There’s much more to Disney World than four theme parks. Outside these worlds of magic lie fun-filled water parks, fantastical mini-golf courses, and quite possibly the most popular non-park attraction: Disney Springs.
Brimming with tempting fare, unique entertainment experiences, and shops galore, it’s easy to see why Disney Springs boasts wide appeal. If you’re anything like me, the delicious cuisine beckons you to this shopping metropolis, but there’s just one obstacle standing in the way of your surrender to the marketplace’s call: it’s outside the parks.
My family finds it very difficult to leave the parks’ magic. We know we have a finite amount of vacation time, so we feel a need to make the most of it by experiencing the attractions we love and the insurmountable wonder of the four parks, which doesn’t leave much time to experience other opportunities at the resort. However, this does not mean finagling time to fit in a Disney Springs visit is impossible. Here are some solutions for this dilemma.
Take an Opportunity to Unwind
Walking around the parks from dawn until dusk does a number on anyone, especially families with young children. Even diehard theme park fanatics face this exhaustion. Sometimes, rest days are a must, and Disney Springs can be as good a place as any to unwind. For guests who want to make the most out of the magic and have scheduled a half or non-park day, a trip to Disney Springs can be a way to relax without missing out on park time.
Maximize the Magic
For those not keen on the idea of taking an entire day to rest, which I wholeheartedly understand, but still long to visit Disney Springs, plan your party’s must-dos. For my family, the biggest draw to Disney Springs right now is Gideon’s Bakehouse, so on our last trip to the Springs that was our main goal. Make a schedule and stick to it, so you accomplish every experience on your checklist without biting into too much of your park day.
End Your Day at Disney Springs
For guests who balk at the thought of leaving the parks before closing, an evening at Disney Springs is a great option. Since Disney Springs is often open until 11:00 PM, you can go straight there after leaving the theme parks and end your busy day with a late dinner reservation, an evening of shopping, or a Gideon’s cookie run. This way, no vacation fun is wasted.
Skip Disney Springs
This is a no-brainer, but you don’t have to carve out time to visit Disney Springs. To me, this is the best choice. My family has tried to visit Disney Springs several times, but each time we go, I dread leaving the fantasy of the parks for what I consider to be a glorified mall, and I regret wasting precious time to walk around a virtually Disney-less area. Sure, I am tempted by the menus of Disney Springs restaurants, but I’d rather spend a day at Magic Kingdom or any of the other three parks than waste park time to indulge in a Disney Springs meal when there are perfectly tasty restaurants at most of the parks and resorts.
In the end, you are in charge of determining what is and what isn’t worth your time at Disney World. If you want to shop ‘til you drop at Disney Springs, that’s great, but if you want to avoid this shopping hub in favor of hours of park fun, that’s just as good an option. After all, it’s your vacation. You might as well enjoy it!
Katrina is a bookish writer and unapologetic Disney enthusiast. She can't imagine anything more wonderful than a day at the Most Magical Place on Earth with her family. When she's not occupied with her studies, she writes, reads, daydreams about wandering World Showcase, and wishes she were riding Cosmic Rewind.