I’m a glass half full kinda girl. So when Disney announces that they are making changes to their little piece of magic, I’m all for it. Change is good, and Disney is aware that change is necessary to keep guests coming back again and again. That being said, I would just like to open your eyes to the up-side of Disney’s latest creation- Disney Springs.
Disney Springs, formally known as Downtown Disney is a shopping, dinning and nightlife complex that sits at the far east end of property- near 535. For those that may have never been there before, let me just tell you- parking used to be a nightmare and walking from one end of the complex to the other was like herding cattle (sometimes highly intoxicated cattle). Before the latest changes there was one main path going from “The West Side” to “The Market Place”. It was entirely chaotic and I couldn’t be found there during any holiday or weekend if someone paid me! I am happy to announce the parking problem is solved and the navigation throughout Disney Springs has improved 100%
So that was problem number one. Problem number two was the lack of shopping and dinning options, and this is where many are all huffy and got their panties in a bunch. Yes, Downtown Disney had shopping- but it was 99% Disney owned and operated stores. How many different Minnie Mouse dresses does a girl need!?! Don’t get me wrong, I love my Disney gear but sometimes we need non-animated related articles of clothing. Same with dinning- there was dining, and at first glance it appeared that there were a lot of options. But, when you are told that the wait time is 1-2 hours thats not fun. Of course you could argue “they should have made a reservation”, but who likes to have every single second of their vacation planned out for them. So, to solve this problem Disney brought in a LOT of new, non-Disney owned shops and restaurants. And oh my sweet LORD did some have a hissy fit!!! I have read everything from they are ruining the magic to accusing them of being money hungry monsters.
Here is my take on the subject of this ridiculous controversy- NO ONE SAID YOU HAD TO BUY ANYTHING!!! I’m not rich and I’m not poor- like most of us, my lovely family falls somewhere in the middle. Therefore, can I afford to go on a massive shopping spree at Disney Springs- nope. Do I appreciate fashion and love window shopping- sure do!
Secondly, people travel to Disney from all over the world. Many times this trip is their only trip. Imagine living in a town that maybe doesn’t even have a mall and coming to Disney Springs! Seriously- its almost like going to 5th Avenue for some! What a treat for them to see all these fun stores that they have never seen before, and possibly never will again.
Lastly, I personally love that these stores are available for a reason most don’t think of. In 2004 I came to Disney and had zero plans of dressing up. Thus, I packed shorts and tanks tops- you know, park cloths. Last minute we found out a friend was getting married in Orlando- and not just anywhere in Orlando- at Disney!! The Grand Floridan to be exact!!! So we got invited to this wedding and guess who had nothing to wear!!! Guess who had to wear pants and a t-shirt, because back then the only clothing options on property had Minnie Mouse on them! This girl!!! So you go on vacation and plans change- you can go to Disney Springs and buy yourself a full outfit- complete with shoes, purse and makeup!
So that is my take on why Disney made these changes, and yes they were beyond necessary!
Let’s get to the fun part! Whats new- the sites, the sounds, the tastes!!! There is a cupcake ATM- how freaking cool is that?!?!
I personally love that many of the stores have one or more Disney exclusive items that are only available in that particular location (and online in some instances). Lets take a look at some of my favorite exclusives:
There are some unique shops as well. I am personally in love with this stand called “Filthy Rich”. The name got me to go in and I realized its all replica jewelry from some of Hollywoods most achieved women! So fun!
Just because Pleasure Island closed doesn’t mean Disney Springs isn’t an awesome place to hangout at night. They have live entertainment all night spread out along the walkways. So you can stop if you choose to enjoy music, dance and participate. The Hangar Bar is an amazing spot on the water to enjoy drinks and there is always live entertainment right outside. Next time my bestie comes to town I will be getting some indoor photos for you- this mama needs a night out with the girls! The Rainforest cafe recently added an outdoor bar called the Lava Lounge that is also on the water. More nightlife/ bar scenes are coming so stay tuned.
Lets talk food:
While I have’t had the chance to try everything YET, I can show you some photos of what is there, and let you know what I have heard. As far as what I have personally tried- The Boathouse and Sprinkles Cupcakes get a thumbs up from me! Be prepared to drop some cash in The Boathouse- but well worth it because the atmosphere is just beautiful and the food is on point. I’m no raw bar fan, but word has it theirs is AMAZING!!
Friends have been to STK and Morimoto Asia- and they had nothing but excellent things to say. Word has it that there is a gourmet burger place that is a must try, and I’m thinking that is next on my list!
Sprinkles Cupcakes was a HUGE deal for me. Anyone that knows me, knows that I am the cupcake queen. This blog was originally a spin-off from my cupcake business that I ran out of my home in Pennsylvania. Magnolia cupcakes was what started my obsession, but Sprinkles cupcakes is what started the worlds obsession. Sprinkles was the first of its kind and other amazing competitors followed. They tend to have more classic cupcake flavors, and maybe one or two specialty/seasonal offerings. They also have ice cream! AND an Ice-cream cupcake! Yup- pick your cupcake- they cut it in half and put your favorite ice cream on the inside! Enjoy these photos of the sweet goodness and stay tuned this week for my personal black and white cupcake recipe. I swore I would never share it, but I think it is time to spread the sweetness.
Stay tuned for an easy to follow Black and White cupcake recipe! Coming this week!!
Have a sweet day!