We recently went to Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney) . We haven't visited this shopping, dining and entertainment venue since last summer and we were looking forward to seeing the changes and updates.
My parents are visiting us from out of town. They both have mobility needs and are assigned a disabled parking permit. We parked in the disabled parking lot next to valet parking on the West Side of Disney Springs. Parking is free, disabled spaces are on ground level, clearly marked and were plentiful that day. However, it was a weekday and I'm uncertain how full this disabled parking lot is on the weekends. If you do not need to park in the disabled parking lots, currently you have the option of parking in the Orange Garage for free or valet parking for $20.
Crossing the street from the parking lot we entered Disney Springs between Cirque du Soleil and Disney Quest. In the Disney Quest Emporium we were able to rent two wheelchairs for $12 plus a $100 refundable deposit for each one. Having the wheelchairs enabled my parents to enjoy the sights and experiences in Disney Springs without quickly growing fatigued.
We made our way toward the Marketplace area, observing the construction, new shops, restaurants and entertainment along the way.
Next to the recently opened Boathouse restaurant, we observed guests taking a ride in the new Amphicar & Italian Water Taxi Tours.
There is a new walking bridge connecting the Marketplace area with the section of Disney Springs near the Lego Store. This bridge seems to alleviate the heavy crowds of visitors. We reached the Marketplace area of Disney Springs and had a delicious lunch at our favorite quick-service restaurant, Earl of Sandwich.
After lunch, we shopped in many stores. There are some fun photo ops scattered throughout Disney Springs and we found a mural with the characters from Frozen and took a selfie.
The Marketplace Co-Op was one of my favorite new shops. Disney describes this shopping area as "a testing space for new Disney retail concepts featuring six unique boutiques."
One nice feature the day we visited Disney Springs were the high school bands performing on the Waterside Stage. My son (who loves any type of live performance), husband and father enjoyed the concerts while my mother and I shopped some more.
It's a tradition when my parents visit for us to eat dessert at Ghirardelli's Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. We thoroughly enjoyed our delicious ice cream and delectable sundaes.
Although there are boats available to take guests from Marketplace to The Landing and West Side, we enjoyed our walk back toward our car. We visited more of the shops along the way including Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC, a vegan glueten-free bakery.
We also ventured through the ground level of Splitsville Luxury Lanes and picked up an On-The-Go menu for future reference.
We enjoyed our visit on this beautiful day to Disney Springs. We hope to go back again soon.
Maureen is married and has a son with autism. She and her family visit an Orlando Theme Park nearly every weekend. Maureen created AutismAtTheParks to help vacationers who have a family member with a developmental disability to better navigate and enjoy the theme parks. She is also a contributor to the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Periscope.
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