I traveled with my sister on a recent Disneyland Resort trip and was surprised to learn that she had never spent any time in the Downtown Disney District (DTD). In fact, she could not remember EVER going into DTD. I visit at least once to DTD during our stays, and I have even traveled and only spent time in DTD without going into a park while visiting the Los Angeles area just to feel a little Disney magic. I took my sister around and we spent a few hours there together, so I thought I would share more about this area for those that may not know about this area of the Disneyland Resort.
DTD is located west of the esplanade where you enter both Parks. That is typically why anyone entering only from the east side may not even know about it, as was the case with my sister. You can enter DTD from several locations – the east side past the esplanade, from the Mickey and Friends Parking Garage tram drop off near the esplanade, from Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, the west entrance at the Disneyland Resort Hotel, the northwest entrance near “Pop-Up Disney! – A Mickey Celebration”. Parking for DTD recently moved to the Simba Parking Lot just south of Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, which is accessed off Disneyland Drive. Parking in this lot is validated for 3 hours when you make a $20 purchase from any merchant or restaurant or up to 5 hours from any table-service restaurant. Beyond that, you will be charged $14/hour in 30-minute increments up to a maximum of $56.
DTD has so much to do from shopping, eating, entertainment and attractions!
DIVA TIP – Going to DTD is a great way to spend a non-park day and feel the Pixie Dust without buying a park ticket! We often head here on the day of arrival to spend a few hours when we aren’t going right into a park. We will eat dinner and do our souvenir shopping, so we can spend more time in the park with attractions and less time shopping. You will find several Disney owned stores with the main attraction being the HUGE World of Disney store, that has many of the same merchandise items you will find in the parks. My other two favorite shops are the Disney Dress Shop and WonderGround Gallery. You will also find non-Disney shops, such as Sugar Boo & Co, Rinse Bath & Body Co, and Pandora. My kids make sure we hit the Lego Store on each trip. Even if you are not buying, there is a Lego building station as well as full size Lego figures to view. There are also carts throughout DTD which items such as Disney Pins, caricatures, and sunglasses.
DIVA ANNUAL PASSHOLDER TIP – look for the AP symbol in at the entrance to each shop and restaurant. Many shops take the discount, even some that are not Disney owned!
There is a good mix of table service restaurants as well as quick service options. You can read my reviews of Tortilla Jo’s and Catel,which are two favorite table service options. And of course, Jazz Kitchen Express is the only place outside of Disneyland Park where you can get beignets! Do you love Disney Candied Applies? Then stop at Marceline’s Confectionery for a wide variety of applies, candy and fudge! And if you can’t live without Starbucks, there are two – one on the west side and one on the east.
DIVA TIP – Mobile order through the Starbucks app at either location one your way so that your coffee is ready when you arrive! There are food carts too that serve macaroons, popcorn, and my favorite – churros!
You’ll want to experience the free entertainment too. Typically starting around dinner time, you will find artists, musicians and stage shows. We have sat and watched violinist, ragtime bands, a cappella groups, and DJs. There are also three main attractions here – Pop Up Mickey, the VOID, and Splitsville Luxury Lanes Bowling. You can read my reviews of the Star Wars version and the Ralph Breaks the Internet version of the VOID here. Or plan a date night, as Allergy Mom Diva explains here.
DIVA TIP – If you collect Disney pressed pennies, be sure to look for several locations throughout DTD. You’ll find several machines inside World of Disney, one behind Wetzel’s Pretzels, one just west of Tortilla Jo’s.
If you want help planning your Disneyland Resort vacation so you can spend time in the Downtown Disney District, be sure to contact Patricia at All For Dreams Travel for a free vacation quote.
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