Downtown Disney, located at the Walt Disney World Resort, is full of dining, entertainment and shopping opportunities. Entertainment at Downtown Disney area takes place throughout the day and into the night with a wide array of acrobatic artistry, art, theater, live music, special events, boat rentals and fountains for children to play in. Additionally, there are some great backdrops for family photos in and around Downtown Disney. Admission and parking are complimentary. Downtown Disney is comprised of three sections: West Side, Pleasure Island, and Marketplace. There is no admission charge to any of the Downtown Disney areas.
Big Changes Coming to Downtown Disney
On Thursday, March 14, 2013, Disney officially announced Disney Springs - a multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney. Disney's goal is to create a welcoming, comfortable space where families can relax, be entertained, wander in and out of unique and distinctive shops or enjoy a world-class dining experience. Disney Springs will be a timeless and vibrant place that celebrates the turn-of-the century lakeside towns that dotted the Florida landscape. The heart of Disney Springs will be Town Center, which is oriented around a series of bubbling natural springs, and will be encompassed by 3 additional neighborhoods: The Landing, Marketplace and West Side – each with its own distinct charm and atmosphere. Once complete, Disney Springs will expand from 75 to more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment venues, featuring some of the world’s most iconic brands and restaurants. Construction is set to begin in April 2013. The expansion will open in phases and is expected to completed in 2016. Visit our Disney Springs Expansion Guide for more info or to see photos.
Construction is underway in the Downtown Disney area that will significantly improve traffic flow in the area. Buena Vista Drive is being expanded from 7 to 10 lanes, and will include a dedicated bus lane. In addition, 2 pedestrian bridges will eventually be added, as well as an I-4 Interchange that will offer direct access to and from Disney Springs.
Parking Lot Closures & Transportation Changes
Downtown Disney parking lots I, J & K have closed (located from Disney Quest to the Pleasure Island bus stops), as work begins on the new West Parking Garage. Parking Lot H across from Planet Hollywood is blocked off and will be utilized for heavy equipment during the Disney Springs conversion project. Parking Entrance 3 is also now closed and access to Ring Road between Entrance 3 and Entrance 4 will be blocked off until fall 2014. Best parking is lots are O, P and Q behind Cirque due Soleil, via entrance 5. The existing lots should be able to handle a normal day of activity at Downtown Disney. Also, beginning March 18 2014, parts of lots E, F and G, which are all in the area outside of T-REX in the Marketplace, will also be closed. Additionally, Entrance 1 on the Marketplace side, which is across from the Casting Center, is now closed to inbound traffic. This entry is the closest to the parking lot behind the Marketplace shops.
Due to the reduction in guest parking spaces, off-site overflow parking areas will be open on most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as holidays, and special events throughout the next few years of the expansion project. Overflow lots include Team Disney (less than 15 minute walk), the Casting Center (5 - 10 minute walk), and SunTrust (5 - 10 minute walk). Electronic directional signage along Buena Vista Drive will direct Guests. Shuttles will also be available during overflow times to transport guests between overflow lots and Downtown Disney West Side. Each of four off-site lots are marked with a color. Guest will need to use the shuttle that corresponds with the color of their lot to return to their cars. The red, blue and green lot shuttles drop off and pick up at Cirque du Soleil, and the yellow lot shuttle drops off and picks up at the West Side bus loop. Shuttles will operate from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m." A section of road between AMC Theatres and Disney Quest will also be closed from 10/21/2013 until Fall 2014. This is for work being done on the parking garage.
As part of the Pleasure Island bus loop closure that took place June 11, shuttle vans will be available on the West Side for an evening test to help clear the property each night. From midnight until 1:45 a.m., the shuttle vans will transport Walt Disney World Resort Guests from the O,P,Q lots at the end of the West Side promenade (behind Cirque du Soleil) to the Marketplace bus loop, which services Walt Disney World Resort Guests until 2 a.m.
