Downtown Disney at Disneyland has been such a frogtastic part of our Disneyland experience that it's hard for our frog family to remember a time when it didn't exist. Downtown Disney opened in 2001 and is a walkable shopping, dining and entertainment area just outside the gates of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. You'll find many trendy stores, delicious restaurants and entertainment. It's a perfect nightcap after a day in the parks. It's also a fun way to spend a few non-park hours. Here's our guide to Downtown Disney at Disneyland that will give you an overview of the hoppin' scene, exciting changes to come, plus tips on how to make the most of your visit.
The Ultimate Guide to Downtown Disney at Disneyland
Downtown Disney at Disneyland - Hours, Location, Parking & Security
Downtown Disney at Disneyland is located off Magic Way near the corner of Magic Way and Disneyland Drive. For visiting frogs looking for an actual address to plan with, you can find Downtown Disney at 1580 Disneyland Dr. Anaheim, CA 92802.
Downtown Disney connects all three on-site Disneyland Resort Hotels — Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa and Disney's Paradise Pier (the furthest walk) — with the Esplanade between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. You may reach Downtown Disney via its parking lot or the theme park shuttles that run from the Mickey and Friends parking structure or Toy Story/Pumbaa lots. Downtown Disney even has a Monorail station to transports guests straight into Disneyland. Downtown Disney hours are usually from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. in the summer and other busy times, although most stores and restaurants close much earlier.
Monorail hours are usually 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. during summer time, weekends and holidays. It opens when Disneyland Park opens. It opens with Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning at Disneyland and closes when the park closes, but you can check online for all hours.
Downtown Disney at Disneyland - Parking
If visiting only Downtown Disney at Disneyland and staying off-site, you can use the short-term parking lot off of Magic Way, just before the Disneyland Hotel. You'll receive 3 hours of free parking if you purchase $20 or more in merchandise and can get your ticket validated at any Downtown Disney location. This includes quick service restaurants, kiosks, merchandise locations and table service restaurants. You can get up to 5 hours of free parking with validation from a Downtown Disney table service restaurant. After that, prices are $14 per hour, up to a daily maximum of $56. Each hour beyond the validations costs $14 (charged in 30-minute increments) after a 15-minute grace period. A lost ticket will cost you $56. Hop tip: Don't lose your ticket.
If you are planning a lengthy visit to Downtown Disney or will be visiting the theme parks, park in the Mickey and Friends parking structure or other Disney lots for $25 per day. From the Mickey and Friends parking structure, you can take the parking tram to Downtown Disney, or follow the signs for a 15-minute walk. From the parking structure, you will enter security checkpoints before getting on the tram. After that checkpoint, there are no further security checks. Shuttles from Disney's other theme park parking lots — Toy Story and Pumbaa — will let you off on the other side of the Esplanade, which is a short walk away from Downtown Disney.
Downtown Disney at Disneyland - Security
Disneyland Resort has increased the boundaries of the secure areas. When entering Downtown Disney from the parking lot or hotel, you will go through a bag check and metal detector. You may see police dogs working as well. Anything not allowed in Disneyland is not allowed in Downtown Disney — leave those selfie sticks and oversized strollers at home! You can freely wander from the Esplanade into Downtown Disney area and back. You are also allowed to bring any theme park rented wheelchairs or strollers with you. Note that to get your deposit back from a wheelchair or electric conveyance vehicle (ECV) rental, you’ll need to return it to the rental location near the park, but you can leave a rented stroller in Downtown Disney. The multiple security checkpoints usually result in shorter wait times, depending on when you've arrived.
There is a security checkpoint for guests arriving from the Toy Story Lot and Pumbaa lot buses as well as others coming from the Harbor Boulevard entrance. Once you go through security from that side of the Esplanade, you can continue straight past the park gates to enter Downtown Disney.
