Our 2020 Guide to Disney Springs provides all the essential information to plan your day visiting the Walt Disney World shopping, entertainment, and dining paradise. The complex initially opened in 1975 and has been expanded and altered on several occasions. It was renamed Disney Springs after a 3-year renovation in 2015.
Disney Springs History
The story of Disney Springs begins at our new Town Center, which is oriented around a series of bubbling natural springs that first attracted settlers to the area. From there, the town grew to encompass three more neighbourhoods.
The above quote is the fictional history of Disney Springs. However, the area has its very own history, including several significant changes over the years. Previously known as Downtown Disney the conversion to Disney Springs was completed in Spring 2016. Originally opening in 1975, Disney Springs now consists of over 150 stores, restaurants, and entertainment locations.
To get to where we are today Disney Springs has undergone several name changes and redesigns:
- In the early 1960s, Walt Disney identified, when planning his Florida Project, an area of land near the I-4 and Highway 535 interchange, which he thought would be suitable for an entertainment Residential district. This area became Lake Buena Vista.
- 1975 – Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village opened featuring clusters of boutique and handicraft merchandise shops.
- 1977 – A significant retheming changed the area into Walt Disney World Village.
- 1989 – Name changed to Disney Village Marketplace, and the Pleasure Island area opened. Pleasure Island was a collection of clubs to compete with the popular Church Street Station. Pleasure Island closed in 2008.
- 1997 – Name changed to Downtown Disney. A 3rd area opened called West Side. West Side increased the number of dining and family entertainment options available.
In 2013 Disney announced a significant transformation of Downtown Disney, which would be renamed, Disney Springs. New construction included the building of 2 new parking structures, a new bus station, a widening of Buena Vista Drive, significant new mall space & several new bridges. Disney Springs is now 120 acres in size.
Disney Springs Today
The modern-day Disney Springs is an extensive shopping, entertainment, and dining
From fine dining to quick service counters there are food options that will suit all tastes and budgets.
Disney Springs is split into several neighborhoods each with a distinct feel. The neighborhoods are:
The Town Center, at Disney Springs, depicts the fictional town’s central business district, featuring Spanish Revival architecture from the 1920s. There are interesting landscapes and water features throughout the Town Center. The area opened in 2016 after 3 years of building work and features many well-known retailers. Lacoste, Levis, Harley Davidson, and Superdry are just some of the brands you will find at the Town Center.
Dining locations in the Town Center include Planet Hollywood and Wolfgang Puck. Also, you can enjoy a beverage at the Coca-Cola Store Rooftop Beverage Bar.
Located at the Town Center is the Disney Springs Welcome Center. the Welcome Center provides guest services assistance at Disney Springs. Services available include:
- Accessibility Information
- Guide Maps
- Lost Guests
- My Disney Experience Mobile App
- Currency exchange
- Services for foreign guests
The Marketplace is the original part of Disney Springs and was first called Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village. Today the area houses many popular shops and restaurants. It has been designed to be reminiscent of the American Craftsman-style of the 1930s.
The area contains several fun dining locations including the fantastic T-Rex and Rainforest Cafe.
The Marketplace is home to several shops which tend to be more fun-based than those you will find at Town Center. Shopping options located in the Marketplace include Disney’s Pin Traders, Goofy’s Candy Company, Lego Imagination Center, and Disney’s Days of Christmas.
Located in the Marketplace is the massive World of Disney. World of Disney is the largest Disney Store in the world and includes everything Disney you can imagine. However, it has one omission, you can’t buy a birthday card! The store has recently had a massive refurbishment.
The Landing is designed to be Disney Springs’ fictional transportation hub and marina. The area features nautical-themed restaurants and shops. The landing was the former site of Pleasure Island which closed in 2008.
There are only a few shops in The Landing, but there are plenty of restaurants. Dining options include Raglan Road, The Boathouse, Enzo’ Hideaway, and Morimoto Asia.
West Side, at Disney Springs, was developed in the 1950s according to the town’s fictional history. West Side was originally part of Downtown Disney and now features several popular restaurants plus a bowling alley and movie theatre.
