During the initial planning of Walt Disney World Resorts, the thought was that there would be permanent residences where people would live, work ,and play. With that in mind, the designers knew that they needed to include a place for the residents to eat and shop. Thus, La Buena Vista Shopping Village was born. As the designers realized that the residential aspect of Disney World was not to be, the space was renamed Disney Village – or officially, the Walt Disney World Village.
Since that time, this shopping and dining hub in Walt Disney World Resorts has undergone additional name changes and is now called Disney Springs. Here, guests to the resort can shop, dine, and play. There are fun attractions, exciting shows, and fine dining.
Below is a brief description of some of the dining options you will find in the former Disney Village.
Enjoy Cuban favorites in a setting that is modeled after a mid-20th century nightclub. You might wonder if you will see Ricci Ricardo from I Love Lucy! You will be as impressed with the décor and the atmosphere as you will be by the fantastic food. This is just one of several eateries that offer regional fare in the downtown Disney area.
Fulton’s Crab House
Fulton’s Crab House should be on the “must try” list of every visitor to Disney World Resort that appreciates great seafood. Fresh fish, lobster, crab and more is flown in fresh every single day. The fabulous chefs prepare dishes that you will not soon forget. Don’t worry if there are people in your group that do not enjoy seafood. There are plenty of options for them as well! This landmark restaurant is easy to spot – just look for the huge white paddlewheel ship.
House Of Blues Restaurant
No matter when you visit the House of Blues Restaurant, you will be able to watch live musicians performing. Since this is Disney World, you can be assured that every performer will be talented and passionate. Music lovers are sure to walk away satisfied.
Italian food served beside a view of a gorgeous lake make this a wonderful choice for a sit-down dinner. The hardest part about a visit to Portobello will be choosing what to eat. The menu offers dozens of tempting examples of ethnic and elegant fare. Even if you don’t come for a full meal, consider stopping by for dessert. Chocolate ravioli and white coconut custard are just two of the many mouthwatering choices.
Wolfgang Puck Café
Wolfgang Puck is one of the most well-known personalities in culinary circles. He earned his celebrity chef designation for good reason. At the Wolfgang Puck Café, you can sample some of this culinary genius’s creations. The Dining Room, located above the Café, is a more formal setting for sampling some of Puck’s most famous dishes.
The kids will thoroughly enjoy a visit to T-Rex. This unique dining experience seats guests in the middle of animatronic Dinosaurs. While you eat, you can learn about a variety of extinct creatures. There is even a play area where young diners can dig for fossils.
The Rainforest Cafe is another fun choice when dining out with the whole family. The food is great, but the kids may remember the giant aquarium and animatronic animals more than the food. And everyone gets caught up in the store at the exit that has a great variety of merchandise, from plush toys to great clothes.
Ghiradelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop
If the name of this sweet shop doesn’t draw you in then you need to have your sweet tooth checked! Enjoy old fashioned confections in a setting that will make you feel as though you have stepped back in time. Ghiradelli is an San Francisco favorite offers some of the best chocolates and ice cream anywhere.
Grab a pretzel or a cup of ice cream. Wetzel’s Pretzels is the place for a perfect little afternoon pick-me-up.
There are also quick Service options such as Earl of Sandwich and Forty Thirst Street.
Disney Quest Interactive Theme Park
It never rains in Disney World, right? WRONG! Once in a while even Disney magic isn’t enough to keep old man rain at bay. On such a day, Disney Quest Interactive Theme Park is a perfect place to spend some time in dry, air conditioned comfort. Below are just some of the great attractions you will find at this indoor venue.
Replay Zone – Here you will find games from WAAAY back in the 1980’s. Play Pac-Man, Frogger and other classic favorites. Radical fun, dude!
Virtual Jungle Cruise – 3-D video games are so last year. When you play this game, you will virtually cruise down a river where the water from the 4-D effects just might leave you reaching for a towel.
Animation Academy – Did you ever wonder about the process of creating a Disney character? Do you dream of learning how to master the art of animation? Then this is the perfect stop for you. An instructor will teach you the process and then you will have a chance to create your own animation masterpiece. And yes, even if you THINK you can’t draw, you too will be able to draw a very respectable and recognizable Disney character when you follow the step by step directions of the professional instructors.
Alladin’s Magic Carpet Ride – Learn what it feels like to soar through the sky on a magic carpet in this exciting virtual game.
Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba
If you have never been to a Cirque du Soleil performance, than you are sure to be blown away by what you see at Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba. If you have seen other Cirque du Soleil shows, than that will be even more of a reason to come – because you KNOW how amazing it is. With more than 60 performers from all over the world, each show consists of a wide variety of amazing stunts, acrobatics and seemingly impossible feats. The show is beautiful and mesmerizing.
AMC Movie Theater
The 24 screen theater provides a very low-key way to spend an evening after a day full of park hopping. It is also a great place to get out of the heat for a couple of hours while you enjoy first run movies.
Characters in Flight
Have you always wanted to take a ride in a hot air balloon? Characters in Flight gives you the chance to do just that! You won’t be floating freely above the sky – the Disney balloon stays safely secured to the ground. Still, you will float 400 feet above the Disney Springs area for a view that is unlike any other.
Don’t forget that the formerly called Disney Village was originally created to be a shopping area. Today that history lives on in the many shops that line the Disney Springs area.
No matter how you choose to spend your time in the Disney Springs area, your time here is sure to be memorable and you will surely want to come back again and again.