Downtown Disney or also known as Disney Springs is a free place and one of the liveliest Disney Theme Parks with an eclectic mix of unique boutiques, restaurants, and live entertainment. You won’t have trouble finding your favorite things in this park in Central Florida.
One of the best parts of this Disney park is the free admission and the free parking. The park has efficient parking lots like the Lime Garage or the other color garages that tell incoming guests the number of parking spaces left in each row.
Whether you visit for a quick bite, shop, or indulge in the entertainment options, the downtown area with distinct neighborhoods is a great place to spend a day, especially if you want to rest after walking around Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios.
Some people may argue and say that they prefer Disney Springs over the other Walt Disney World theme parks.
Here’s the scoop on things to do in Downtown Disney Orlando!
Disney Springs Guide
1. Splitsville Luxury Lanes
Enhance your dining experience at this American restaurant featuring a contemporary menu to satisfy your cravings. From pizza to sushi, Splitsville caters to every family member.
The venue not only has a restaurant but a bowling alley to test out your bowling skills while also soaking in the lively bars and music. Reserve lanes for bowling online. Visit the West Side District behind Splitsville and try their delicious everglazed donuts.
2. World of Disney
Every guest who visits Disney Springs has to step foot in the largest Disney store, featuring almost all Disney characters with a variety of Disney merchandise for every fan.
The World of Disney is brought to life around the holidays with limited merch for Disney and Christmas fans.
With the most recent celebration of the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, the World of Disney has kept up with the continuous demand for exclusive limited edition merch. But this also means that the store has become more crowded in the recent years.
3. Raglan Road Irish Pub
Dive into live entertainment at this famous Irish Pub restaurant. This award-winning restaurant in Lake Buena Vista is one of the best things to do in Downtown Disney Orlando and has no shortage of beer and classic Celtic music with a few performances by dancers. Order some of the finest gourmet food like Fish and Chips as well as Irish Burgers.
4. Gideon’s Bakehouse
Step into a Victorian ambiance at the Gideon’s Bakehouse. This sweets shop in Downtown Disney is a fan-favorite for both locals and visitors with their unique cookies and cake filled with delectable taste.
Depending on the time you visit Downtown Disney and the Disney Springs Marketplace, Gideon’s Bakehouse may have a special holiday treat with loads of flavor. It’s important to plan your trip to Gideon’s as the sweets are on a first come first serve basis.
5. Cirque du Soleil
A show only at Disney Springs, Drawn to Life by Cirque du Soleil is an inspiring adventure that blends imagination and memories in a live acrobatic stage performance for the whole family.
Cirque du Soleil reinterprets the art of Disney through creative costumes and new Disney animation. Tickets are available online in advance and change based on demand.
6. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar
Walk into an Indiana Jones movie with Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar! This is one of the best things to do in Downtown Disney Orlando! The casual American dining experience is an inspiring vintage celebration with seasonal bites and drinks right at your fingertips.
The airplane bar is the perfect movie memorabilia for Indiana Jones fans looking for an adventure. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar transforms into a festive dream around Christmas, featuring Yule Mule and Deviled eggs to awaken the holiday spirit.
7. Goofy’s Candy Company
Whisk away to a colorful shop filled with endless sweets to satisfy cravings for all ages. The Goofy’s Candy Company draws guests worldwide with its eclectic mix of gourmet goodies like cotton candy and caramel apples.
8. Planet Hollywood
Follow the red-carpeted stairs into one of the most popular restaurants at Disney Springs! As soon as guests enter the Planet Hollywood globe in the town center, they are met with antique collectibles from Hollywood going back several decades with an option to shop for merch.
In the peak season, it is better to reserve a table to save time as you enjoy classic American cuisine.
9. The Boathouse Restaurant
Experience waterfront dining at The Boathouse located in The Landing. This restaurant is one of the best things to do in Downtown Disney Orlando!
The seafood and steakhouse also include retro dream boats, vintage amphicars, and a romantic water taxi. Try your pick at their premium desserts that are sure to provide a memorable Florida dining experience.
10. T-rex Cafe
Bring your kids along on a prehistoric adventure at the T-rex Cafe! Let them soak in the sights and sounds of the dinosaurs and other animals while diving into unique food choices at this Downtown Disney table-service restaurant.
The T-rex restaurant in the marketplace is open to all herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores as the dinosaur animatronics make the dining experience one that families won’t forget.
11. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Even though this magical boutique is temporarily unavailable, guests can still continue to check back on the website for updates to plan their trip.
When the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is open, kids will receive a magical royal transformation with clothing, makeup, and hair. Have your kids imagine they’re in a storybook as Fairy Godmothers-in-training give princesses, princes, and knights a makeover from head to toe.
12. Wolfgang Puck
Indulge in delicious signature dishes and specialty cocktails by the famous chef, Wolfgang. Wolfgang Puck is one of the best things to do in Downtown Disney Orlando for visitors and locals. The chef brings the delightful essence of Mediterranean and comfort cuisine from the California dining scene.
After finishing your flavorful meals, walk outside the restaurant and visit the Gelato Bar which offers an assortment of toppings and flavors.
13. Lego Store
Awaken your inner creativity while exploring the LEGO dream world in Disney Springs! The famous lego toy displays allow guests to feel inspired as they shop for both classic and limited edition Lego sets of their favorite characters.
Guests also have to option to customize their LEGO Minifigure to add to the growing world of Legos.
14. Rainforest Cafe
Similar to the T-rex restaurant, the Rainforest Cafe allows families to soak in the sights and sounds of the animals living in a rainforest including monkeys and toucans.
The jungle-themed restaurant is one of the best things to do in Downtown Disney Orlando for kids and offers awesome appetizers and entrees for every adventurer.
