D is for Downtown Disney

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:

  • Rainforest Cafe
  • T-Rex Cafe
  • Fulton’s Crab House
  • World of Disney (largest disney store)
  • D-Street
  • Earl of Sandwich
  • Ghiradelli’s soda fountain and chocolate shop
  • Lego Imagination Center
  • Disney’s Pin Traders
  • The art of Disney
I am looking forward to Splitsville Bowling Alley and another wonderful thing about this place is that it is providing me the ability to have an affordable wedding reception. Thank you Fulton’s Crab House.
3. I love this being a place that you can go to because it provides a way to escape the hectic and craziness that can occur in Disney Parks. You can walk around under the night sky with ambient Disney music maybe catch a flick, buy a Mickey T-shirt and then close it all out with a milkshake. The restaurants here provide an escape from the traditional disney restaurants and there are so many types of fare at downtown disney everyone is sure to find something. Disney has provided everyone the ability to share in the Disney Magic by creating Downtown Disney so thank you for giving us Disney travelers another place to go.
Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure:
Characters in Flight Hot air balloon
Hanging out in one of my favorite spots it is so quiet right here
The view from my favorite spot
May the force be with you,


  • Timothy Brannan April 5, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    We ate at the Irish restaurant at Downtown Disney recently and they had the best salmon I have ever eaten in my life.

    I go back there just for that.

    I am trying to read all the A to Z blogs, but coming back to the ones I really like.
    Looking forward to seeing what you do all month!

    The Other Side
    The Freedom of Nonbelief

  • Alex J. Cavanaugh April 5, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    They changed the theme several times. And it’s been years since I’ve even seen a Rainforest Cafe.

  • TheDisneyBitches April 5, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    We love this A to Z challenge! The balloon at Downtown Disney is beautiful. Can’t wait to see what else you post for the challenge!

  • michele659 April 5, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    Wow-I didn’t even know about Downtown Disney. It’s an amazing place with so much to do and a nice variety of things,too.
    I like your pictures,and your favorite place looks beautiful!

  • Chuck April 6, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    Yeah the Rainforest Cafe was great…the whole downtown was great. Going back at night to see the Cirque show La Nouba and then walking through the lighted street was just a real good time. The big Virgin store…good times.


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