As I am assisting families with planning their vacations, I am often asked for recommendations for activities during a day when they will not be visiting the parks or leaving the parks early. One of my most frequent suggestions is a visit to Disney Springs!

Disney Springs is a bit of a lesser-known gem at the Walt Disney World Resort. If you visited Disney World in the past, you may also know it by its previous name- Downtown Disney. Here you will find a plethora of entertainment, dining, and shopping options for the whole family.

Disney Spring is in the southeastern corner of the Walt Disney World Resort property, and just across the lagoon from Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. You can arrive via bus from any of the on-site Disney resort hotels or if you’re staying at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, it’s a simple walk to the eastern entrance. If you are driving, you will be able to park in the surface lots on the west or east sides or you can opt for parking in the Orange or Lime parking garages. Because the Orange and Lime garages are in the most central locations, I highly recommend checking for parking there before choosing a surface lot. If you arrive by bus, you will be dropped in the same area- right between those two garages.

When you arrive, you will notice one thing- NO TICKETS REQUIRED! Disney Springs is completely free to walk around and visit. There is often entertainment in various locations as well. You are welcome to shop, dine, and enjoy daily from around 10am until 11pm (check your My Disney Experience app for that day’s operating hours, as they can vary.)

Disney Springs is broken down into four areas: Town Center, The Landing, Marketplace, and West Side. In each area you can find different options for shopping and dining. With over 90 shops, more than 60 restaurants, and 22 shows and events, there is a little something for everyone at Disney Springs.

Here are just a few of my favorite Disney Springs restaurant options:

-Rainforest Café
-The Boathouse
-Polite Pig
-The Earl of Sandwich
-Gideon’s Bakehouse

Disney Springs offers many unique shopping experiences. Here are just a few:

-The Lego Store
-World of Disney
-Kendra Scott
-Everything But Water
-Kate Spade New York
-M&M’s Store
-Pandora Jewelry
-Tommy Bahama
-Vera Bradley

And don’t forget the entertainment experiences! Here is a small sampling of my favorites!

-AMC Disney Springs 24 Dine-In Theaters
-House of Blues
-Splitsville Luxury Lanes
-Vintage Amphicar Tours at The Boathouse
-Raglan Road Live Entertainment

One of my favorite experiences at Disney Springs is the Photopass Studio located in The Marketplace section. Here you can have studio photos taken of your family by Disney Photopass photographers! No reservations are required, and if you have the Memory Maker, your photos will be available for free downloads.

And should you have any need to visit Disney Guest Services while in Orlando, the Disney Springs location is a great place to do that! Disney Springs Guest Services can take care of most any issue and is centrally located in Disney Springs next to D-Luxe Burger in the Town Center area.

So, whether you are looking for fun and food during your vacation or are just passing through Orlando and are looking for great shopping, make sure you visit Disney Springs for a little bit of everything!