Exploring Downtown…Disney Style

Downtown Disney, although not officially a Disney Theme Park, is a great area to shop, eat, and be entertained! Home to the largest Disney store on Earth, Downtown Disney is a great place to take the kids during the day and to have a blast with the adults at night!


  • Paradiso 37, Taste of the Americas, true to its name, offers a large variety of foods from North, Central, and South America. The bright seasoning and creative presentation make this restaurant pop! From corn dogs to enchiladas, everyone can find something they like! Try to make a reservation as this restaurant can be busy.
  • Planet Hollywood is shaped like a large model of the Earth and is filled with Hollywood memorabilia. The menu offers traditional American food, like burgers and New York Strip Steak. The planetarium-like ceiling creates a great ambiance to this classic American restaurant. Be sure to either make a reservation or be prepared for a wait because, depending on the time of day, this restaurant can be packed!
  • Rainforest Café creates a rainforest inside of a restaurant, complete with animals, plants, and realistic sounds. Sometimes a storm hits, and the lights will flash, simulating lightning, and you will hear thunder! This is a great place to bring kids, both because of the fun environment and the child-friendly food. The menu includes burgers, sandwiches, seafood, pasta, pizza, and salad. An additional Rainforest Café restaurant is located in Animal Kingdom.
  • Disney’s Candy Cauldron is one of my favorite places in Downtown Disney, second only to the World of Disney. In this fun shop, you can fill out a form to create your own candy treat! You choose from a candy apple, Mickey-shaped crispy rice treat, or marshmallow stick. Then, you get to pick the dip (milk, white, or dark chocolate), toppings (coconut, almonds, Reese’s, sprinkles, etc.), and drizzle (milk, white, or dark chocolate). The employees are very friendly and will make your order ASAP! There are also pre-made treats to buy in the store. I always get a caramel apple to take home with me…it’s delicious!



  • World of Disney is the largest Disney store in the world! My favorite part of this store is the princess area where there are different sections for each princess, featuring costumes, wigs, tiaras, toys, and other products specific to that princess. There is also a jewelry section with a large selection of jewelry for every price point! I bought a silver Tinkerbell necklace there in the summer of 2011 and haven’t taken it off since! Other sections include men’s and women’s clothing, trading pins, collectibles, and souvenirs. This store is also a great place to take pictures! Outside of the entrance are two life-sized statues of Cinderella and Aurora. Your little princess will love to pose with them!


  • Lego Imagination Center is an amazing store including a large selection of Lego merchandise along with a large Lego play area. The Lego sculptures surround the building are breathtaking! Make sure to get a pictures along side the Lego versions of Snow White, the Lochness Monster, and the dragon-form of Malificent!


  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, located in the World of Disney store, is a salon where girls (ages 3 -12) can be transformed into their favorite princess. They can get their hair, nails, and makeup done and be dressed head to toe in the outfit that their favorite character wears! I wish this had been around when I was a child…I would have loved it! For boys, there is a Knight Package, which includes hairstyling and a sword ($14.95). The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is also located inside Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom. (For more dress-up experiences, see The Pirates League in the Magic Kingdom.)

Coach Package (hair and makeup): $49.95

Crown Package (hair, makeup, and nails): $54.95

Castle Package (hair, makeup, nails, full costume, and pictures): $189.95

  • Disney’s Design-a-Tee is a wonderful store that allows you to create your own t-shirt to remember your trip! You choose the color, design, and text on the shirt and it will be made to your exact specifications! If you plan on doing this, make sure you visit Downtown Disney before your last day. When it is busy, it often takes hours for your shirts to be made. I like to get them sent to my hotel room so I don’t have to worry about waiting.


  • Bongos Cuban Café, created by Gloria Estefan, recreates a 1950’s Havana Nightclub! This is a great place for the adults to unwind after a busy day at the parks. This restaurant offers delicious traditional Cuban Cuisine, including delicacies such as paella and flan, and fun cocktails! Make sure to make a reservation as this place fills up fast!
  • House of Blues has both delicious food and amazing entertainment! This live music club offers up traditional Cajun and Southern food, including jambalaya, burgers, pizza, and steaks. On Sundays, there is a brunch buffet while amazing gospel groups serenade you. Any day of the week you can find great up-and-coming performers on the stage playing music in a variety of styles. Don’t miss out!


  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba is a show from the famous theater troupe, exclusive to Walt Disney World! This avant-garde circus spectacular includes amazing acrobats from across the globe. As ‘La Nouba’ means ‘to party’ the performances are fun, bright, and energetic! This is a great way to introduce your children to the arts!
  • DisneyQuest is a Disney interactive gaming center for video-game lovers. Many of the interactive, 3-D games are replicas of actual rides in the Disney Parks! All five floors are filled with fun, amazing technology for you and your children to enjoy. Admissions price is $43.
  • Characters in Flight is a large hot air balloon, adorned with images of your favorite characters, in which you can oversee all of Disney World from 400 feet in the air. While it is pricy (Adults: $18, Children: $12) the view is worth it!

What are some of your favorite attractions in Downtown Disney? Have a magical day! ❤ Jessica