Next up in our Disney travel series, we are sharing about things to do in downtown Disney with kids.
Downtown Disney in both Florida and California is a fantastic destination for families with kids.
The bustling Downtown Disney districts offer a myriad of activities, delicious dining, and top-notch entertainment.
In this blog post, we’re sharing the best things to do in each Downtown Disney location, with a special focus on activities for kids.
What is the Downtown Disney District?
The Downtown Disney District is an entertainment, dining, and shopping area located at two Disney resorts in the United States: the Disneyland Resort in California and the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
It’s designed as a vibrant and accessible destination for both resort guests and local visitors who want to enjoy the Disney experience without the need for theme park admission.
In California, the Downtown Disney District is situated in Anaheim, near Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park.
It’s a lively, pedestrian-friendly promenade with a wide range of shops, restaurants, entertainment options, and more.
Visitors can explore an array of Disney-themed merchandise, dine at various restaurants with diverse cuisine, enjoy live entertainment, and partake in unique experiences. Your kids may not rank downtown as highly as the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, but it’s a great time!
In Florida, Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney, is located near Orlando at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney Springs is a massive entertainment complex featuring several themed neighborhoods, each offering its own distinct atmosphere and experiences.
You can find a wide variety of dining establishments, upscale shops, live entertainment, and recreational activities such as bowling and hot air balloon rides.
Both Downtown Disney District and Disney Springs aim to provide a family-friendly and immersive Disney experience outside of the theme parks, making them popular destinations for visitors of all ages.
Downtown Disney Florida
1. Disney Springs: The Hub of Entertainment
Begin your journey at Disney Springs in Downtown Disney Florida, an entertainment complex filled with themed restaurants, live music, and a variety of shops.
For the little ones, don’t miss the “Marketplace Carousel,” a delightful spinning ride.
This colorful and whimsical carousel features classic Disney characters that will undoubtedly enchant your children. It’s a magical start to your visit, setting the tone for a day of wonder and fun.
While you’re at Disney Springs, be sure to explore the LEGO Store, where kids can create and build to their heart’s content.
The LEGO Store is not just a shopping destination; it’s an interactive experience.
Kids can immerse themselves in a world of bricks and creativity, with play areas and even life-sized LEGO creations to admire.
It’s a place where young imaginations can run wild and where the whole family can participate in hands-on fun.
2. World of Disney Store: Disney Merchandise Paradise
The World of Disney store is a dream come true for Disney fans of all ages. Let your kids pick out plush toys, clothes, and Disney memorabilia. It’s a great place for a shopping spree and to immerse your family in the Disney magic.
In this retail wonderland, kids can explore row after row of enchanting merchandise, from Mickey Mouse ears to princess dresses, action figures, and more.
The store itself is a work of art, with stunning decorations and immersive displays that make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale.
3. Dining Delights: Something for Everyone
There’s no shortage of dining options to cater to various tastes. Enjoy a family meal at the Rainforest Cafe or T-REX Restaurant, with their exciting themed atmospheres.
The Rainforest Cafe, with its lush foliage, thunderstorms, and animatronic jungle creatures, provides an unforgettable dining experience that will leave kids wide-eyed with amazement.
At the T-REX Restaurant, you’ll find yourself surrounded by life-sized prehistoric creatures, including a massive Tyrannosaurus rex. It’s not just a meal; it’s a journey back in time.
For sweet treats, make a stop at Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop, where you can indulge in delicious ice cream.
Ghirardelli is an old-fashioned candy shop reimagined for the modern era, offering a wide range of delectable chocolates and desserts. The soda fountain serves up creamy sundaes, shakes, and floats that are perfect for satisfying the kids’ sweet cravings.
4. Sweet Treats Galore: Caramel Apples and More
If your kids have a sweet tooth, Downtown Disney Florida has you covered. Stop by Goofy’s Candy Co., the Candy Cauldron, or Salt & Straw for treats like caramel apples and ice cream.
Treats that make Disney memories even sweeter! Goofy’s Candy Co. is a whimsical candy shop where kids can watch candy-makers create mouthwatering confections.
The Candy Cauldron offers a unique twist with its candy-coated apples, a blend of sweetness and creativity.
Salt & Straw is an artisanal ice cream parlor that tantalizes taste buds with unique and delectable flavors, making it the perfect spot for an unforgettable ice cream adventure.
5. Entertainment Extravaganza: Live Performances and More
Downtown Disney Florida offers live entertainment and street performances that will captivate kids of all ages. The atmosphere is alive with music, and the live performances bring an added layer of enchantment to your visit.