Downtown Disney at Disneyland - Table Service Restaurants
From fancy bowling alleys to open-air cafes, you'll find many unique sit-down restaurants at Downtown Disney at Disneyland. You can make reservations for any of these table service restaurants through the Disney Dining Reservations system. It's possible to snag a walk-in table, but we recommend reservations, especially on a weekend or during peak times. All restaurants are casual — hey, it's California — with Catal being on the nicer end of casual.
Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen
Dine on Creole and Cajun specialties and all that jazz in this two-story restaurant. You'll find French Quarter fare such as gumbo ya-ya, southern fried chicken, red beans and rice, seafood, po'boy sandwiches and pasta jambalaya. Don't worry — they have familiar, kid-friendly favorites as well. Check in for brunch, lunch or dinner. But don't skip dessert. Beignets, bananas foster (flambéed tableside!) and peach cobbler are calling your name.
If you are craving tastes from south of the border, then Tortilla Jo's is the way to go. Start out with guacamole made tableside or some loaded nachos before digging into street tacos or especiales de la casa like fajitas, carnitas or steak ranchera. They are open for brunch (chilaquiles anyone?), lunch or dinner. Can't decide which dessert to get? Start a Mexican Revolution with four mini samples. On Saturdays, you can enjoy the strolling Mariachi Divas.
Sit right in the middle of the action at this outdoor patio bar restaurant. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. You'll have many dishes to choose from, including tapas, burgers, salads and fish tacos. Each dish pairs perfectly with Uva Bar's extensive list of wine, beer, cocktails and milkshakes. Uva Bar is the more casual sister bar/restaurant to Catal.
If you're feeling like a fancy frog and looking for fine dining, Catal offers modern Mediterranean food in their upstairs airy dining room. There is limited indoor dining downstairs. Catal is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lunch offers more casual dining, while dinner is more elegant. However, there is no dress code, so casual attire is appropriate. On some nights you can catch a glimpse of the Disneyland fireworks from the patio.
Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria
Naples recently underwent a renovation and has a whole new fresh look with a gorgeous expanded patio dining area and bar. It makes you want to sit down and chill out with a nice mocktail or maybe even something a little stronger. Naples still serves up Italian food and pizza, including some tasty new menu items to go with the new look. Share some Piccoli Piatti (small plates) or get started on some Zuppa (soup) and Insalate (salad) before digging into the hearty pasta, entrees or pizza. Save some room for tiramisu, cannoli, panna cotta with hints of orange, gelati or sorbetti.
La Brea Bakery
Known for their many varieties of freshly baked bread, La Brea Bakery serves brunch until 3 p.m. and offers tasty dinner plates. La Brea is the closest restaurant to the theme parks and is worth the short hop over. Salad eaters have many healthy choices here. There are also fresh sandwiches and entrees.
Ballast Point Brewing Co.
This bar and restaurant is located upstairs, across from Catal and Uva Bar. It offers an extensive menu of California cuisine that features local sustainable ingredients in their salads, flatbreads, small plates and entrees. It's also serving up award-winning craft brews with the very first on-site brewery, tasting room and outdoor beer garden in Downtown Disney.
Splitsville Luxury Lanes
Splitsville is an eclectic restaurant and entertainment spot where you will find indoor/outdoor seating either at a bowling lane or at a table. You can enjoy hand-tossed pizzas, gourmet burgers, filet sliders, grilled avocado and ahi tuna, or even sushi. They have healthy options you’ll actually want to eat. The tadpoles will enjoy pizza, grilled cheese or chicken tenders while you can dig into something a little more adventurous like short ribs or veggie bowls. Catch a game on the flat screen TVs, or bowl a few games. There is something for everyone in this huge and unique dining space. After dinner, you can step outside and catch the Disneyland fireworks with a great view.
Downtown Disney at Disneyland - Fast Food
Who has time to eat when you're at the Happiest Place on Earth? Downtown Disney at Disneyland offers great fast food restaurants. Check them out for a snack or as a less expensive alternative to table service.
