My love of the Mouse House began as a child but became the “real deal” in 1986 when my family went to Walt Disney World for the first time. I wish I could say that I remember every element of that experience, but my most vibrant memory is of the visor featuring a stuffed Mickey Mouse head that I wore for an hour and then lost at Pecos Bill's. I shed a few tears but magically a Disney employee – or my parents – gave me a replacement visor.
By the way…I no longer have that visor.
Walt Disney World has been a part of my life for a very long time and will always have a special place in my heart. The home I purchased just over a year ago is three miles down the road from the Magic Kingdom. The proximity to Disney provides a lot of opportunities for me to explore in and around the parks. Today I'm going to focus on some of my favorite things (I just sang that to y'all) in Disney Springs.
Disney Springs, in my somewhat Disney-biased opinion, is an entertainment mecca of restaurants, shops, and experiences for Disney fans of all ages. It's a place that I go to on my own, on dates with Jared and out with friends. I would call myself the “Mayor of Disney Springs,” but that would make me sound like Scrooge McDuck or his egotistical equivalent.
Without further ado…here we go…
Drinks and Dining
I like to march my (not so) little Disney-loving behind out to the bar located on the back dock of the restaurant. It's a picturesque place to sip on the libation of your choice, eat some seafood and watch the amphicars and other boats drift by,
The live edge of the bar. The fried chicken and biscuit sliders. The decor. All of these elements make the faux Southern girl in me swoon (I have the chicken “vapors”). Bonus item – when I tweeted Chef Art Smith about a photo in the restaurant indicating a “job at the Colonel,” he confirmed that he worked for KFC in his early years.
Jared and I recently ventured into The Edison. It's “steampunky” with a side of Disneyfied “speakeasy” (everyone's invited…with a reservation). The cocktails are stellar, and the appetizer menu game is strong. Like most venues at Disney Springs, it is pricey, but the food, service, and decor are worth the extra pennies….or dollars.
The Ganachery is a cozy chocolate shop that usually has quite the line (maybe it should have a Fast Pass system?) The chocolates are worth the wait, but if the s'mores are available, please get one. You get to watch the process of your s'more being made (they use a blowtorch!) They are a delectable layered dessert made of handmade graham crackers, melty chocolate, golden-toasted marshmallow and finished with a confectioner's sugar Mickey. Want. One. Now.
A cupcake shop with an ATM. An ATM that takes your money and gives you…cupcakes! Although the cupcakes aren't the best I've ever had, the experience of the ATM is pinkalicious fun and oh so tasty. I'd do it again (and I have!)
I've been going to this movie theater for over twenty years! It has evolved over time to include dine-in service in select theaters and a couple MacGuffins Bars. Recently they added a Dolby Cinema theater complete with reclined seating. You feel all of the action during the movie within and around your seat. It was the BEST venue to see Titanic twenty years later. “I'll never let you go, Jack…”
Total bonus…a ticket purchased before noon is just under $6!
The Aerophile has been around for close to a decade and I still haven't been up in it to check out the view of Disney Springs from the air. The experience is typically available on Groupon so you can check it out at a discounted price. The attraction will shut down due to weather (safety first, people!) I am hoping to exchange my Groupon in soon to see the area with the eyes of a bird.
I'm an Anthro-girl through and through. The Anthropologie shop at Disney Springs is a two-level beauty. It's a “must stop” for me to find home decor odds and ends. And it even has a “sale” section (how many sale sections have YOU seen at Disney?)
There are so many shops in the Downtown Disney area devoted to the Mouse and all of his friends. The options are nearly limitless – from clothing to jewelry to accessories and home goods. It's a Mouse House lover's paradise. Disney Style just opened its doors in May of 2018. I've literally only window shopped it. My wallet asked me to wait until next month to check it out. I try to abide the “Wallet Dude.”
My Disney Springs Future
Like Alice going down an internet rabbit hole, I stumbled upon a super cool activity available at Amorette's Patisserie – a cake decorating demonstration. The shop makes stunning Disney cakes and offers a class five days a week for guests to learn tips and tools of the trade while getting hands-on experience decorating their own Mickey Mouse cake.
The class size is incredibly small, so getting a reservation requires a bit of tenacity and legalized Disney stalking. The price is also a bit high at $149 plus tax for two people. My reservation has been made for November (the first available date I could get!) I will be sharing my experience with all of you months and months and months…and months from now.
Do you guys love Disney as much as I do? What are your favorite Disney experiences? I'm always on the lookout for new ones.
Do you ever wonder why Mickey has three fingers and a thumb? Let me know in the comments.
Work Hard. Play Hard. Drink Chard.
P.S. See you real soon…with another blog post!