Parking Tip: Arrive before 5 p.m.; look for parking at Entrance 5, behind Cirque du Soleil in lots O, P & Q. You can always take the complimentary Boat Transportation between the West Side and the Marketplace, weather permitting.
Annual Events Schedule
• Fall Fun at Downtown Disney - October 1- 31, 2014
During the month of October, enjoy Fall photo spots, seasonally-inspired food and drink and Mickey Mouse-inspired pumpkin patches, and on Thursday through Saturday evenings dance the polka with an Oktoberfest band!
• The Orlando International Dragon Boat Festival - October 17 and 18, 2014
Dragon boat racing is a 2,500-year-old Chinese sport that involves 20 team members paddling in unison to a drummer's beat in a long, narrow boat decorated at the bow and stern with a dragon's head and tail. All of the event activities will take place on Village, with spectator viewing along the West Side waterfront. Practice sessions and event competitions will effect Downtown Disney watercraft transportation. During all watercraft closures, Disney Bus Transportation will be provided to and from the West Side and the Marketplace bus loops. Cast Members and signage will be in place to direct guests.
• Festival of the Seasons - November 15 - December 29, 2014
Enjoy live entertainment, festive decor, fun photo ops and so much more. Santa appears daily in front of the World of Disney store. Use PhotoPass services or your own camera to capture photos with Santa. Santa Goofy will replace Santa from December 25–29. Get full details on our Holiday Happenings page
• DisneyQuest New Year's Eve - December 31, 14
DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney West Side will host it's annual New Year's Eve Party, including: attractions and video games, appearances by Disney characters, DJ dance party, New Year's countdown, party favors, and family fun food. For more information or to purchase online tickets visit disneyworld.com/disneyquestparty or call 407-WDISNEY closure to time.
• New Year's Eve - December 31, 2014
Several Downtown Disney venues will celebrate New Year's Eve with special parties or events. Get all of the details on our New Year's Eve page
• Mighty Festival Saint Patrick's Day - March 7 - 17, 2015
Raglan Road hosts a ceili, which is a fancy way to say a big Irish party with music and dance. Get full details on our Saint Patrick's Day page.
• Downtown Disney Car Masters Weekend - June 13-14, 2015
This car show presented by Hess features more than 100 classic, muscle and exotic cars. Meet and greets with Lightning McQueen, Mater, and Finn McMissile. A DJ and food trucks are also featured. Get full details on our Car Masters Weekend page.
• ‘Great Irish Hooley’ Festival - September 4 -7, 2015
The hooley – Irish slang for a party or celebration - will pack Labor Day weekend at Raglan Road with six top Irish bands playing traditional and rock tunes, Irish Dance Workshops for the whole family, structured set dancing called the Ceili (kay-lee) that’s a precursor to today’s country line dancing, Celtic face painting and authentic food and beverages. Musicians will perform inside the pub and outside on the patio.
Additional Downtown Disney info is available on Twitter.
General Downtown Disney Information
Guest Services at Downtown Disney area is located in Disney Marketplace. Services include guidebooks for guests with disabilities, distribution of handheld captioning devices, wheelchair, ECV & stroller rentals. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday - Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
ECV, Wheelchair & Stroller Rentals
Electric Convenience Vehicles (ECVs), Electric Standing Vehicles (ESVs), wheelchairs and strollers are available for rent at the Guest Relations building in Downtown Disney Marketplace. The ECV rental fee of $50 per day. The wheelchair rental fee is $12 per day. The fee to rent a stroller is $15 per day for a single-passenger stroller (double strollers are not available). All Downtown Disney rentals include a $100 refundable credit card deposit is required per unit rented at the Downtown Disney area. The rented unit must be returned to the original rental location to receive a credit card deposit refund.
Automated Teller Machines (ATM) & Credit Cards
An ATM presented by Chase can be found:
• Near the House of Blues restaurant
• Near the Wetzel's Pretzels restaurant
• Inside the World of Disney Store
• Near the Once Upon a Toy shop
Visa, American Express, Diners Club Card, Discover, JCB International, AND MasterCard are accepted at Downtown Disney stores. Guests with charging privledges can also use their "Key to the World" room key. Traveler's checks and cash are also accepted.
