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Complete Guide to Downtown Disney (touring plans, shops & transportation)

Complete Guide to Downtown Disney (touring plans, shops & transportation)

The Downtown Disney District is located in the heart of the Disneyland Resort in California. Unlike Disney Springs at Walt Disney World, Downtown Disney is much smaller (but still worth a visit!).

Downtown Disney is easy to squeeze in during a trip, whether it be on a non-park day or even when you have tickets to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. 

It’s always best to have a plan when visiting Disney resorts and this complete guide to Downtown Disney will make your visit a lot smoother.

Let’s take a look…

UPDATE: The information below may be impacted by current reopening procedures at Downtown Disney. Please visit our Disneyland reopening guide for the most up-to-date information.

What Is Downtown Disney?

Downtown Disney has shopping, dining and entertainment experiences for guests. It’s also free and you don’t need a park ticket to enter.

The area is a main strip that you can walk straight through and is located just outside the gates of Disneyland Park, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, and Disney California Adventure.

You can explore a map on the official Disneyland website.

Downtown Disney map

Planning Your Time In Downtown Disney

Fitting Downtown Disney Into A Trip Plan

Downtown Disney is easy to fit into a trip to Disneyland. You can either pair it with a half-day at one of the parks or on a rest or non-park day.

It also makes a great mid-day break, whether that be for lunch or shopping, as a way to avoid the in-park crowds.

Another good time to visit Downtown Disney is either on your arrival or departure day if you want to do something “Disney” but don’t want to purchase park tickets for your first or final day.

Unlike Disney Springs, Downtown Disney isn’t big enough to plan a visit for an entire day, but it is worth visiting for at least a morning, afternoon, or evening. 

Weekends and evenings are typically busier, so it’s best to keep that in mind, especially when booking dining reservations.

Suggested Touring Plan For Downtown Disney

Trying to figure out how to best plan your time?

Here’s just one way to spend a fun evening in Downtown Disney.

  • Make an early dinner reservation at a restaurant that speaks to you. Ballast Point Brewing Company is a good choice. Not only does the restaurant sit on the second floor providing great views of Downtown Disney, but the menu has a variety of options and the craft beer list is huge. There’s also a wine list available.
  • Shopping is a must and you should definitely head to World of Disney, which has quite the collection of Disney merchandise. Disney Home is another great stop, especially if you want some more Disney items for your kitchen.
  • After letting your stomach settle, dessert should always be an option. Either visit Salt & Straw for some of the best ice cream you’ll ever taste or check out Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express and pick up some homemade beignets. 
  • Be sure to check out Downtown Disney’s displays scattered throughout. They are always changing and perfectly-themed (and they make for great photo spots!).
  • Before you head home, grab a treat for the road or for a midnight snack. You should check out Marceline’s Confectionary for a sweet treat like a special-shaped Rice Krispy treat, a bag of candy, or a yummy cookie.
Downtown Disney 3D Mickey horticulture display 2019

Guide To Downtown Disney Transportation

There are multiple ways to get to Downtown Disney. Some are free, whereas others cost an additional fee.

Walking

If you are staying at a hotel close enough to walk to one of the parks, you’re close enough to walk to Downtown Disney. 

Car Parking

Downtown Disney District Parking can be found off of Disneyland Drive, between West Katella Avenue and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.

Parking goes as follows: You can get three hours of same-day parking with a $20 minimum purchase and validation from any Downtown Disney location. Or, you can get up to five hours of same-day parking with validation from any Downtown Disney table-service restaurant.

Note: Restaurants and lounges at Disneyland Resort hotels don’t validate for Downtown Disney District parking areas.

Beyond the three and five hours offerings, each additional hour costs $14, charged in 30-minute increments, with a minimum $7 charge after the initial 15-minute grace period. The maximum daily parking and lost ticket fee is $56. 

Monorail

There is a Monorail Station inside Downtown Disney that goes directly into the Tomorrowland area of Disneyland Park. 

To access the Monorail in Downtown Disney, you must have valid admission to Disneyland Park. You can also access the Monorail at the Tomorrowland Station and take it to Downtown Disney. 