For a smoothie or energy bowl on the go, hop into Jamba Juice. Get the kids to drink their greens for a nutritious start to their day.
You can get your caffeine fix at the Starbucks near World of Disney. Take it to go or sip it on the outdoor patio while doing some great frog (or people) watching. What’s better than one Starbucks location at Downtown Disney? TWO Starbucks locations! The second, smaller Starbucks location closer to the Lego store has reopened.
La Brea Bakery Express
Grab a quick breakfast panini, pastry or coffee before hitting the parks. This is your stop for lunch or dinner to get sandwiches made on fresh-baked bread. They also offer satisfying soups in a bread bowl, salads and even personal pizzas. They have an outdoor patio so you can relax and eat. Did you know about their Black Market gelato and sorbet scoops and push pops? Well, now you do. You're welcome. Ribbit!
When you need to build your own personal pizza with a variety of toppings, then hop into the newly renovated Napolini pizzeria to design your own pie. They also offer fresh grab-and-go sandwiches, salads and desserts.
Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Express
The Jazz Kitchen is one of our favorite stops for snacks like beignets and Snoball shaved ice. Snacking on their gumbo ya-ya, jambalaya and po' boy sandwiches transports you to New Orleans. At breakfast, try the cinnamon French toast dippers, breakfast burrito or sandwich.
Earl of Sandwich
Fans of inexpensive and tasty food (who isn’t?) were unhappy when Earl of Sandwich closed temporarily in summer 2018, but good news! It’s back! You can get hot sandwiches and kid-friendly options once again.Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beer
Black Tap serves up burgers and signature, over-the-top CrazyShake milkshakes with a fabulous fusion of luncheonette-style food, beverages and old-school hip hop music! Order at the counter and take a seat. Or, if you just want a CrazyShake, order at the to-go window for faster service.
Downtown Disney has food trucks bringing in some fresh options like burgers and crepes, so if you think you’ve already tried it all, change it up with a food truck option.
If gourmet cupcakes are your thing, then Sprinkles cupcakes and cookies might hit the sweet spot. Lily loves this place!
Taqueria at Tortilla Jo's
Build your custom taco at this colorful outdoor patio in front of Tortilla Jo's. Add a margarita or Mexican beer to sip while you dine. At breakfast, feast on one of several breakfast burritos or entrees.
Enjoy a fresh-baked flavored pretzel or pretzel dog with the appropriate dip, of course. Whether you go for the sinful cinnamon, cheese meltdown, or pepperoni twist pretzel, be sure to wash it down with some fresh or frozen strawberry lemonade.
It's no secret that we love Disneyland caramel apples. We have a whole post about them. You can get all the caramel apples and freshly made treats you'll find in the parks in Downtown Disney at Marceline's Confectionery. This is a great stop in case you forgot to purchase the goods inside the parks.
Salt & Straw
The new ice cream shop, Salt & Straw, opened in October 2018 and we were amongst the first people in line because … well … ice cream. We all scream for ice cream! And it’s not just basic ice cream, but organic and handmade ice cream. The flavors are creative, and you’ll want to try a whole bunch before making a final decision because maybe you’ve never tasted honey lavender, strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper, chocolate gooey brownie or freckled mint TCHO-colate chip (vegan and gluten-free) ice cream. You might think that the vegan flavors can’t possibly rival their dairy-rich counterparts, but you’d be wrong. They’re delicious. We tried all of the vegan and gluten-free flavors, too, and loved them as much (and possibly more) than the other flavors we tried. Hop tip: Get a double scoop and share. A single scoop is $6 but a second scoop is $2. If you have an annual pass, that second scoop is only $1. If you really can’t decide, they sell split scoops for an additional 50 cents. They also have limited edition seasonal flavors.
There are multiple kiosks for purchasing gifts, souvenirs, t-shirts, sunglasses and more. Is henna or face painting on your vacation bucket list? Well, hop right up and get some body art!