For guests staying at a Disney Resort hotel, purchases made at Downtown Disney shops can be delivered to the Guest's room prior to checkout. Purchases made at Downtown Disney shops can also be shipped home via UPS or FedEx.
Valet parking at Downtown Disney is available at entrance 3 on the West Side and entrance 2 at Marketplace. Valet parking at the Marketplace is available from 10 a.m. - 1 a.m. and from 2:30 p.m. - 2:00 a.m. on the West Side. The cost is $10 per vehicle for 2 hours and under, $15 per vehicle for 2 to 3 hours, and $20 per vehicle for over 3 hours.
Bus Transportation, Driving & Parking
Transportation to and from the Downtown Disney area is complimentary and offered as one of the benefits to Guests staying at a Disney Resort hotel. Beginning approximately June 11, 2014, there will be one bus stop at Downtown Disney at Downtown Disney Marketplace. Marketplace bus service runs from 8:00 a.m until 2:00 a.m. Once Disney Springs is completed in 2016, a new single location for the bus transportation service will replace the current Downtown Disney bus stop.
For Park Guests choosing to drive to Downtown Disney, complimentary self-parking is also available. Valet parking is also available in front of Cirque du Soleil on Disney's West Side for $15. If you have a Tables in Wonderland membership, valet parking is free with a dining receipt. To see a map with directions to Downtown Disney, click here.
Downtown Disney Ferryboat Schedule
Downtown Disney Internal Water Shuttle - 10:30 a.m. - 2:00 a.m.
Dock-to-dock service between Marketplace, Pleasure Island and West Side. Runs approximately every 20 minutes. The last guest pick-up is at 1:30 a.m. Look for Red flags and signs.
Disney's Port Orleans Resorts - 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Departs Marketplace Dock approximately every 20 minutes. Look for Yellow flags and signs.
Disney's Old Key West & Saratoga Springs Resorts - 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Departs West Side Dock approximately every 20 minutes. Look for Blue flags and signs for Disney’s Saratoga Resort & Spa and Green flags and signs for Old Key West.
Other Useful Information
• Proper dress is required at Downtown Disney area. Shirt and shoes must be worn at all times.
• With the exception of service dogs for Guests with disabilities, pets are not permitted in the Downtown Disney area.
• Baby changing stations are located in the restrooms.
For additional Downtown Disney information, call 407-WDW-2NITE.
My family LOVES Downtown Disney. My kids are older now (11 and 14)
and would just as soon go to DTD than to any of the parks!
The one thing we do on every trip is to eat at Rainforest Cafe. Yes, it's crowded and a bit over-priced on the food, but we ate there on our first trip and we have on every trip since. We drive to Disney, so we usually get there a day or so before we have to check in at Disney...Rainforest Cafe is our way of "welcoming" ourselves to our vacation! (One hint...check here for souviners...you can usually find some pretty good bargains. They offer a lot of sales).
If you are on Disney's Dining Plan, be sure to check out Wolfgang Puck Express. Great food, but a bit pricy....becomes a really good deal on the dining plan, as it is a counter service credit!
As for the best time to go...when the parks are open, during the week, there seems to be less crowds. In the evenings the stores can be wall-to-wall people. During the day, it isn't nearly as crowded. We always go during the day for our shopping, but we like to spend at least one evening as well, just for the general atmosphere. Grab a snack at Goofy's and sit outside and people watch. I can't think of many other places I would rather be!
Our favorite stores are World of Disney for general souvenir shopping, Goofy's Candy Company (spend your snack credits here...great stuff for the trip home), and my absolute favorite is Disney's Days of Christmas....I could spend hours here! The Lego Store is one that has kind of moved from our favorite list...again, with my kids being older we don't spend quite as much time here, but when they were younger we put our time in for sure! ~ Stephanie R.
