WDW Magazine - - Helping Hands - BY DAVE SHUTE

I have ex­am­ple itin­er­ar­ies for first-time vis­i­tors on my web­site your­ 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!

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