Do You Need a Special Pass or Ticket to Visit Downtown Disney?
A trip to Disneyland® Resort wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Downtown Disney. But many visitors to Anaheim who are not going to the Disneyland® Resort parks still want to experience a little Disney magic. Luckily, you can visit Downtown Disney without a Disneyland ticket.
What is Downtown Disney?
Downtown Disney is a public shopping, dining and entertainment district that is part of the Disneyland® Resort. Though still part of the Disneyland® Resort is not solely affiliated with the Disneyland® Resort theme parks which means that you do not need any type of ticket to enjoy everything that Downtown Disney has to offer.
However, you will need to abide by the same rules that apply at Disneyland when it comes to security. There are security checkpoints where you may be asked to relinquish certain items such as selfie sticks while you enjoy the Downtown Disney District.
Where is Downtown Disney?
Downtown Disney connects the three Disney hotels with the rest of the resort via the esplanade that runs between Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure. You can find the entrance to Downtown Disney on the corner of Magic Way and Disneyland Drive with access through the parking lot.
There is a monorail that runs directly between Tomorrowland in Disneyland® Park and the monorail station at Downtown Disney. There are also complimentary shuttles that run from the theme park parking lots to Downtown Disney departing from the Mickey and Friends lot or the Toy Story and Pumba lots.
Parking at Downtown Disney
For visitors just visiting Downtown Disney, there is plenty of short term parking available on-site. The parking lot is located on Magic Way, close by the Downtown Disney District. You receive three hours of free parking if you spend more than $20 on Disney merchandise, but you must have your parking ticket validated at one of the stores at Downtown Disney.
For visitors staying on-site and also visiting the parks, long term parking options include the Mickey and Friends parking lot as well as other Disney lots that are available for $25 per day. You can then catch the shuttle or talk a scenic 15 min stroll to Downtown Disney.
Downtown Disney Hours
Generally, Downtown Disney stores open when the parks open, although they do participate in Magic Morning and Extra Magic Hour. During the summer and holiday season, hours are slightly extended with shops and restaurants opening from 7 am until 2 am, however, if you are planning to visit Downtown Disney after your trip to Disneyland® Park you should check the hours of the individual restaurants to make sure that your favorites are still open.
If you are catching the monorail to and from Disneyland® Park, be aware that the operating hours are from 8 am until 12 am, so you don’t miss out on the magical view of the resort while riding the rail.
Things to Do
Eat, shop, and eat some more! There are so many amazing dining venues throughout Downtown Disney that you’ll have trouble just deciding on a single place to eat. From food trucks to fast food to table service restaurants, there is something for everyone to enjoy at Downtown Disney and because the district is located so close to the theme parks, you can easily drop by for a bite to eat before heading back to the parks for more magical Disney fun. Some of the food venues to experience include:
Restaurants, Quick Eats and Food Trucks
If you are looking for an extra special dining experience to complete your Disneyland® Resort visit, look no further than Catal. With its refined Mediterranean cuisine and airy upstairs dining room, you can enjoy a view of the bustling Downtown Disney district and you can even catch a look at the nightly fireworks display over Sleeping Beauty Castle from the patio.
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen
Creole and Cajun flavors tingle your taste buds at Ralph Brennan’s with New Orleans-style specialties including gumbo, jambalaya, and po’boy sandwiches. They also have an express version for tasty snacks on-the-go and don’t forget to try their fluffy beignets for dessert.
Eat the cupcake that started the craze! Sprinkles bakery offers spectacular cupcakes and cookies in a huge variety of flavors.
If you aren’t visiting the parks but still want to try some of the treats you can find there, then Marceline’s Confectionery is the place for you where you can find Disneyland classics like candy apples and handcrafted sweets.
La Brea Bakery Café
Offering sumptuous Californian specialties, La Brea Bakery Café features a beautiful shady outdoor dining area and an express kiosk where you can find gourmet meals made with their signature bread as well as many other healthy options. It is also the closest restaurant to the parks so you can run over for a bite then head back to the parks for more Disneyland fun.
Ballast Point Brewery
Ballast Point Brewery offers award-winning craft beer made at their on-site brewery which you can sip in the spacious beer garden or tasting room at the end of a long day of enjoying all the Disney attractions.
What is a trip to Disneyland® Resort without Disney merchandise and gifts to remember it by? At Downtown Disney district you can find a huge variety of big brand stores such as Sephora, Pandora or The LEGO Store where you can stock up on some of your favorite items. Or, head over to one of the Disney -themed boutiques such as The Disney Dress Shop for unique retro fashion pieces inspired by classic Disney films, or Disney Home, where you can find gorgeous Disney-themed décor to add a touch of magic to your home.
Even if you aren’t visiting the Disneyland® Resort theme parks, there is still plenty to keep you entertained at Downtown Disney. You can challenge your friends and family to a game of Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, an immersive virtual reality game with 3D technology that transports you to a galaxy far, far away. Or, head over to Flambeaux’s Jazz Club at Ralph Brennan’s for some smooth live music. Or, check out Splitsville and bowl a few lanes with your friends while enjoying some of their unique American fare.
For visitors just passing through, head over to Downtown Disney for a taste of the magic of Disney. And if you are a guest at Disneyland® Resort, be sure to include a visit to Downtown Disney when planning your visit to Disneyland® Resort as the perfect way to round out your visit to the Happiest Place on Earth.
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