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 usually open 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 (April, 2022), Disney Springs has been pretty-well completed, but there are some 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 on some heavy days.  Seriously.  In addition, within each parking deck is a security checkpoint – like the parks, they’ve moved to a more advanced system that can handle folks with small bags/backpacks just walking through (ie: not everyone with a “bag” has to go through bagcheck).  So it’s pretty easy to just walk through the metal-detecting-structures and on into DS.  But know that wherever you park, you’ll have to go through this to get into DS.

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, if you’re used to the old “resort delivery/pickup,” this no longer exists (and could just be a COVID casualty) – but as of today, Cast Members aren’t able to send anything to your resort.

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