If you’re planning a vacation to Walt Disney World, then it wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). Although it isn’t inside the Disney Parks, Disney Springs is just as magical. Disney Springs offers a little extra in your budget for splurges because there’s no ticket needed for admission. Check out 8 of the Disney Springs splurges you should consider on your next visit.
Disney Springs is a must visit for my family on every trip we take to Walt Disney World. Disney Springs splurges are my personal favorites. Disney Springs holds a special place in my heart because it’s the first Disney Parks location I took my oldest son as a 3-year-old. I will always treasure the memory of that day.
Disney Springs Splurge: Lunch
Your first splurge at Disney Springs? Food! With such a variety of restaurants and sweet treats, you should save up just a few calories for the food choices. Don’t worry about splurging too much. With all the walking you’ll do around the parks over the week, it’s more than worth it!
For lunch or sandwich option, stop in for a taste of Earl of Sandwich, not your average chain with only 33 locations worldwide. What makes it a true splurge is the freshly baked bread for their hot sandwiches and unique menu combinations.
On my last visit, I ordered the Holiday Turkey sandwich. It tasted like the day after the best Thanksgiving dinner and honestly reminded me of being home with my family. It’s made with carved slices of moist turkey layered with cornbread stuffing, a smooth turkey gravy and dressed with cranberry sauce and mayonnaise. My mouth is watering just writing about it! The other options for hot sandwiches, wraps, salads, pizza breads, and artisan soups are just as satisfying and worth the splurge.
Traveling Mom Tip: Earl of Sandwich is popular and made fresh to order so allow at least 30 minutes to an hour for your visit. Just for Kids menu options geared to even the pickiest of eaters.
Steakhouse Splurges at Disney Springs
For an upscale dinner event, you have to try STK Orlando. This splurge offers the best aspects of a traditional steakhouse like attention to detail, knowledgeable servers and staff. It still has most important menu standards of a steakhouse, perfectly cooked steaks from porterhouse to filet medallions.
One thing STK doesn’t have is the traditional stuffiness of a steakhouse. STK boasts a DJ booth, an upscale sleek interior complete with white leather banquettes, drop pendant lighting and a white longhorn sculpture on the first floor. The second floor is just as sleek and modern with an outdoor dining space providing views of Disney Springs and a section with high top dining around a fire pit.
Traveling Mom Tip: STK is open to families and has a Kids Menu, but as the evening progresses, the atmosphere downstairs transforms more into a nightclub. Consider asking to be seated upstairs or on the outside patio with younger children.
The menu at STK hasn’t suffered at the expense of the décor. The bread served to the table is freshly baked individual loafs in cast iron skillets and topped with STK’s signature melted Blue Butter. Everything I tried during my visit was absolutely worth the calorie splurges. The shaved Brussel sprout salad had a crisp bite that I liked. The true taste of the ingredients came through with a light dressing that showcases the apples, cranberries, cheese and almonds. The Lil BRGs, a flight of STK mini burgers, are among my favorite burgers even though I’m not a huge fan of beef.
Experiences Worth a Disney Springs Splurge
The next area where you have to splurge is on the unique experiences at Disney Springs. Going to the parks is a magical experience, but some days you’ll want to take things a little easier and just have a single focus. On those days, I vote for one splurge experience at Disney Springs and returning o your hotel for a relaxing swim in the pool.
First on my list is the Amphicar. The Boathouse at Disney Springs is the only place in the world where you can take a ride on these vintage car/boat combos. The 30-minute tour starts with loading into the car on the dock, and your “captain” literally drives into the lake. The $125 per half hour might be a slight splurge considering you’re riding in a car. However, up to 3 people can ride with the driver so it evens out.
I haven’t had the pleasure of taking the ride but Dia, the Travel Hack TravelingMom did and she said it was “surreal.” You can read more about her experience here. I admit that I was one of those paparazzi stalkers, but it’s pretty cool to see the boat roll on to the driveway from the water.
