- Disney Springs is Disneyland’s outdoor shopping and dining centre, with free admission.
- It is a fan favourite, but the large crowds and hot temperatures can make a visit frustrating.
- Disney Springs can also be expensive because of the high cost of food and souvenirs.
Disney Springs may be one of Disneyland’s favourite places to shop and eat, but visiting it isn’t always magical.
Disney Springs, located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, has little shade and dark paved lanes. So when it’s 90 degrees outside, you feel the heat.
There are a few shady lanes by the shops, but they are small and the sunlight still shines through them.
As you stroll around the neighbourhood, you’ll notice that some shops are a bit simple – the huge M&M shop, for example, which sells ordinary chocolates at exorbitantly high prices. Some small boxes of chocolates, for example, cost as much as $20.
You can also see that some sites have been under construction for months, such as this restaurant, which won’t open until 2023.
There are many restaurants to choose from in Disney Springs, but they are not always open. For example, the foodtracks are only open late on weekday evenings.
Other food stalls, such as the trolleys that sell Mickey’s Pretzels and ice cream, don’t have specific opening times, so you may have to walk for a long time before you find an open stall. And when you find one, get ready to spend a decent amount of money. Just the pretzels cost $7.50.
There are plenty of places to take photos around the shopping centre, but they are often crowded with holidaymakers.
There are also unique activities to take part in, such as amphicar tours. But beware – a 20-minute ride in such a vehicle costs $125, and you’ll have to wade through large crowds of spectators if you want to watch from the sidelines.
If you come here after 5pm, expect an even bigger crowd. People flock to Disney Springs as the sun goes down to avoid the heat.
As Disney Springs fills up with tourists, the queues become very long. Popular restaurants such as The Polite Pig, which does not offer reservations, often have to wait to get in.
Rainforest Cafe was one of the busiest restaurants I’ve seen, with a queue stretching behind a giant volcano just to get a table.
There was the same long wait at Gideon’s Bakery, with dozens of customers waiting to buy half a pound biscuit.
You’ll also have to wait a long time for snacks at quick-service places like Dole Whip.
And when you get your ice cream, it may not be too appealing. Even at 7.15pm, the Dole Whip ice cream I ordered melted in less than two minutes. Soon this $6.50 dessert seemed too expensive to me.
Sure, you can go shopping instead of dining out, but you probably won’t be able to get through the huge crowds. When I visited Sephora Disney Springs in July, I could barely get through the aisles.
Some of the biggest queues are the result of customer confusion. The queue at World of Disney was so long that people didn’t know where to stand. And at the Disney Christmas shop, I waited more than 20 minutes to buy a decoration before I realised I was at the personalisation counter and not at the cash register.
Some designer shops are a little quieter, but the merchandise is less affordable. Seeing fans gathering around the handbag in the Coach shop, I checked the price. It cost $695.
Whenever you decide to leave Disney Springs, I wish you the best of luck. Getting through the crowds is almost impossible, and places to hitch a ride can be hard to find. There are only two, and they are at opposite ends of Disney Springs.