Disney Springs is an outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment complex at the Walt Disney World Resort.The complex opened on March 22, 1975 as the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village and has been expanded and renamed at other times over the years. It was first renamed Walt Disney World Village in 1977; then to Disney Village Marketplace in 1989; and afterward to Downtown Disney in 1997. In 2013, plans were announced for a three-year renovation and expansion of the complex, and on September 29, 2015, the name officially changed from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs (although I do accidentally on occasions still call it downtown Disney).
The complex includes four distinct areas listed below:
Marketplace – The Marketplace houses many shops and restaurants reminiscent of the American Craftsman-style of the 1930s.
The Landing – The Landing was formerly the site of Pleasure Island, a nighttime entertainment district with two comedy clubs and four dance clubs. These areas closed permanently on September 2008. Buses and water taxis operated by Disney Transport provide transportation between Disney Springs and other areas of Walt Disney World.
Town Center – This depicts the fictional town’s central business district, featuring Spanish Revival architecture from the 1920s.The Town Center area also features the namesake “springs”, which is artificial.
The best time to visit Disney Springs is during the day. As evening approaches, be prepared for crowds, particularly on weekends. Operating hours for the common areas are 8:00 am – 1:00 am.
Okay I love Disney Springs (shock) of course I love Disney Springs I love all things Disney! But heading here for an afternoon or evening is such a fun thing to do. It has an array of shops, from Kate spade, Pandora and Alex and Ani to Harley Davidson, Coca Cola and American Threads, and everything in between!! I love the nightlife here at Disney springs in particular, of an evening you can expect to find lots of music ? , anything from saxophone players, guitar players to vocalists, there is just such a mix. My favourite is the sax player, I believe his name is Don Black, he is amazing!! I’ve inserted a little clip in that I filmed on my trip last year. The guy dancing was the best, I don’t know who he was but he danced like no-one was watching (and quite rightly too) I love seeing people enjoying themselves and this guy made me smile, and still does when I watch this clip back. You can also check out the awesome sax player on youtube.
As well as an array of shops they also have a mix of restaurants to choose from (note-these will almost always need a dining reservation) I have been lucky enough to eat at 2 of the restaurants here, bongos Cuban cafe and paradiso 37. I thought I would add in 2 little reviews of this restaurants.
Bongos Cuban cafe-This authentic themed restaurant opened in 1997 in Disney Springs. The building’s Old Havana architecture is dominated by a massive pineapple-shaped structure that fills the skyline (seriously you can miss it!). This family restaurant not only offers delicious Cuban food, but you are also treated to Cuban dancing and Congo lines while you dine (don’t worry you can just sit there and spectate, if you don’t fancy joining in). I thought the food here was delicious I’ve included the menus below, sorry the pictures are not that clear… one too many cocktails that night maybe!?
I enjoyed my meal here as did my boyfriend, I even LOVED the Cuban black beans (which I had never had before! Now if I remember rightly Luke and I shared a starter which was plantain chips with black bean and sour cream dip (sooooo good) and plenty enough for 2. I then went for the prawns in garlic butter with black beans on the side and vegetables. I would definitely recommend this dish!! Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of Luke’s meal and neither of us can remember what he had, I’m thinking it would have been either chicken or steak though.
There were members of my party who didn’t like this restaurant so much, and definitely were not keen on the black beans. I think taking a look at the menu is a good idea if you have young children as the menu is not to everyone’s taste. The cocktails here are great, so if your staying off of Disney property make sure you leave the car at home!!
As I mentioned the other restaurant I was lucky enough to eat in was paradiso 37, now Paradiso 37’s menu reflects the “Taste of the Americas,” featuring delicious selections from the best of the 37 countries of the Americas. P37 also is famous for its tequila bar and 29º beer – the world’s coldest! Again I thought this restaurant was delicious, unfortunately I didn’t seem to take many pictures of this restaurant , however I did manage to snap my starter and main. Now we once again shared our starter (delicious but flipping calorific I assume, corn on the cob covered in cheese!) and for my my main, well I can’t remember what it was called but it was delicious. You don’t get the same atmosphere here as you do with bongos but the menu is certainly more traditional.
Whilst at Disney springs myself and Luke decided to visit the cocoa cola store, which is great to look around. Upstairs they have the roof top bar where you can try different coke from around the world! Which we did, all 16 of them!
Moving away front the shops and the restaurants there is of course Cirque du soleil’s la Nuba!, now I think this is a MUST to go and watch whether you’re familiar with cirque du soleil or not, it’s a truely spectacular show, which Has permanent residence at Disney springs meaning this is one cirque du soleil show that will not tour. I am a massive fan of cirque anyway so I was so happy I got to see this awesome show back in 2015.
Disney springs is so much more than a shopping centre, it’s vibrant, it’s full of life, it has amazing live acts, restaurants that serve the most delicious food, bars, bakery’s and even a cinema complex, which my sister Lora and her friend Jess visited last year, and had an amazing experience.
Lastly I couldn’t leave without mentioning the characters in flight hot air balloon that ascends above Disney springs. Now I haven’t had the pleasure of riding this yet, as it never seems to be operating, mainly due to the weather. So I dug out a bit of information to add in.
CHARACTERS IN FLIGHT…OPERATED BY AEROPHILE-Ascend 400 feet in the air as you hover over Disney Springs in the world’s largest tethered helium balloon. The Aéro30 balloon illuminates the silhouettes of beloved Disney characters and is filled with 210,000 cubic feet of helium. The balloon’s basket holds up to 29 Guests.
Experience Length: 8 to 10 minutes.
Price: $20 for adults and $15 for children (tax not included).
Maybe this year I will get on it!!!…
Well this wraps another WDW blog, I’ll be back next week though with some tips and information into the wonderful world of Walt Disney world!!
Please enjoy the read, like, share, comment.
Until next week
Little miss keeping it real?