Disney Springs (fka Downtown Disney)

Once known as Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, and most recently as Downtown Disney (DTD), Disney Springs is now home to more than 150 shops, restaurants and attractions.  It is the place to go when you don’t have a Park ticket for the day, need a little retail therapy, or when you simply can’t take eating another chicken nugget.  It’s also open long after the Parks have closed, making it the preferred Disney nightlife locale.

Disney Springs is now divided into four distinct areas; The Marketplace, Town Center, The Landing and The West Side.  As of 2013, Disney has been reimagining DTD into “Disney Springs”; adding more shopping, more restaurants and more (much needed) parking.  As of today (July, 2016), Disney Springs hasn’t been fully completed, but there are some significant changes that are constantly reconfiguring the space previously occupied by Pleasure Island and the West Side.  These areas are now full of new restaurants and shops and construction continues to change the landscape daily.

Parking is now managed in two 5-level parking decks, Orange and Lime.  The coolest thing about the decks is that EVERY spot is monitored automatically and thus each row can tell you exactly how many spots are available (and the little “camera” above each spot glows green when there’s an open space).  This makes finding a spot INFINITELY easier, and given that there’s now about 5x the number of spots available, parking is much simpler.

The downside is that there’s only one way in and one way out.  Out doesn’t seem to be too much trouble, but in sure is.  Add an extra 30-45 minutes to your trip, simply to account for getting INTO the parking deck.  Seriously.

Wikipedia does a great job listing the current attractions and restaurants available.  I won’t repeat them here.

The only thing to really know about DS that isn’t mentioned is that transportation to/from DS is available from EVERY Disney resort, and, in some cases, from the Disney Parks.  So you don’t need to drive if you don’t want to.  All of the restaurants and shops can accept MagicBands for payment (and some of the restaurants are even on the Dining Plan).  Lastly, don’t forget that as long as you have at least 2 more “sleeps” left on your trip, you can have anything you purchase shipped directly to your resort and it’ll arrive in your room before you leave.

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