The Disney Village Marketplace at Walt Disney World (WDW) in Florida forms part of the Downtown Disney area, which is the place to head for shopping, dining, and nightlife in WDW. Disney Village at Walt Disney World in Florida is one of the best places to shop in WDW. The Disney Village (known as the Marketplace) offers a brilliant range of Disney shops and is free to enter. It is completely accessible to people in wheelchairs.
The shops are open from Sunday to Thursday between 9:30am and 11pm and on Fridays and Saturdays between 9:30am and 11:30pm.
When is the best time to go?
It is a great place to head for if it's raining, but lots of other people will have the same idea! It's spectacular at night, as the whole Village is beautifully lit and is especially spectacular if you visit around Christmas time, with beautiful Christmas decorations everywhere.
Basically, there are lots and lots of shops. The biggest shop is the World of Disney, which is the biggest shop at Disney World and feature 12 rooms of Disney merchandise. Although you will find all the products sold here in other shops throughout Disney World, this is a great place to buy all your souvenirs if you want to so it all in one go. Beware, though, that this shop is huge, and it is VERY easy to lose children (and some grown-ups), so make sure that you keep a close eye on everyone in your party and have a meeting point in case you get split up.
The Gourmet Pantry is a beautiful pantry-type store featuring lots of homemade cakes and cookies. They also have a great deli counter with salads and such, like the potato salad, which is a real favourite of mine. This is a great place to buy lunch or dinner and eat it outside on one of the tables, and it is one of the few Disney food outlets that sells relatively healthy food. The coffee and hot chocolate are also fantastic here!
There are also some non-Disney shops. A few years ago, there used to be a really wide range of non-Disney shops, but these have been dwindling in number over the last few years. The LEGO centre is great for kids, and there is a large activity playground that is free for kids (and adults!) to play in. They also have a massive range of LEGO merchandise for you to buy in the store.
If you are looking for clothing, Summer Sands offer s range of clothing brands such as Quicksilver for men women. The clothes are no cheaper or expensive than anywhere else in Florida but it's a handy shop if you need an extra pair of non-Disney shorts! The sales staff is always very helpful and will be very accommodating, helping to find what you want. I purchased a T-shirt from there which they actually ordered specifically for me, as they didn't have my size.
Disney at Home is a great store for finding tasteful Disney accessories for the home. They've got a great range of bathroom accessories and gifts for children's rooms, such as bedding, etc. They also have some great sale items in this shop which make nice presents (candles are also cheap in here and great, inexpensive, and tasteful Disney presents)
'Tis the season???
Disney's Day of Christmas is a fantastic store with tons of Christmas decorations (all Disney, of course!). They have some brilliant buys for less than 5 dollars, and kids adore picking out their own Christmas tree decorations!
Who is it for?
This is a great place for everyone to visit. Even if you don't like shopping, it is great fun to walk around the lake and have lunch away from the theme parks.
Kids will love the miniature train (2 dollars per ride) that is here as well.
There is also a great water fountain (free) that kids love to play in. Don't worry too much about a change of clothing, as kids will dry off quickly in the sun!
Where can you eat?
The Rainforest Cafe is always a big hit and a fun place to eat and offers a TGI Friday standard of meal, such as burgers, salads, etc. The food is better than some of the other WDW restaurants, and meals start at about £5+ for a main course.
The first-ever McDonald's at Disney World is located the marketplace. Beware how much you order here, as super-sized meals are much bigger than at home. If you buy a drink cup, you can also refill it as many times as you want, so this can help to save a bit of money if you are on a budget.
Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop is a great place to try some spectacular chocolate and desserts, and they have free samples to try before you buy, and you can smell the chocolate from miles away! My favourite is the hot-fudge sundae, but watch the calories!!
How to get there?
You can get a WDW bus from any resort or other theme park attraction. The buses run directly to all three stops at Downtown Disney, starting with the Marketplace, then Pleasure Island and West Side. You can also walk from the Marketplace to Pleasure Island and then the West Side, although it's a bit of a hike!
You can also get a boat from Disney Port Orleans resort. This is a great way to travel, and you get a fantastic view of all of Downtown Disney as the boat arrives. The boats take about 20 minutes, and you have a lovely scenic cruise down the river going past the tree houses and the golf course. This is also lovely at night as you get the full 'Disney' lights effect. Make sure you wear a coat if it's cold, as it VERY cold at night on the boat, and also cover up because of the insects in summer!