I just had a great day touring the new Disney Springs. Here is my take on the top 6 new things you will love.
- The Amphicars–This is definitely the coolest new addition to Disney Springs. To the uninitiated, the Amphicars are amphibious automobiles that were manufactured in Germany from 1961 to 1967. Only about 4,000 of these awesome autos were manufactured with about 3,700 of them going to the United States. It is estimated that 500 are still in
use. Amphicars can travel up to 70 miles an hour on land and about 8 knots (9.2 mph) on water. Incredibly, the Amphicar is the only non-military amphibious vehicle ever put into commercial production on a regular basis. Check out many more fun Amphicar facts on Amphicars.com. Amphicars rides at Disney Springs cost $125 for a 20 to 25 minute captain guided tour for up to two adults and two small children. If you have lunch at the Boathouse between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and you will get $25 off your Amphicar booking. The cars are beautiful and look amazing in the water. Part of the fun of this low speed tour is the incredible amount of attention you will receive before and during your Amphicar ride.
- Parking and Guest Traffic Flow. The old Downtown Disney parking lots are gone. Those lots have been reclaimed for the Disney Springs expansion. Disney Westside has already added the Orange Lot (which covers the old parking lot in front of Planet Hollywood). Ground level parking is still available at Disney Westside in front of Cirque du Soleil®. Ultimately, there will be several parking decks to handle the Disney Springs crowd. Right now Disney Springs parking is a bit haphazard with Disney using the SunTrust bank parking lot (next to the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista) and the lots from the Disney administrative buildings (next to the SunTrust bank building on East Buena Vista Drive) for Disney Springs guests. After parking you head to the newly constructed Las Vegas style crosswalks over East Buena Vista Drive. Those crosswalks are excellent for eliminating traffic congestion; however, the older people in your group should probably use the elevators because there are a large number of stairs. Parking is still free at Disney Springs and Disney Westside.
- The Boathouse. The Boathouse is a fantastic new waterfront dining facility. In addition to being a well regarded high end dining establishment (it won an Open Table™ 2015 Diners’ Choice award), the Boathouse has a beautiful dockside bar area and is the home to the Amphicars and The Venezia (an Italian water taxi cruise). The Boathouse is operated by the same company that operates Gibson’s (a wildly popular steakhouse) in Chicago so I had to give it a try. I sat outside and enjoyed a great view of the Saratoga Springs Resort (see my terrific Saratoga Springs Resort deals article by clicking here) while I enjoyed The Classic Burger ($18) served with a generous helping of fresh cut fries. The burger was excellent (which it had better be at $18) and the servers were friendly and efficient. All in all a very good meal in an outstanding venue.
- The Landing. The Landings is the home of Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar. For all you trivia fans, Jock Lindsey is a fictional freelance pilot and a good friend of Indiana Jones. Jock’s snake is immortalized at the restaurant in the form of a very cool African Queen style boat/bar named “Reggie”. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is a bit more casual than The Boathouse, but the views as you sip your beer is just as sweet. The Landing is also the home of a new boat dock for the Sassagoula Steamboat Company (the little launches that take from place to place in Disney World). From here you can take a boat to the Saratoga Springs Resort, The Old Key West Resort, The Port Orleans Resort, Disney Westside or The MarketPlace.
- Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC. Stop by this new Disney Springs bakery for some absolutely delicious donuts ($3.95),
cupcakes ($4.95), cakes or even a shot of frosting ($1.50). I went for the best deal in the place–the Bakery Bucket ($6.95) which contains a delicious combination of two donuts, two cupcakes and a shot of frosting smooshed up in a 16 oz. clear Solo cup (about a $20 value). Expensive and massively caloric, but worth every calorie.
- Great New Bridge Between Rainforest Café and Fulton’s Crab House. The new bridge is not only beautiful but also really improves traffic patterns in Disney Springs. This new bridge substantially reduces walking time from parts of the Marketplace to Pleasure Island.
Please keep in mind that Disney Springs is still a work in progress and there are many additions coming in the near future. Also remember that parking is free at Disney Springs and Disney Springs offers bus service to pretty much every where in Disney World. So those of you who are religiously opposed to paying for parking (like my cousin Peter), you can park at Disney Springs and bus it to wherever you want to go. It will cost you some time; however, you will beat Disney out of a few bucks for parking.