Everything You MUST Know Before Visiting Disney Springs!

Disney Springs
Credit: Disney

Disney Springs is a unique, Disney-designated social hub laden with a delightful array of distinguishable dining options, superior shopping experiences from a vast assortment of absolutely stellar stores, and seemingly endless entertainment happenings that are both exciting as well as engaging.

Credit: Disney Fantatic

With its convenience and proximity to Walt Disney World’s parks and hotels, visiting this extension of Disney territories comes highly recommended. Many come seeking an alternate Disney experience to spread their time out as not to focus all energies in the Park alone. Others present innumerable other reasons for visiting, largely tied to all the above-listed bragging rights Disney Springs is known for. So, should you go ahead and add exploring Disney Springs to your Disney itinerary? Here’s a compilation of 10 questions and answers to help you decide.

10. Is it free to visit Disney Springs or do you need to pay admission?

Answer: Yes, it is completely free to visit Disney Springs. There are no paid admission prices, no tickets that need to be purchased, and no preregistration requirements for entering. Even parking is free for those opting to drive here independently, with three available parking garages and two surface lots available.

Credit: Disney

9. Is Disney Springs broken into different lands, and/or does it adhere to any unique themes the way Disney Parks do?

Answer: Disney Springs spans an impressive 120 acres in all, and within those acres, the shopping district is divided into various subsections, not unlike the designated different “lands” that Disney Parks are known for. Four sections in all make up the diverse setup. These include The Landing, Marketplace, West Side, and Town Center. Furthermore, in the following suit with the Disney tradition of storytelling, Disney Springs does, in fact, follow a unique backstory, this one relying largely on Florida’s historical significance of settlements establishing themselves around the state’s abundant natural resources. The storyline behind Disney Springs as a community is that it was one of many Floridian small town setups from more than a century ago, having sprung up around one of the many natural springs in the area. Furthermore, each of the four community districts has played a crucial developmental role throughout its operational history as a past town, as evidenced by the themed décor and remnants in stores, restaurants, and other current operations.

Credit: Disney

8. What are some of the rides and other attractions, if any, available to Guests visiting Disney Springs?

Answer: Unlike Disney’s four major theme parks, Disney Springs offers far less in the way of rides and theme Park traditional attractions. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. In fact, Disney Springs provides some very unique exclusives, like car boat rides, bowling, dine-in movies, and even a breathtaking hot air balloon ascent, to name a few. There’s even a new Cirque du Soleil Show “Drawn to Life” in the works, slated to premiere this November. In all, here’s a collective account of what attractions you can find currently at Disney Springs:

  • Marketplace Carousel
  • Marketplace Train Express
  • Splitsville Luxury Lanes
  • Vintage Amphicar Car Boat Rides
  • AMC Disney Springs 24 Dine-In Theatres
  • Aerophile

Credit: Disney Fanatic

7. What forms of live entertainment are presented here, and when and where can one find them?

Answer: Attractions can take many forms, including those of live shows and entertainment. And Disney Springs is a hub for offering live musical performances and other on-stage happenings. While entertainment schedules are often changing, with some taking place evenings only and others throughout the day, here’s a general breakdown of where to find musical performances and entertainment at Disney Springs:

  • AdventHealth Waterside Stage
  • Exposition Stage
  • Riverboat Square
  • Sunshine Highline
  • Waterview Park
  • Stargazers Live (Planet Hollywood)
  • Raglan Road (Patio Stage)
  • The Edison (Live Entertainment)

Credit: Disney

Do take note that regularly occurring on-stage events at House of Blues and Paradiso 37 are still unavailable for the present time.

6. Which popular, well-known retailers and chains can you find here?

Answer: Disney Springs is host to a wide range of popular brand name chain stores Guests can delight in. From clothing to accessories, jewelry to unique gifts, you’ll find it all and infinitely more. Here are just some of the renowned, well-known chain stores and retailers you can expect to find here:

Famed Retailers:

  • American Threads
  • Alex and Ani
  • Anthropologie
  • The Art of Shaving
  • Coach
  • Columbia Sportswear
  • Everything But Water
  • Fit2Run
  • francesca’s
  • kate spade new york
  • Harley-Davidson
  • Levi’s
  • Lilly Pulitzer
  • Lucky Brand
  • lululemon
  • Pandora
  • Ron Jon Surf Shop
  • Sephora
  • The Spice & Tea Exchange
  • Tommy Bahama
  • TUMI
  • Under Armour Brand House
  • Uniqlo
  • UGG
  • Vera Bradley
  • Volcom
  • ZARA

Disney Springs

Vendors Associated with Food Chains:

  • Rainforest Cafe Retail Village at Disney Springs
  • Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop
  • The Store at Planet Hollywood Observatory
  • House of Blues Company Store

5. Which shops and businesses here are exclusive to Disney Springs or otherwise limited in offerings elsewhere?

Answer: Besides widely popular retail stores and chain distributors, Disney Springs is also known for a host of exclusive shopping experiences that other shopping malls and centers just don’t have bragging rights to. They also sport some popular branded mega stores with limited locations nationally or in some cases internationally. Here are just a couple of examples:

