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Beyond Retail: Exploring Non-Shopping Activities at Disney Springs

Beyond Retail: Exploring Non-Shopping Activities at Disney Springs Disney-springs-wdw

A lot of Disney goers describe Disney Springs as a glorified shopping mall, but there’s so much to do there that has nothing to do with shopping. I visit this part of Disney fairly often for various reasons, but most of the time, it is to experience food, entertainment, or other fun activities. Sometimes, I go to people-watch or watch live entertainment that is scattered all over Disney Springs. On my last trip, I started to think about all the fun activities that are available here that don’t include shopping. Let’s dive into it!

Amphicar Ride

For a truly unique experience, consider taking an Amphicar ride at The BOATHOUSE. These vintage cars can drive on land and water, offering a one-of-a-kind tour of Disney Springs. It’s a memorable adventure that the whole family will enjoy.

Beyond Retail: Exploring Non-Shopping Activities at Disney Springs The-Boathouse-224

This is a pricey experience that lasts about 20 minutes. It is a guided tour on the waters of Lake Buena Vista, and guests experience gorgeous views of Disney Springs. The tour can be booked from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, weather permitting. The Amphicar can hold between 3 to 4 people, and the experience costs $125. If you were to gather three of your friends and you all split the cost between the four of you, it would be $31 per person. That is actually a great deal.

Watch a Movie!

In the West Side section of Disney Springs, guests will find the AMC Movie Theater. I love watching movies here for many reasons, one being that to enter Disney Springs, everyone has to go through security. There’s also nothing cooler than watching a film at Walt Disney World and then grabbing ice cream at Salt & Straw after.

Beyond Retail: Exploring Non-Shopping Activities at Disney Springs AMC-Disney-springs-wdw

Go to a Concert!

In the past year, I have started to become a massive fan of House of Blues events. Not only do they host concerts, but they have amazing themed party nights. As someone who doesn’t like going to Downtown Orlando and participating in the club scene due to anxiety, I have found so much comfort in these themed parties.

Beyond Retail: Exploring Non-Shopping Activities at Disney Springs HOB-Disney-springs-wdw

The themed parties I’ve attended are Taylor Swift night, One Direction night, High School Musical night, and an Emo night. I am currently trying to convince Ryno to go to a Taylor Swift night with me, and I think it’s working. Not only do guests attending these events and concerts have to go through Disney security, but they also have to go through House of Blues security, which makes me feel very safe.

Watch Drawn to Life

Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Walt Disney Imagineering have created this original performance – Drawn to Life – which celebrates the art of Disney animation in Cirque du Soleil’s signature way, with a tribute to the craftsmanship that makes Disney so extraordinary. It will transport the audience into the world of Disney animation with new original acrobatic sequences, dazzling choreography, musical masterpieces, and whimsical characters.

Beyond Retail: Exploring Non-Shopping Activities at Disney Springs Drawntolife-Disney-springs-wdw

I have seen the show once, and I think it’s something that everyone should see at least one time. The performers in the show are phenomenal and are incredibly talented. I think it is something that can be done for a special date night, anniversary, or birthday since the tickets can be expensive. There were many parts that left me speechless, and I am so glad I went to see the show with my mom for her birthday.


If you’re seeking a bird’s-eye view of Disney Springs, look no further than the Aerophile – The World Leader in Balloon Flight. Hop aboard a tethered helium balloon and ascend high above Disney Springs for breathtaking panoramic views of the resort and the surrounding area. It’s a picture-perfect opportunity you won’t want to miss.

Beyond Retail: Exploring Non-Shopping Activities at Disney Springs Balloon-Disney-springs-wdw

I won’t do this because it terrifies me, but I know many people love this experience or have it on their Disney bucket list.


An obvious option is to eat! The food at Disney Springs is so good, and many restaurants have become my go-to spots. I have had friends and family visit a lot over the past month and a half, and both groups wanted to go to Disney Springs for lunch. Their only requirement was that it wasn’t a fancy place or somewhere that was super overpriced. Which means we went to City Works Eatery and Pour House!

Beyond Retail: Exploring Non-Shopping Activities at Disney Springs cityworks-Disney-springs-wdw

I absolutely love City Works. The restaurant has that laid-back feeling of a sports bar, but the menu and drinks resemble something more elevated. Here, you get the best of both worlds, words once said by the wise Hannah Montana. City Works is not the only restaurant I love that gives off this vibe. Splitville is another one that I think is great. The food is good, the outdoor area is first come, first serve, and if you want to go bowling, you have the option. Those are just two of my favorite places as of right now, but Disney Springs has a plethora of food options.

Bonus – Take Kids on Rides!

They even have fun for the kids in the Marketplace section of Disney Springs. There are two rides they can enjoy, and I promise you’ll make memories that last a lifetime. As a kid, my parents always took me to ride the train and carousel on our last day at Disney. It was our final ride of the trip. I have so many memories here.

Beyond Retail: Exploring Non-Shopping Activities at Disney Springs train-Disney-springs-wdw
Beyond Retail: Exploring Non-Shopping Activities at Disney Springs carousel-Disney-springs-wdw

The last time my dad visited, he had me meet him by the carousel. When I got to him, he hugged me and said, “I remember getting on this with you when you were little, and I am so happy it’s still here.” That really warmed my heart and put into perspective how unique and fun these two attractions are. If you have time on your next trip and are traveling with little ones, I suggest taking them to ride these two.

Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.


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