Street performers, including magicians and musicians, provide a delightful experience that engages the whole family.
Don’t forget to check out the Coca-Cola Store for a helium balloon ride that provides fantastic views of the area.
The helium balloon ride is a mesmerizing experience that allows you to soar high above Downtown Disney, offering breathtaking views of the vibrant surroundings. It’s an adventure your kids won’t soon forget.
6. The LEGO Store: Toy Store Adventures
Aside from the World of Disney store, the LEGO Store is a paradise for young builders.
Kids can let their imaginations run wild and engage in hands-on play. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to pick up unique LEGO sets as souvenirs.
The LEGO Store provides a play area for kids to build and create with LEGO bricks. It’s not just a shopping destination; it’s a space for imagination to take flight.
For young enthusiasts, it’s a playground of creativity where they can bring their own LEGO masterpieces to life.
7. Interactive Dining: T-REX Restaurant
Treat your kids to a prehistoric adventure at the T-REX Restaurant, where life-sized animatronic dinosaurs roam. The interactive dining experience is sure to be a hit, and it provides a fun way to enjoy a meal together.
At the T-REX Restaurant, you’ll step into a world of dinosaurs where massive creatures come to life.
It’s an immersive dining experience that takes you on a journey through prehistory, complete with erupting volcanoes, meteor showers, and, of course, the stars of the show – the dinosaurs.
The interactive element, including digging for fossils, adds an educational and entertaining touch that kids will love.
8. Planet Hollywood: A Fun Family Restaurant
Planet Hollywood in Disney Springs, Florida, is a delightfully fun and engaging dining experience for children. This unique restaurant boasts an immersive decor, adorned with Hollywood memorabilia and futuristic elements that include a captivating spaceship.
It’s about creating an atmosphere that feels like stepping into an exhilarating sci-fi adventure. The expansive video screens that adorn the walls display music videos and iconic movie clips, providing a multi-sensory and entertaining backdrop for kids.
With an extensive collection of celebrity memorabilia, little ones can embark on a thrilling treasure hunt as they discover autographed movie props, costumes, and items from their favorite films.
The restaurant’s kid-friendly menu is brimming with a wide variety of dishes, ensuring even the pickiest eaters will find something to enjoy. Moreover, Planet Hollywood offers delectable signature milkshakes and desserts that are sure to delight kids.
The lively music, vibrant atmosphere, and Hollywood-themed settings combine to create an interactive and immersive dining experience.
Families can capture cherished moments with abundant photo opportunities. This makes Planet Hollywood in Disney Springs the ideal spot. Consider it another unforgettable visit during your visit to a Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Downtown Disney California
1. Disneyland Drive: The Pedestrian Paradise
Downtown Disney California, situated within walking distance of Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure Park, offers a pedestrian-only area that’s perfect for families with kids.
The enchanting atmosphere is a great way to start or end your Disney adventure. The delightful pedestrian-only area sets the stage for a leisurely stroll with the family.
It’s a place where the magic of Disney infuses every step, making it an ideal starting point for your Disney escapades or a peaceful ending to an exciting day at the theme parks.
2. Shopping Delights: Unique Souvenirs
Explore the array of stores in Downtown Disney California, including the Downtown Disney location of Kate Spade and the Disney Dress Shop. Here, you can find exclusive Disney merchandise, perfect for bringing a piece of the magic home with you.
The Downtown Disney location of Kate Spade is a haven for shoppers seeking elegant and stylish Disney-themed accessories. It’s a place where you can discover unique items that seamlessly blend Disney magic with high fashion.
The Disney Dress Shop, on the other hand, is where you can find charming and Disney-inspired clothing that your kids will love.
3. Diverse Dining: Tortilla Jo’s and More
Tortilla Jo’s is a wonderful spot for a taste of Disney with a Mexican twist. Your kids can enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine, and the lively atmosphere adds to the experience.
Tortilla Jo’s offers a diverse menu that includes Mexican favorites, such as tacos, enchiladas, and guacamole.
It’s an opportunity for your kids to savor authentic flavors in a lively and family-friendly setting. Also, consider trying Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and Gideon’s Bakehouse for diverse dining adventures.
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen is a culinary journey through the flavors of New Orleans, and Gideon’s Bakehouse.
4. Immerse in the Galaxy: Star Wars Trading Post
For older kids and Star Wars enthusiasts, the Star Wars Trading Post is a must-visit. The store is filled with Star Wars merchandise and offers a fantastic opportunity for the family to capture memorable photos with iconic Star Wars characters.
