Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney is a huge entertainment complex on the grounds of Walt Disney World. It is kind of like a huge outdoor mall only better! Not only are there tons of shops to purchase anything and everything Disney, there is also a movie theater, every kind of restaurant imaginable, a live show theater (Cirque Du Soleil) and Disney Quest which is a virtual world gaming arena. Since there are hundreds of different stores and such, I will only highlight some of my favorites.

This was a few years ago outside the Christmas Store
Don't you just love Christmas trees and shorts???

I love to kick off any trip to Downtown Disney with a stop at the Christmas Store. It is one of the first stores you come to after the Disney resort buses drop you off. It is always decorated for Christmas (duh!) and it gets me in the mood for the holidays, even if it is January and I am still in Christmas Recovery Mode. The ornaments are beautiful and you can have engraving and embroidery done to personalize your stuff.

My favorite store is World of Disney. Let me tell you, it's HUGE! You can find ANYTHING here. Clothes? Oh yes. Kitchen items? You betcha. Fine jewelry? But of course! Need to get a stuffed Mickey or a princess costume? This is the place. Need to look like a princess? The Bibbiddi Bobbiddi Boutique can transform you into the princess of your choice. It is all here! I swear I could wander for days in this place. Warning: only take as much money as you can afford to spend because this store makes it REAL easy to splurge.too.much! Not that I would know ANYTHING about that....

Have you noticed the trend our young ladies are sporting on their feet? You know, the whole miss matched socks? Well, there is a store here called Little MissMatched and this is where they get them. It is quite the store and quite the idea. They sell socks in a pack of 3 and they are not identical. They coordinate but are NOT the same.  My favorite socks are the flip flop socks. During the winter, I wear my flip flops in the house. My feet get cold but I am not a fan of shoes so I wear socks with my flip flops. (I am so not a fashionista!) These socks have a separate compartment for your big toe so you don't have to look stupid creasing your socks with your flip flops. As if wearing socks with flip flops isn't stupid enough! Okay, I don't wear them in public....usually.

Lego Land. Actually I have no idea what the name of this store is but we have always called it lego land so that is what it shall be. Do you like legos? Who doesn't?! I LOVE to play with them. This store has sets upon sets upon sets of legos to buy. Don't feel like spending money on them? Right outside the store is a play area that has bins full of legos for you to create your masterpieces with. My germ-a-phobia prevents me from playing with the contaminated little things but, if your packing some germ-x (and who isn't these days) I say live a little and build that castle.

If my favorite store is World of Disney then my next favorite is Basin. This is the store that my daughter and I plan to spend most of our spending money at. My husband and son usually get a snack and sit outside so we are free to explore at a nice leisurely pace (or until the snack runs out). This is the place for bath bombs, shampoo bars, salt/sugar scrubs, facial products (all natural), bath salts and the cutest bars of soaps. We always buy some bath bombs to use in the jacuzzi tub at the resort. They smell soooooo good and turn your bath water funky colors. My favorite is the Patchouli scented one. This store is so much fun to be a girl in!


Once you have shopped till you dropped you need to refuel and Downtown Disney has some really great restaurants. You can get anything from quick sandwiches to gourmet meals. My kids 2 favorite places to eat are T-Rex and Rainforest Cafe. Both restaurants are themed very cleverly. Rainforest Cafe is filled with elephants, monkeys, birds, gorillas and such and every 20 minutes they have a "thunderstorm". The lights dim, the rain starts and the thunder roars. Very cool. T-Rex has themed rooms, our favorite being the Ice Age room. The walls are covered in "ice" and the lighting changes every few minutes. Just outside the dining room is a Build-A-Dino store just in case you have extra money burning a hole in your pocket.  The food at both of these restaurants is very good and they keep the kids entertained long enough for the adults to have a conversation.
Dino in the "ice wall" at T-Rex

Last year, we dined at Wolfgang Puck's. Oh.My.Goodness!!! It was the best dinner I have ever eaten.
Everything from the decor to the service to the food was outstanding. I highly recommend this restaurant!

Another favorite of ours is the House of Blues. Really good food (my fave is the rueben!)and the decor is so cool. They also have a Sunday Gospel Brunch that is very popular.
Ceiling at House of Blues. Each square has the face of a famous musician.
This is a little better shot of the ceiling.

An oldie but a goodie is Fulton's Crabhouse. The food is okay but the ambience is what you will visit for. The restaurant is on the water and is fashioned like an old riverboat. Many, many years ago, it was called the Empress Tiger Lily. I can't remember what I had for lunch today but I can remember something from 20 years ago! Go figure!

One restaurant to avoid is Cap'n Jacks. Everytime we have eaten there, the food has been awful. The menu is tired and apparently so is the chef! Disney needs to revamp this one.


Once you have refueled the old tank so to speak, it's time to have a little fun. There are so many things to do, it's hard to pick just a few to highlight. My favorite is the Cirque Du Soleil show called La Nouba. It is a high energy, acrobatic, high flying good time. I am simply amazed at what people can do with their bodies. The performers do everything from balancing stunts to flying over the audience. It is one show that will entertain and engage young and old alike.

We have never done this but they have a huge movie theater here and I believe they have food service while you watch the movie. How cool to see a Disney movie in Disney World!

The ultimate good time would be had at Disney Quest. Five floors of virtual reality fun. We have only been one time when our oldest kids were younger so I don't remember a whole lot but I do know that we all had a good time!

This has been a very brief overview of Downtown Disney. There is so much more than what I have talked about. I didn't mention Pleasure Island because it is the "bar" area and we don't go there. They do have live shows there occasionally and some shopping but I don't know a whole lot about it. For your own look at Downtown Disney, please vist Walt Disney World/Downtown Disney

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