While many Disney World aficionados are still slipping the old “Downtown Disney” name, it’s all the same to me! Downtown Disney was never part of our Disney experiences in the past. I recall visiting once with a large group many years ago that must’ve been our first stop during Grad Night, but otherwise have no memories of Disney Springs’ origins or original names. Of course, I’m still calling Hollywood Studios “MGM” but that’s another story!
Our mission on this first Disney Springs visit was to eat some great food and complete most of our shopping for the trip so that we could steer clear of gift shops in the parks. We admired the Lego sculptures at the Lego Store and Jasper made his first purchase of the day with a mini X-wing set. I get a Christmas tree ornament for every Disney trip, so we stopped in Disney’s Days of Christmas for the perfect ornament (a dated Chip and Dale this time after so many Mickeys). The boys bought a few small Star Wars models from Once Upon A Toy, we moseyed through the hectic World of Disney, and ended up browsing, but not buying, at what would be our favorite store – the Marketplace Co-op.
After our large breakfast, we had skipped past lunchtime and aimed for a late lunch/early dinner. Linner? Dunch? In any case, the timing worked perfectly to eat a meal at an odd time on a Sunday afternoon to avoid crowds. We stopped in Earl of Sandwich at 3:30 and I had my sights squarely set on the famous Holiday Turkey Sandwich.
If ever a food recommendation lived up to the hype, the Holiday Turkey Sandwich is it! It’s no exaggeration to say this is the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten – turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy on toasted bread. It. Is. Perfection! Jeff also gave a high rating for his tuna melt while the boys enjoyed grilled cheese. Not only was the food great, but Earl is an efficiently run machine! We were highly impressed by the speed that the line moved and service during the order pick-up process. With one visit, I think it’s safe to say we’ve added another must-do restaurant to our annual Disney itinerary!
Back to shopping, Jasper’s shopping goal on the trip was a plush Marie with a four-foot-long tail. I had seen this Marie several months early during the 4 Parks 1 Day trip and my little Aristocats fan declared he must have her. We expected to buy her in France at EPCOT but saw a young girl walking around Disney Springs with this Marie and asked where she found it. That inquiry led us to Marketplace Fun Finds and we left the store with Marie and a very happy boy!
Next, we completed our food goals. Still full from “linner,” we stopped in Ghiradelli long enough to get our free caramel chocolate squares and ordered cupcakes for the boys from the Sprinkles ATM to eat later in the room. Back around beside World of Disney, we stopped in Amorette’s Patisserie for Mom and Dad. I immediately zeroed in on the Mickey Mousse while Jeff ordered an eclair. Every treat in the case was gorgeous! While the rest of Disney Springs was “been there, done that,” I’m pretty sure that Earl and Amorette’s will keep us coming back every year!
Heading back to the bus terminal, the backpack that was becoming increasingly uncomfortable throughout the day was begging for an upgrade so I couldn’t resist walking into Vera Bradley. I spied the Mickey and Minnie Medallion print earlier in the day at the Marketplace Co-op so I already knew the bag ticked off all my park bag requirements and the print was gorgeous. I love all the hidden Mickeys and the toned down pattern which make it versatile enough to use in Disney parks and also any other occasion. I couldn’t be happier with my first Vera!
We took the bus back to Pop Century and were back in our room by 5:30. Our meal times were off all day, so our Amorette’s and Sprinkles treats counted as dinner. They looked fabulous and all tasted even better! Jasper then got right to work assembling his mini X-wing Lego set and we enjoyed an early evening, resting up for several days ahead as theme park warriors.