Downtown Disney 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 Park. You'll find many trendy stores, delicious restaurants and family entertainment. In fact, with recent entertainment and restaurant additions, it's better than ever! It's a perfect nightcap after a day in the parks. It's also a fun way to spend a few non-park hours. While Disneyland theme parks remain temporarily closed due to COVID-19, Downtown Disney has been one of our favorite ways to get a taste of Disney magic with some Disney-themed treats, music and retail therapy.
We got a little holiday gift this past season. Beginning Nov. 19, the Downtown Disney District expanded into the closed Disney California Adventure Buena Vista Street area for additional shopping and dining! Hop down to "What's New and Coming Soon to Downtown Disney at Disneyland" for all the deets.
Keep in mind that Downtown Disney has different hours than when the theme parks are open. The shopping district usually opens at 10 a.m. each day and closes at 8 or 9 p.m. most nights. The Disneyland app is the best way to find the most up-to-date hours.
Our guide to Downtown Disney will give you an overview of the hoppin' scene, exciting changes to come, plus tips on how to make the most of your visit. Keep in mind that most of these details discuss Downtown Disney as if the theme parks are open. We frogs are always optimistically looking ahead to that time. For now, some dining locations may be closed and there are other temporary changes in place. To get the most updated details on Downtown Disney while the theme parks are closed, hop over to our Disneyland reopening post. Plus, we have some hopful tips in our post on visiting Downtown Disney right now, with advice on when to visit, where to park and how to manage virtual queues.
The Ultimate Guide to Downtown Disney at Disneyland
Downtown Disney at Disneyland — Hours, Location, Parking and Security
Downtown Disney at Disneyland is located off Disneyland Drive between all the Disneyland on-site hotels. You can access the parking lot just north of Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. 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 — with the Esplanade between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. You may reach Downtown Disney via its Simba Lot (near Disney's Paradise Pier hotel) or the theme park shuttles that run from the Mickey and Friends parking structure or Toy Story lot. If you are staying off Harbor Blvd., just go through security as you would to enter Disneyland, and continue straight past the theme park entrances to enter Downtown Disney.
Downtown Disney has a Monorail station to transport guests straight into Disneyland. Downtown Disney's 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. Those hours are are shortened in 2021 due to the theme park closures.
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
For a limited time during Disneyland's initial reopening, Downtown Disney parking in the Simba lot was free. But all good things must come to an end. As of Nov. 19, 2020, parking is $10 per vehicle. Parking is limited, though, to control capacity at Downtown Disney. The lot closes periodically due to crowds on the weekends.
Visitors used to pay at booths upon exiting the lot in their cars, but visitors now pay upon pulling into the lot. We see new Parking Self Pay stations installed near the parking lot. They are not in use yet. Once they become active, be sure to bring your ticket and to pay before you return to your car!
Here is what to expect during normal operation (possibly after the parks reopen). If visiting only Downtown Disney at Disneyland and staying off-site, you can use the short-term Simba parking lot near Paradise Pier Hotel (the Magic Way lot is no longer for guests). If you park in the Simba lot, you'll receive three hours of free parking if you purchase $20 or more in merchandise; you 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 five 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 are planning a lengthy visit to Downtown Disney or will be visiting the theme parks, park in the Pixar Pals or 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, you can take the pedestrian bridge to Downtown Disney. You can access the pedestrian bridge from the second floor of the Pixar Pals structure. You'll go through security once you reach Downtown Disney.
If you choose to to take the tram 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 Toy Story lot 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 can expect extra steps when going through security due to COVID-19 protocols. You'll undergo a temperature check, and Disneyland is rolling out contactless security checks. Expect to see more plexiglass separating you from cast members. You'll put your items on a table, slide them forward yourself, walk through a metal detector and pick them up after you pass through.
When the theme parks are open, you are allowed to bring any rented wheelchairs or strollers with you up to the exit. 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 at the Harbor Boulevard entrance. Once you go through security from that side of the Esplanade, you can continue straight past the park entrances 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 such as fajitas, carnitas or steak ranchera. It's 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.
Uva Bar & Cafe
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 & Cafe 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 Bar
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 — Quick-Service Restaurants
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. 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 West location is closer to the LEGO store.
