Walt Disney World – Time For Disney Springs?

Disney vacation time is valuable!  Between parks, resorts, and restaurants, scheduling and planning are important priorities.  Time well spent is a good investment.  That being the case, who would get the most from Disney Springs and how much vacation time should be devoted to visiting this newly enhanced area of Walt Disney World?

Walt Disney World – Time For Disney Springs?Walt Disney World - Time For Disney Springs?

You love to shop – If you live in a big city with loads of shopping choices or you love to shop on line, Disney Springs’ shopping district, Town Center, won’t hold much appeal.  But if you live far from a city and love to browse stores like Zara, Lilly Pulitzer, Free People, Kate Spade New York, Anthropologie (my personal weakness), Uniqlo, and more!  Looking for souvenirs?  The Marketplace is for you.  Lots of Disney everything from clothing to toys and collectibles, cell phone cases, art, ornaments, jewelry – it’s all there in one place.

It’s going to rain a lot – Sure, an afternoon thunderstorm is common (especially during the summer months) and those are usually momentary interruptions to park touring.  When the weather’s going to be lousy for an extended period of time, Disney Springs offers some excellent alternatives like catching a movie at the AMC Theater and bowling a few rounds at Splitsville.  We’ve not yet tried Splitsville (I hear the menu is fantastic) but we very much enjoyed seeing Rogue One at Christmastime when the parks were super crowded. Walt Disney World - Time For Disney Springs?

Looking for new dining options – There are now more options for dining than ever!  Quick service, table service, snacks and sweets are everywhere!  If you’re looking for a new place to try in every price category, don’t leave out Disney Springs.  We love Morimoto Asia (both dining room and walk up counter).  We think Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is awesome and The Boathouse has great food and a wonderful atmosphere.  We’re looking forward to trying many more places on upcoming visits.Walt Disney World - Time For Disney Springs?

Grown up and want a night out – Looking for something to do outside the parks and away from your resort?  Disney Springs has more than shopping and dining.  Great lounges, live entertainment, and seasonal attractions (like the special Christmas Tree display and drone show last holiday season).  In the evenings, it’s crowded, but fun!

Arrival Day – No ticket necessary – Need something to do at Disney World without a park ticket?  We’ve visited Disney Springs as an arrival day outing.  We’ve also spent an evening at Disney Springs pre-Disney cruise when we had no park tickets but wanted to start feeling the Disney magic right away.  If your family is staying at Disney World longer than the number of days you have park tickets for, consider Disney Springs.  Most stores open at 10:00 am and we’ve found very light crowds early in the day.

I know that every minute of a Disney vacation is precious.  Many visitors to Walt Disney World choose not to spend time at Disney Springs and at one time, we were that family too!  Now we’ve come to appreciate the option of visiting Disney Springs as an alternative to Disney World’s parks and resorts and try to make at least one visit there on every trip.

Are you a Disney Springs fan?  What draws you there?




Disney World October 2016 To-Do’s

Our next Walt Disney World vacation is nearly upon us!  Looking forward to some of our favorite rides, attractions, and restaurants isn’t the only thing we’re excited about.  This may be our third trip to Walt Disney World in 12 months, but there are still plenty of new things to try!  Some is the new stuff I mentioned here, but some things have been around for a while and we’ve never made time to check them out.  For sure, one of the new things I failed to mention in my previous posts is all the new dining offerings at Disney Springs.  So, I’m going for broke here.  I’m over-planning, I know, but I’m determined to do my best and if we don’t get to everything this trip, we’ll have another shot at it in December.  (I’m not mentioning the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival in this post, but it IS the primary reason we’re going to Disney World this time.)Waiting in Line for Soarin'

Disney World October 2016 To-Do’s

Some people may be complaining about the number of closed attractions and underutilized space in Epcot, but I’m not one of them.  We still love Epcot and the first two things on our to-do list are there – Frozen ever After and the new Soarin’. FastPasses are officially booked for these and I will, of course, weigh in afterwards.The Boardwalk at Walt Disney World

If there’s a new lounge to try at Disney World, it’s going to make our to-do list.  We were very pleased with our visits to Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar in Disney Springs and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the Polynesian when we tried those for the first time last December (2015).  This time another new lounge is on our radar…

