1. Downtown Disney is a free area of Walt Disney World anyone can go there at any time. It originally opened in 1975 under the name Lake Buena Vista shopping village. It was originally planned to be a shopping district for the residents within Disney World property. In 1977 as the space turned more towards hotel spaces it was re-imagined to be a shopping district for all Walt Disney world visitors and it was re-named Walt Disney World Village. In the 80’s Disney was looking for a way to compete with other areas and keep visitors on property longer. They announced Pleasure Island which would be highly themed with adult venues and nightlife. Pleasure Island opened in 1989 along with Disney’s Hollywood Studios the name was also changed to Disney Village Marketplace. In 1997 the Disney Village Marketplace was re-named to Downtown Disney Marketplace as Disney planned to merge pleasure island and the marketplace into one unit. A few days after the naming in September of 1997 Downtown Disney Westside opened as the third shopping and entertainment district, it housed the Cirque Du Soleil La Nouba show and Disney Quest disney’s indoor interactive theme park. Downtown Disney is still going through a lot of changes as they plan to upgrade pleasure island and are still adding stores and restaurants. This fall Downtown Disney will add Splitsville, a state of the art bowling alley which will provide more entertainment options for the Disney visitor.
2. I first experiences Downtown Disney when I went there in 2010. It was pretty amazing to be in a place where people just came and went freely to visit shops, restaurants, pubs and a movie theater. I got to see the Cirque Du Soleil La Nobua show and while it is not my favorite Cirque show (that would be Ovo so far) it was definitely worth seeing. My favorite shop is at Downtown Disney, D Street. This is the place I go to shop for vinylmations (which will be coming up at the end of the month for the letter V). I always really enjoy hanging out here and eating. Here is a list of my favorite spots: