Disney Springs is the perfect place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the Disney theme parks. Formerly ‘Downtown Disney’, this shopping, dining and entertainment area is packed with restaurants, from family-friendly offerings like The Rainforest Café to romantic waterfront eateries in the Landing area.
Disney Springs restaurants can be found in each of the four main areas: West Side, The Landing, Town Center, and the Marketplace. Many restaurants and bars offer live entertainment, from cabaret to bands and acrobatics, so it’s worth checking out what’s on if you’re looking for a quiet dining experience. With so many restaurants to choose from, where will you head for lunch or dinner?
Budding palaeontologists will love the T Rex Café in the Marketplace district. It’s just like dining in prehistoric times, with a giant sandpit where kids can dig for dino bones, and a hands-on discovery zone. Open from 11am-11pm Sunday to Thursday and 11am until midnight Friday and Saturday, the restaurant serves lunch and dinner. It can get pretty loud, so it’s not the place for a quiet meal, but kids of all ages will love dishes like Chicken T-Rexadillas and the Guac-asaurus burger. Make sure you pick up a T-Rex character cup to take home!
One of the other hot spots for families is the Rainforest Café in the Marketplace (there’s another one at Animal Kingdom too). With animatronic wildlife, tropical fish, and waterfalls, it’s an unforgettable dining experience. Watch out for the ‘thunderstorm’ that happens every 22 minutes. There’s an extensive menu of steak, seafood, salads, and pasta, with a separate kids’ menu offering great value for money. Kids will also love the shop selling rainforest-themed toys and merchandise.
Another of Disney Springs’ most popular family-friendly spots is Splitsville Luxury lanes, where you can enjoy ten-pin bowling with table-service dining. The menu has all the usual favourites, from sliders and hot dogs to pizza and sushi, plus plenty of options for vegetarians and an affordable kids’ menu offering grilled cheese, burgers and more.
If your tastes are all-American, the West Side is a great place to head for brunch, lunch, or dinner. This area is home to the Planet Hollywood Observatory, where you can stargaze in the observatory or dine on classic burgers and American cuisine on the outdoor terrace. It’s here you’ll also find the House of Blues, but don’t be fooled by this restaurant’s ramshackle exterior. With a menu inspired by cuisine from the Deep South, you’ll find everything from authentic BBQ and shrimp and grits to pulled pork sandwiches with a twist. The House of Blues is known for its legendary ‘World Famous Gospel Brunch’, a Southern-style brunch followed by lively music. There are two sittings every Sunday, at 10.30am and 1pm.
If the idea of dinner and a movie appeals, the AMC Dine-In Theatres are worth visiting, while if it’s a quick bite to eat on-the-go you’re after, Exposition Park is home to an ever-changing selection of food trucks offering everything from tacos to hotdogs and Asian Dim-Sum.
Although you might not immediately associate Disney Springs with fine dining, there’s no shortage of celebrity chef-owned eateries, a couple of which you’ll find in the Town Center. Check out Homecomin’, a Florida kitchen owned by Art Smith, once Oprah’s private chef. Or head for Frontera Cocina, a Mexican restaurant owned by Rick Bayless, winner of ‘Top Chef Masters’ and host of TV show ‘Mexico – One Plate at a Time’. Here you can dine on several versions of Mexican guacamole as well as specialities like Baja Bay Scallops and Chipotle Chicken Tostada. For families, Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza serves up stonebaked pizzas with almost any topping you can think of, while The Daily Poutine is the place to enjoy this classic Canadian dish.
Lovers of Asian cuisine should head for Morimoto Asia at The Landing. Headed up by chef Masaharu Morimoto, this pan-Asian restaurant has a 270-foot long bar, a two-story outdoor terrace, and a show kitchen where you can watch your meal being prepared. Open for lunch and dinner (and brunch at the weekends), this is one of the Disney Springs restaurants you can’t afford to miss.