The NBA Experience opened in Summer 2019 on the site of the former Disney Quest. During 2020 a new Cirque Du Soleil show will open at West Side.
Disney Springs Opening Times
Disney Springs opens every day of the year. The official opening times are from 10 am to 12 am. However, not all shops and restaurants will be open at all times.
There is no charge to enter Disney Springs and parking is free.
Things to do at Disney Springs
Dining at Disney Springs
Disney Springs has increased the variety of restaurants available at Walt Disney World. Currently, there are over 60 locations serving food or drink. From upscale dining to family eateries there is something for everyone.
The majority of restaurants accept the Disney Dining Plan. Many of the restaurants at Disney Springs have live entertainment and include waterfront views. Click here for an up to date list of dining venues.
Shopping at Disney Springs
Disney Springs has become a shopper’s paradise especially for those who like their shopping with a Disney Theme! There are shopping options throughout Disney Springs but the Town Center is home to many of the most well-known names & boutique shops. You can find a list of current shops here.
Entertainment at Disney Springs
Unlike the former Downtown Disney, Disney Springs entertainment is a family affair. From street entertainers to live music on the Marketplace Stage, there is something for everyone. Guests might particularly enjoy:
- The Classic Carousel
- The Void a virtual reality experience. Current features are Ralph Breaks VR and Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire.
- AMC Disney Springs Cinema
- Bowling Alley at Splitsville Luxury Lanes
- Drawn to Life Presented by Cirque du Soleil opening in Spring 2020.
- Vintage Amphicar
You can find out about more entertainment options at Disney Springs here.
New at Disney Springs in 2020
Disney Springs is constantly changing and new shops, restaurants, and entertainment options are opening throughout 2020. 2020 highlights include:
- Drawn to Life Presented by Cirque du Soleil opening Spring
- City Works Eatery & Pour House has recently opened.
There will be special events throughout the ear at Disney Springs. The Disney Springs Event Calendar has the latest information.
Disney Springs Tips & Tricks
We have created a collection of your most common questions about Disney Springs. The answers can be found in our post featuring Disney Springs Tips and Tricks.
Getting to Disney Springs
Parking at Disney Springs
Disney Springs is open every day and has no admission fee and includes free parking.
Preferred parking, which costs $10, is available in the Mango parking lot and is located near the NBA Experience.
Valet parking is also available and costs $20 plus gratuity. Valet parking locations are:
- The Orange Garage from 10:00 AM to 2:00 AM
- On West Side in front of Cirque du Soleil from 4:00 PM to 2:00 AM
- Lemon Lot from 10:00 AM to 2:00 AM
Designated parking spaces for Guests with disabilities are available. A valid disability parking permit is required.
Getting to Disney Springs from Disney Resorts
Bus transportation is available from all Walt Disney World resorts. Services are regular and run all day. However, travel times are not always that quick.
Also, there are water-taxis running to Disney Springs from Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside, Old Key West & Saratoga Springs Resorts. Arrival docks are located at the Marketplace and The Landing.
From Saratoga Springs a pedestrian bridge is available which goes directly to the Marketplace.
Getting to Disney Springs from Theme Parks
You can catch a bus to Disney Springs from the theme parks every day after 4 pm. However, to prevent guests from taking advantage of free parking these are only available 1 way.
You can learn more about transportation options at Walt Disney World in our Guide to Walt Disney World Transport.
Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels
There are 7 non-Disney Disney Springs Resort Areas Hotels. These hotels offer several resort advantages and can usually be slightly cheaper than booking an official Disney Resort. The 7 hotels are:
- Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
- DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Lake Buena Vista
- B Resort & Spa
- Wyndham Lake Buena Vista
- Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel
- Buena Vista Palace Resort & Spa
- Holiday Inn – Orlando Lake Buena Vista
Our Guide to Walt Disney World for Beginners is a great starting place to plan any Walt Disney World Vacation. The information will be useful for both first-time and repeat visitors.