The Star Wars Trading Post is a haven for fans of the galaxy far, far away. It’s not just a store; it’s a place where your kids can immerse themselves in the Star Wars universe.
With a wide selection of merchandise, from action figures to clothing, it’s an ideal spot for your kids to find the perfect Star Wars souvenir.
Plus, the chance to snap photos with beloved Star Wars characters is a highlight that will leave lasting memories.
5. Family Bowling Fun: Splitsville Luxury Lanes
Wrap up your day in Downtown Disney California with a visit to Splitsville Luxury Lanes. Bowling is a great way to bond with the family and create lasting memories. Splitsville Luxury Lanes takes bowling to a whole new level.
It’s a place where families can enjoy friendly competition in a stylish setting, complete with great food and drinks.
The kids’ lanes come equipped with bumpers and lighter bowling balls, ensuring that even the youngest family members can participate. It’s an ideal way to unwind and enjoy quality time together.
6. Disney’s Pin Traders and More
In Downtown Disney California, you’ll find additional toy stores like Disney’s Pin Traders. It’s the perfect place for kids to explore pins, plush toys, and other collectibles. Let them pick out a unique souvenir to commemorate your visit.
Disney’s Pin Traders is a treasure trove of Disney collectible pins. Kids can browse an extensive selection, from character pins to limited edition releases.
The opportunity to collect and trade pins with cast members and fellow Disney enthusiasts adds an element of excitement to the experience.
It’s a place where kids can start their pin collection and engage in a bit of Disney magic.
7. Magical Makeovers: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
For an extra dose of Disney magic, treat your little ones to a makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. They can transform into their favorite Disney characters with the help of expert fairy godmothers-in-training.
It’s a truly enchanting experience that’s sure to make your kids feel like royalty.
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique offers magical transformations for young princes and princesses. Kids can choose from a variety of packages, each offering a unique makeover experience, from hairstyling and makeup to costumes.
It’s a perfect way to add a touch of enchantment to your Disney visit, and the professional fairy godmothers ensure that every child feels like a true Disney character.
Disney Springs Food Trucks
The last I checked, Disney Springs in Walt Disney World Resort in Florida did have food trucks as part of its dining options.
These food trucks offered a variety of cuisines, including gourmet burgers, tacos, desserts, and more. However, please note that the dining options at Disney Springs can change over time, with new offerings being introduced and existing ones being modified or replaced.
For the most up-to-date information on food trucks and dining options at Disney Springs, I recommend checking the official Walt Disney World Resort website or contacting Disney Guest Services.
They can provide the latest details on the food trucks, menus, and any other dining options available during your visit.
conclusion: Things to Do in Downtown Disney With Kids
Whether you’re in the heart of Florida or the bustling streets of California, Downtown Disney offers a world of excitement for families.
Many of these activities are conveniently located near Disneyland Resort hotels, making it easy to fit into your family vacation.
- Amphicar Ride: Take a ride in a vintage Amphicar that drives on land and floats on water, offering a unique and exciting experience for kids.
- Build-A-Dino by Build-A-Bear Workshop: Let your kids create their very own dinosaur plush toy at this interactive store.
- The LEGO Store: Kids can explore and play with LEGO creations, and there are often opportunities for them to build their own creations.
- Marketplace Carousel: A charming carousel featuring classic Disney characters, providing a delightful ride for young children.
- Marketplace Train Express: Kids can hop aboard this fun train for a short ride around the Marketplace area.
- T-Rex Café: Dine in a prehistoric world filled with animatronic dinosaurs and interactive exhibits, offering a unique and engaging dining experience.
- Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop: Treat your little ones to delicious ice cream, sundaes, and chocolate creations.
- Goofy’s Candy Co.: A candy store where kids can watch candy-makers create sweet treats and pick out their favorite candies.
- Face Painting: Various kiosks and stands offer face painting services for kids who want to transform into their favorite Disney characters.
- Basin: Let your kids explore the Basin store where they can try out various bath and body products, including colorful bath bombs.
- Splash Pads: On warm days, kids can cool off at the interactive splash pads in the area.
- Live Entertainment: Enjoy street performers, musicians, and live entertainment that often take place in Disney Springs.
Check for special events, extended hours, and any additional costs to make the most of your visit.
We hope your family has a magical time exploring these incredible Downtown Disney districts, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
These activities offer a mix of fun and entertainment that’s sure to keep young kids engaged and entertained during their visit to Disney Springs.
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