From Korean spicy stir fry to Anaconda pasta, this Disney Springs restaurant is an experience for your taste buds.
15. Wine Bar George
Step into a rustic estate-style bar at Disney Springs. Wine Bar George features signature dishes paired with wine as guests soak in the cozy atmosphere that reminds them of home. Savor delicious family-style cuisine and taste a variety of different wines.
16. Disney’s Days of Christmas
Stop in for an extra dose of Disney magic this Christmas at the Disney’s Days of Christmas store! Even though most guests visit this store around Christmas time, this store stays open all year round for people who love shopping early for Christmas decorations.
Located at the Marketplace, shop festive decorations and keepsakes that will make every Disney fan feel warm inside.
17. Star Wars Trading Post
Shop for last-minute gifts at the Star Wars Trading Post! When guests step into the store, they are immediately sent on an intergalactic adventure through the most iconic space saga with a wide variety of apparel, accessories, collectibles, and even lightsabers.
18. The Art of Disney
After stopping to watch live shows, stop by The Art of Disney store nestled within Disney Springs. This magical souvenir gallery shop is one of the most popular stores and is home to some of the most stunning art pieces showcasing beloved Disney characters.
Choose from prints, paintings, figurines, and more displaying Disney films, theme parks, and characters.
19. House of Blues
Go back to your Southern roots with the spectacular House of Blues! This venue provides live music and concerts from famous musicians in nearly every music genre. Guests can also stay later for live DJs as the colorful building comes to life.
Guests can also receive an early pass into the show if they spend at least $25 on House of Blues gear. This venue is one of the best things to do in Downtown Disney Orlando for adults!
20. Food Trucks
For every guest who visits Disney Springs during the peak season, it can be fairly difficult to eat at some of the iconic restaurants. However, there are plenty of food trucks to go around in the Downtown Disney District.
Try gourmet street cuisine at Exposition park when available. Some of the food truck options include Local Green Orlando, Hot Diggity Dogs, and 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa.
21. Earl of Sandwich
Enjoy the flavorful legacy of the Earl of Sandwich! This restaurant is less expensive than other restaurants but also offers quality sandwiches, pizza, and more that are baked to perfection. While diving into the freshly-made sandwiches, wash it down with an Earl Grey Lemonade and the Arnold Palmer.
22. Hot Air Balloon Rides (Aerophile)
Experience an 8-minute adventure in the sky with the Aerophile! The balloon is custom-made by the Disney Paris company and remains the world’s largest hand-painted helium balloon.
Reimagine the world with breathtaking panoramic views of Disney Springs and the rest of the area within a 10-mile radius.
23. Disney Photopass Studio
To make your Disney memories with family even more special, visit the Disney Photopass Studio to add fun props and backdrops to your photos.
The studio gives guests the option to choose their ideal backdrop without reservation and is one of the best things to do in Downtown Disney Orlando! If you have any questions, just ask a cast member!
24. Live Music
Besides House of Blues and Exposition Park, Disney Springs has many entertainment venues that allows guests to experience live music like at the Riverboat Square, Stargazers Live Entertainment, and Paradiso 37 Entertainment.
25. AMC Dine-In Theatres
Watching movies should be a fun experience for the whole family. The AMC Dine-in theatres in Disney Springs are one of the best places in the entertainment complex that offer a variety of ways to watch movies–3D or standard.
Located on the West Side of Disney Springs, AMC makes an effort to provide a comfortable and luxurious movie experience with plenty of dining and concession options.
26. AdventHealth Waterside Stage
This open-air venue along Lake Buena Vista holds special events in the nighttime and daytime. This venue may not provide detailed information about the performers; however, the artists will most likely be local and regional musicians.
When you finish dining at The Boathouse, take a tour of Lake Buena Vista on a retro dream boat. Guests can choose to book tickets ahead of time or on the same day. Depending on weather conditions, the tour times can vary.
28. Swirls on the Water
Let your taste buds go on a sweet and savory adventure at Swirls on the Water! This dining place in Disney Springs is home to the delightful Dole Whip treat loved by many.
Try their unique menu items like Dole Whip Pineapple Vanilla Nachos and the limited-time 50th Celebration Cone that comes with a Mickey topper.
29. The Polite Pig
Indulge in Southern delicacies at The Polite Pig! This modern BBQ outpost features Florida cuisine with mouthwatering flavors and locally sourced ingredients. Guests who love bourbon may find this Southern restaurant worth exploring.
30. Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop
A notorious Chocolate shop like Ghirardelli in Disney Springs is a chocolate and ice cream lover’s heaven. Indulge in the famous delicious chocolate recipe with specialty sundaes, shakes, hot cocoa, brownies, coffee, and more.
Add to your Disney vacation by visiting the Disney Springs area and spending all day doing fun things! You can even stay at one of the hotels at the Walt Disney World Resort as well as Disney’s Saratoga Springs for closer access to the park.
If you find yourself in the Disneyland park in California, go to Disney California Adventure Park and stay in Disney’s Grand Californian hotel.
It seems like every year Disney Springs add new restaurants and fun activities in a new location to improve every guest’s experience on their Walt Disney World vacation. One unique shop is the Coca-Cola store in the entertainment district.
Moreover, guests will have plenty of dining options, shops, and special events to choose from with a little bit of Disney magic for lifetime memories. They might not have water parks but Disney Springs has some of the best restaurants in the area by celebrity chefs.
For more Disney magic, visit these:
- D23 Expo 2022: Disney Parks Panel Reveals Bright Future for Parks, Experiences, and Products
- 30 Best Desserts to Try in Disney World
- The Best Disney World Parks for Adults
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