If you are planning a trip to Disney Springs and wondering what might be available in Disney Springs for kids, I hope this post gives you lots of great info and ideas! Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney) is located about five miles from Disney World and is a great place to visit when you want to experience some Disney magic without paying to get into the parks.
Here are a few highlights of our family’s time from our recent trip to Disney Springs during our trip to Walt Disney World Resort. Of course, things are always changing, so please check Disney Springs’ website to make sure you have the latest info.
Parking at Disney Springs
If you are arriving by car, from I-4, take Exit 67 toward Epcot/Disney Springs. Then follow the signs directing you to merge onto East Buena Vista Drive in the Lake Buena Vista area.
There are parking garages all around Disney Springs, offering free parking for guests. Pay close attention to which garages might be open when you visit, as Disney has changed which garages are open. When we visited, the Lime and Orange garages were both available. Parking is free at Disney Springs.
During your Disney vacation, prepare to get to Disney Springs early or during slower hours, such as weekdays. It can get quite crowded in the evenings or weekends, and parking garages can even fill up, so getting there first thing is a good idea, especially if you have small children.
Taking Disney Transportation
If you are staying on Disney property, you can take a bus from your resort to Disney Springs. Bus service starts about 30 minutes before Disney Springs opens and stops about 1.5 hours after Disney Springs closes.
If your resort is close to Disney Springs, you are within walking distance! There is a pedestrian bridge that connects Hotel Plaza Boulevard with the Marketplace at Disney Springs.
Ride Share to Disney Springs
If you are using a Ride Share option, like Lyft or Uber, just be advised that they will drop off or pick up at the Marketplace Bus Loop, on the east side of Disney Springs.
Arriving at Disney Springs
When you arrive at Disney Springs, be sure to note which parking garage you are in and your location within the garage. You want to make sure you can get back to your car! I usually just snap a quick photo or make a note in my phone, so I don’t forget.
Prioritize Before You Go
Before you visit Disney Springs with your kids, consult their website and make a list of favorite things to see with your children. My children wanted to see the Disney Springs Lego Store, visit the Magic of Disney store (the largest Disney store ever), eat a sweet treat at Everglazed or get ice cream at Ghiradelli Ice Cream, and go to the M&M store. We also wanted to grab a cookie at Gideon’s. At this point, there are lines for most places to limit the numbers inside each location. Consult a map to determine the best flow for your visit.
If you are looking for a sweet treat, Disney Springs is for kids! We wanted to try Gideon’s Bakehouse during this trip, so we went immediately to their store to get in the virtual cue. For this, you simply add your name and number to a cast member outside the store, and they let you know you will receive a text to return. You can return at the time or any time after for that day. During our visit, it was about an hour and a half after we got our name on the virtual cue. (If the wait is too long, you can also try their other location in Orlando at the East End Market.)
Another great sweet treat is visiting the M&M store at Disney Springs. You can fill a cup to your heart’s desire with a huge variety of M&Ms. My kids were in heaven. The smell of chocolate hits you as soon as you walk through the door!
Another great sweet treat is the donuts from Everglazed. You won’t believe how many options they have!! They range from about $4.50-$5.50. Our personal favorite was the Peanut Butter Explosion. Also, if mom and dad need a pick me up, try the Cold Brew! You won’t be disappointed.
Other Great Sweet Shops:
- Amorette’s Patisserie
- Erin McKenna’s Bakery of NYC
- Ghiradelli’s Soda Fountain
- Marketplace Snacks
- Wetzel’s Pretzels
Things to Do: Disney Springs for Kids
There are SO many things to do at Disney Springs for kids! We started out at the Lego store, because our kids are OBSESSED with Legos and have been for years. Things to note in 2021, you may have to wait in a line to enter the store to avoid too many people in the store at one time. However, the advantage to that is that it is not crowded inside, so it’s much easier to shop around! The Lego Imagination Center allows kids to explore their creative side and create their own Lego masterpieces.