Ohh we love spending some time in DTD - if we have MYW ticket plusses usually combined
with a trip to Disney Quest.
Places to Eat: the Earl of Sandwich is a favourite. The choice is great and they are pretty filling. We love to grab a table - inside or out depends on the heat - and take the weight off for a while. Its easy to chill out here and build up the strength for more shopping. And of course you can grab an ice cream at Ghiradelis for dessert - yummy.
Shopping: Christmas shoppe is a must. But you have to have a contingency plan for DH and kids :O) I can spend hours in here just looking and trying to decide which is really hard so I have to be able to send off DH to elsewhere because he is not quite as thrilled as I am. So I send him to the Pin Traders store.
World of Disney is great for just about everything but its huge and you will lose your other half so have a plan on where and what time to meet - unless of course you both have cells. Make sure you have your camera its a good place to take photos in all those huge hats that they sell. Mr Potato Head stand is also in here and seems to have different items to other stores. You can buy the box but if there is just one or two peices you need they do sell them to you separately.
LEGO statues - of course you have to take those pictures. And if you have kids and they need a break there is a play area were they can lose themselves for a while.
Weather: You know that between the two sides - market place and west side there is not much shelter sooo if it looks like rain make sure you take those poncho's with you in the bag. ~ Wendy H.
We love Downtown Disney, and no trip to the World is complete without a stop
there! There is something for everyone, and if you have a day with no park
tickets, we have no trouble spending the better part of a day here.
If we go down without annual passes, and have a party to go to, knowing we can get into MK at 4 PM, we get up and dressed at a leisurely pace and head to DTD right around 9 or 9:30, as things are opening up. This is our favorite time to go, because you can get a parking space! You'll find that in the evening or over the weekend, parking here can be as challenging as pulling your kidney through your nose ;-)
The kids LOVE the Lego playground - even the 7 year old, who I thought was getting too old for Legos. She loves to build and race cars, walk around the different Lego stations to see what the pieces are, and she could easily spend an hour or more here, without exaggeration. The little one - 3 years old - plays on the playground itself, doing the slide, hiding in the house, etc.
When they have completely exhausted their mother, we head over to The World of Disney store. Far and away the best store anywhere on the planet, you can spend a LONG time brow beating your husband (oops! Did I post that outloud??) into making more room in the car for the ride home so you can buy more Mickey stuff. Seriously, there is something here for everyone, and even the littlest among you will enjoy just gazing upwards at the fabulously themed store.
My favorite shop in DTD is the Christmas shop, and while Jim usually takes the girls to check out pins or ride the carousel, I spend more time than I should admiring each and every ornament. We have a tradition of picking up one stuffed animal to add to our collection on our annual holiday trek to the World, and I make sure I check out each and every item here to make sure I find just the perfect plush character. Oh, who am I kidding - I know that the Radko ornaments are not stuffed, but I have to handle them all anyway - you can't not look at everything here!
One of the best bargains on Disney property is the Earl of Sandwich in DTD, and we almost always head here for lunch. Two people can easily split a sandwich here, and my daughter loves the Earl's Lemonade - a blend of Earl Grey tea and lemonade. Thank goodness for the fridge and microwave at the DVC properties, because I always come back with leftovers from lunch here.
We make one final stop at Basin on every trip. I often grab one of the premade gift baskets to keep in my closet at home for last minute hostess gifts or teacher gifts, and we always buy the chamomile soap for our youngest daughter, who has sensitive skin. If it's a warm day and we have free time, the girls make a few passes through the fountain to get soaking wet!
If we're coming here for an evening of browsing, we love Raglan Road for dinner - especially the live entertainment; and there's nothing like a little dessert at Ghiradelli :)
The one not so hidden gem - our kids will stand for 30 minutes waiting to be spit on by Stitch outside of the World of Disney shop - they love it, and it's so much fun to watch!
DTD is a must see on our WDW vacations! ~ Anna S