Formerly known as Downtown Disney, the no-ticket-required 5th “theme park” at Disney World in Orlando has recently been re-imagined as a shopping and dining destination, known as Disney Springs. In the spot where once stood simply an expanse of concrete parking is now Town Center, one of three areas filled with retail, restaurants, and unique attractions like the vintage amphicar. We recently went on a marathon shopping spree – not to mention a lot of walking (22k steps in 6 hours) to check out all the latest offerings. Perennial popular brands at Disney World, including Pandora, Alex & Ani, Tommy Bahama, Kate Spade, Vera Bradley and Lilly Pulitzer are all represented with their own stores, and several new faces have made an appearance. Here are the highlights:
Crown of Light diamonds give this sparkling store, with locations scattered throughout cruise ports in the Caribbean and South America, additional luster. Cut with a domed surface and 90 facets, they’re eye-catching and certified to be conflict-free. The first non-cruise-related location of this elite luxury watch retailer also, of course, carries designer watches (including Hublot, Tag Heuer, Bulgari and Montblanc) in addition to Safi Kilima Tanzanite.
2. The Ganachery in Disney Springs
Chocolatiers are on hand daily in a visible kitchen, blending rich ganache with spices. Chocolate bars and truffles are presented in vintage apothecary-inspired packaging.
3. Set the Bar
This tiny kiosk in the former Pleasure Island section (now called “The Landing,” is easy to overlook; but if you did, you’d miss out on a unique selection of barware and cocktail mixers. They carry copper mugs, whiskey stones, carved flasks, and anything else you’d need to liven up 4 pm.
4. Vince Camuto
When you hear about the first Vince Camuto location in central Florida, you might immediately think, “shoes!” This light-filled corner store in Town Center has much more to offer, including fragrances, handbags, clothing, sunglasses, watches, and jewelry. You’ve done so much walking in Disney Springs–relax on one of their ottomans and let the attentive staff take care of you.
The bath and personal care store has been around a bit longer than others on this list, but it’s worth a stop in the adjacent Marketplace. Pick and choose from a varied selection of oversized, scented bath bombs, bath salts, and handmade decorator soaps.
6. UNO de 50
Always keep your eye out for a unique piece that will set your look apart? This intimate jewelry store, which originated in Madrid, carries handcrafted silver and gold jewelry from a variety of artisans. No two are exactly alike–and the selection changes seasonally.
This cozy kiosk is so authentic, the honeybees were buzzing around when I visited. No worries, I was told by the store owner, who’s also a beekeeper: they’re too busy to bother with humans. Gourmet edibles and luxurious skin care products are produced from honey blended with ingredients like chocolate, lavender and cinnamon.
A flashy grand opening was attended by Pretty Little Liars star Troian Bellisario, with lines circling the building. Now that the dust has settled, the intimate store carries premium skincare products certified organic ingredients and essential oils.
You may not have heard about this Florida-based lifestyle clothing store yet (this is only its second location), but you’ll soon see its swimwear popping up in retail outlets near beachy enclaves. The eco-friendly, made-in-America beach lifestyle clothing is available for men, women and children.
There are no shortage of snack spots for refueling, including kiosks devoted to poutine and even sake. Sprinkles stands out in part because of its cupcake-and-cookie ATM machine, a novelty worth working up an appetite for. Unique cupcake flavors like “green tea” and ‘s’mores” compete for your adoration with ice cream, brownies and malts.
Learn more about the shops of Disney Springs https://www.disneysprings.com/shops/.