Samir Mehta | January 13, 2020
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Scott Hardie | January 13, 2020
It's... a little better. But not much. 5-10% better.

One big improvement is The Void, a 20-minute VR attraction. I haven't played the Wreck-It Ralph game to say for sure, but the Star Wars game is fun, and feels especially cool if it's your first VR simulation. It's not for little kids, but anyone else can do it, even plus-plus-plus-sized me. I recommend getting reservations online well in advance to avoid a long line.

I really liked the Cirque du Soleil show that was there for many years (La Nouba) and would have strongly recommended it. Apparently the new show will open around March/April and tickets are available for sale now. That's a good bet too.

Of the still-open restaurants there that I've tried -- Earl of Sandwich, Planet Hollywood, Raglan Road, Rainforest Cafe, T-Rex, Wolfgang Puck -- none were especially good, though Raglan was a bit better than the rest. I'm not counting Blaze Pizza because it's a chain restaurant that I can get near my house any time, but for whatever it's worth, I do like that chain. Honestly, now that I think about it, if you're trying to satisfy a cross-section of family (picky pizza eaters, vegan/vegetarian eaters, kids and adults alike), Blaze might be a good idea. If you haven't been there, it's like Chipotle or Subway, where you move down the line telling the staff what toppings you want, and they bake each pizza in 3-5 minutes. The one near me is loud and sometimes crowded, but the food is decent and it's bound to be way less expensive than the fancier restaurants around there.

But yeah, your impression of Disney Springs matches mine. It's crowded, noisy, tacky, expensive, not particularly good, and not nearly as much fun as frickin' Disney World right next door. I live locally and I still don't go often; I can't imagine flying across the country and spending precious vacation time there. I've been maybe 8-10 times in the almost twenty years that I've lived here, usually with a specific purpose in mind (such as the 5-story video arcade that we once visited at GooCon, which is now gone). That said, some people really love it, often because they like nightlife or shopping which aren't my thing; clearly it's a popular place.

Can you split the group for the day? It sounds like you'd have more fun going to one of the parks while the rest of the party goes to Disney Springs. If getting an extra ticket just for you is too complicated or too controversial, there are other options: Stay back at the hotel pool with the kids. Try some of Disney's four mini-golf courses or two water parks. Ride the monorail/Skyliner/boat circuit around the resorts, many of which have activities on site like video arcades, volleyball courts, jogging trails, personal boat rentals, and so on. There are plenty of good things to do around Disney World that don't require park admission (Spirit of Aloha is one of our very favorites). Or you could even go off-site; WonderWorks is fun.

If I can help further, please just ask. Kelly and I have annual passes to Disney World and go often; we were just there on Saturday building droids. I can offer all kinds of advice. Have a great trip!

Scott Hardie | February 18, 2020
I'll say this for Disney Springs: Its background music as you explore is great. It consists of modern, synthesized, unobtrusive re-imaginings of classic Disney tunes. It's the rare Disney music that I'm happy to play in the background at home.

Samir Mehta | April 14, 2022
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Scott Hardie | April 14, 2022
Ha! Well, I'm glad that you found it better than expected. I have less love for it now that they eliminated the aforementioned Star Wars VR experience. Did your kids get into the Lego store, the toy store, or the candy store?

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