The multiyear revitalization of Disney Springs has transformed Walt Disney World’s former Downtown Disney into a glimmering outdoor promenade. And since it’s the only Disney-linked spot of its size that doesn’t require admission, a visit here is inevitable. While at its core, Springs is just a sprawling waterfront mall split into four pleasantly themed “neighborhoods,” it doubles as a culinary destination of its own, with a number of lively bars, impressive restaurants, and more than a few offerings from recognizable names. There’s plenty of shopping and entertainment to take in too, but you’re here for the Dole Whip cocktails and chicken biscuits.Read More
The 19 Best Things to Eat at Disney Springs
From José Andrés’s Jaleo and Salt & Straw, to copious spins on the revered Dole Whip, here’s where to eat at Disney’s waterfront entertainment complex
Jaleo by José Andrés
The fifth and largest location of the acclaimed activist chef’s restaurant boasts Spanish eats not at all minimized for a Disney audience. Sangria by the carafe, hand-carved jamon ibérico, and a rotating nightly paella selection balance out more modern takes on traditional dishes — like chicken croquettes served upon a Cinderella glass slipper “pillow.” No time to dine? Stop by Pepe, Andrés’s quick-service restaurant, for grab-and-go bocadillos and sangria.
Ice Cream at Salt & Straw
The 27th location of Portland’s finest frozen export brings arbequina olive oil and cinnamon snickerdoodle to the land of vanilla and chocolate. With meticulously sourced ingredients, incandescent flavors, and a rotating monthly menu of delightfully bizarre scoops, you’ll want to try every pineapple-roasted, black pepper-infused option. (Good thing they allow unlimited samples.)
Slices at Pizza Ponte
If you need a quick yet quality meal while on Disney property, your best option is Pizza Ponte, where the solid Sicilian slices are the size of Mickey Mouse’s head.
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Chicken Fingers at Chicken Guy!
Part restaurant, part meme, this restaurant from Guy Fieri features fried and grilled chicken tenders, sandwiches, and seasoned fries. It’s a hit, whether or not you’re an acolyte of the celeb chef. The only challenge? Deciding which of the nearly two dozen signature sauces you’ll pair with your meal.
S’more at the Ganachery
Watch your campfire classic get assembled to order behind the glass wall of this chocolate emporium, known for its assortment of artisanal squares. The free show is a sweet complement to the s’mores’ gooey vanilla marshmallow, melted chocolate, and sugar-dusted cinnamon graham — all made in house.
Thigh High Chicken Biscuits at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’
Helmed by Florida native and celebrity chef Art Smith, this always-packed Southern restaurant’s ultimate sampler is a trio of crispy chicken thighs served between crumbly cheddar biscuits.
Cookies at Gideon’s Bakehouse
Since Orlando’s best cookie purveyor made the leap to Disney’s main stage, the bakery has retained every ounce of originality. The menu of massive cake slices and inventive cold brews are tempting, but the highlight are nearly half-pound cookies, doughy in the center and positively jammed with chocolate chips, Oreo bits, or other rotating monthly flavors. They cut no corners and refuse to deliver nationwide, making the hefty cookies some of the most in-demand items at Disney World. Skip dessert elsewhere, plan ahead for the lengthy virtual queue, and take note of in-the-know items like hot cookie hour, coffee cake cookie specials, and secret cake slices that require a password shared on social media.
Build-Your-Own Pizza at Blaze Pizza
Blaze may be a nationwide fast-food chain, but this is Disney World, and after a week of paying too much for theme-park junk, you’ll cherish a fully customizable, made-to-order pie for just over $10.
Firecracker Shrimp at the Boathouse
The Boathouse’s massive waterfront eatery prides itself on pricey vacation fare like seafood towers and steaks, but this plate of chile-topped, Sriracha mayo-coated fried shrimp is quickly becoming one of the all-time great Disney indulgences.
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Spicy Kimchi Ramen at Morimoto Asia Street Food
Considering it’s aimed at the mouse-house audience, the savory, salty bowl of freshly boiled noodles topped with strips of bulgogi, kimchi, and a soy egg is surprisingly great. Find it alongside other Japanese delights at the outdoor kiosk attached to Morimoto’s full-service restaurant.
Spare Ribs at Morimoto Asia
Forgo the in-park turkey legs — if you’re dying to eat a hunk of meat off the bone, hold out for this one. Braised in a spicy-sweet hoisin concoction and lightly fried, these tender pork ribs are served in quarter or half racks and are easily Morimoto Asia’s most raved-about dish.
A Scoop at Vivoli il Gelato
This decades-old family-run gelato shop operates two locations — one in Florence and one here. Not only is the creamy gelato ideal for Florida temperatures, where soft serve tends to liquify in the sun, but traditional flavors like almond, Italian coffee cake, and cream custard are a welcomed break from other sugary scoops around town.
Crispy Mac and Cheese Bites at Wine Bar George
These little drops of heaven, stuffed with mascarpone, Havarti, fontina, and pecorino and fried with a spicy jalapeno cracker crust, are confoundingly delicious. Pair them with one of George’s “Outstanding by the Ounce” wines (small tastes of typically pricey pours) and the excellent skirt steak board served family-style.
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Frozen Cocktails at the Basket at Wine Bar George
Florida’s humid weather will undoubtedly leave you wanting a frozen boozy beverage. Disney has plenty, but for one that’s actually good, look no further than Wine Bar George’s takeaway window. They’re known for their frozcato — a mix of Dole Whip, moscato, and vodka — but their strawberry frosé is equally divine. A lime Dole Whip friezling, raspberry freaujolais, and frozcato mimosa round out the chilly indulgences.
Ger’s Bread and Butter Pudding at Raglan Road Irish Pub
The thick, dense bread arrives a bit plain, but once the pourable sides of vanilla creme Anglaise and homemade butterscotch soak in, it’s transformed into a fluffy sugar pile that’s nothing short of heavenly.
Cheeseburger at D-Luxe Burger
From the greasy, crispy-edged patties — a blend of Angus chuck, short rib, and brisket, served medium — to the buttery toasted Parker House bun, it’s simply the best burger you’re likely to find on Disney property. Fork over a few extra bucks for the fresh-cut fries, which grant access to a line-up of dipping sauces.
Seafood at Paddlefish
Aboard this large docked steamboat, you can load up on all kinds of fresh catch chilled, fried, stuffed, or steamed.
Dole Whip at Swirls on the Water
Dubbed the “ultimate Dole Whip destination” at Disney Springs, this kiosk offers flights, rum-topped floats, and other inventive desserts honoring Disney’s most iconic soft-serve swirl.
Tea Time Petit Cake at Amorette's Patisserie
This Disney-owned pastry shop offers frilly treats you wouldn’t expect from a theme-park shopping district, like the sweet lemon jelly, citrus curd, and Italian buttercream layers of this passion fruit fondant-covered green-tea cake. Tip: Allow it to warm up in Orlando’s natural humidifier (aka outside) for a few moments before biting in.