Disney World has endless ways to stay entertained and the Disney parks are just one of them. There is also a separate up-scale area called Disney Springs that is great for shopping, dining and entertainment for the whole family. In Disneyland, this is called Downtown Disney. Here are all the best parts of Disney Springs:
There are several large chain stores to shop at, but also many stores with merchandise that is unique to Disney Springs. The World of Disney store is the perfect place to pick up souvenirs from your trip for the whole family. It is the largest Disney store worldwide, and was recently redesigned to fit the new Springs aesthetic.
Become a part of the adventure in a virtual reality universe including Star Wars Secrets of the Empire and Ralph Breaks VR attractions. This is the perfect entertainment to get the whole family involved. The attractions are located at The VOID in Marketplace.
The best place to enjoy a sweet treat after a long day at the parks is the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop in the Marketplace. It features sundaes and other treats created with Ghirardelli chocolate.
Disney Springs has two small ride attractions, geared towards small children, and a tethered balloon. There is a small carousel, and a train. The Aerophile balloon is located in the West Side. It allows guests the perfect view of all of Walt Disney World.
There are endless dining options in Disney Springs from international cuisine to burgers and pizza. There are BBQ restaurants, breakfast places and recipes from celebrity chefs. Dining is part of the Disney Springs experience!
It’s free- admission and parking at Disney Springs are both free of charge!
Navigating Disney World
Disney World can seem overwhelming to a first-timer, or even to someone who has been many times. There are four parks, all with their own unique rides, character visits, restaurants and shows. The parks are Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. It can seem impossible to navigate. Starship Travel is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, so we know how to make the most of your trip.
Magic Kingdom is the original Disney park and the most recognizable. Cinderella’s Castle is a must-see in Magic Kingdom. Outside the castle, there are firework shows, photo-ops and characters. There are four big roller coasters in this park- Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and the 7 Dwarves Mine ride. There are also several smaller rides that are especially great for younger guests- the Haunted Mansion, Small World and the Pirates of the Caribbean. Themed restaurants are also great for meeting characters. The Be Our Guest restaurant is Beauty and the Beast themed and it is perfect for little girls who want to see the princesses.
The highlight of the Epcot park is the World Showcase. Guests can explore several countries around the world without ever leaving Disney. The park is transformed into that country, and there are many cultural food options. Epcot also has ride attractions like the Test Track for racing and Soarin´. Soarin´ is an amazing ride that virtually takes guests over glaciers, fields and mountains. It is a sensory experience with sounds and smells.
Animal Kingdom truly has something for everyone. There are live shows, rides and even a safari. The Festival of the Lion King is an awesome show that is not to be missed. If you are looking for roller coasters, Animal Kingdom has Expedition Everest and the brand-new Avatar: Flight of Passage ride. The Avatar world, Pandora, is a must-see.
There are endless things to do in Hollywood Studios, and it just opened a brand-new Star Wars land. There are two rollercoasters in the Star Wars alone. Hollywood Studios also has the Rock ´n Roller Coaster, which is a high-thrill ride, and the Tower of Terror. Toy Story land is a newer addition to the park as well. It is perfect for younger children, and has a fun interactive ride for all ages.
Fast passes for all the parks are extremely helpful time-savers, but they are complicated to understand. Guests have to make reservations for the rides they want to ride that typically have long waits. Guests get 3 choices per day, and can be reserved 60 prior to arrival.
The parks are large, and difficult to navigate but the My Disney Experience app has a map that makes it very easy to find your way. The app also shows ride wait times and shows things that are happening throughout the park.
Making dining reservations is an easy way to meet characters and take a break from the parks. There are many great places like Be Our Guest, Chef Mickey’s, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Ohana and Storybook Dining at Artist Point. However, be sure to book these months in advance as they fill up quickly.
Food and beverages can get very expensive without a Dining Plan. There are many different packages that can be purchased online to fit your family’s needs. The Dining Plan includes many restaurants in the parks, and it is all accessible through your Magic Bands and the My Disney Experience app.