Image: frikitiki, Flickr

It’s not always possible to spend every waking moment of a Walt Disney World vacation in one of the Disney Parks. For some, the cost of tickets is prohibitively expensive. For others, the need for rest days usurps the desire to see and do every little thing. For a select few, they’re simply in town long enough that they need to think of something new to try to keep their vacation fresh.

It’s these non-park days that have long fascinated Disney vacations. What do you do when you’re visiting a resort known for its theme parks, but you need a day off? Sometimes, the answer is to simply relax at the hotel. But, other times, it is impossible to resist the allure of Disney Springs.

This particular shopping district has gone by many names and had many faces, but its current is its absolute best. It became Disney Springs in 2015, when the name-change capped off a years-long renovation that saw hundreds of shops and restaurants come online alongside new traffic patterns and parking garages.

In its newest incarnation, Disney Springs is absolutely worth one of those fabled non-park days. Here’s how you can spend a full day exploring just this one free-admission section of Walt Disney World.

Shop Everywhere

 rain0975, Flickr (license)

Image: rain0975, Flickr (license)

For a lot of Disney fans, shopping is a key component of any Disney vacation. Thankfully, Disney Springs is a serious shopping destination, offering stores that feature anything and everything you could possibly ever want.

There are several Disney-specific shops that sell everything from Christmas goods to artwork — including the famous World of Disney store and the eclectic Marketplace Co-op. These stores make up the backbone of Disney Springs and provide guests anything branded they could possibly want. And, on top of the traditional Disney shopping experience, Disney Springs adds a few IP-specific stores that serve up everything you could want related to Marvel or Star Wars. 

Additionally, Disney Springs offers a ton of standard and high-end retail options, from Uni-qlo and Under Armor to Lacoste and Ugg. 

It’s not possible to look at every single store at Disney Springs in a day and truly see everything. There’s just that much to take in.

Eat Everything

 Jennifer Lynn, Flickr (license)

Image: Jennifer Lynn, Flickr (license)

While some love to shop, others get their biggest pleasure from chowing down on vacation — and there’s arguably nowhere better to do that on Disney property than at Disney Springs.

In a full day, you can try multiple restaurants, like the incredible Frontera Cocina, Homecomin’ by Art Smith, Morimoto Asia, Maria and Enzo’s Restaurante, and so many others. In between, food stands like The Daily Poutine, the Exposition Park food trucks, AristoCreps, and others can sate your appetite. 

If you want dessert, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Amorette’s Patisserie, Erin McKenna NYC, or The Ganachery all offer astonishingly delicious sweets. For high end cuisine, check out The Boathouse. For a quick nosh, D-Luxe Burgers are a treat.

And, if you’re looking for somewhere to sit and relax in between all of that food, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is an amazingly-themed lounge with incredible drinks and fun snacks.

You literally cannot possibly snack on everything Disney Springs has to offer. You have to pick and choose. There are much worse ways to spend a day.



Also check out the live entertainment! The options are endless. When I did the Disney College Program, I would spend hours just sitting at Dockside Margaritas or Waterfront Park listening to the musicians play. Raglan road usually has a band playing, or Irish dancers. And the Strolling Piano is a cool thing to stumble upon!

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