Disneyland Monorail

Hotel Shuttles

Each of the three official Disneyland Resort hotels are located within walking distance to Downtown Disney.

However, some of the Good Neighbor Hotels offer shuttles that are either complimentary or available for an additional fee with service to the Disneyland Resort, where you can also access Downtown Disney.

Many of the Good Neighbor Hotels are within walking distance with some located right across the street, so you can simply just walk, especially if a shuttle isn’t offered. 

These are the hotels that offer shuttles:

  • Complimentary
    • Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel
    • Candy Cane Inn
  • Additional Fee
    • Anaheim Marriott
    • Anaheim Marriott Suites
    • Anaheim Portofino Inn & Suites
    • Best Western Plus Raffles Inn & Suites
    • Best Wester Plus Stovall’s Inn
    • Clarion Hotel Anaheim Resort
    • Clementine Hotel & Suites Anaheim
    • Cortona Inn & Suites Anaheim Resort
    • Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Resort Convention Center
    • Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance
    • Delta Hotels by Marriott Anaheim Garden Grove
    • Desert Palms Hotel & Suites Anaheim Resort
    • DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Anaheim Resort Convention Center
    • Embassy Suites by Hilton Anaheim North
    • Embassy Suites by Hilton Anaheim South
    • Four Points by Sheraton Anaheim
    • Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Anaheim Garden Grove
    • Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Anaheim Resort Convention Center
    • Hilton Anaheim
    • Hilton Garden Inn Anaheim Garden Grove
    • Holiday Inn Anaheim Resort Area
    • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Anaheim Resort Area
    • Holiday Inn & Suites Anaheim
    • Homewood Suites by Hilton Anaheim Maingate Area
    • Homewood Suites by Hilton Anaheim Resort Convention Center
    • Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel & Water Playground
    • Hyatt House at Anaheim Resort Convention Center
    • Hyatt Place at Anaheim Resort Convention Center
    • Hyatt Regency Orange County
    • Motel 6 Anaheim Maingate
    • Red Lion Hotel Anaheim Resort
    • Residence Inn by Marriott Anaheim Resort Area Garden Grove
    • Residence Inn by Marriott Anaheim Resort Convention Center
    • Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort
    • Springhill Suites by Marriott Anaheim Maingate
    • Springhill Suites Marriott at Anaheim Resort Convention Center
    • Staybridge Suites Anaheim Resort Area
    • SunCoast Park Hotel Anaheim 

Guest Pickup & Dropoff, Including Rideshare Services

Commuting or using a rideshare service (like Uber or Lyft) is also an option.

Those who are either being picked up or dropped off, whether it be by someone they know or by an Uber, Lyft, or taxi, should take Magic Way from Disneyland Drive, then turn left at Downtown Drive and follow signs to the drop-off area for access to Downtown Disney.

It’s important to also note that standard parking rates will apply after the 15-minute grace period, so don’t linger.

Downtown Disney parking

Public Transportation

There’s also the option of using the Anaheim Resort Transit (ART) for a fee. Buses travel from many area hotels to the Disneyland Resort. Typically, buses start running at 7 a.m. through midnight seven days a week.  You can purchase passes online, including multi-day tickets.

Shopping At Downtown Disney

There are all kinds of stores, including:

  • Curl Surf – top surf wear brands, like Hurley®, Roxy®, Billabong®, Duvin®, and Quiksilver®
  • The Disney Dress Shop – an assortment of detailed, Disney- themed dresses and accessories
  • Disney Home – seasonally curated home décor, gadgets and other items that are Disney-themed
  • Disney’s Pin Traders – buy and trade pins with Cast Members and fellow collectors, along with starter kits and lanyards
  • The LEGO® Store – the country’s second-largest LEGO Store with displays, interactive play areas and a selection of LEGO products
  • Marceline’s Confectionary – sweets and treats, including candy apples, chocolate-covered pretzels, flavored popcorn, cookies, and more
  • PANDORA® Jewelry – customizable bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings, charms, and more
  • Pressed Coin Machines – a machine that offers different commemorative images that can be pressed into a penny, nickel, dime, or quarter
  • Rinse Bath & Body Co. – soaps, bath bombs, essential oils, and more skincare items that are cruelty-free and all-natural
  • Sanuk® – footwear for the active lifestyle made from natural and sustainable material
  • Sephora® – hundreds of fragrances, cosmetics, skincare, hair products, and other items offered, along with popular beauty collections, like Urban Decay and Bare Minerals
  • WonderGround Gallery Presents Star Wars Trading Post – features Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge merchandise and other themed-items
  • Sugarboo & Co. – fine quality art and fanciful goods for the home
  • Sunglass Icon® – hundreds of sunglasses from over 40 brands, like Tiffany, Coach, Burberry, Ray-Ban, and Oakley
  • World of Disney® – largest collection of Disney merchandise, toys, apparel, souvenirs, and collectibles on the West Coast
World of Disney at Downtown Disney in Disneyland

