Downtown Disney is a part of the Disneyland experience that does not require a ticket for admission. In many ways it is absolutely one big elaborate open air shopping mall with a fantastic atmosphere and a high concentration of Disney themed merchandise. Every time we walked through it there was something going on, especially live music. Though it is like a shopping mall, you shouldn’t skip it all together. You should certainly check out their website to see if any of the unique restaurants catch your attention. Stop by and enjoy the experience before or after your ticketed days inside the resort. I don’t recommend using your precious time you have an admission to the park paid for on this, however.
The LEGO® Store
By far the most elaborate LEGO® Store I have ever been inside lives in Downtown Disney. I loved the LEGO® constructions of various Disney properties in and around the store.
Though I’ve seen at least one other Ridemakerz store (Myrtle Beach, SC) they aren’t very common and are pretty cool. This store is a Build-a-Bear for cars allowing you to build from the chassis up. I didn’t choose to build one because I found it more interesting to walk quickly through the store and see the various projects being worked on by the kids in the store and look at the different merchandise being sold (all the way to the decals). Enter with caution, there may be a small child testing out their new remote controlled toy.
The World of Disney
I think the World of Disney is a must visit before or after your trip to Disneyland. This store’s self-description on their website is on-point stating, “the World of Disney” in the Downtown Disney District is a merchandising metropolis overflowing with Disney delights. At first I didn’t really get the big deal on the World of Disney. We entered and it seemed not dramatically different from many other trips to various Disney Stores in my life. When we rounded the corner I realized it was only a small fraction of the entire store which I found shocking! It was a good kind of shock though, and I used my time in this store to do most of my shopping for the trip, and while I did some window shopping in each of the parks, I felt like I had more time focus on other attractions in the park because I went to the World of Disney the day before we used our tickets.
Candy Shop with Candied Apples
The ambiance is further enhanced by Disney themed confectionery shops. Get your Mickey Mouse shaped Candied Apples at one of the confectionery shops either here, or in either of the parks.
Downtown Disney has a regular cinema showing new releases, not just Disney or family-friendly releases.
For a complete list of everything available and happening at Downtown Disney click here.