Princess Splurges at Disney Springs
I only have sons, but I feel like another must splurge experience is The Castle Package at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (BBB) is a salon owned by the Fairy Godmother and operated by Fairy Godmothers in Training. They make over your daughter to look like royalty. The Castle Package includes a hair styling, make-up, nail polish, wand, crown, and Disney Princess gown for $199.95.
If there is anywhere in the world where you should be transformed, it’s at Disney! I’m seriously considering borrowing my niece just so I can have someone to do it with at least once.
Since I don’t have the daughter, I have to rely on my friends to tell me about it and Jennifer, Last Minute TravelingMom provided a few insider tips based on her own experience.
TravelingMom Tip: The Disney Springs location of the BBB is larger than the one in Magic Kingdom and less crowded. After the transformation at Disney Springs, the princesses have their own parade through Disney Springs. You know the other princesses are busy at the parks. They’re even given princess training before their walk on how to wave, smile and represent princesses.
A splurge that the whole family can enjoy is the Cirque du Soleil performance of La Nouba. Similarly to other Cirque de Soleil shows, La Nouba is a combination of acrobatics and music that will delight all families. La Nouba is one of the permanent shows, calling Disney Springs home for 18 years. But it is never the same show because acts are being adjusted constantly.
Alex and Ani worth a Disney Springs Splurge
Finally, you have to splurge on the fashion at Disney Springs. If you are a fan of Disney, what better way to show your DisneyLove when you go home by splurging on these exclusives available at Disney properties?
I show my DisneyLove every day with my Alex and Ani bracelets. The Disney Parks Collection by Alex and Ani has collections that fit if you’re a fan of Star Wars, the cruise or anything Disney. There is a bracelet that more than likely expresses your love of Disney. Many of these are exclusives only available in the stores. Make sure to go check them out for yourself!
Vera Bradley Splurges at Disney Springs
Vera Bradley will also let you share your DisneyLove with the elusive hidden (or not so hidden – your choice) Mickeys in their items. Choose from more than 15 different patterns and designs including basic black to multicolor. Busy moms need bags that fit your life and I have to admit that I’ve picked up more than just one over the years so I know they’re worth the splurge. But again these are exclusives in the store, so you have to visit to find the right one for you.
Busy moms need bags that fit your life and I have to admit that I’ve picked up more than just one over the years so I know they’re worth the splurge. But again these are exclusives in the store, so you have to visit to find the right one for you.
I fell in love with these Kate Spade Minnie items in person at Kate Spade store at Disney Springs. They are available on the website but that doesn’t do them any justice. Once you actually see the details inside of the clutch and how soft the sweater is, you’ll more than make the splurge. Make sure to make the Kate Spade as part of your visit to Disney Springs.
Best Ways to Save to Afford Disney Springs Splurges
Now that I’ve shared all the splurges, you’ll need some ways to save! My top two ways to save are going to be looking for discounts and deals in advance. Another way to save would be staying at the closest property to Disney Springs, the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista.
As soon as you realize you’re going to Disney, make sure that you start looking for any and every discount you can. I have seen McCormick and Schmidt’s gift cards at a Costco. As a member of the Landry’s chain, you can use these gift cards at Disney Springs locations like Rainforest Café.
Look on Groupon and keep checking back often. During our last visit, there was a deal for discounts on the hot air balloon ride. It was a no-brainer to get a ride for $13 when it’s normally $29.
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista – A Save to Splurge More
Another way to save is by staying just on Disney property at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista hotel. I loved the property because it is the closest hotel to Disney Springs and offers a great rate to be right next to the action. They have an onsite character breakfast complete with Disney waffles, Not to mention, a great pool, onsite restaurants and plenty of room for the whole family to spread out in both Garden and Tower rooms.
This Orlando resort offers a complete resort experience with a game room, volleyball courts and play areas just outside. Also because it’s on Disney property and so close to the action, it offers free shuttles to the parks. The shops offer a free package delivery service to the hotel for all the purchases I make, even for my Disney Spring splurges.
I’d love to learn more about your Disney Springs splurges. Please share them with me; I love learning more based upon other people’s experiences.