Our 2023 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 opened in 1975 and has been expanded and altered several times. 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.Disney Parks Blog
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 the Spring of 2016.
Originally opening in 1975, Disney Springs has 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 an area of land near the I-4 and Highway 535 interchange when planning his Florida Project, which he thought would suit an entertainment 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 – The 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, and the final closure of Church Street Station followed the next year.
- 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 building two 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
Unlike the old Pleasure Island, there are no areas that are adult-only. Disney Springs has over 100 shops selling Disney merchandise and well-known brands. From fine dining to quick service counters, food options will suit all tastes and budgets.
Disney Springs is split into several neighborhoods, each with a distinct feel.
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 three years of building work and features many well-known retailers. Lacoste, Levis, Harley Davidson, and Superdry are some 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.
The Marketplace has been designed to be reminiscent of the American Craftsman style of the 1930s. The area has 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 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 plenty of restaurants exist. Dining options include Raglan Road, The Boathouse, Enzo’ Hideaway, and Morimoto Asia.
According to the town’s fictional history, West Side, at Disney Springs, was developed in the 1950s. West Side was originally part of Downtown Disney and now features several popular restaurants, a bowling alley, and a movie theatre. Drawn to Life is the new Cirque Du Soleil located in West Side.
A massive empty building stands on the site of the ill-fated NBA Experience and former Disney Quest site.
Disney Springs Opening Times
Disney Springs is open 365 days a year, there is no charge to enter, and parking is free. The official opening times vary but usually are from 10 am to 11 pm or 11:30 pm.
However, not all shops and restaurants will always be open, and you are advised to check before you visit.
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.
Many of the restaurants at Disney Springs have live entertainment and include waterfront views. The majority of restaurants accept Advanced Dining Reservations.
Shopping at Disney Springs
Disney Springs has become a shopper’s paradise, especially for those who like 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.
Check My Disney Experience for the latest information or the Disney Springs website.
Entertainment at Disney Springs
Unlike the former Downtown Disney, Disney Springs entertainment is a family affair. There is something for everyone, from street entertainers to live music on the Marketplace Stage. Guests might particularly enjoy the following:
- The Classic Carousel
- AMC Disney Springs Cinema
- Bowling Alley at Splitsville Luxury Lanes
- Drawn to Life Presented by Cirque du Soleil
- Vintage Amphicar
- Aerophile – The World Leader in Balloon Flight
Disney Springs Your Questions and Answers
Do you have a question about Disney Springs?
We have created a collection of your most common questions about Disney Springs in our Disney Springs Tips Post.
Getting to Disney Springs
Parking at Disney Springs
Disney Springs is open daily, has no admission fee, and includes free parking.
- 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
Valet parking is also available and costs $20 plus gratuity. Valet parking locations are:
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, water taxis are 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.
A pedestrian bridge from Saratoga Springs is available, which goes directly to the Marketplace.
There are currently no busses running from Disney Springs to Theme Parks.
You can learn more about transportation options at our Walt Disney World Transport Guide.
Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels
There are seven non-Disney Disney Springs Resort Areas Hotels. These hotels offer several resort advantages and are usually slightly cheaper than booking an official Disney Resort. The seven 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
To learn more about Walt Disney World, visit our 2023 Guide to Walt Disney World.