Along with the 4 theme parks and 2 water parks, Disney World in Orlando Florida is home to the major shopping and dining complex, Disney Springs. Here you’ll find over 100 shops, 60 restaurants, live entertainment and much more. The best thing, it is completely free to enter. While the most obvious thing to do is shop, you may be surprised that there is more to this Disney destination. I always recommend that you visit in between days spent at the theme parks. A visit to Disney Springs is a great way to have a more relaxed day at Disney while in between theme parks days. Along with the usual shopping, here are some of my personal favorite things to do at Disney Springs.
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The Best Things to Do at Disney Springs in Orlando Florida
The most obvious of choices is shopping. With over 100 shops, pavilions and pop-up shops, you can be sure to find something for all members of your group at Disney Springs in Orlando. From popular brands like LuluLemon to Uniqlo to smaller boutique shops, you could spend hours window shopping. One cool thing about the stores here is that often they will have Disney specific merchandise that you won’t be able to find at any of their other stores. Uniqlo for example has an incredibly extensive Disney section, all at a fairly affordable price when compared to the main Disney stores and Disney Parks prices.
Children of all ages will enjoy many of the stores that have larger than life characters such as the Lego store and the Disney store. The Disney Store is one of the largest Disney Stores in the world with merchandise of all kinds. At the Lego store, you’ll see giant characters made entirely out of legos. It is certainly fun for the whole family. You will also find many Disney specific stores, with lots of Disney merchandise that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. They have Disney specialty clothing stores, phone case stores, home goods, and even pets products!
Disney Springs in Orlando is home to over 60 restaurants, including some small food stands you can find as well as countless sit down restaurants.. There is just about every kind of cuisine that you can think of here. From Asian to Italian to Irish to Classic American, there is certainly a restaurant here for anybody’s palette. Some of the most popular and best restaurants include the Boathouse, Paddlefish, STK, The Edison, and many more. You will also find incredible bake shops with the smell of sweets filling the surrounding walkways.
Unfortunately, there surprisingly is not that many great vegan or plant-based options at Disney Springs. While yes you can find the occasional Beyond Burger, I was disappointed that many of the restaurants here haven’t developed some more exciting vegan dishes. The theme parks have certainly upped their vegan game in recent years. It will be exciting to see in the future if the many restaurants at Disney Springs follow suit. For more on vegan food in Disney World, check out my full blog post here.
3. Ride in a Hot Air Balloon at Disney Springs
While I have no personally done this next activity, I had to include it in this blog post. One of the more iconic images of Disney Springs in the hot air balloon ride that’s over the water. On the Aerophile, you will soar above the Springs on an 8-minute ride high in the sky. The cost is $25 per adult and $20 per child. Unfortunately many of the times that I have visited, this was not in service due to weather issues. But it certainly looks to be a super fun thing to do. I have friends that have ridden in the balloon and have all said that they really enjoyed it. If you end up riding in the balloon, let me know in the comments below how it went.
4. Ride in an Amphicar at the Boathouse
One of the more unique things to do at Disney Springs is to take a ride on an Amphicar at the Boathouse restaurant. On this captain guided tour around the surrounding lake, you get to ride in a vintage amphicar. The amphicar is a vehicle that can drive on both the land and in the water. You will be taken on a 20-minute tour with great views of the entire area. Guests of all ages get very excited about riding in the amphicar.
The current price is $125 per car for 3-4 people for a 20 minute ride. The cost is a bit high but if you are splitting the cost between several people then it is not too bad. While this is obviously a very touristy thing to do, it is still great fun. After you have finished your ride on the amphicar be sure to get some food at the Boathouse. They have great food and a really fun atmosphere. Be sure to walk around the marina outside and see all of the old vintage boats. They are all really cool to see.
5. Go Bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes
Splitsville Luxury Lanes is not your typical bowling alley. With a throwback vibe to this luxury bowling alley, you won’t be served some horrible nachos with microwaved cheese. Splitsville is like a retro styled restaurant, dance hall, bowling alley and bar all mixed in one. With a super fun atmosphere, this is a great one of many things to do at Disney Springs in Orlando. They also have pool tables for anybody who enjoys playing that game. This place is fun for guests of all ages, but especially adults. Be sure to add this to your list for must do on your next vacation.
6. See a Movie at AMC Theaters
That’s right, Disney Springs even has a movie theater. While you can find movie theaters anywhere, the AMC theater here makes for a great date night or movie night out. Come and have a great meal at one of the many restaurants and then enjoy a nice movie. They obviously have many Disney movies playing here but you can also find other non Disney movie playing as well. While this is pretty much just a typical movie theater, it is still a great addition for things to do at Disney Springs.
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7. Listen to Live Music at the Pavillion at Disney Springs
At the Waterside Stage you will be treated to live music periodically throughout the day. These shows typically only last for about 20-30 minutes and are completely 100% free. There have been many times when I’ve walked around and been surprised by a great musical performance. You can find more information about the AdventHealth Waterside Stage along with the scheduled performances on the Disney website. But even if you don’t know the scheduled for upcoming performances, you can always just show up and grab a seat. A performance of some kind is bound to happen soon. You can find daily scheduled performances listed just outside of the stage Pavillion.
So, as you can see there are many different things to Disney Springs in Orlando. I highly recommend making time in your Disney vacation to come here. Not only is it free to enter, but there are plenty of things to enjoy for a relatively low cost. Honestly even just walking around and seeing the waterfront, all the nice fountains and people watching is fun in itself. I recommend allowing at least a few hours during your visit to allow for plenty of time for shopping and maybe some dining as well. If you plan on dining at any of the sit down restaurants, it is HIGHLY recommended to make reservations. Some of the tops places to eat can be difficult to get a reservation. Many times just showing up for seating will result in you being turned away. So I would try to at least have somewhat of a game plan before heading to Disney Springs. For more of my Disney World travel content, check out this section here.
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