One fun thing in the store is being able to build your own Mini Figure. This does require a reservation, but there are also some walk up spots available at times. While we were there, they were sanitizing the pieces often to ensure everything is clean! Such a fun experience.
We loved checking out the Lego figures all around the store!
Another fun option in Disney Springs for kids is Splitsville Luxury Lanes Bowling. They are also known for their delicious food – could be a fun place for lunch or dinner with the whole family. Kids of all ages love bowling and great food!
The AMC Theater at Disney Springs is a great option at Disney Springs for kids and the whole family. It would be a great way to spend a hot Orlando day with a movie, lunch or dinner, and shopping. I think that would make a perfect nonpark day with my preteen girls.
Aerophile Balloon Ride
If you have adventurous kids, they might enjoy a balloon ride at Disney Springs. This is an 8 minute tethered ride in a huge air balloon over Disney Springs. Cost is $20 for 10 and over and $15 for ages 3-9. It does not fly during windy times, so just check wind conditions before making your plans. You can find more info here. You can also check Groupon to see if there are any current deals for your date.
Your littles might also enjoy a ride on the Marketplace Carousel at Disney Springs. This is a beautiful Venetian style merry go round, and it costs $3 per ride. The average length of ride is 3 minutes, so it could be a quick break for you and your children.
Marketplace Train Express
The Marketplace Train is a sweet little train for your younger kiddos. Again, it costs $3 per token and takes about 3 minutes per ride.
Your small children will have a good time at the splash pads located in Disney Springs, one of the free activities offered throughout the shopping area. The Magical Water Fountain is located at the Disney Springs Marketplace near Once Upon a Toy. The smaller splash pad is near The Days of Christmas store. There is a giant fountain near the front entrance, as well as smaller fountains throughout the Marketplace.
If your children want to visit these play areas, be sure to pack a change of clothes and shoes to prevent them from being uncomfortable the rest of the day.
Build a Dino at T-Rex
If your kids are into Build a Bear, they might love Build a Dino at the T-Rex location. It could make a fun souvenir to build their own dinosaur and remember their time in Disney Springs.
The T-Rex gift shop is a fun place to stop into it, even if you aren’t eating there. Dinosaur loving kids will especially enjoy it! The animatronic dinosaurs can be quite a hit with kids of all ages!
Goofy’s Candy Company
If your kids are like mine, they love candy! Goofy’s Candy Company is a fun little shop to stop in for a sweet treat to carry home with you or enjoy while at Disney Springs. The fun, colorful atmosphere makes it an entertaining stop in and of itself.
Stars Wars Trading Post
If you have Star Wars lovers, you might want to stop by the Star Wars Trading Post store. Droids, light sabers, Magic Bands, keychains…it’s all there!
World of Disney Store
If you and your family are wanting to do some souvenir shopping, World of Disney could be the stop for you. It’s a massive store, filled with all things Disney! Again, you may encounter a bit of a wait if capacity is full that day, but it’s worth the wait!
Dining at Disney Springs for Kids
Check the My Disney Experience app to make dining reservations at Disney Springs. Some restaurants also have availability on Open Table. I would suggest making a reservation in case your family needs a place to sit down and take a break while you are there. Our favorite sit down restaurants in Disney Springs for kids are the Rainforest Café, Planet Hollywood, or T-Rex Restaurant and Cafe. (Just be aware, if you have kids who are sensitive to noise or easily overwhelmed, these are fairly loud locations.)
If you are looking for quick service restaurants, our favorites at Disney Springs for kids are Blaze Pizza, Earl of Sandwich, Chicken Guy, or D-Luxe Burger. Check the app to see if mobile ordering is available, so your food will be ready when you arrive! Many of these locations have outdoor seating available.
I hope this list of ideas on Disney Springs for kids helps you and your family plan the perfect visit! If you would like more info on how to travel with your youngest family members, feel free to hop over to this post. Happy travels!
Keep reading more great posts to help you plan your next Disney vacation!