Disney Springs Exclusives:

  • Marketplace Co-Op
  • Once Upon A Toy
  • Tren-D
  • World of Disney
  • Ever After Jewelry Company & Accessories
  • Happy Hound
  • Goofy’s Candy Company
  • Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories
  • Disney’s Pin Traders
  • Disney’s Days of Christmas
  • Disney’s Candy Cauldron
  • DisneyStyle
  • Superhero Headquarters

Limited Locations:

  • Crystal Arts by Arribas Brothers
  • Pearl Factory
  • Basin
  • Lefty’s The Left Hand Store
  • Dino-Store at T-REX
  • Coca-Cola Store
  • M&Ms Superstore
  • LEGO Store

4. In general, how is the shopping experience here more unique than your usual run-of-the-mill shopping malls?

Answer: The mix between famous retailers and specialty exclusives delivers the ultimate one-of-a-kind experience. Even many of the aforementioned big-name retailers go above and beyond in-store features and interactive happenings on-location. The Coca-Cola Store and M&Ms Superstore are both excellent examples of this, as is the LEGO Store—deemed as much an attraction as it is a retailer. On a separate note, Disney services prevail in coming to the aid and assistance of Guests by offering hold-for-pickup services at many of its stores. To avoid being bogged down with purchases while the day is still young, you can actually request that your items be taken to the Disney Springs Welcome Center for you to pick up before 11 p.m. that night or at any time upon your departure. 

Disney Springs

3. How varied is dining at Disney Springs and can you tell a little about the unique patchwork of options one can delight in here?

Answer: Disney Springs comprises a profuse format of diverse dining options, ranging from cultural eats spanning across the globe to signature specialty designations exclusive to the location, casual quick cuisine picks boasting creature comforts to well-known reputed venues. There’s even a fun food truck scene set up on the West Side. What’s more, many venues follow suit in that Disney-tested tradition of presenting diners with a unique theme. You can see undeniable evidence of that in The Edison’s steampunk/former power plant motif and Maria and Enzo’s depiction of having once served as an airport terminal. The theme is present elsewhere in numerous other eateries as well. And let’s not forget those interactive hubs laden with onsite indoor action and special effects. Two prime examples include the famed Rainforest Café and T-REX Café.

Disney Springs

Photo Credit: Disney

2. Who are some of the renowned celebrity chefs boasting affiliate venues that can be found here?

Answer: From James Beard Award-Winning chefs to other celebrity chefs renowned both nationally and internationally, several notable culinary masterminds in the industry boast establishments in the heart of Disney Springs. Here are just a few of the famous names you may recognize with just a sampling of some of their culinary attributes to date:

Jose Andres (Jaleo): Various awards by the James Beard Foundation, Michelin Stars, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, and countless other medals, honors, praises, and publications.

Art Smith (Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’): James Beard Foundation awards (two times), Humanitarian of the Year, Gourmand World Cookbook Award, multiple cookbook publications, various other awards, honors, and achievements.

Kevin Dundon (Raglan Road): Celebrity Chef in Ireland, multiple cookbook publications, numerous accolades, attributes, and international recognition.

James, Julie, and Brian Petrakis (The Polite Pig): James Beard Foundation nominees, multiple awards with both local and national recognition.

Rick Bayless (Frontera Cocina): Various awards by the James Beard Foundation, Golden Beet Award, Humanitarian of the Year, multiple cookbook publications, Winner of Top Chef Masters season 1.

Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto Asia): The original “Iron Chef” on the Japanese show of the same name and its spinoffs, induction into the Culinary Hall of Fame, multiple cookbook publications.

Wolfgang Puck (Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill): Awards by the James Beard Foundation, Michelin Stars, Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame, American Academy of Achievement, Daytime Emmy Award, Hollywood Walk of Fame, many others.

1. How do you get to and from Disney Springs?

Answer: As we mentioned previously, getting to Disney Springs is an easy commute to make via car, and there is ample parking to boot. But for those staying onsite at a Walt Disney World Resort property, it’s even easier, as Resort shuttle busses are running to and fro throughout the day. Some of Disney’s closest Resort hotels even have Disney Springs Boat service operations.

For example, Saratoga Springs and Old Key West ferry Guests to two drop-off locations at Disney Springs—The Landing and the West Side. Those traveling here from Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside will be let off at the Marketplace dock location. Additionally, you should know that while trying to toggle back and forth between the various divisions of Disney Springs, there’s also an internal working boat system to give shoppers convenient access and travel time reduction between The West Side, Landing, and Marketplace.

A visit to Disney Springs should never be cut from your list of must-dos for vacationing at Walt Disney World Resort. As you can see, deciding to take a much-needed detour here offers a whole host of integral and supplemental additional experiences that both maximize as well as diversify all the usual Disney traditions you already know and love so well. The constant flow of Disney magic never runs dry at Disney Springs.

About Laura

Laura Catherine aka “LC” is a writer who resides in Maryland with her family and several pets. She visits Walt Disney World whenever she can. Additionally, she is a published author of three novels, a children’s book, and has a passion for gardening.

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