Below is another article by my friend Alexia. If you are planning on taking a Disney vacation or just want to dream, contact her for some awesome rates and maybe a few little pixie dust surprises along the way. There are also some current great free Disney dining deals that she can hook you up with! They are ending SOON! P.S – My favorite things to do at Downtown Disney are Rainforest or T-Rex Cafe. We also really love Wolfgang Puck! The LEGO store is absolutely amazing! You can fill a cup of legos for a set price. That’s a ton of fun!
As much as I love the Disney theme parks, sometimes you need a break from them. Downtown Disney is a waterfront property divided into three sections: Downtown Disney Westside, Downtown Disney Marketplace, and Pleasure Island. Parking and admission is free. Here is an overview of the three sections:
Downtown Disney Westside:
Things to do: Disney Quest (an indoor interactive theme park where price varies between $33 to $46 per person), Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba (price varies between $60 to $134 per person), Splitsville Bowling Alley (price varies between $15 to $20 per person), Characters in Flight Hot Air Balloon Ride (price varies between $12 to $18 per person), and AMC Downtown Disney 24 movie theater (price varies between $6 to $13 per person).
Where to shop: Blink by Wet Seal, Candy Cauldron, Cirque du Soleil Boutique, Curl by Sammy Duvall, D Street, Disney Quest Emporium, Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, House of Blues Company Store, Hoypoloi, Pop Gallery, Something Silver, Sosa Family Cigars, and Sunglass Icon by Sunglass Hut
Where to eat:
- Quick Service: Bongo’s Cuban Café Window, FoodQuest and Wolfgang Puck Express – West Side
- Table Service: Bongo’s Cuban Café, Crossroads at House of Blues, Splitsville, Planet Hollywood, and Wolfgang Puck Grand Café (first floor only)
Downtown Disney Marketplace:
Things to do: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (Price varies between $55 to $190 per child. Side note: This location also has a Sofia the First package available for $65 that is currently not available at the Magic Kingdom location), Boat Rentals, and Classic Carousel
Where to shop: Disney’s Days of Christmas, Disney Design-A-Tee, Disney’s Pin Traders, Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop, Goofy’s Candy Company, Lefty’s, LEGO Imagination Center (Side note: Do not miss this LEGO store! The Disney LEGO statues are amazing!), little miss matched, Marketplace Fun Finds, Mickey’s Pantry, Once Upon a Toy Store, Rainforest Cafe Shop, RIDEMAKERZ, Team Mickey Athletic Club, Tren-D, Wonderful World of Memories, World of Disney (the world’s largest Disney store), and World of Disney KIDS
Where to eat:
- Quick Service: Marketplace Snacks, Pollo Campero, Wolfgang Puck Express Marketplace, and Earl of Sandwich
- Table Service: Rainforest Café
Things to do: Several bands perform at multiple locations on Pleasure Island. Guests can now pick up a Times Guide to see which bands are performing and where. You can also take your picture with one of several human statues, located on Pleasure Island at the West End Plaza.
Where to shop: Fuego by Sosa Cigars
Where to eat:
- Quick Service: Cookes of Dublin
- Table Service: Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant, T-Rex Cafe, Portobello, and Paradiso 37 (Fulton’s Crab House is also a table service restaurant; however, it counts as two credits per person)
A few additional notes: Downtown Disney becomes very crowded at night, especially after the parks close. It is best to visit during the day or early evening. Downtown Disney is also in the process of becoming Disney Springs. Disney Springs will expand from 75 to more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment venues, featuring some of the world’s most iconic brands and restaurants. Disney Springs will be divided into three neighborhoods: The Landing, Marketplace and West Side. There will also be a Town Center. The Town Center will offer a sophisticated mix of shopping and dining along with a promenade where guests can relax, refresh and reconnect. The Landing will be a colorful and thriving commercial district with inspired dining and beautiful waterfront views. The Marketplace will continue to be family-friendly and delight guests of all ages by combining new experiences, such as an over-the-water pedestrian causeway, along with classic Disney favorites, including an expanded World of Disney store. The West Side will provide an exuberant atmosphere with lively entertainment, along with a series of new elevated spaces that provide both shade and an overlook to the activity below. Each neighborhood will open in phases and is expected to be completed in 2016. Please keep in mind that certain restaurants, stores, and attractions may be closed due to renovation. I have left out all currently closed restaurants, stores, and attractions from this list; however, renovations are always subject to change.
What are your favorites at Downtown Disney? Are you looking forward to Disney Springs? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Alexia is a Disney Vacation Specialist with Destinations in Florida.