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?) make a habit of hopping by Earl of Sandwich. You can get hot sandwiches and kid-friendly options at this location near the Disneyland Hotel.
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. Even though this is a quick-service dining location, if you sit at the bar you can order there and be served. It's a good way to skip the order line.
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, crispy treats, Mickey cookies and other freshly made treats (such as the addictive churro toffee) 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
Salt & Straw, opened in October 2018 and we were among 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 really can’t decide, ask for split scoops for an additional 50 cents. Be sure to check out the limited-edition seasonal flavors.
There are multiple kiosks for purchasing gifts, treats, 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 & Cafe is an outdoor bar below Catal in the heart of Downtown Disney. Enjoy food, along with 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 Ristorante e Bar. 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 surfwear brands for swimsuits, clothes, footwear, trendy socks, watches and eyewear. Sizes and styles are perfect for that teeny wahine or 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. It can be an easy place to find ears, accessories or seasonal clothing items without the crowds of World of Disney. There are items for guys too!
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. (Play areas may be closed due to COVID-19.)
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!
This new shoe and sandal shop replaced Sanuk. Step in for some popular California footwear options such as Sanuk or Reef sandals, Vans, Disney (and other) Havaianas, Stance socks and accessories.
Rinse Bath & Body Co.
Shop for skincare products that are made with all-natural ingredients.
Browse the hottest brands in fragrances, skincare, cosmetics and hair care.
Sugarboo & Co.
This family-owned boutique specializes in whimsical gifts and home goods.
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!
WonderGround Gallery (temporarily Star Wars Trading Post)
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 (such as pins and Vinylmation) at WonderGround Gallery. This shop was temporarily taken over by a Star Wars Trading Post with items direct from Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge (while the parks are closed). However, Star Wars Trading Post has moved to the former Rainforest Cafe location and WonderGround will return to its rightful place.
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 Nuimos 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.
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 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.
Buy Items from Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
While Disneyland theme parks are closed, the WonderGround Gallery has been taken over by a Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge pop-up shop. It moved from WonderGround Gallery to the old Rainforest Cafe location in February. It's open to the general public as of Feb. 19. WonderGround will return.
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 employee 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. (Note that for Disneyland's initial reopening, fireworks may be unavailable.)
- 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.
What's New and Coming Soon to Downtown Disney at Disneyland
Downtown Disney is undergoing a lot of changes. For example, a few of the quick-service locations, such as Jamba, Salt & Straw, Sprinkles and Jazz Kitchen Express, added Mobile Order service. The newest quick-sevice dining location, Asian Street Eats, has closed.
Frogciting news! The Downtown Disney District has expanded into Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure.
You can do some shopping at:
- Elias & Co.
- Julius Katz & Sons
- Kingswell Camera Shop
- Trolley Treats (it's where to find all your favorite Disney treats such as caramel apples, crispy treats and baked goods)
- Off the Page
- Stage 17 (now accessible from Hollywood Land)
- Studio Store
You can also enjoy some favorite Disneyland food and snacks on Buena Vista Street:
- Carthay Circle Lounge - Unwind in the expanded outdoor seating area with a glass of wine, craft beer or drink. Carthay Circle presents an all-new menu of cocktails and Mediterranean-inspired food.
- Smokejumpers Grill - Get your tasty American classics for lunch and dinner with a streamlined menu of burgers, fries, onion rings and craft beer. The primary way to place your order at this dining location is through Mobile Order on the Disneyland app.
- Award Wieners - This Hollywood Land hotdog stand is serving up a Disneyland favorite — corndogs! Mobile Order is the preferred way to order and pay.
- Vending Carts - The carts are open so you can get your Disneyland popcorn, churros, ice cream and other classic Disney snacks we know you miss so much. Oh boy!
There is no admission fee, and because the theme park is technically closed there will be no characters or entertainment on Buena Vista Street. Parking is $10. Capacity is limited on Buena Vista Street, so you may need to wait to enter via a Mobile Wait List at peak times.
Our post on visiting Downtown Disney right now has all the latest details. Hop back to learn about other new and exciting dining options and experiences coming your way!
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.
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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