Disney Springs: Good Food, a Lot of Shops, and the Springs

It's been a little more than a year since Disney Springs celebrated its grand reopening as a revamped and renovated eating, shopping, and entertainment complex. Gone are the days of Downtown Disney as the entire area has been reimagined for guests. We spent an afternoon there on our recent Disney World vacation left with mixed feelings about the updated area.

Have you spent time at Disney Springs lately?Have you spent time at Disney Springs lately?

Driving toward the Disney Springs area at Disney World on our arrival day we experienced a bit of traffic as some of the area near Buena Vista Drive is a construction zone. But as we got closer to Hotel Plaza Boulevard the Disney Springs traffic was a bit less congested and the new traffic patterns were easy to navigate.

We spent our first night at the Holiday Inn Orlando - Disney Springs. The hotel is located within walking distance of Disney Springs and is our go-to spot if we make last minute changes to our plans and arrive a day early to Disney (which seem to ALWAYS happen).

World of Disney at Disney SpringsWorld of Disney at Disney Springs

If you happen to be staying in one of the Disney Springs area hotels, walking to Disney Springs is SO much easier now thanks to the elevated walkways! The new walkways take you right into Disney Springs without worrying about all the cars and buses.

One of my complaints about the former Downtown Disney was how crowded it always felt, so it was a nice surprise be able to walk through the area and not be shoulder-to-shoulder with people! The crowds are definitely more spread out than before.

Disney Springs with a view of PaddlefishDisney Springs with a view of Paddlefish

Our first stop was the World of Disney Store (of course). After a few minutes of navigating the crowds of people we decided to head to the Town Center area of Disney Springs. This is where you'll find all the new shops and I'm going to be totally honest here: it felt like we were at an outdoor mall in Anywhere, USA. I wasn't impressed with this area. I suppose if you like to shop 'til you drop you'd love it. But we quickly made our way out of the shops and went on a mission to eat!

So many shops at Disney Springs!So many shops at Disney Springs!

We decided to dine at Blaze Pizza, and judging by the line when we arrived so did everyone else at Disney Springs. I was a bit wary of the long line but thanks to two ordering queues once you get inside the wait was minimal. The hardest part was finding a table. A quick tip: send one adult to scout out tables while another orders the food and drinks.

I had one food goal on this visit to Disney Springs (and it wasn't Blaze Pizza). I wanted to visit Morimoto Asia Street Food and order Takoyaki, also known as Octopus Fritters. Weird, I know. But it had to be done! And so, after a quick dinner at Blaze Pizza we were off to eat more!

Morimoto Asia Street FoodMorimoto Asia Street Food

Walking to Morimoto Asia we had a chance to check out some of the new areas and we were wowed! This area is beautiful! Sometimes pictures are better than words:

The back of Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' Florida KitchenThe back of Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' Florida Kitchen

And one more....

So many lovely spots in Disney Springs!So many lovely spots in Disney Springs!

And we're back!

So, we made it to Morimoto Asia Street Food and we were the only people there, which meant we didn't have to wait in line. The menu here is rather basic and includes Sushi, Bao Tacos, Morimoto Ribs, Octopus Fritters, and more. It all looked delicious but it was time to tackle the Takoyaki. The fritters are topped with Nori (seaweed), Pickled Ginger, and Okonomi Sauce.

Octopus Fritters! You really should try them!Octopus Fritters! You really should try them!

The verdict? Octopus fritters are SO good. Honestly, they pretty much melt in your mouth and they don't have an overpowering taste. They were quite mild and not fishy at all. If you're looking to be a bit adventurous and try something new and different, Takoyaki is the way to go!

We decided to wander around a bit more and ended up by the Boathouse and happened to arrive just as one of the Amphicars was getting ready to launch. Next time I'm at Disney Springs I'm definitely making an Amphicar reservation " they look like fun!

Take a cruise in an Amphicar!Take a cruise in an Amphicar!

Two other shops that we had to visit were The Ganachery and Amorette's Patisserie. If you're a fan of chocolate you really need to visit The Ganachery! It's a tiny store but it's full of chocolate goodies and we had a chance to watch them make s'mores (and they were giving out samples of the ganache!).

Making s'mores at The GanacheryMaking s'mores at The Ganachery

Over at Amorette's Patisserie we saw the dome cakes being decorated and we walked through the line just so we could see all the pretty sweets. I thought about purchasing something but it was about a million degrees outside (OK, it was really about 95 degrees with a billion percent humidity) so I didn't get anything for fear of it melting immediately. Womp womp.

Making cakes at Amorette's PatisserieMaking cakes at Amorette's Patisserie

As a whole I really do love Disney Springs. The springs are gorgeous, the addition of so many new restaurants is incredible, and the crowds are so spread out now making it much more enjoyable to spend time there. However, I'm just not a fan of the Town Center area with all the shops. I can't pinpoint what exactly I didn't like (too busy? too mall-like?), but that area didn't do anything for me. [But, the area would be a wonderful place for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Just an idea. ;-D]

And you have to admit, Disney Springs really is pretty at night!

Disney Springs at duskDisney Springs at dusk

Have you visited Disney Springs? What did you love about the area and what didn't you love? Let u know in the comments.

Kristen K. wrote on Tue, 09/19/2017 - 00:19:

Kristen K.'s picture

I absolutely love the remake of this area. There is so much food and shopping, I can spend a whole day there.

wdwizbest wrote on Thu, 09/21/2017 - 17:34:

wdwizbest's picture

I agree there's something not quite right about DS, it's all of it not just town center for me though. It is nice & well constructed, obviously well thought out. However the old Marketplace & particularly Pleasure Island was unmistakably Disney. DS now seems a bit too generic. I miss PI's adult themed "party" atmosphere. We would spend several nights there in the past during our stay. Now we will go maybe once. I guess it's going to take awhile to grow on me.

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