We only used to spend a little bit of time at Disney Springs on our trips to Walt Disney World. After all, we were paying for park tickets, not to visit what we thought was essentially an outdoor shopping mall (we were wrong, by the way!).
In recent years, we started spending more time at Disney Springs, and now, every trip of ours is complete with a day of relaxing there!
Disney Springs is a fantastic restaurant and shopping center on Walt Disney World property with various Disney and non-Disney offerings. It has dozens of shops, incredible restaurants, and family-friendly activities that you all can participate in.
There are many ways to spend your day there, but here are a few of our must-dos on a Disney Springs day!
Delicious Chicken Tenders at Chicken Guy
For any Food Network fans, you don’t want to miss Chicken Guy! – a delicious quick stop started by Food Network’s own Guy Fieri. They have some of the most delightful chicken tenders I’ve ever eaten, with over twenty house-made sauces. Be sure to check out their milkshake and loaded fries too! Chicken Guy! is always a must-visit place for us on our trips to Disney Springs.
Visit Gideon’s Bakehouse
Gideon’s Bakehouse is a specialty bakehouse that offers giant (almost a half-pound!) cookies, massive cake slices, and delicious coffee. They are trendy, so you should head there early to get in line. You can sign up for their virtual queue if they’re swamped, giving you an approximate return time. Once signed up, you can meander around Disney Springs before a text brings you back to Gideon’s to get your delicious treats.
Many people have asked if Gideon’s is worth the wait. We say ABSOLUTELY! The cookies are rich, warm, and gooey. The coffee (guys, they have peanut butter cold brew!) is delicious. The cookies are gigantic and easily sharable, as are the cake slices.
And if you hop into their virtual queue, you don’t have to worry about missing out on anything while waiting. Plus, the inside of the shop is so neat. It looks like Haunted Mansion collaborated with Tim Burton to create a spooky but still adorable vibe. Take advantage of Gideon’s!
Grab a Dole Whip Sampler from Swirls on the Water
Swirls on the Water is a hidden gem of Disney Springs. A small kiosk right off the bridge in the Marketplace area of Disney Springs, Swirls on the Water, offers a variety of delicious Dole Whip treats.
Of course, you can grab a classic pineapple Dole Whip or a float, but my favorite is the Dole Whip Sampler. For less than $8, you can sample three Dole Whip swirl combos that are typically swapped out seasonally.
On our last visit, we tried a cherry/pistachio, strawberry/chocolate, and pineapple/vanilla trio, that was mind-blowing. It was very sharable and easily one of the most delicious things we ate on the trip! And for just under $8 (less than $2 more than a standard Dole Whip Float), it’s a great value!
Visit the World of Disney
Every trip to Disney Springs is complete with a trip to the massive World of Disney store in the heart of Disney Springs. You can find most of your standard Disney merchandise there, from clothes, toys, kitchenware, and more!
They always have a massive section of seasonal and special occasion offerings, from holidays to anniversaries (the 100 Years of Wonder merchandise is fantastic, by the way). I guarantee that you will find something you have to have if you go in there. I usually find several!
Catch a Movie at AMC
Only some people know this, but Disney Springs has a gigantic movie theater! The theater has dine-in options if you’d like to visit over lunch or dinner, or you can grab an Icee and some popcorn and just relax! We have seen several movies on our visits to Disney Springs over the years and love the beautiful, relaxing ambiance. Plus, lots of air conditioning! You really can’t go wrong!
Coca-Cola Store Rooftop Beverage Bar
If you’ve been to Disney Springs, you’ve probably seen the giant Coca-Cola store. It has a ton of great Coke merchandise and an adorable Coke Polar Bear photo op, but did you know it also has a massive beverage bar on the roof? Head up to the top of the beverage bar to get a refreshing soda, float, Icee, or mocktail while enjoying the views of the Disney Springs from your rooftop perch!
Great Day at Disney Springs
These are just a few of the dozens of things we like to do while visiting Disney Springs. There’s an infinite number of activity and restaurant combinations you could try. Still, for us, every trip is complete with these things! Building a Disney Springs day into your trip is one of my top tips for the ultimate Disney vacation. Sometimes, it’s nice to take a break from waiting in lines, hurrying between park attractions, and just slow down on some excellent food and shopping. On your next visit to the Most Magical Place on Earth, you’ll also try some of these things!
Author: Ashly Hunt
Ashley co-founded The Midwest Mouse, a Disney Instagram account and blog she started with her husband, Braden. Ashley lives in Indiana with her husband and their two daughters. They are Walt Disney World annual pass holders and visit Disney parks as often as possible. They look forward to crossing more things off their Disney bucket list while continuing to share their adventures on their Instagram (@the_midwest_mouse) and website.
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