AbracadaBar on the Boardwalk – For years we ignored Disney’s Boardwalk due to sheer ignorance of what can be found there.  Now that we’ve discovered the cool shops, restaurants, and entertainment to be had just a short walk from Epcot, we’re hooked.  Now that yet another new highly-themed spot has opened for the enjoyment of a vacation libation, count us in!RM-Magic-Kingdom-Autumn2

We’ll have a great mix of personalities and interests in our travel party of seven, so I think this may be the perfect time to try the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.  We’ll been in Magic Kingdom for at least two days, so I’m hoping we can add this activity to our plans and see what it’s all about!

Let’s talk about food!  I hope we never run out of new places to try.RM-Megan-and-Grant-Sci-Fi

Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater – I have no idea what’s taken us so long to get to this funky little restaurant in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but we have, since the restaurant opened in 1991, always passed it by.  Until this trip.  My only excuse is (not kidding) that I was traumatized by The Blob when I saw it on TV for the first time as a kid.  I’m not against all Sci-Fi movies, just the ones that remind me of The Blob.  Do you think a lot of the ones featured in Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater will bring back bad Blob memories?  On a bright note, I hear the shakes are great there!

Disney Springs New Counter Service Offerings – This one’s stressing me out a little.  We’re only planning on one afternoon/evening at Disney Springs.  Dinner has been booked at Raglan Road because we can’t NOT visit it on every trip.  This means I’ll have only one lunch from which to sample the new counter service restaurants.  With 7 people in our party, I’m hoping someone (or ones) will be willing to share some selections with me to maximize taste sampling!  Topping my to-try list here are:  B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Company, Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, The Daily Poutine, D-Luxe Burger, Morimoto Asia Street Food, and the YeSake snack kiosk  (if only for a sake-based slush).  I may not get to them all on this trip, but I aim to give it my best try!

One last thing!

Finally, call me crazy. I realize our schedule is packed, but I would absolutely love to find an evening to finally make our way to Port Orleans’ River Roost to see YeHaa Bob for the first time ever.  Bob Jackson’s been around for quite a while and he’s a beloved performer who, according to the majority of folks who see him, puts on quite a show.  I actually follow Yehaa Bob on Facebook, but have sadly, never seen him in person.  Yet.

Are my plans too aggressive? What would YOUR first priorities be at Walt Disney World in October?





Disney World Arrival Day

Oh, the possibilities! The World is your oyster! What to do first? What will that Disney World arrival day bring? Let’s talk about the options, shall we?

Arriving the day before you want to use your park tickets – We’ve been fans of this in the past and I want to emphasize that time spent outside the four Disney World parks is not time wasted! Here are my top three recommendations…Raglan-Road-Irish-Dancers

  1. Disney Springs is full of wonderful places to shop and eat! And NO ticket required! Personally, We LOVE Raglan Road for that first night’s dinner…great food, music and entertainment. Just walking around the expanded Disney Springs is interesting and fun. Usually there’s live music and entertainment plus plenty of shopping and those magical Disney details to get you feeling all relaxed and vacation-ish right away.RM-Fort-Wilderness-Pool1
  2. Explore and relax at your resort. Swimming and other outdoor activities are great options. Staying on Disney property? Shopping, dining, pin trading even – all excellent choices. Some resorts offer outdoor movies and S’mores-making too! Think about it, you grab dinner and find a lounge chair in front of an outdoor movie screen to enjoy one of your favorite Disney movies before turning in…looking forward to kicking off the rest of your vacation the next day!Good Morning at the Grand Floridian
  3. Wander the World! Get the lay of the land at your own resort and then go exploring! Take a bus from non-monorail resorts to Magic Kingdom, then hop the monorail and check out the sights, shops, and grounds of the three resorts along the route. Make advance dining reservations (ADRs) for a character meal at Chef Mickey’s in the Contemporary or 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian. At the Polynesian Village Resort, you can’t go wrong with dinner at the super-popular ‘Ohana.1900 Park Fare / Drizella and Anastasia

If you’re headed for the parks, make some FastPass+ choices in advance and consider booking an in-park dinner to make that first day even more special. We used to make Magic Kingdom our first stop on every visit and back in the day, Cinderella’s Royal Table was our dinner choice. What could be more magical than eating in Cinderella Castle? The view is spectacular! Each park offers plenty of rides and restaurants to choose from – take your pick and kick off your vacation with tons of fun! If your family can make it into the later evening hours, end that first night with a show like Fantasmic in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Illuminations in Epcot, or Wishes in Magic Kingdom.RM-HalloWishes

Whether you arrive early or late, with first day park plans or not, there’s always a way to begin your Walt Disney World vacation in a special way!

