FIRST TIMER’ CORNER SHOULD WE PLAN TO SPEND TIME AT DISNEY SPRINGS?
I have example itineraries for first-time visitors on my website yourfirstvisit.net that combine park time, dining, and time off. They don’t include Disney Springs, and I often get asked why—isn’t Disney Springs a great destination for first timers?
Well, maybe. It depends a bit on whether you think you’ll ever be able to return to Disney World, a bit on how you like to relax—and a lot on how much time you have in Orlando.
Disney Springs is a great combination of dining, shopping, shows, and fun. But so is the rest of Disney World, and—for most first timers who can’t return—your time is going to be better spent on the things that Disney does best—the shows and fun in the parks, and the dining at the parks and hotels. For most, these will yield a better Disney experience than the fun and dining in Disney Springs.
If this may be your only visit, I’d advise at least five days in the parks (preferably six), selected fun dining in the parks and hotels, plus some time off. It’s hard to find time for Disney Springs, too, in this schedule. But this can vary depending on how you like to relax. The best Disney vacations always include some time away from the parks to relax. Many spend this off time napping or playing at the pool. But if your family—or part of it—likes to relax by shopping, or bowling, or going to the movies, then Disney Springs can be a great way to spend your relaxation time.
Both first-timers who know they can return and those on longer trips have much more flexibility with their schedules. For these folks Disney Springs can be a fun place to visit that doesn’t really cost them a potentially better experience elsewhere in Disney World—because they have more time, either now or later, to see all the best of Disney World’s parks and enjoy the best of its hotel and park dining.
If you do go to Disney Springs, you have a couple of options in how to approach it. If you have some strong themes to how you like to relax—like focusing on movies or dining or doing some power shopping—then center your trip around the movie theater, dining venues or shopping options discussed elsewhere in this issue.
But for those whose thought is that they can dine or shop at home, then there are some distinctive features of Disney Springs that may be hard—or impossible—to find back at home, and that’s what I’d suggest focusing on.
Probably the most distinctive Disney Springs offering is Cirque du Soliel’s La Nouba show. You can find Cirque du Soleil elsewhere—as a resident company or on tour—but not this stunning show. Unless your kids are young, I highly recommend it.
Have a House of Blues in town? If not, then consider the Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues in Disney Springs.
Have a Rainforest Café or T-rex in town? If not, then consider taking your family to one or the other in Disney Springs.what about the Lego Store? Even if you have one at home, the Lego Store in Disney Springs is well worth a visit if your kids are into Legos.
Other dining, shopping, and amusements abound in Disney Springs. If you have the time, and/or it has the kinds of activities that help you relax, then give it a shot!