Disney Springs – Complete Guide

Disney Springs

Rendering ©Disney

Downtown Disney has officially transitioned over to Disney Springs, the new, double-in-size entertainment hub that features a number of new and old shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues meant to satisfy any and every guest that may choose to visit during their Orlando vacation. This multi-million dollar expansion and re-imagination is located on Disney property in Lake Buena Vista, nestled among Disney water parks, theme parks, and resorts. Expected completion is scheduled for the summer of 2016.

Disney never does anything without putting a story behind it, and Disney Springs is no exception. Disney Springs started as nothing more than a beautiful natural spring and a perfect piece of land that a group of settlers chose as their home in the mid-1800s.

As time went on, the population expanded, and so did the town right along with it. The humble waterfront town expanded and diversified; to keep themselves entertained and satisfied restaurants were added, along with shops and a promenade area made specifically for guests and residents to relax in. Though the turn-of-the-century architecture stayed the same, the modest population did not. As the small group of residents continued to increase, and more and more guests started flowing in, Disney Springs evolved… finally becoming the retail, dining and entertainment district we see today.

As the old saying goes, the best things in life are free, and Disney Springs is no exception. No park tickets or hotel reservations are required to have access to this new and improved entertainment hub. With the plethora of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues available, there is sure to be something for everyone at this Orlando attraction. The main appeal is both the shops and the eateries; even the most self-controlled window shoppers would likely have difficulty not spending money here. As the construction walls continue to come down, guests are more and more able to immerse themselves in the theming— and, true to Disney standards, it’s easy to get lost in this turn-of-the-century entertainment hub that still only hints at what is to come in 2016.

Retail and Shopping at Disney Springs

Retail shopping is already starting to come to life and is only expected to get better by Disney Springs’ completion in 2016. Many brands guests already know and love are featured, as well as some more unique brands that give the shopping venues an air of exclusivity. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Bargain hunters beware… Like most things on Disney property, discounts and deals are few and far between for this Orlando shopping location. If a more affordable shopping experience is what you’re after, one of the many Orlando outlet malls or the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores will likely leave you much more satisfied. Still, if you’re looking for a location where you can buy cigars, jewelry, candy and household goods all within a three-minute walk of each other, making a point to hit Disney Springs during your Orlando vacation will not be time wasted.

Restaurants and Dining at Disney Springs

When it comes to dining, Disney Springs does not disappoint. From food trucks to far upscale restaurants, they have it all. Whether you’re in the mood for pasta, seafood, steaks, pan-Asian food or just about anything else, you are set. Visitors have a plethora of dining options when it comes to location as well; Rooftop, outdoor, and boathouse dining are among the options guests can choose from. New restaurants are cropping up left and right and old restaurants are constantly being updated and renovated. The variety of themed restaurants offer guests further opportunity to immerse themselves in a world unlike their own— away from the trials and difficulties faced in everyday life and into the magic Disney is renowned for creating.

Entertainment at Disney Springs

Beyond dining and shopping, Disney Springs also offers a wide range of entertainment to guests, particularly with the West Side. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: As construction is still very present on property, it is recommended that guests arrive at least one hour prior to any show/event they are interested in attending.

  • 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

For guests staying on Disney property, the best mode of transportation will be the Disney busses, which shuttle guests to and from their resort, thus saving them from spending precious time parking. For visitors staying elsewhere, be prepared to face some slight construction and crowd-related nuisances until Disney Springs is officially completed in 2016.

The West Side promenade is now connected to the west side by two new walkways, each of which offers escalators, elevators, and stairwells. These connectors run adjacent to Splitsville Luxury Lanes and near Planet Hollywood (soon to be called Planet Hollywood Observatory). The walkways can be entered from the second level of the parking garage. Disney’s flair for design means beautiful landscaping all year-round surrounding these walkways! Construction work continues on the parking lots for the Planet Hollywood complex, including a pedestrian bridge.

In order to ease traffic flow between Hotel Plaza Boulevard and the entrance to Typhoon Lagoon (notorious for its horrible traffic jams among frequent visitors), Disney is widening Buena Vista Drive to 10 lanes, and an elevated ramp has been built from I-4 that allows visitors to WDW to exit and drive straight into the West Side Parking garage (Orange Garage). Disney is also in the process of expanding parking, adding a second parking garage which will bring the amount of parking up to 6,000 enclosed parking spots, around half the Capacity of Magic Kingdom’s parking lot!

For resort guests, the promenade is accessible by complimentary water transportation. Available locations are listed below, and will transport guests over to 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

The new garages on property offer guests free and easy-to-find parking with the help of smart technology. Each level has a display that reveals how many spaces are available with a green light indicating available spots. Red lights let drivers know that the space/level is fully occupied. Blue lights indicate handicap parking. Guests do have access to valet parking, starting at $10 for the first 2 hours, and running up to $20 for three or more hours (gratuities not included.)

The Four Neighborhoods of Disney Springs

Though construction is still fairly prominent throughout the park, Disney is steadily working on the formation of four distinct regions that will make up Disney Springs. Each region will consist of quality retail, dining, and entertainment options, along with unique daytime and evening experiences. Travelers of all different types will be able to find something appealing to do at this diverse Orlando hotspot.

