Orlando's Disney Springs: Formerly Downtown Disney

If it's been awhile since you have been to Disney World, you'll be surprised at how much Orlando's Downtown Disney has grown since it was renamed Disney Springs.

The number of shops and restaurants has doubled and if you stay at one of the hotels in the area, you will be in the middle of everything.

Disney Springs is located on the shores of Lake Buena Vista, and is accessible by car, bus and boat.

Getting there

Those coming by car need to take I-4 to exit 67 toward Disney World/Epcot and follow the signs until you merge on the Buena Vista Drive.

The best way to travel is by complimentary buses, which leave on a schedule from each of the Disney World Parks. They run from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. or two hours after the parks close, whichever is earlier.

Take a boat! The promenade is accessible by complimentary water transportation departing from Disney's Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter; Disney's Port Orleans Resort-Riverside; Disney's Old Key West Resort and Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. They'll drop you off at the arrival docs located in the Marketplace and the Landing neighborhood.

Navigating Disney Springs

Disney Springs is divided into four sections. The Disney Springs website provides a comprehensive list of attractions.

West Side was a part of the original Orlando Downtown Disney. It's got a more "industrial" flair according to the official site. It includes a jazzed-up bowling alley and a stylish movie theater.

The Landing was formerly called Pleasure Island. It was a place where adults to visit places like a comedy club and the Adventurer's Club. Now, it's known for classy restaurants with gorgeous waterside views and new buildings that are fashioned to look like they've been there for years.

Town Center looks like an old-fashioned Florida waterfront town. It has more than 30 shops and a wide variety of restaurants with different prices and dining options.

Marketplace is the area where the whole family can have a good time. The most popular shops are here, and the "Village Causeway" is a new bridge that connects to the Lego Store (a must-see) and the Rainforest Cafe.

Attractions and entertainment

Officials and tour guides in the know say Disney Springs is the sort of place to visit only if you have more than four days to spend at Disney World. You don't want to be rushed. 

It's a good idea to visit Disney Springs either on the first or last day of your stay. It's a great place to make plans or wind down after a visit.

Make early dinner plans at a fun restaurant, visit the Lego Store, shop for souvenirs at the massive World of Disney. Check out the Ghirardelli shop for a free chocolate sample - that may lead to a purchase! Take the kids on the Marketplace Train and visit the Once Upon a Toy store. 

Music at the House of Blues, high-end bowling at Splitsville, and open-air concerts alongside Lake suitable for all ages - from the DJ Kids Dance Party to full band concerts.