Walt Disney World For College Students: Disney Springs Part 2: Shopping and Dining
Disney Springs has too many offerings to compact together into one article, so I split it into two. This time, I will be focusing on shopping and dining at the popular destination.
Like my first article, I will look at shopping and dining options best suited for the college-age crowd, in other words, relatively inexpensive (by Disney standards, though they may be expensive by other standards). I increased my list to 10 in celebration of WDWNT’s Tencennial Celebration – seven, yeah seven, dining options and three shopping destinations.
With that said, let’s see what Disney Springs has to offer.
The Daily Poutine: Located across from Volcom and Levi’s in the Marketplace, this counter-service eatery serves up a delicacy of Canadian culture, poutine, which consists of french fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. In addition to classic poutine, there are three additional varieties: Italian (fries, mozzarella and bolognese sauce), Latin (fried yucca, black beans, pulled pork, and queso fresco), and French (fries, mushroom cream sauce and gruyere cheese). Prices range from $8.49 for the classic, to $9.39 for the Latin and French. The one drawback I’ll mention is that they use steak fries that soak up the gravy and get soggy, but you’ll get the full flavor of the dish regardless. The classic is the way to go, in my opinion, and you can take it on-the-go, which makes The Daily Poutine stand out above other counter-service places.
D-Luxe Burger: One of the more expensive food options on this list is D-Luxe Burger, located in the Town Center, adjacent to the Guest Services building. This Disney-owned and operated eatery serves up some of the best burgers on property, bar none. Along with seven burgers, including veggie and chicken types, D-Luxe Burger also offers an assortment of milkshakes and floats, priced at $7.50. Burgers range from $9.99 for the Classic Cheeseburger and the Veggie Burger, to $12.99 for the Southern Burger. One drawback is that fries are extra, $4.99 for a small order and $6.99 for a large order. The burgers are juicy and cooked to perfection, and the toppings are fresh. All entrees are made-to-order, which just adds to the experience and really makes D-Luxe Burger stand out.
Blaze Pizza: What has become a staple in many college towns, Blaze Pizza has revolutionized the fast-food business with fast-food pizza. Not only do they make their pizzas quick, they are inexpensive, large personal pies that are really good. There is a Blaze Pizza right outside my college campus at University of Maryland, (go Terps!) and I’m always surprised by the size of the pies. At their Disney Springs location, in the Town Center right next to D-Luxe Burger, they offer a plain pie, a build-your-own pizza with unlimited topping, and several pre-designed specialty pizzas. Prices range from $7.25 for the plain pie, to $9.65 for the build-your-own and specialty pies. The pizzas are thin-crust style, but it doesn’t take away from the flavor one bit. In fact, the crust is superior to most Disney counter-service pizza. You won’t be disappointed with your pizza, I guarantee it.
Earl of Sandwich: Located in the Marketplace adjacent to Once Upon A Toy, Earl of Sandwich offers a wide variety of sandwiches, wraps, salads, and soups at reasonable prices. The last time I ate there, I got an entire meal, with a sandwich, drink, and chips, for around $11, which compared to the rest of the Walt Disney World Resort, was an amazing price for a good meal. The sandwiches range from $6.99-$7.99, and the wraps and salads from $5.99-$7.99. Portions are fairly large, and options are endless, catering to a wide variety of guests. The phrase “bang for your buck” could not describe this place any better.
Wolfgang Puck Express: Located in Marketplace connected to and behind the Disney’s Days of Christmas store, Wolfgang Puck Express is a counter-service/table-service hybrid concept that rivals any true table-service restaurant in Disney Springs. You order at a register, the chefs make your food, and waiters serve it to you, as well as helping out with drinks. Wolfgang Puck Express offers everything from sandwiches to pizzas to entrees of all kinds. All plates will cost you around $12-20, but with the service, it’s really worth the price. I suggest ordering the Cavatappi Chicken Alfredo or the Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf, both very good dishes at $16 each. To make this experience even more intimate, there are tables right next to the kitchen, so you can pretend you’re at Victoria & Albert’s.
Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop: What has become a staple in the Marketplace since the late 1990s, Ghirardelli has delighted chocolate and sweet tooth fans alike with their signature creations and unique offerings. Not only do they have a chocolate shop with an assortment of Ghirardelli products, they also have an ice cream parlor, serving floats, milkshakes, sundaes, scoops and cones. A single scoop will cost you $4.75 and a double scoop will cost you $6.55. Waffle cones and toppings are extra. Sundaes range from $10-$14, and shakes & floats range from $6-$9. The ice cream is rich, and so is the chocolate. The dishes are well-prepared, and while the line is long, it’s well worth the wait.
Coca-Cola Store & Rooftop Beverage Bar: Both a store and a dining offering, the Coca-Cola Store, located right near the new Planet Hollywood Observatory in the Town Center, offers an assortment of Coke merchandise and memorabilia. At the top, there is a rooftop bar, offering an assortment of Coke products from around the world. My personal favorite is the international tray, where you can sample 4 oz pours of 16 different international Coke products for $8, including the infamous Beverly drink from Italy, more commonly found at Club Cool in Epcot. The price is worth it, especially if you split the tray between friends and all sample the drinks.
World of Disney: The flagship store of then-Downtown Disney opened in 1996, the first of its kind in the world. At 50,000 sq. ft., it’s also the largest World of Disney store in existence and one of the largest in Disney Springs. World of Disney has the largest assortment of Disney-themed merchandise on property. Clothing, pins, jewelry, plush, toys, hats, footwear, kitchenware, beach accessories, and the list goes on and on. Prices run the gamut depending on what you are looking for, but the World of Disney truly has something for every Disney fan.
Uniqlo: Opened in 2016 with the rest of the Town Center, this Japanese fashion/casual clothing store offers unique options at very reasonable prices. The Disney Springs location, while having an assortment of normal Uniqlo products, also has Disney-branded shirts, most of which are around $15, which is a great deal compared to prices at most Disney shopping locations. While it is one of the newer stores in Disney Springs, it is a must-stop for anyone who is looking for great deals on high-quality clothing.
Marketplace Co-Op: This store is not one store, but a collection of retail shops, where design and product concepts are being tested. There are six shops within the Co-Op: Twenty Eight & Main, Cherry Tree Lane, D-Tech on Demand, Disney Centerpiece, Disney TAG, and the WonderGround Gallery. From luggage accessories, to tech gear, to high fashion, the Marketplace Co-Op caters to all facets of the Disney traveler. I’m impartial to Twenty Eight & Main, which celebrates the past history of the Disney parks with an assortment of high-end shirts, hoodies, mugs, and even socks. One thing is for sure, you will find something interesting at the Co-Op.
Unpoming in part three of this series, we’ll continue to explore what there is to do outside the parks, looking next time at the Epcot Resort Area, specifically focusing on The Boardwalk.