When visiting Walt Disney World, it’s not hard to get caught up in the excitement of the parks, rides, and attractions. When you’re on Disney property, you might feel like you’re “missing out” on what’s going on inside one of the parks if you’re not in them. You can’t help but think “I could be on Space Mountain right now!” or “I wonder if there’s a lot of people watching Illuminations tonight?” Maybe you feel guilty for leisurely strolling the shops or grabbing a bite to eat at Downtown Disney, but the days of feeling guilty are over!
I love Downtown Disney. I find it’s a great place to go to escape the chaotic atmosphere that can sometimes be present in the parks. It’s also free! I like to visit Downtown Disney on my travel days, so I don’t have to worry about wasting half of a ticket day. It’s also a great way bookend to a vacation — a great place to start to prep for the parks, and a great place to end your trip and purchase last-minute souvenirs.
Are you on the fence about whether or not you want to make the trip downtown and explore? Here are some of my favorite places you’ll find at Downtown Disney that just might convince you:
The World of Disney
This is by far the largest souvenir store you’ll find on Disney property! It’s pretty much a Disney department store. The World of Disney is broken up into twelve different themed rooms, each featuring select merchandise. Any kind of souvenir that you could possibly get in Disney, you can find here! From home goods and plush toys to jewelry and apparel — it’s here. A few years ago, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique was built right in the World of Disney store. If you’re having trouble booking an appointment for your princess in the Magic Kingdom, try this location!
Disney’s Days of Christmas
One of my favorite things to bring home from any vacation is a Christmas ornament. This store is filled with tinsel, holly, lights, trees, and ornaments. From the second you walk into the door, you’re transported to a winter wonderland, any time of the year. You can even get ornaments personalized with your name or the year of your trip.
Forget the shopping. If I’m going to be completely honest, I come to Downtown Disney for the food! A couple of my favorite places to eat and snack are found here. If you’re on the dining plan, don’t miss Wolfgang Puck Express — it is probably one of the best values on property for a counter service meal. The portions are huge and the food is gourmet! My favorite place to grab a sandwich can also be found here: Earl of Sandwich. The sandwiches are warm, savory, and bursting with flavor.
The final place I recommend is a place I dream about when I’m not in Disney: Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop. The sundaes are to die for!
If you have a few hours to spare on your next trip, stop by Downtown Disney. There is so much to do and see that it’s worth your time. And don’t forget — stop for some ice cream!
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