Guests Services At Downtown Disney

There aren’t any Guest Relations and Information centers in Downtown Disney, but they can be found throughout Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. For any questions, help with reservations, and other assistance, Guest Relations is the place to visit.

Of course, if you need assistance or have questions, ask a Downtown Disney Cast Member for help.

Downtown Disney Restaurants And Dining

Downtown Disney has 21 restaurants, including table and quick service locations.

There are a variety of options offered that fit a range of tastes and budgets. You can also book reservations at several of the dining spots.

Check out our guide to Downtown Disney restaurants and dining to learn all about the options you’ll find there.

Downtown Disney Entertainment Offerings

There are only a few set entertainment offerings at Downtown Disney. There is other entertainment that changes daily, so be sure to check the entertainment schedule on the Disneyland website and/or the Disneyland app for acts and times. 

Below is the entertainment offered daily.

Live Entertainment At Splitsville Kingpin Stage

Live entertainment at Splitsville in Downtown Disney

At Splitsville Luxury Lanes (more details listed below), there is live music every day of the week from local musicians.

Be sure to check the entertainment schedule on the official Disneyland website or via the Disneyland app for times.

Flambeaux’s Jazz Club

Flambeaux's Jazz Club in Downtown Disney

Each evening, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen transforms into a New Orleans-style jazz club.

To ensure you can see the live musicians, make an advanced dining reservation up to 60 days prior to your visit. You can either book online or by calling the Jazz Kitchen Host at (714) 776-5200. You can make a reservation in person, but openings are limited.

As previously mentioned, check the entertainment schedule on the official Disneyland website or via the Disneyland app for times.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes™ – Bowling

Splitsville Luxury Lanes in Downtown Disney

If you want to bowl, Splitsville Luxury Lanes is a great choice. There’s also dining and entertainment offered. 

As for dining, there are a range of menu options for lunch and dinner. Tip: you must book lanes and dining separately. For dining reservations, you can book online up to 60 days prior to your visit.

Bowling lanes can also be reserved online or via email, which is highly recommended. If your group is larger than 8 for both dining and bowling, call (657) 276-2440.

The VOID: Step Beyond Reality

The VOID at Downtown Disney in Disneyland

The VOID is a 3D virtual reality experience offering guests the chance to go on themed-adventures.

Currently, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire and Avengers: Damage Control (only available for a limited time) are offered.

Tickets can be purchased here. We recommend making reservations prior to your visit. Star Wars costs $34.95 per person and Avengers costs $39.95 per person.

Requirements: a height requirement of 48 inches, participants must be at least 10 years old, and you will have to sign a liability waiver.

Downtown Disney Hotels And Resorts

The three official Disneyland Resort hotels surround Downtown Disney and are within walking distance.

The Grand Californian Hotel & Spa also has a direct entrance to Downtown Disney. You must go through security to access the district. 

The Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier Hotel don’t have their own entrances, but are only a quick walk away. Like Grand Californian, you have to go through security first, but once you do, you won’t have to go through security again to enter Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure.

Some Good Neighbor Hotels are close to Downtown Disney, as well, but the Disneyland Resort Hotels neighbor the district. For more details on the hotels, check out our pros and cons guide here.

Does Downtown Disney sound like a place you’d like to visit during your trip?

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