Downtown Disney at Disneyland - Bars
All of the table-service restaurants at Downtown Disney at Disneyland include a bar. If you're looking for more bar options — always a good thing — we have a post on the best bars and lounges at Disneyland.
Uva Bar is an outdoor bar below Catal in the heart of Downtown Disney. Enjoy signature cocktails, beer, wine and Tapas in a family-friendly setting.
The Flambeaux's Jazz Club transforms the Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen into the French Quarter in New Orleans. Enjoy New Orleans specialty drinks like a Cat-5 Hurricane, Huckleberry Lemonade, Mardi Gras Mojito or a Southern Peach Sweet Tea.
Tortilla Jo's offers an impressive list of margaritas, tequila flights, and even "the bad stuff" — 2 oz. of small-batched barrel-aged tequila.
Relax with a cocktail, sangria or a glass of wine at the new beautifully lit outdoor bar at Naples. They created some exciting new mocktails for the tadpoles in your crowd, too.
Splitsville serves up bowl drinks, cocktails and handcrafted spirits. You an also find wine, draft beers and bottled beers.
Ballast Point Brewing Co. has an impressive 3-barrel brewing rig and and array of craft beers on tap and some wines too. Check out the inviting tasting room.
Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beer serves beer and cocktails, alongside the burgers, wings and CrazyShakes.
Downtown Disney at Disneyland - Shopping
Downtown Disney at Disneyland is a small outdoor shopping mall with a variety of shops. You'll enjoy souvenir shopping, picking up necessary sunglasses and home goods. You can even learn to dress like a local at the surf shop. Looking for Disneybounding outfits you can wear in the parks or Disney collectibles? They have that, too.
Surf's up at this rad shop. Soak in the top surf wear brands for swimsuits, clothes, footwear, trendy socks, watches and eyewear. Sizes and styles are perfect for that teeny wahine or a big kahuna on your list. You'll be toadally ready to show off your new threads at the beach.
Disney Dress Shop
If you are looking for the perfect outfit for Dapper Day (or any day), then take a whirl in one of the whimsical Disney-inspired dresses in this unique shop. They also sell coordinating jewelry, hats and handbags to enhance your ensemble.
If you're looking to bring some Disney magic home to enjoy daily, then these gift items, gadgets, kitchen items and décor will offer the right amount of pixie dust to keep the enchantment going.
Disney Pin Traders
Just outside the Monorail Station, you can find fun collectible pins that you can buy and trade with others to grow your collection.
The LEGO Store
Step into this dazzling store with impressive LEGO displays, a Pick-a-Brick Wall, and play areas to shop for your next LEGO set.
This is the place to get handmade chocolates, treats and caramel apples. It's also a great place to pick up edible souvenirs and gifts.
Craft a one-of-a-kind charm bracelet or other jewelry at Pandora. Get a gift for yourself or someone special. It's the box you'll love to open. Be sure to check out the charms that are only available at the Disneyland location!
Get yourself some comfy, eco-friendly sandals for when you're heading to the pool, beach, tide pools or mall. Your feet will say "ohm" to the Yoga mat flip-flops or "DUDE" to the protection and support of the Sidewalk Surfers. They sell male and female Stance socks, including Disney Stance.
Browse the hottest brands in fragrances, skincare, cosmetics and hair care.
Did you lose your sunglasses on a ride? Maybe it's time for a new pair. Get a fresh new look in sun protection at Sunglass Icon. The Southern California sun is bright. Don't go out without shades!
Whether you are looking for a unique, limited-edition piece of Disney art, or eclectic art from a local artist, you'll find these treasures and novelty items (like pins and Vinylmation) at WonderGround Gallery.
World of Disney
Welcome to the West Coast's largest selection of Disney souvenirs. You can find plush toys, collectibles, apparel, costumes, toys, pins, home décor, memorabilia and all the Tsum Tsums you didn't know you needed. Hop into the store to take in the fresh new look.