There’s a 14-seat sushi bar and an extensive menu of Asian delights such as Peking Duck and Moo Shu Pork, as well as a kid’s menu offering dishes like Karage fried chicken and chicken ramen. On the lower outdoor terrace you can enjoy a speedier dining experience from 5pm to 11pm daily. Order at the window and dine on street food delicacies like sushi, Morimoto sticky ribs and Pork Egg Rolls.
For families who want to grab food on-the-go, there are plenty of coffee shops, bakeries and street food stalls offering fast food. B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Company in the Marketplace serves a range of artisan sausages, Amorette’s Patisserie in the Town Center is the place to head for classic pastries and cakes, and you’ll find several Starbucks outlets too, great for a quick coffee and a sandwich.
If you’re visiting Disney Springs as a couple, why not head for The Landing for a truly memorable dining experience? Home to a number of waterfront restaurants, The Landing is the area to choose for upscale dining with beautiful views.
The 1920s-themed Edison restaurant in The Landing is the perfect choice for a romantic meal for two. Or why not take a Captain’s guided tour on The Venezia with chocolate-covered strawberries, champagne, and live music? If you love all things retro, grab a meal at The Boathouse. With three nautical-themed bars, live music from the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s and a waterfront setting, this is the ideal place to wine and dine your partner. After dinner you could even take a cruise on the Lady Rose antique steamboat.
One thing you will find when it comes to Disney Springs restaurants is plenty of Italian cuisine. Most of the Italian eateries can be found in The Landing, but Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop in The Marketplace is well worth checking out for its chocolate, ice cream sundaes and shakes. The kids will love it!
Popular options for dining Italian-style include Enzo’s Hideaway for an aperitivo, cocktails or lunch, or Maria & Enzo’s for Southern Italian cuisine with views of Lake Buena Vista. For Italian food in a hurry, you can order pizza by the slice, sandwiches, and Bombolini at Pizza Ponte, or relax over dinner with friends at Terraline Crafted Italian, where you can enjoy wood-fired pizzas, pasta and antipasti. When the sun’s shining, gelato at Vivoli Il Gelateria is a must!
It’s not just kids who love the sweet stuff, and with cupcake shops and bakeries scattered across Disney Springs, you’ll be spoilt for choice when a sugar craving strikes. For handcrafted cupcakes, cookies and ice cream, Sprinkles Cupcakes in the Town Center is a one-stop shop for all things sweet and gorgeous. With flavours like Maple Bacon, Cuban Coffee and Salted Oatmeal Cornflake (their bestseller) and a ‘Cupcake ATM’ that dispenses cupcakes from 8am until 2am, this is the place to be if you’re looking for cake.
For gluten-free and vegan options, Eric McKenna’s Bakery NYC in The Landing and Amorette’s Patisserie in the Town Center are both excellent choices. The Key Lime Cheesecake and Banana, Nutella and Salted Caramel crepes at AristoCrepes in the Town Center are worth trying too!
The choice of Disney Springs restaurants may seem a little overwhelming at times, but if it’s a relaxed atmosphere and casual dining you’re after, you’ll find plenty of pubs to choose from. Wine Bar George serves up over 100 wines from acclaimed wineries, accompanied by small plates of nibbles to share, while Cookes of Dublin has fish and chips on the menu.
Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant offers casual dining, but can get pretty noisy later in the evening, with live music every night. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at The Waterfront takes its name from the pilot in the Indiana Jones films, and has one of the best cocktail menus you’ll find at Disney Springs, with innovatively-named creations like “Reggie’s Revenge and The Fountain of Youth.”
Dockside Margaritas in The Marketplace is another popular spot for margaritas and cocktails, with live music most afternoons and evenings.
Disney Springs restaurants have options to suit all tastes and budgets, whether you’re looking for a family-friendly restaurant, a spot for a romantic meal for two or a bar for drinks, snacks and live music. Most restaurants have a menu for kids, and there are plenty of establishments offering gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options, so nobody needs to feel left out.
Whether you’re up for casual dining with friends, a themed brunch or an experience the kids won’t forget in a hurry, you’re sure to find something to make your holiday to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida memorable.