Downtown Disney is outside the theme parks, open to the public, and there is no admission charge. If you want to eat, shop or go to the movies here, the first three hours of parking are free, and you can get two more hours free with validation from the movie theatre or any sit-down restaurant.
See It Now: Take a Downtown Disney Photo Tour
Downtown Disney DiningWhen I visit the Disneyland Resort, I like to go to Downtown Disney for a meal. It gives a chance to get away from the crowds for a while, and you can get better value for your dining dollars. Get your hand stamped as you leave and save your pass card for an easy return.
Downtown Disney restaurants include the Rainforest Cafe (a favorite of kids of all ages), House of Blues, Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria and Catal Restaurant. If don't want to wait for a table, but don't want to make do with a pretzel and lemonade either, try the Uva Bar. Located in the central courtyard, they share the same kitchen with Catal restaurant, and usually have a much shorter wait. You can call Disney Dining at 714-781-3463 to arrange for Priority Seating at any of the restaurants except the Rainforest Cafe (whose phone number is 714-772-0173).
Shopping at Downtown DisneyDisney makes an effort to bring unique shops into the Downtown Disney area. Most of the items sold fall into the category of home decoration, jewelry or toys. Younger children may enjoy a visit to Build-a-Bear Workshop. Their Disney store is close to a city block long, but if you are looking for real collector's items, you'll find better choices inside the theme parks.
The list of shops in Downtown Disney changes faster than we can keep up with it and we don't want you to be disappointed, but the one that never changes is the big Disney store near the tram stop, offering a wide range of merchandise and souvenirs. Their high-end collectibles selection is good, but if you're a serious collector, you should also check the shops on Main Street U.S.A. Also Disney-themed and targeted toward the trendy teen is Disney Vault 28, where you'll find famous designers' takes on Disney character style.
Downtown Disney EntertainmentIf the two theme parks don't keep you entertained enough, you can indulge your inner jock at the Downtown Disney ESPN Zone, catch a movie at the AMC theatre (good way to rest those tired feet), or enjoy a musical performance or Jazz Brunch at House of Blues.
If you'd like to see the Disneyland fireworks while you're here but aren't going into the park, just follow the signs from Downtown Disney that mark the walking route to the Mickey and Friends parking lot. Go to the lot's top floor and you'll get a great view of both the fireworks at the castle and the ones at the Fantasmic! show.
Downtown Disney ReviewWe rate Downtown Disney 4 out of 5 as a good place to escape the theme parks for a while, get a good meal or do a little shopping. Its open, airy design makes it a fun place to hang out, and it's very lively at night.
Poll: What do you think of Downtown Disney as a tourist destination?
- Yuck! Just say no to this flea-bitten hole of a tourist trap
- So-So More fun than a night in jail, but you might enjoy a good nap more
- OK Some people find it interesting, but I didn't
- Good Go if you have time, but it's not a big deal if you miss it
- Great I really liked it, and I think you will, too
- Awesome! It's a must-see sight that I recommend to everyone
Where Is Downtown Disney Located?
Downtown DisneyThe Disneyland Monorail runs right through the middle of Downtown Disney, and you can zip between there and Tomorrowland in no time. Entering Disneyland from here via the monorail is also sometimes faster than waiting in line at the front gate.
1580 S. Disneyland Dr.
If you're just going to Downtown Disney but not to the theme parks, the self-parking lot is on Disneyland Drive, north of Katella Avenue in Anaheim. You can also get to Downtown Disney from other parts of Anaheim on the Anaheim Resort Trolley