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“Attractive small town but utopia it is not!”
Review of Disney Springs

Disney Springs
Ranked #10 of 394 things to do in Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Disney World's shopping and dining area consists of Marketplace, Pleasure Island and West Side.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

Having a few extra days on our Disney vacation we decided to stroll along the streets of celebration. Although a nice small town on a pretty lake it really is nothing special. I have a hard time believing it is rated as one of the top picturesque American towns. There are many more spectacular non-planned communities all over the states. The best part of the visit was the fountain for the kids to play in. Otherwise the shops are lacking and the restaurants are the pits. Use your time more wisely than we did.

1  Thank gsmyles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6,989 - 6,993 of 11,169 reviews

Reviewed July 14, 2013

If you get a free day away from the parks, its a MUST DO. Anything and everything you want to do or eat is here. They make changes every month with shows, and stores. Its not the most inexpensive place in the world, but what do you expect from Disney.
If you are planning to go, take a look online and see what is down there.
If your going to eat make reservations if you can. Especially around dinner. It can get very busy down there. During the summer the area is a madhouse. Stay away if you don't like crowds. The nights are filled with all kinds of entertainment from kids shows to street performers. Go to the west side for more adult entertainment, and very good restaurants.

1  Thank JusBeachn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2013

My 18 year old niece and I wasn't in Orlando to do Disney but this was a fun afternoon for just a taste of it. Rainforest Cafe is always fun. And I will never be too old to want to hug all the Mickey stuffed animals! Fun stores especially for the little ones.

Thank ottostravelqueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2013

Yes, it's exciting. Yes it's huge. Yes, it catches your attention. However, you can do almost everything here somewhere else for much less money. Putt Putt is way more expensive here than at the beaches. Even the "Trendy" name places to eat that serve the same food in other cities for way less cash. Most of the food isn't worth the $ you spent on it. If you are looking for Disney or Lego items to take back home I suggest going to any of the local thrift stores. We found lots of cups, hats, and kids jewelry for pennies on the dollar. If you enjoy bright lights, crying kids and grumpy parents ...come here!

4  Thank stacicooperhoffmann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 11, 2013

My family and I are Disney passholders, so we frequent the Disney area almost weekly. When we purchased our tickets last fall, we opted for the seasonal pass, which blocks out the summer. I am actually thankful for that. Despite being Floridians, we really dislike the July-August heat wave, and our 3 year old falls apart if we are out in in too long. Much like the Northerners, we hibernate when the weather gets to be too much. That being said, we do LOVE Disney. We sometimes get the Disney "itch" and need to get some magic in our weekend. When that itch calls, we head to Downtown Disney. In the summer it can be rough, because the walk from store to store can still be miserable in the heat, but there is a lot to do and see.

Mom tips-
*Bring a stroller. It may seem like an outdoor mall, but from one end to the other, it's too long for little legs to walk.

*Expect to be throttled with retail. This place is not as enjoyable if you see it for what it is, a retail experience. Kids who get the "give me" syndrome will lose it here.

*Know where the bathrooms are, and get a map. It may seem silly, but my little one has lost her control before while we were seeking out one of the semi hidden restrooms.

Dining Recommendations-

For couples- If you are looking for a nice evening out, I suggest trying Captain Jack's. It is a very nice place, and the crab cakes are a must. The restaurant overlooks the water, and is pretty intimate. If it's just the two of you, go ahead and make a reservation and try to make a note that you would like a water view. It is more pricey than say Rainforest Cafe, but it's cheaper than Fulton's and the dress code is casual. They have tasty drinks too ;).

For families-
I struggle when I recommend Rainforest Cafe. (you can see my reviews of both property locations) Rainforest is a fun atmosphere for kids. Or terrifying. We first took our daughter to the AK location when she was 2. She was terrified. We had to take shifts taking her out to the shop so we could all eat. She is now almost 4 and LOVES the RFC. pros- the atmosphere is so fun. A little outdated, but fun. The gift shop has cute stuff and it's not as pricey as other Disney merchandise. This location is not reviewed as positively as the Animal Kingdom locale. This location is far busier, and the staff wear it on their faces. It's easy to emphasize with a guy trying to nickle and dime you into buying a $10 frog cup just to keep his manager happy. The food is ok, but it's not worth the price. I have not tried T-Rex yet, as it is owned and operated by the folks who run Rainforest. We will eventually try it, but as of now, I'm going to keep my wallet a little thicker ;).
If you are willing to save money and surrender a sit down experience, try Earle of Sandwich. Everything I have ever had there is delicious, the place is kid friendly, and everyone is happier, and a little less broke.