What are your favorite first day activities? Do you have any traditions?



Review: Disney Springs AMC Dine-in Theatre

I’ve heard about AMC Dine-in Theatres before, most particularly the one in Disney Springs.  The concept is awesome, but we have yet to give it a try.  Maybe because we go to the movies a lot at home (at our ordinary old-fashioned-type theater) or maybe because we’ve never made room on our Disney World vacation schedule to squeeze one in.  We’ve been fortunate on the last several trip to have had spectacular weather and going to the movies seems more like a great rainy day plan to me.  Luckily, Nick’s treated himself to dinner and a movie in Disney Springs and here’s what he thought…

Review: Disney Springs AMC Dine-in Theatre

By Nick

On my latest solo trip to Walt Disney World I had a few items I wanted to cross off my must do list, and to go to the AMC Fork & Screen theater in Disney Springs was one of them.

I had some preconceived reservations going in, and some of these reservations were justified.

One of these was would I really want to see a movie for the first time with servers walking around, interacting with me or other patrons, thus causing me to miss something?

So I chose a movie I had already seen, twice in fact, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

I went on the morning after I took the Monorail Loop Lounge Tour, and was feeling none too clear headed, and it was also a rainy day, so, the perfect time to go to a movie. I was told that the AMC in Disney Springs, unlike my local theater, doesn’t have reserved seating, but that is not the case with the dine in theaters apparently, as I was indeed able to pick a seat for the 11am show.

After arriving in Disney Springs via bus a little early, I walked through the rain from the one side DS to the other, walking through shops along the way.

Once I got to the theater, I went in the wrong entrance, going in by Splitsville. This is the regular side, but since I didn’t have any clue how this sprawling theater was laid out, I asked where the Fork & Screen theaters would be found and was told the entrance to that side was by Planet Hollywood, but since I’d been through security already (yes, I had to empty my pockets and get patted down!) and it was pouring rain, I was directed through the inside of the theater to the doors to the dining side.

I was allowed into the theater about 20 minutes before the 11am showtime and was quickly greeted by a very nice server who took my order and returned a few minutes before 11 with my cheeseburger, fries, and Bacardi and Coke.

The burger and fries was pretty good and the rum and Coke was fine. I was pretty much finished by the time the movie started after what felt like 20 minutes of previews.

As for the theater, the seats recline very far back, which isn’t a problem, unless the person in front of you is sitting up eating, and their head is very much in the way, which was the case for about 15 minutes of the movie.

About halfway through the film, I realized I hadn’t seen a server at all for awhile. I decided I wanted to try one of the milkshakes I heard were so good, and maybe a small popcorn to satisfy my savory and sweet craving.
I pushed the button that I was told would bring a server quickly…and waited about 20 minutes before someone showed up.
I asked for a small popcorn, and was told they only came in large buckets (?!) so I passed and got a chocolate milkshake, which was absolutely better than I was told it would be. Very highly recommended.

The overall experience however, was mediocre at best. And it wasn’t cheap. I got the bill 10 minutes before the end of the movie, and admit I did not analyze it thoroughly, but it was $35! (That price doesn’t include the cost of the movie ticket.)

My suggestion, if you want a designated seat, this is the way to go. I noticed several people around me who did not order a thing, so can only assume they chose this theater for that reason.
Grab a meal at Splitsville next door, where the food is fantastic and reasonably priced, and save room for a milkshake at the theater.
Follow Nick, his wife Barbie, and friends on all their many Disney adventures:  Disney Musings Blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, On Instagram, On Pinterest.  You can listen to Nick, our friend Dave and me on The Disney Exchange Podcast where we talk about…well, you can probably guess.