Many Guests visit Disney Springs only in the evening, for a dining reservation and some shopping after a day in a Walt Disney theme park. But this massive entertainment, dining, and shopping complex has so much to offer that it’s a shame to relegate it to post-Park hours of the day, when your family is likely tired, with aching feet, more than ready to retire to your Disney Resort Hotel.
So what about devoting an entire day to Disney Springs? Here are our top picks for restaurants, stores, and entertainment that you shouldn’t miss if you have a day to spend in Disney Springs.
With an upscale nautical theme, water views, and some of the best food we’ve ever eaten on Walt Disney World property, The Boathouse should definitely be on your list when planning your day in Disney Springs.
The Boathouse specializes in surf and turf, but the menu is extensive and we’ve never had a bad or even mediocre dish here. Leave some time to wander out back and check out the vintage boats that are ready for their close-ups. You can even hop aboard a retro amphicar or Italian water taxi for a cruise.
Marketplace Co-Op is really six stores in one at Disney Springs’ Marketplace, which gives you access to a ton of fun, unique merchandise in one spot.
A lot of the items here you won’t find anywhere else on Walt Disney World property, so if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift or souvenir, look no further. Pick up a candle that smells like your favorite Disney Resort Hotel, a Mary Poppins umbrella, or a Disney art print to hang on that empty wall at home.
When it’s time for a snack, head to Gideon’s Bakehouse at Disney Springs’ The Landing for a sweet treat. With an emphasis on “sweet”. Seriously, this is the kind of place you want to hit up if you’d like a bit of cookie with your chocolate chips.
You’ll find cookies, cookie bars, cakes soda and coffee here. Just remember: despite what you were taught, there’s no shame in eating dessert first!
Drawn to Life
A collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Cirque du Soleil? We’re in!
In Drawn to Life in Disney Springs’ West Side, Disney animation comes to life through the artistry of Cirque du Soleil acrobats. This new entertainment offering gives us the best of two already amazing worlds, and we can’t wait to check it out on our next Walt Disney World vacation!
Think Rainforest Café, with better food and a dinosaur theme. T-REX, in the Marketplace at Disney Springs, immerses guests in a lush prehistoric world complete with animatronic dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, themed rooms, and periodic meteor showers.
Book a meal here, or just drop by to check out the scenery, Dino-Store, or hands-on Paleo Zone.
The LEGO Store
You can’t miss the LEGO Store in Disney Springs – it’s flanked by larger-than-life Disney statues (Sorcerer Mickey, Maleficent Dragon, Frozen characters, and Star Wars characters, to mention a few), created completely out of LEGOs.
The store’s interior continues in the same vein, making this a fabulous place for young Guests, and young-at-heart Guests alike! Pick up a coveted Marvel-themed LEGO set, let your creativity loose at a building station, or just wander around the store in awe.
Super Hero Headquarters
Speaking of Marvel, Super Hero Headquarters in West Side at Disney Springs is just about the best place for Guests to find Marvel-themed merchandise at Walt Disney World. This includes costumes, action figures and plushies, apparel, accessories, and oh-so-much-more. Shoppers, assemble!
We have Chef Masaharu Morimoto, of Iron Chef America fame, to thank for the stunning Morimoto Asia at The Landing in Disney Springs.
Pan-Asian dishes that combine and reinterpret favorites from Japan, China, and Korea abound, and the creative dishes (Oreo Tempura, anyone??) will have you coming back for more. The upscale yet comfortable atmosphere features exhibition kitchens for a sneak peek of your meal.
World of Disney
At any given time, it seems like half of the Guests at Disney Springs are inside World of Disney, the world’s largest Disney store. Frankly, it can be a bit overwhelming at peak times. But it is still an excellent place to find any and all Disney merchandise, so keep it in mind on your day in Disney Springs (just maybe don’t hit it up first, because you may yourself spending all your money here).
You can eat at the spectacular Industrial-Gothic-themed The Edison any time of the day. But to really experience this eclectic eatery, visit in the evening to sample the nightly Gatsby-esque entertainment.
Aerialists, contortionists, and burlesque dancers are all here, along with the house band. Break out your own dance moves on the dance floor, enjoy the entertainment while sipping a signature cocktail and an imaginative appetizer (the DB ‘Clothesline Candied Bacon’ is a Guest hit), or snap photos of the impressive stilt walkers roaming around.
The Edison does have an age limit, cover charge, and enforced dress code in effect as of 10:00 pm each night.
You may be able to fit in much more than the above suggestions during a day in Disney Springs, depending on your pace. But if you experience most of these in a day, you’ve enjoyed an excellent representation of what Disney Springs has to offer!