava Lounge
- Rainforest Cafe® at Disney Springs Marketplace
- STARBUCKS® at Disney Springs Marketplace
- T-REX ™
- Wetzel’s Pretzels
- Wolfgang Puck® Express
- B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co. (kiosk)
West Side at Disney Springs
The West Side provides a lively atmosphere with entertainment with a more industrial feel. New seating areas provide an elevated platform that offer both shade and a view of the activity below.
Come see a movie or go bowling. Enjoy a live performance at the House of Blues Music Hall or splurge and see La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil. There is something for everyone at the West Side. by the way, the new Exposition Park is located on the West Side – home to the Disney’s food trucks.
- Bongos Cuban Café™ Souvenir and Gift Shop
- Cirque du Soleil Boutique
- Curl® by Sammy Duvall
- DisneyQuest Emporium
- Disney’s Candy Cauldron
- D Street
- House of Blues® Company Store
- Memory Lanes
- Orlando Harley-Davidson®
- Pop Gallery
- Something Silver®
- Sosa Family Cigars
- Sunglass Icon®
- United World Soccer
- AMC® Disney Springs 24 Dine-In Theatres
- Bongos Cuban Café™
- Bongos Cuban Café™ Express
- Crossroads at House of Blues®
- The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck® Grand Cafe
- The Express at Wolfgang Puck® Grand Cafe
- Food Truck – Fantasy Fare
- Food Truck – Namaste Cafe
- Food Truck – Superstar Catering
- Food Truck – World Showcase of Flavors
- The Front Porch
- Planet Hollywood® (will be updated and renamed as Planet Hollywood Observatory in 2016)
- The Smokehouse
- Splitsville™ Dining Room
- STARBUCKS® at Disney Springs West Side
- Wetzel’s Pretzels at Disney Springs West Side
- Wolfgang Puck® Grand Cafe
If you ever visited Downtown Disney, you owe it to yourself to experience the new Disney Springs. You won’t recognize it! A beautiful shopping, dining and entertainment area that is a great addition to the Central Florida attraction landscape.