Disney Springs does not take nearly as much planning as Disney theme parks do, but there are still some things to consider when visiting this shopping, dining, and entertainment district. Don’t miss out on the best that Disney Springs has to offer with these tips:
1. Only visiting at night
Many Disney guests will only ever experience Disney Springs at night. Especially on evenings when the theme parks close earlier (in the off season), Disney Springs is the best place to go since the restaurants and bars will stay open quite late. This area does take on an entirely different feel at night, and it is totally worth visiting, however during the day you’ll find much smaller crowds making it easier to navigate through some of your favorite shops.
2. Not bringing enough spending money
Disney Springs is essentially a large-scale dining, shopping, and entertainment complex. While you can window shop and enjoy the street performers for free, a day out at Disney Springs is going to cost about the same if not more as a day out at the theme parks. Avoid leaving disappointed by planning to spend the extra money to enjoy some of the shops and restaurants you’ll only find at Disney Springs.
3. Sticking to “safe” restaurants
One of the worst mistakes at Disney Springs is sticking to “safe” restaurants that you either have in your hometown or know that you are comfortable dining at. With so many more unique restaurants in Disney Springs like Morimoto Asia, The Boathouse, Frontera Cocina, just to name a few, it is difficult to justify stopping at restaurants you can always enjoy at home. Of course, if you are visiting with picky eaters and you know that Blaze Pizza or Earl of Sandwich are hometown favorites and it’s easier to dine there, then go for it.
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4. Skipping the entertainment
Unlike the theme parks, Disney Springs does not really stick to a regular entertainment schedule. With the exception of daily dance parties and DJs on certain stages most of the entertainment in Disney Springs is made up of street performers who sort of show up unannounced. Without much of a schedule, it is more difficult to motivate guests to stick around for the entertainment, but if you happen to catch some street entertainment be sure to stay and watch before heading off to the next store.
5. Carrying around purchases
Many of the shops in Disney Springs are operated by Disney, which means that if you are staying at a Disney resort you have the ability to have your purchases shipped back to your resort for free. This service does not work everywhere the same way it does in the theme parks, but it does work at a lot of shops and is worth taking advantage of rather than carrying around your shopping for the whole day.
6. Avoiding World of Disney
To some Disney guests, a visit to the World of Disney is a highlight of a trip to Disney Springs. To others however, this stop is purposefully skipped because they would rather avoid shuffling through the large crowds that can often be found inside the store. If crowds are keeping you away from the world’s largest Disney store, plan to visit Disney Springs in the morning when the whole area is the most quiet.
7. Missing seasonal events
In recent years, Disney Springs has become the host location for seasonal and limited time events. Past events include Christmas Tree Trails and meet and greets and sneak previews for the latest Cars film. Most of these events are attended by locals, because guests visiting from out of town prefer to spend the majority of their time in the theme parks. If you do happen to be at Walt Disney World during a seasonal event, you may want to check out what’s taking place at Disney Springs before committing to a full week in the parks.
8. Forgetting to take photos
Disney Springs may not have icons like Cinderella Castle or Spaceship Earth, but there are still some pretty great photo ops that go largely unnoticed by guests running around getting that shopping done. The rooftop bar of the Coke building for instance offers some beautiful views of Disney Springs. Other photos of the area can be taken from the water, either on a boat from one of the area resorts or from one of the watercraft operated by The Boathouse. And don’t miss classic Disney Springs photo ops like the Lego masterpieces or dinosaurs outside of T-Rex!
9. Not using a map
If it’s been a few years since you last visited Disney Springs, you’ll quickly notice that a lot has changed. If you try to explore without much of a frame of reference, you may find yourself overwhelmed at how much there is to do in this area now. Pick up a map so you can find all of your favorite shops and restaurants without getting lost and so you can check out all of the new businesses that have opened in Disney Springs since your last trip.
10. Waiting until the end of your trip
Guests tend to be pleasantly surprised by Disney Springs, and many of them leave Walt Disney World disappointed that they did not spend much time there. If you have never been or it’s been a while, visit Disney Springs towards the beginning of your trip. You may want to visit on the last day to spend some extra time before you need to head home without using a park ticket, but if you do not get to see everything you may end up leaving disappointed with no opportunity to come back.