The Town Center at Disney Springs

True to it’s theming, the Town Center is built with a Spanish-style architecture reminiscent of the buildings explorers from long ago may have erected upon settling. This style remains popular in Florida today, making the mix of upscale shopping dining, and promenade area all the more believable.

Retail Shops:

  • Alex and Ani
  • American Threads
  • Edward Beiner
  • Everything But Water
  • Francesca’s
  • Johnston & Murphy
  • Kate Spade New York
  • Kipling
  • L’Occitane en Provence
  • Lucky Brand
  • MAC Cosmetics
  • Melissa Shoes
  • Na Hoku
  • Pandora
  • Sephora
  • Sperry
  • Tommy Bahama
  • UGG
  • Under Armour Brand House
  • UNOde50
  • Vera Bradley
  • Volcom
  • Zara
Dining:

  • Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza (coming soon)
  • Coca-Cola Store and Rooftop Beverage Bar (coming soon)
  • Homecoming – Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar (coming soon)
  • Amorette’s Patisserie
  • The Daily Poutine
  • YeSake
  • Sprinkles
  • D-Luxe Burger

The Landing at Disney Springs

The Landing (formerly known as Pleasure Island) is one of the four neighborhoods that will make up the completed Disney Springs. The rustic architecture is beautiful during the day and in the evening. The Boathouse is one of the popular upscale dining options, offering seafood, steak, and many other delicious dishes. This waterfront restaurant offers a great view of the Amphicars that are occasionally seen on the lake during their twenty-minute land and lake tour of Disney Springs.

The Landing Retail Shops:

  • APEX by Sunglass Hut
  • Art of Shaving
  • Chapel Hats
  • Erwin Pearl
  • Havaianas
  • Sanuk
  • Set the Bar
  • Shop for Ireland
  • Sound Lion
  • Sublime Gifts and Finds
The Landing Restaurants:

  • The Boathouse
  • Cookes of Dublin
  • Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC
  • Fulton’s Crab House
  • Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar
  • Morimoto Asia
  • Paradiso 37, Taste of the Americas
  • Portobello Country Italian Trattoria
  • Raglan Road™ Irish Pub and Restaurant
  • STK Steakhouse – coming in 2016
  • The Ganachery – now open (December 15, 2015)
  • Vivoli il Gelato

The Marketplace at Disney Springs

The Marketplace is often the enter-and-exit point for resort guests; Disney resort buses pick up and drop off guests at this location. The Marketplace also features a walkway to the Hotel Plaza Boulevard. Guests can walk along the promenade over the pedestrian walkway for a quick arrival to The Landing and Town Center. Marketplace is also a shopping and dining hotspot, with kid friendly dining and retail options like Rainforest Café® and The LEGO® Store.

The Marketplace Retail Shops:

  • Arribas Brothers
  • The Art of Disney
  • Basin Gifts & Housewares
  • Disney Springs, Disney Springs Marketplace
  • Build-A-Dino® by Build-A-Bear Workshop®
  • Dino-Store
  • Disney Design-a-Tee
  • Disney’s Days of Christmas
  • Disney’s PhotoPass Studio
  • Disney’s Pin Traders
  • Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories
  • Eyecatchers
  • 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
  • LittleMissMatched™
  • 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®
  • Tren-D
  • World of Disney®
The Marketplace Restaurants:

  • 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

West Side at Disney Springs

The West Side is the most entertainment oriented of the four districts, offering a lovely atmosphere and plethora of engaging entertainment options for all ages. Newly installed seating areas offer an elevated platform that offers both shade and a maximized viewing location for any activity below.

The West Side offers guests the opportunity to experience a wide variety of activities all in one convenient location. Feel free to take the kids bowling or to see a movie. If you’re in the mood for music, the House of Blues Music Hall is the place for you! Want to be awed by acrobatic stunts? The ever-popular La Nouba Show by Cirque de Soleil is the place for you! No matter who you are, it’s easier to find a way to have fun at The West Side. Foodies, you haven’t been forgotten— The West Side is home to Exposition Park… AKA the location where Disney Houses the food trucks.

West Side Retail Shops:

  • Bongos Cuban Café™ Souvenir and Gift Shop
  • Cirque du Soleil Boutique
  • Curl® by Sammy Duvall
  • DisneyQuest Emporium
  • Disney’s Candy Cauldron
  • D Street
  • Fit2Run
  • House of Blues® Company Store
  • Memory Lanes
  • Orlando Harley-Davidson®
  • Pop Gallery
  • Something Silver®
  • Sosa Family Cigars
  • Sunglass Icon®
  • United World Soccer
West Side Restaurants:

  • 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
  • Häagen-Dazs®
  • MacGUFFINS
  • 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 were a fan of Downtown Disney, you’re bound to love the new and improved Disney Springs. The expansion offers an incredible variety of new experiences for guests to enjoy, all while surrounded by beautifully themed architecture and landscaping. The new shopping, dining, and entertainment hub will be a hit with the whole family and makes a nice addition to the current Orlando dining, shopping, and entertainment scene.