Trips to Disney can be expensive, but you don’t have to spend your whole vacation at the parks to get a fun Disney experience! If you need a day off or have an extra day at the end of your trip why not hit up Downtown Disney? With waterfront dining, plenty of shops, rides and entertainment, it is a great cheap alternative to another day in the parks! Plus, your toddler won’t even know the difference! (this trick probably won’t work with older kids, though!)
Spend at relaxing morning at your hotel pool and then head over to the Downtown Disney area for more Disney fun! Try lunch at Earl of Sandwhich, which is a really good, although crowded, lunch spot! You can even hit up Ghirardelli’s for a special treat!
After lunch here are 5 more things you can do:
1. Head to the Lego store! First of all, the store is amazing and has a ton to see. Outside around the store you will find multiple Lego sculptures from the sea monster to life size people and characters! Inside there is plenty to buy, of course, as well as more Lego sculptures to check out. And on one side of the store right outside of the door there is a play area with tables kids can play Legos on! They have regular sized Legos and Duplos to play with. COST: Free! (unless you buy something)
2. Another great store to check out is the toy store, Once Upon a Toy! There are interactive play areas around the store, plenty of toys to check out and even a build your own Mr Potato Head! COST: Free! (unless you buy something)
3. Take your toddler on the couple of rides at Downtown Disney. They have a train and a carousel to ride and both a fairly cheap! It only cost a couple of bucks each and your toddler will think they are just as cool as “It’s a Small World.” COST: cheap!
4. There are several restaurants around Downtown Disney. Some of them are on the more “upscale” side and I personally wouldn’t want to bring my kid to them. However, there are two fun places to go for dinner- let your tot choose! Both Rainforest Cafe and T-Rex’s have interactive dining rooms with a lot of fun stuff to see! In Rainforest Cafe there are animitronic animals all around, and every so often the sky darkens for a “storm.” There are also real aquariums all around to check out!
In T-Rex’s there are dinosaurs and wholly mammoths to check out, and every so often it gets dark for the “meteor shower” with rumbling and fire! You can even sit in the “ice cave” room, where the cave walls change colors. We went to T-Rex’s for dinner and Carter enjoyed seeing all the dinosaurs, wearing his T-Rex hat and dining on dino shaped chicken nuggets. Bonus- plenty of fancy fun drinks for mom and dad! T-Rex’s also has a Build-a-Dino workshop (like Build a Bear) which would be super fun if your kid is into dinosaurs! COST: $$ ($15 – 30/adult dinner) (some meal plans accepted)
5. Last but not least, end your day at the fountain! Do this last since it involves your kid getting soaking wet. Near the toy store there is an in-ground fountain that your kids can run through and have a ball! Water comes up intermittently from the ground so you can run through never knowing if it’s going to shoot up a stream of water or not! The perfect fun game to end your Downtown Disney evening! COST: Free! (bring a towel!)
Bonus: There are a lot of other things to do at Downtown Disney including a movie theater, bowling ally, Disney Quest and more! My list is intended to share some cheap/free toddler friendly things to do, so I didn’t include some of those higher priced activities.
Be on the lookout for seasonal entertainment as well, because they sometimes do shows on the water front outdoor theater!
What are some your favorite things to do or see at Downtown Disney?