What is the best thing about Disney? If you ask, everyone's got their answer.  Aside from the magic at the parks, we believe the very best thing about Disney is Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney).  Why, you ask?  It's free, and what else about Disney is free?  Well, it's kind of free.  Admission is free, parking is (mostly) free, walking around and taking in all of the sights is free.  You might pay for food, shows and shopping but this wonderful place is part of Disney... and it's free!

We really enjoy Disney Springs.  Like we've said, Jess's parents own a condo close to Disney property so Disney Springs is just a short drive away.  We spend many evenings of our vacation there.

When we plan a trip to Disney, we typically purchase our tickets for the parks online.  When you do this, you still have to get an actual ticket once arriving to Disney that you use for entrance to the parks along with fast pass swipes and all of that good stuff.

We always stop by Guest Relations at Disney Springs.  We typically have plans to dine at Disney Springs at least once before spending time at the parks so this makes getting our tickets ahead of time easy.

All you need to pick up your tickets at Guest Relations is your purchase confirmation (usually in your email), the credit card that was used to purchase the tickets and your photo ID.  They will get your tickets linked for your days at the park and the tickets automatically sync up with all of your fast passes selected through My Disney Experience.  They make it easy!

Disney Springs has lots of great restaurants that include endless food options.   There is a store called World of Disney that has just about every souvenir that you could purchase.  The best part about buying Disney souvenirs here is that you don't have to lug them around a park all day.  The entire atmosphere is pretty wonderful.  It's got the Disney feel without any commitments.  We love it!

Here is a look at a few of our favorite things to do at Disney Springs...
 And yes, most of them include eating.

Dinner at The Boathouse is always a fun experience.  The bar area is beautiful and the atmosphere is airy.  We recommend checking it out for dinner (or lunch) for great seafood options.  It's common that they'll offer seasonal seafood options that are rather unique.  Entrees range from $20-$65.

Cookes of Dublin is a casual place to grab some Irish fare and hang out.  The place isn't big, but they've got some outdoor seating which is what we enjoy.  You order your food at the counter and they'll bring it out to you once it's prepared.  You're looking at less than $15 a person at this stop (not including drinks, of course).

The Daily Poutine is a must.  Who doesn't love gourmet French fries?  We treat this stop as an appetizer and try one of the orders to share.  There is outdoor seating around and the fries themselves will only set you back about ten bucks.  We've had the French Poutine, but look forward to making our way through eventually trying all four options.

Dockside Margaritas makes the very best margarita we've ever had, hands down.  Do yourself a favor and just order one.  Made with Patrón, they run about $12-$15 each.  We grab a spot on the dock to relax while we enjoy every last sip.  They are delicious, as they better be for 15 dollars!

Amorette's Patisserie is the cutest little sophisticated pastry shop we've ever seen.  Stop in here to treat yourself to something sweet.  You can watch chefs decorate all kinds of goodness.  They offer signature pastries, crepes, cakes and more!

Bongos Cuban Cafe is a great option for quick service to try Cuban food.  They also have a full-scale restaurant, but we enjoy grabbing something from the cafe and sitting outside.  This Latin-themed hot spot has some delicious dishes.  We appreciate the snack menu that allows you to get small portions and try several things.

Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar is a unique place for a adventurous drink.  Hangar Bar is a 1940's airplane hangar turned dive bar and it is awesome.  Even if you don't drink, we encourage you stop in and get an appetizer.  The atmosphere is too cool to miss.

Our favorite, must go to restaurant is Morimoto Asia.  This place gives us all the feels.  Aside from it being absolutely stunning, it also has some of the finest Pan-Asian cuisine.

It is considered Chef Morimoto's of Iron Chef America most exciting restaurant yet.  For two people (with drinks) the bill is likely to be over $100, but we think it's worth every penny.

True to Jessica's tradition growing up, we always close out our night with dessert from Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop.

 If you've ever been to Ghirardelli, you know that you get a free sample when you walk in the store.  Is it embarrassing to admit that we visit the store for a sample and then visit again later just for dessert?  We've never been to Disney Springs without stopping at Ghiradelli.

There are lots of great dining options at Disney Springs and the focus on good food has really expanded there over the years.  Whether you quickly grab something to go, sit down for a casual burger and fries or plan a lovely night out at one of the fancier restaurants, this place has something for everyone.

With so many wonderful options, we encourage you to break out of your norm and try something new.  There are several casual and quick stops to try smaller bites of food from some of the more elaborate restaurants.  It's a great way to try some of the higher quality food at lower prices.

Additional Fin(er) Dining Recommendations:
Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' - farm to fork cuisine featuring Florida's fresh flavors
The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck - trademark fusion of Asian and California cuisine
Frontera Cocina - authentic Mexican dishes from Chef Rick Bayless
Paddlefish - fresh seafood and savory steaks served on an anchored paddleboat
Paradiso 37 - culinary tour of North, Central and South America
Portobello Country Italian Trattoria - providing the purest flavors of Italy
STK Orlando - chic and ultra modern steakhouse with in-house DJ

Additional Casual Dining Recommendations:
Blaze Fast Fire'd Pizza - modern day pizza joint with over 40 toppings and sauces
D-Luxe Burger - serves something for every burger aficionado
Planet Hollywood Observatory - live entertainment with innovative cuisine
The Polite Pig - sharing a spin on modern barbecue
Raglan Road - authentic Irish pub with live entertainment
Rainforest Cafe - American favorites and super kid friendly
T-REX - similar to Rainforest Cafe, but set in a prehistoric world

Additional Quick Service Recommendations:
B.B. Wolf's Sausage Co. - gourmet kiosk serving up artisan sausages
Disney Food Trucks - gourmet street cuisine in Exposition Park
Earl of Sandwich - offers a number of hot and cold gourmet sandwiches
The Express at Wolfgang Puck Cafe - alternative to on the go versus the dining room
House of Blues Smokehouse -  BBQ classics outside House of Blues Restaurant
Morimoto Asia Street Food - simple menu that allows you to try Morimoto staples
YeSake - globally inspired kiosk featuring bowls and wraps

Additional Entertainment Recommendations:
AMC Movies - full scale theater with dine-in option
Cirque de Soleil - final shows will take place December 31, 2017
Splitsville Luxury Lanes - upscale spin on classic bowling

 Another great thing about Disney Springs is that it continues to grow.  There is always a new, one-of-a-kind place opening.  We are especially looking forward to Wine Bar George coming late 2017.

Disney Springs has so, so much to offer.
No matter your age, it's a place to go and have lots of fun.
We hope that you enjoy it as much as we do!
Park in the lime garage if you can, it offers the best entrance.

It gets pretty crowded at night so the earlier you go, the better.

Get a reservation at a restaurant if you're planning to go late.

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