Things to Do-
Ghiradelli Soda Fountain and Ice Cream-

OK, so all locals know- if you visit the shop portion of this venue, they hand out free chocolate that alters with the season. It's free chocolate for you and your family. Take it.

The ice cream here is delicious, and I have had different sundaes and drinks. The kids portion is always pretty good, not too much. My favorite is a Barq's rootbeer float with vanilla ice cream.

World of Disney Gift Shop-
I go in here to Christmas shop. This is the headquarters for ALL THINGS Disney Merchandise. Naturally, it's Disney priced, but they have it all. I really think they need maps for this store alone, because while they may have it all, finding "it all" is a different story. This is also where the Bippidity Boppity Boutique is housed for the Downtown Disney area. I am yet to take my daughter to that experience, but we are considering it for her birthday.

The Christmas shop-
I go in here every summer to get a little feel for the season. As Floridians, we do not even feel that "cozy" season, as it can stay warm here 11 out of 12 months. I do not know how they do it, but they manage to make it feel "warm" and "cozy" while pumping in 75 degree A/C. A Disney secret for sure. My daughter gets an ornament every year, and usually ends up picking one up here. The prices can get high, so try to have a set price point in mind. I love the store's countdown to Christmas, we are only 6 months away!

The Basin-
I like to stop in here for gifts for the grandmas in the family. The stuff is excellent quality, do not miss your chance to try the sugar scrub. Moms, this is your chance to get the lolipop off of your arm that has been sitting there. They have "sample" sinks where you can try the products. If you are looking for a different kind of treat for your kid's bathtime ritual, I recommend getting one of the $5 tubes of bath salts. (Not the zombie face eating variety, the real deal) They come in different colors and will color and smell up the tube nicely without leaving a ring.

Once Upon a Toy-
A small version of World of Disney, with focused areas. Here you can build your own lightsaber or potato head. Also, look up as you shop. There are fun surprises!

Fun Finds-
This shop was once a Winnie the Pooh shop, when the hundred acre wood was in vogue. It is now a discount style gift shop. They offer mystery bags for 10 bucks or 5 for $20 deals. I always pick up some stocking stuffers here.

Lego store-
This place is a great way for kids to be tempted into shop lifting. OK not really, but there are large open bins of legos for kids to play with, and I am convinced the store loses it's play inventory in the masses. This store is fun for pictures. There are large figures made out of lego bricks, including the famous Dragon just outside in the lake. The sets for sale are usually modeled completely under a case for you to see, and they have a toddler lego area as well.

Best time to visit?

Late Fall- Festival of the Masters- An art show that takes place every year with a vast number of booths to see, and tons and tons of incredible sidewalk art. There are giveaways and freebies, so check around. This is worth visiting, and kids will go bonkers for the chalk art.

Santa makes a stop here every year, as does our family. We always do Santa visits at this location. The best photo we have of our daughter was taken when she was 1 and sat on Santa's lap. This Santa is incredible, and so patient. He also does not carry that creepy mall Santa aura. If you are here during Christmas week, Goofy Santa replaces the real guy so he can get his route done on time. There are carolers out at different times, and the place is decorated nicely. The Christmas store mentioned earlier is often the busiest, (go figure) and the lines get long. My advice if you wish to shop here, is to have a member of your party who is dedicated to getting some Christmas garb do the shopping. Kids in that crowd can be nightmareish.

Overall, DTD will be busy on weekends, and during the high season such as summer and right before Christmas, as well as the spring break period. Set your expectations accordingly.

I will not be reviewing Disney Quest in this review, as it calls for it's own review altogether. The same applies for Cirque De Soleil.

3  Thank Kylee L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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