For many parents, the thought of holiday shopping with their kids in tow sounds like a surefire way to put a damper on the spirit of the season. (Just ask my sister – with three little ones ages five and under, an afternoon of solo shopping sounds like her dream come true!) The reality is that it’s not always possible to get away for a few hours, especially during this busy time of year.
My favorite solution? Do your shopping at Disney Springs, and build in time for the kids to have some fun, too! There are countless scenarios, but here’s what I’d suggest:
SHOPPING: Start your day in Town Center, picking up presents for some of the fellow grown-ups on your list. Make sure to visit UNIQLO (where the fashions are on-trend and the looks are affordable) and let your son or daughter spin the famous UNIQLO prize wheel after you check out – kids love it! Next? Stop by nearby UNDER ARMOUR BRAND HOUSE where they’ve recently debuted a new virtual reality experience. For the perfect stocking stuffers, stock up on bath bombs from Basin in the Marketplace; while there, try out one of their latest scrubs for your own mini spa-like service. Then there’s World of Disney, with something to thrill Disney every fan in your life.
TREATS: Looking for an incentive to encourage good behavior? Options abound! I’m currently craving the new Gingerbread cupcake from Sprinkles Cupcakes, but the peppermint milkshake from D-Luxe Burger or a holiday-inspired specialty apple from Candy Cauldron would also do the trick! If frozen treats are more your style, the seasonal flavors from Vivoli il Gelato are a sure bet.
SANTA: Make sure your kids have their wish lists ready to share with Santa – he’s available daily from 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. through Christmas Eve. With the convenient pager system (just check in at the podium when you arrive), your wait time in line is minimal.
EATS: Fuel up with lunch or dinner. Kids go crazy for Rainforest Café or T-REX, both located in the Marketplace. Other favorites include The BOATHOUSE where kids’ meals come in tiny amphicars or Morimoto Asia where special chop sticks let kids practice their culinary etiquette.
HOLIDAY FUN: During this time of year, your visit isn’t complete without a trek through the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail. (Tip: Find out which tree your kids love most, then let them choose an ornament to take home from Disney’s Days of Christmas, where literally thousands of ornaments are available for sale.) Every evening at 6:00 p.m. the nightly tree lighting ceremony kicks off the evening with a festive glow. Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt is not to be missed – it’s a scavenger hunt style adventure designed for families with kids of all ages. Cap off the night with a viewing of “Starbright Holidays | An Intel Collaboration” featuring 300 show drones choreographed in a stunning aerial ballet in the sky, at 7:00 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.
FAMILIAR FAVORITES: For some kids (my oldest niece included!), it’s impossible to visit Disney Springs without a ride on the Marketplace Carousel and Marketplace Train (yes, she does both). She also insists on spending a few minutes at the LEGO Store. Take a few minutes to indulge your kids, and their memories of your “shopping day” at Disney Springs will be nothing but fond!
What do your little ones love most about the holidays at Disney Springs? Share in the comments below; I’d love to know!