It was getting painful to watch Downtown Disney slowly die on the vine at Walt Disney World. Pleasure Island, the once popular nightclub district had closed in 2008. By 2012, after more closures, the three sections of Downtown Disney felt disconnected and it was suffering badly. Eventually, after weathering economic uncertainty for several years, Disney went ahead with the project and Disney Springs opened to guests in 2015 - a much needed and aesthetically pleasing refurbishment to Downtown Disney. Disney Springs has a connected backstory now and a true “Disney” feel. Major improvements have also been made to parking with new “smart” parking garages (signs notify drivers where to find open spaces) and traffic congestion on Buena Vista Drive has been addressed with dedicated car and bus lanes.
However some of the feedback about Disney Springs is that the stores are, “pricey” or “just like the mall we have back home.” To be fair, tourists generally like to shop while on vacation so it’s not a far-fetched idea to offer a shopping district at Walt Disney World. But you might not know that there's actually a better place to shop while in Orlando if you're looking for great deals.
What Disney Doesn't Want you to Know
While Disney Springs is certainly fun, you'll find a more comprehensive shopping experience just 3 miles away at the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets. This outlet mall has over 100 name brand stores offering big bargains compared to regular retail locations - although much of the merchandise today is made specifically for outlet retailers. But the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets are located just five minutes from Disney Springs and it even has some of the same stores as Disney Springs - here's what they have in common:
- Kate Spade
- Tommy Bahama
- Under Armour
- Vera Bradley
There's also an official Walt Disney World outlet store, Disney's Character Warehouse. The prices are deeply discounted compared to the retail locations on property and it's a true outlet store (overstocks, past-season, etc).
I do think everyone should take a day or perhaps just an evening to explore Disney Springs. Highlights are The Boathouse Orlando restaurant, Morimoto Asia (try the Peking Duck) the World of Disney Store, and even enjoy some of the live music and entertainment. If you're into bowling, try Splitsville Luxury Lanes.
But if you're a shopper and looking for a some deals to take back home, then it's worth a short ride over to the Orlando Vineland Outlet Mall.
Orlando Vineland Outlets Address
Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets Address: 8200 Vineland Ave, Orlando, FL. 32821. Located just off Route 535, about 3 miles from Disney Springs. Taxi fare is an estimated $15-$20 each way from Walt Disney World hotels. Uber, about $10 each way. With traffic, it could take about 10 minutes.
Finding your way around
Additional Orlando Outlet Mall
If you want an even bigger selection of savings at the outlet stores, travel a little further to the Orlando International Premium Outlets. Located about 20 minutes from Walt Disney World on I-4 East, Exit 75A, you’ll find an even larger outlet mall, also offering many of the same stores as Disney Springs mentioned above.
The Story Behind Disney Springs.