Downtown Disney

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Joy S on June 24, 2008

This is an entire district of shops, restaurants, cinemas, a virtual reality interactive themed area and Cirque du Soleil.

Disney Marketplace is a collection of shops set around the Buena Vista Lagoon. It provides some of the best shopping opportunities at Disney World.

We spent ages in the Lego Imagination Centre. It has an activity centre just outside the front door that allows hands on play. We had to drag our son away from here. The shop has lots of really clever Lego sculptures including a huge T-Rex. There is a Build a Lego character station and Pick a Brick wall. The green Lego serpent rising out of the lagoon is also great.

World of Disney and Once Upon a Toy have every item of Disney merchandise you can think of. We especially enjoyed building our own light sabre.

Basin has bath products and lots of different "flavoured" soaps. We picked up some great Mickey Mouse souvenir soap in this shop.

We had lunch in the Earl of Sandwich shop at Disney Marketplace. I highly recommend the food here. They have the most delicious hot sandwiches. My husband and I shared one of their specials while our son enjoyed the turkey kids sandwich.

The West Side of Downtown Disney has a different feel to Disney Marketplace. It was built in September 1997 and has a more sophisticated "worldly" atmosphere, but there are lots of family friendly entertainment options.

We had dinner here one evening in Bongos - the Cuban style restaurant owned by Gloria Estefan and her husband. We arrived at 5:30 when it was half-full, but by the time we left at 7:00pm they were queuing for tables. The atmosphere is good - lively music and nice decor. We especially liked the Bongo bar stools. The service was good, but we were a bit disappointed with the food and felt it was a bit bland.

We also spent a couple of hours at Disney Quest. Our Disney tickets covered us for the entrance fee - otherwise it would have cost $37 to go in per person. We did enjoy it, but I don't think it is value for money at $37.

There are 5 floors of virtual and interactive attractions. One of the best parts is the lift that takes you up from the entrance. It has amazing special effects and a cute cartoon genie.

They have a huge human pinball machine - we all enjoyed this. Reuben, our son was under the height limit to play, but was able to use a manual control. He ended up coming second over all in our game. We did the human pinball option - it is exhausting.

There is a whole floor packed with children's arcade games. We spent ages here.

Last of all we tried out the Jungle Cruise - an interactive ride down a river which is great fun.

On our last evening in Orlando, we went to the Cirque du Soleil show at the West Side - La Nouba. This is a really exciting show in one of the most unusually styled buildings in this area. It is a bit like a circus - but there are no animals, only human performances with amazing feats of choreographed acts.

The whole show was fantastic. The live action stunts and sequences are breathtaking and awe inspiring. The live music which is a bit weird and eerie just adds to the experience.

There are 2 x 90 minute shows at 6pm and 9pm. The theatre has 2 tiers and all seats get an excellent view.

We booked our seats on-line months in advance, but there were still seats available just one hour before the performance. In fact at the 6pm show there were quite a number of empty seats. We paid $89 for our tickets ($63 for the child seat) so it is quite expensive.

They open the doors at 5:20 for the 6:00 performance. There is a small food area selling pretzels, hot dogs and drinks, including alcoholic beverages. They welcome food and drink in the theatre. In fact during the show people were going in and out for refills.

There are very nice full sized leather like cushions that act as great seat boosters for children. They are stacked up outside the seating area as you enter the theatre.

We all loved this show. It was amazing. It is a visual delight - there are always 2 or 3 things happening at the same time on stage, the performers enter and exit in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways and it just holds your attention the whole way through. I would thoroughly recommend it.

Downtown Disney
Walt Disney World Resort
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32821
+1 407 828 3056

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