Downtown Disney at Disneyland - Entertainment
Even if you've shopped, dropped and dined to your heart's delight, there's still more fun at Downtown Disney! Select evenings, you can enjoy a variety of live entertainment. To get the scoop on live performances or special events, consult the Disneyland online entertainment calendar.
Splitsville Luxury Lanes rolled into Downtown Disney in 2018, bringing bowling, live entertainment and fabulous food with it. This is not grandpa frog’s bowling alley, but he’ll probably love it just the same.
A new Star Wars virtual reality experience landed in Downtown Disney. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire by ILMxLAB and The Void immerses guests into the Star Wars universe with a multi-sensory experience with sights, sounds, touch and even smell. Tad wants to do it again and again. There is a new Wreck-It Ralph option as well: Ralph Breaks VR!
Build Your LEGO Masterpiece
Outside The LEGO Store, you can construct a masterpiece with LEGOS. Inside, you'll find workshops and club meetings. Take photos of the amazing creations both inside and outside the shop. There is also a Duplo building station for the youngest tadpoles.
Stop by the Disney Pin Trader's kiosk near the Monorail entrance to add to your collection or start a new one. You can trade with Cast Members and guests to build your collection.
Get Pressed Coins
The Disneyland Resort has over 150 commemorative images that can be pressed onto a penny, nickel, dime or quarter. Kids will enjoy collecting these inexpensive souvenirs. The Downtown Disney locations are in the World of Disney store and in the Disney Dress Shop.
Attend a Bourbon Street-Style Party
As the sun goes down, the party is on at the Flambeaux Jazz Club in Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen. Duck in for music inspired by New Orleans.
Most evenings, you can find various musicians and street performers as you wander through Downtown Disney. There are usually more on the weekend than during the week.
There is a caricature artist at a kiosk outside of the World of Disney store. Lily found the booth with the artist that will make personalized artwork out of your name and would not leave without one.
Meet an Artist
At the WonderGround Gallery, you can sometimes meet an artist in residence or see an artist showcase. This meeting is an excellent opportunity to get signed pieces. Check the calendar for days and times.
Downtown Disney at Disneyland - Tips
- Catch the fireworks in Downtown Disney! You can see some of the show from the second story Catal Restaurant patio. You can also see them just outside of security in the Downtown Disney parking lot, as well as from the bridge between the Pin Trader kiosk and Tortilla Jo's (across from The LEGO Store). Our new favorite and less-obstructed view is between Splitsville and Tortilla Jo’s. Read our post on the best places to view Disneyland fireworks.
- Get a jump on Disney MaxPass. If you are going to Disneyland Park and already have your ticket, take the Monorail from Downtown Disney straight into Tomorrowland. Once you have scanned your park ticket at the station, you can reserve your first ride of the day.
- Rent a car and see the sights! There is an Alamo rental car office on-site for your convenience.
- Learn about the Disney Vacation Club. Hop up their kiosk and learn about Disney timeshares, including Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa (GORGEOUS). If you schedule a tour, they will entertain the kids while you listen to the presentation and may be compensated for your time by receiving multiple FASTPASS tickets.
Coming Soon to Downtown Disney at Disneyland
Downtown Disney is undergoing a lot of changes. Some new and exciting dining options and experiences are on the way!
- Sugarboo & Co. is a family-owned boutique that specializes in whimsical gifts and home goods.
Many people begin and end their day by walking through Downtown Disney. It is conveniently close to the theme parks. Guests often like to exit the parks to visit the restaurants and then return to spend the rest of the day in the parks. It is also fun to visit Downtown Disney on a day that you are not visiting the theme parks. However you decide to do it — shopping, dining or playing — you'll find something for everyone in your party at Downtown Disney. Now is an exciting time for Downtown Disney, with new ways to play at The Void and Splitsville, new changes to old favorites like Earl of Sandwich and Starbucks, making it more than ever a destination itself!
Do you make Downtown Disney your shopping, eating and entertainment destination? What is your favorite spot? Do you have any tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!
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