What Is Downtown Disney?

By Kristen K.

Characters in Flight Over Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney Area is Walt Disney World’s premier shopping, dining, and entertainment complex located outside of the DisneyParks.  Located on the shores of Village Lake across from the Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, this expansive area is a popular destination for Disney fans.  Many return travelers make it either the first or last stop of their Walt Disney World vacation.

There’s so much to see and do you can easily spend a day wandering through this complex of fun activities for every age  both day and night!  If you can only stop in one area to do your vacation shopping, be sure to stop here.

 

Dining:

  • Bongos Cuban Cafe – Created by music superstar Gloria Estefan, this colorful restaurant—a re-creation of a lively 1950s Havana nightclub.
  • Cap’n Jack’s Restaurant – Dine on chef’s specialties of seafood and American cuisine in a casual waterfront setting with a panoramic view of Buena Vista Lagoon.
  • Cookes of Dublin – Stop in for classic fish ‘n’ chips, tasty pies and more when you’re on the go.
  • Earl of Sandwich – We offer 13 hot sandwiches, fresh tossed salads and wraps, fresh-baked goods and desserts, soups and breakfast.
  • Fourty Thirst Street – Perk up with freshly-brewed coffee and coffee products by Joffrey’s Coffee.
  • Fresh A-Peel – A back-to-basics approach to serving family favorites.
  • Fulton’s Crab House – Set in a riverboat replica docked on the waterfront, this restaurant features more than 50 fresh seafood selections—flown in daily, as well as non-seafood specialties.
  • Ghirardelli Ice Cream  & Chocolate Shop – Delight in decadent chocolate and world-famous sundaes topped with fresh, homemade hot fudge.
  • House of Blues – The best regional and national musicians perform day and night while delicious Southern cuisine is served at this live music club.
  • Paradiso 37 – North, Central and South American cuisine are represented at this waterfront restaurant that features an extensive tequila bar and nightly entertainment.
  • Planet Hollywood – Satisfy cravings for favorite American foods at this star-themed restaurant decorated with movie memorabilia and props from Hollywood’s hottest films and TV shows.
  • Pollo Campero – This quick-service restaurant is famous for freshly prepared Latin chicken.
  • Portobello – At this waterfront restaurant, select from the award-winning wine list to pair with the authentic flavors of Italy found in signature pizzas and pasta dishes.
  • Raglan Road Irish Pub – Traditional pub fare is served in a spirited atmosphere where there’s beer on tap and live bands add to the nightly entertainment.
  • Rainforest Cafe – This jungle-themed restaurant, with simulated weather patterns and animated animals.
  • T-REX A Prehistoric Family Adventure – This dinosaur-themed family eatery serves meals amid life-size animated prehistoric creatures, educational displays and merchandise.
  • Wetzels Pretzels – Ice cream, lemonade and 7 varieties of big, hand-rolled and freshly baked pretzels are available.
  • Wolfgang Puck – Three restaurants from one legendary chef.  This location offers an express counter, cafe, and formal dining room.

Shopping: 

  • Arribas Brothers – Artisan Crystal and Glassware.
  • Basin – All-natural bath and skin care products.
  • Disney’s Days of Christmas – Christmas collectibles with a Disney flair.
  • Disney’s Design-a-Tee – Customized T-shirts.
  • Disney’s Pin Traders – The premier location for pin trading at WDW.
  • Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories – Scrapbook supplies, stationery and postcards.
  • LEGO Imagination Center – A show center and retail store for famous LEGO bricks and toys.
  • Mickey’s Pantry – Fun for the chef in your family or really anyone who likes food!
  • Once Upon a Toy – 16,000 square feet of fun new toys, games and collectibles.
  • Pooh Corner -  Winnie the Pooh and friends themed merchandise.
  • Team Mickey’s Athletic Club – Character apparel with Mickey and friends to suit any fan of any sport.
  • Rawlings Making The Game – Rawlings Making the Game is a unique shop where you find custom, handmade baseball bats, authentic MLB baseballs and helmets, and gloves!
  • The Art of Disney – Disney animation cells, fine art and collectibles.
  • TrenD – Hip apparel for women with a fashion sense and a love of subtle Disney touches.
  • World of Disney Store – This 51,000-square-foot retail space is the biggest Disney shopping destination on Earth. With 12 rooms of themed merchandise and it’s very own Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for princess make-overs.
  • Hoypoloi – An eclectic art gallery
  • Planet Hollywood on Location – Planet Hollywood Orlando Gear.
  • House of Blues Company Store – Through its spirit of diversity, House of Blues blends live music, great food and great shopping.
  • T-Rex Shop – This Dino-Store features a unique selection of apparel, educational toys and other prehistoric merchandise as well as Build-A-Dino™ by Build-A-Bear Workshop®, the only store where you can make your own dino friend.
  • Pop Gallery – Original, artist-signed pieces and upscale gift items.
  • Sosa Family Cigars – Premium cigar store features the art of hand-rolling cigars.
  • Something Silver – From contemporary trends to timeless classics, Something Silver® features a wide variety of jewelry to suit most every style and budget.
  • Sunglass Icon – Designer sunglasses and eyewear.
  • Orlando Harley-Davidson Store – Official Harley-Davidson apparel, from T-shirts to leather jackets, plus an array of gifts and collectibles from miniature motorcycles to products for pets
  • Curl – by Surf King Sammy Duval, the premier surf shop on the East Coast.
  • littlemissmatched – Mix up your wardrobe with essentials and accessories bursting with color and character.
  • Apricot Lane Boutique – Mix up your wardrobe with essentials and accessories bursting with color and character.

Attractions:   Sure there’s all the shopping and dining you could dream of here, but there’s also a ton of fun to be had!

  • Cirque du Soleil
  • DisneyQuest Interactive Theme Park
  • AMC Downtown Disney 24
  • House of Blues Music Venue
  • Characters in Flight Hot Air Balloon
  • Boat Rentals
  • Coming in late 2012  Splitsville Bowling Alley

Festivals:  Several times a year the Downtown Disney Area plays host to great community festivals.

  • Festival of the Masters Art & Jazz Fair
  • Walgreens International Dragon Boat Festival
  • Festival of the Seasons Winter Holiday Hotspot
  • DisneyQuest New Years Eve Party
  • Disney’s Magic Music Days

When to Go: Operating hours for the common areas at Downtown Disney Marketplace are 8:00 am – 1:00 am. Operating hours for the common areas at Downtown West Side are 8:00 am – 2:00 am.  These times includes all Downtown Disney promenades, walkways, rest rooms and green spaces.  Store hours vary seasonally, but in general you will find the shops open between 9:30 a.m to 11:00 p.m.

How to Get There:  Guests staying on property at a Walt Disney World Resort can take  the “Downtown Disney” bus from their resort’s bus stop.  Buses leave approximately every 20 minutes.  Guests staying at staying at Disney’s Port Orleans, Disney’s Saratoga Springs and Disney’s Old Key West Resorts may also get to Downtown Disney by taking the ferryboat.

For Guests who choose to drive, complimentary self-parking is also available. The street address is:
1780 E. Buena Vista Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

 

If you’re interested in any of these great things to see and do at Downtown Disney, be sure to schedule some time in your touring plan to stop by and check them out!  As with all things Disney, times as well as shopping & dining options are subject to change.

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