We used to be in the crowd of people that hated Downtown Disney (it’s possible that at one point or another, I called it an affront to Walt’s dream). We viewed it as old, rundown, and only good for quickly running to grab a Holiday Sandwich from Earl of Sandwich, and then getting the heck out of there. It wasn’t that it was bad, so much as that it didn’t fit the level of beauty, theming, and detail that the parks had been given, and in my opinion, it shouldn’t have the Disney name on it, if it didn’t fit the brand. When we heard about the rebranding, turning Downtown Disney into Disney Springs, we were thrilled – I mean, it’s not like we were attached to Downtown Disney at all, so anything would be an improvement in our opinions. Every time we have been, as progress has been made, we have been impressed. On our last trip, the walls at Disney Springs were finally down, with the biggest portion of the re-do being revealed (aka the actual Springs themselves), along with many of the new shopping and eating options. David and I were GIDDY with the results. I think at one point we might have actually started skipping, while trying to refrain from breaking into a few bars of ‘Zippity Doo Da’. The new Disney Springs is Disney, firing on all cylinders, in our opinion.
The Springs themselves, is imagineering at its best. Visually stunning, the multi-faceted hued water-color does a realistic job of looking like the most beautiful springs you’ve ever seen, as it stretches under bridges, and mossy trees, connecting restaurants and shops. It’s the perfect centerpiece for the downtown shopping area, as you can sit on restaurant patios and enjoy looking at them, or stroll (near) their banks with a cool drink. We think the springs serve as a visual landmark for this area, in the way the parks have their icons. Disney Springs will be known for this beautiful water. There’s so much new to see, do and eat (especially eat!!), that we went back several times during our trip. We’ve put together a guide to what’s new to help you plan on where to spend your time (because if you’re anything like us, you’re outside the park time can be limited!)
You need to start your vacation with a cheers, right? We have several favorites places to grab drinks in Disney Springs. (I don’t ask people to chose favorite children, so don’t ask me to chose favorite places to grab drinks. That’s too hard of a choice, Sophie.) David’s favorite is Jock Lindsey’s, for it’s Indiana Jones theming, fun bartenders, and themed drinks. I’m obsessed with the dockside bar at The Boathouse, that’s open late, has an amazing lemon drop martini, and a great wine and beer selection. We both agree that D-Luxe Burgers is the place to go for adult milkshakes (try to bourbon bacon shake, and send your thank you letters later!).
Morimoto Asia, both the Street Eats, which is a quick walk-up place that you can get take-out to go, and the full service restaurant inside, gets a perfect 10 from both of us. This place is affordable, innovative, and delicious. Sprinkles Cupcakes is a favorite of ours at home, and is even more magical at Disney. If you haven’t had one of these delicious cupcakes, they’re life changing. The food at D-Luxe was affordable, delicious, high quality, and in an amazing atmosphere (which is not a combo you always find at Disney!).
There’s all kinds of shopping you can accomplish at Disney Springs. They’ve newly expanded The World of Disney, (which honestly, we didn’t know that thing could get much bigger). We honestly did find merch here that we didn’t see anywhere else in the parks. There are all kinds of stores in the new Disney Springs, including some of my favorite places to shop at home, like Francescas, Zara, and an Anthropologie (opening soon!). With all the shopping they have, that seems practical to my life (like clothing stores), I could see this being my go-to outdoor mall, if I lived in Orlando.
We have become raving fans of Disney Springs. We’ve bought the jerseys, the mugs, and the Miley Cyrus foam fingers (just kidding, we got the regular foam fingers). We think that you should take some time out of the parks on your next trip, and become huge fans as well.