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The Top Reasons Why Disney Springs is Overrated

The Top Reasons Why Disney Springs is Overrated

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Hear me out…while Disney Springs is a huge shopping and dining venue, you may want to skip it on your next vacation. Read my thoughts here on why it’s not worth a trip.

Disney Springs

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Photo Credit: Disney

At Disney Springs, you’ll find a mix of unique boutiques, eateries, and entertainment. You can explore more than 50 shops, boutiques, and kiosks for brand-name and Disney-themed items. When you get hungry, you can choose from a wide variety of foods from cafes, restaurants, and quick-service counters.

Disney Springs is not just about shopping and dining, you can also enjoy various entertainment activities like specialty acts, music, and shows. You can also visit the Disney PhotoPass Studio. They offer costumes, backdrops, and props to tell your Disney story.

If you’re considering a visit to Disney Springs, it’s important to weigh your options. While this huge area offers an abundance of shopping and dining experiences, it may not live up to your expectations. As someone who has visited Disney Springs often, I (Susan) have learned there are better ways to spend precious vacation time.


Credit: Kate

Disney Springs is divided into four sections: Marketplace, West Side, The Landing, and Town Center and each of these offers distinct theming.

The Landing

The Landing section has nautical-themed restaurants and shops, such as Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, an aviation-themed bar based on the Indiana Jones films, and The Boathouse restaurant, which specializes in seafood and also offers amphibious vehicle rentals.

Although both of these sound cool, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is tiny. If you want an immersive theming experience, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Bar is a better choice. The Boathouse and taking a ride on the amphibious cars can be quite expensive, with the cost of a short ride being around $150.

Town Center

Credit: Susan

The Town Center’s first phase opened in 2017, and it features boutique shops like Anthropologie, Uniqlo, Sephora, L’Occitane en Provence, Pandora, UGG, Johnston & Murphy, ZARA, Kate Spade, and Trophy Room.

The Ganachery is a great spot to get your chocolate fix. However, these shops are not uniquely Disney and come with a hefty price tag. I usually keep on walking through this section.

West Side

Concept Art for M&M's Store in Disney Springs Revealed
Credit: Disney/M&Ms

Disney Springs’ West Side is the largest area, featuring Splitsville Bowling, the AMC-24 Theater, and restaurants like Planet Hollywood, Jaleo, and various food trucks.

Although there are many options here, they do not add to your Disney experience, and most of them are found in other locations around the country.


Credit: Maggie

Last but not least, the Marketplace section is my favorite. If you choose to visit Disney Springs, please spend time here. Kids can take a ride on the Marketplace Carousel and the Marketplace Train Express. Unlike the other sections, this area offers plenty of Disney theming and merchandise.

The World of Disney, the largest Disney Store in the world, sells a huge variety of Disney items. At Disney’s Once Upon a Toy and Disney’s Days of Christmas, you’re sure to find the perfect souvenir.

My favorite stores are the Disney Marketplace Co-Op stores, where you’ll find unique Disney merchandise.

Even though the World of Disney offers so much, I avoid it. I’ve tried several times to shop there, but it is so big, noisy, and crowded, that I become overwhelmed and need to leave before I complete my shopping.

Getting There

Credit: Maggie

Disney recommends that guests arrive at least 60 minutes before any scheduled event, show, or reservation when parking at Disney Springs.

Parking Garages

Disney Springs has two flat parking lots, the Strawberry and the Watermelon Lots, and three garages, the Orange, Lime, and Grapefruit Garages.

During the week, it is easier to find parking availability. However, on weekends, evenings, and holidays, parking garages and lots often reach capacity. Although self-parking is free, guests may need to find alternative transportation to get to Disney Springs once the lots are full. 

With multiple garages, it is easy to forget where you parked. While Disney provides a car locator app in the My Disney Experience app, it is a good idea to take a picture of where you parked as well.

Other Options

Credit: Susan

There are other transportation options available to get to Disney Springs. From select Disney Resorts, guests can take boat transportation, but they should plan for a travel time of around 30 minutes.

Buses are also available from Disney Resorts, but guests can no longer take a bus from Disney World theme parks. Unfortunately, guests will need to take a bus back to their Disney Resort and then take a separate bus to Disney Springs. At times, the Disney Springs bus is shared with the Disney Water Parks.

All of these options take time away from your time in the theme park. The quickest way to get to Disney Springs is by walking from Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Disney Springs hotels. This provides easy and quick access to Disney Springs.


Credit: Kate

While you can find any variety of cuisine, price level, and level of service, it can be quite overwhelming to choose where to eat. And if you don’t make a reservation ahead of time for a table service restaurant, you’ll find yourself waiting or being turned away.

Some of the quick-service locations are tasty like the Polite Pig, Gideon’s Backhouse, and The Earl of Sandwich. However, all of these are quite busy, and you may have a hard time eating there if you go during peak times.

At Gideon’s the cookies have a cult-like following. Wait times can be 4 hours to wait to purchase one! They text your phone so you can do other things while you wait.

Why You Should Go

Credit: Kate

If you find yourself needing a break from the theme parks during your vacation, Disney Springs is a good alternative that provides free transportation. And if you’re looking for something to do on a travel day away from your resort, check out the Marketplace for fun Disney shops.

If you do this, I suggest grabbing a Disney Springs map and making a plan before you go. You can print the Disney Springs guide map HERE.

Otherwise, I’m skipping Disney Springs because it takes too much time away from being in the theme parks. And while theme parks are crowded, there are places to relax. That seems harder at Disney Springs because there are so many people everywhere.

Do you visit Disney Springs often or skip it? Let us know in the comments and share this post with someone who loves Disney.

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Doris DuPriest

Monday 26th of February 2024


Stacey L Martella-Ferris

Monday 26th of February 2024

I miss the old downtown Disney. Now it's like a very expensive shopping center. It's lost all of the Disney magic it used to have. The marketplace is the only part with a bit left because of the world of Disney. We only go to get phenomenal baked goods from Erin McKennas

Susan Phillips

Tuesday 27th of February 2024

I agree - so many designer shops that have nothing to do with Disney now.

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