One thing is for sure; Downtown Disney is expanding into the ultimate hangout for people of all ages. With tons of restaurants, shops, dance parties, bars, shows and more, there is no doubt that this should be a must-do on your next trip. Checking out Downtown Disney can be a bit overwhelming due to the plethora of choices you have to explore, and while there are even more restaurants and shops coming soon, there are a few places that should be at the top of your list to definitely experience. This was a really difficult list to put together since I really love so many things about Downtown Disney, but here are 8 of my favorites that you won’t want to miss!
8. T-Rex Café
Talk about taking dining to a whole ‘nother level! The T-Rex Café is unlike any other restaurant you have ever experienced, guaranteed! Immerse yourself back to 65 million years ago into a world full of dinosaurs and wooly mammoths for the ultimate prehistoric experience. No matter where you look, you will be dazzled by the attention to detail to really make guests feel like they are dining in another world. Guests are seated in various areas of the restaurant, one of which includes an enormous ice cave (complete with fossils embedded into the wall) and a forest themed room with actual dinosaur audio-animatronics that come to life every fifteen minutes during the ‘meteor shower’. Next to the prehistoric area, you will find the most unbelievable under the sea experience with dozens of fish tanks that tower over you, filled with a myriad of tropical fish. The bar is located under a giant octopus that actually comes to life right above you. Not only is this a restaurant, but there is a large shop inside, and an area with a large sandbox where the little ones can search for ‘fossils’. The food is out-of-this-world amazing and the experience is unlike any other. Reservations are highly recommended, as this is one of the more popular restaurants on the property. Be sure to check it out on your next trip!
7. Splitsville Luxury Lanes
Creating memories with your family is what Disney is all about, and what better way to do this than to bowl together! Splitsville Luxury Lanes is a two-story bowling alley with a complete restaurant to dine and bowl simultaneously. Have fun bowling with 30 retro lanes with classic live music and unrivaled food choices. Not only can you dine from an impressive menu and bowl, there is also an outdoor patio if you prefer to just grab a bite and enjoy the music. There is also a great happy hour to relax after a long day at the parks. The atmosphere is lively and fun which is perfect for a family night out!
6. Disney Quest
Technology is taking over our society, and at Downtown Disney, that is no exception. Can you imagine a completely virtual theme park? Well, no need to imagine it any further because it actually exists! Disney Quest is a five-story building that offers a complete indoor interactive theme park. Each floor offers unique experiences including virtual worlds, creating your own roller coaster (and then being able to actually ride it), 3-D effects, video games, animation design, and so much more all of which include your favorite Disney characters. One thing I really love is how they incorporated some of the beloved rides of the parks with the virtual ones like Cyber Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, and Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride just to name a few. Another favorite of mine is learning to draw a Disney character by an actual instructor. This is definitely an all day event considering the amount of attractions and experiences. The little ones are sure to have a day full of fun at Disney Quest!
5. La Nouba by Cirque Du Soleil
Jaws drop every night at the stunning show, La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil. This show is located in the iconic white tent on the west side of Downtown Disney. This show stands out amongst all others due to its stunning acrobatic performances, humor, exquisite make-up and costumes, and vibrant colors. You will be immersed in an imaginary world where the phrase “How did they do that?” will repeat over and over again. My favorite part of this show is the little girl group that performs with Chinese yo-yos. It is truly incredible and you won’t find this production anywhere else on the planet. Be sure to reserve your tickets ahead of time since this show tends to fill up quickly. There are also special deals for Florida residents and students every now and then, so be sure to ask if they are available on your next visit.
4. World of Disney
Looking for something in particular for your souvenir? Look no further than the World of Disney, the largest store on the entire Walt Disney World Resort property. Here, you will find everything for every member of your family. The store has seven large rooms all divided to easily access your preference. You will find sections for men, women, and children along with rooms just for jewelry, kitchen and home, theme park memorabilia, and so much more. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is also located inside the store for little princesses to receive their complete makeovers. This is one store you will not want to miss!
3. Characters in Flight by Aerophile
There is nothing like seeing Disney World from way high up in the sky. The Characters in Flight balloon is the worlds largest helium balloon that takes you up 400 feet in the air for approximately 10 minutes above Downtown Disney! This hand painted beauty offers spectacular views of the resorts and parks at a distance and are perfect to ride at nighttime to see the Epcot fireworks. Looking for a little romance? This is one way to feel the romance as you soar high above the property. There have even been proposals here! Next time you head over to Downtown Disney, be sure to catch your ride on the Characters in Flight.
2. Marketplace Co-Op
Downtown Disney recently added the Marketplace Co-Op, a one of a kind marketplace that includes unique shops and products that you wont find anywhere else on the Walt Disney World Property. There are a few separate stores inside the marketplace. Cherry Tree Lane (named after the iconic street in Mary Poppins) is a British influenced fashion store, which offers designer scarves, shoes, bags, and jewelry. You can also find the Dooney & Bourke and Very Bradley Disney line here. There is a lot of sophisticated styles to choose from here for any woman. The Trophy Room offers authentic professional football, baseball, and hockey apparel and memorabilia, and Disney Centerpieces offers all kinds of items to add Disney to your home décor. There are several other stores, but my all time favorite has to be D-Tech, which allows you to create your own phone case using thousands of photos of your favorite Disney characters. You can also personalize your case with your name! The coolest part about this is you receive it in minutes after the machines make them. This is one shopping destination you are not going to want to miss.
1. House of Blues
There is no better way to have fun after hours than to dance the night away at the House of Blues. Live music concerts are held featuring some great talent on a daily basis. Enjoy the sounds of various music styles including rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, hip hop, Latin, reggae, the blues, and much more! You can also dine before the show with some of the most savory meals on Walt Disney World property. There is even a brunch and gospel music on Sundays! Reservations for dinner are recommended since this restaurant gets pretty busy. Tickets for the concerts should also be purchased in advance. For a great night out with friends or your significant other, go strut your stuff on the dance floor at the House of Blues!
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