Downtown Disney at Disneyland is such a part of our Disneyland experience that it is hard for us to remember a time when it did not exist. Opened way back in 2001, Downtown Disney is a walkable shopping, dining and entertainment area just outside the gates of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. You'll find trendy stores, delicious restaurants and entertainment for days. It's a perfect nightcap after a day in the parks or a fun way to spend a few non-park hours. This guide to Downtown Disney at Disneyland will give you an overview of the hoppin' scene plus tips on how to make the most of your visit.
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. Its address is: 1580 Disneyland Dr. Anaheim, CA 92802
Downtown Disney serves at the main drag of the Disneyland Resort. It 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 lot. Downtown Disney even has a Monorail station to transport guests straight into Disneyland.
Hours are usually 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. during summers, weekends and holidays, but you can check online for all hours.
Downtown Disney at Disneyland Parking
If you are visiting only Downtown Disney at Disneyland and staying off-site, you'll find the short-term parking lot off of Magic Way (just before the Disneyland Hotel). You'll receive two hours of free parking if you purchase $20 or more in merchandise and get your ticket validated at any Downtown Disney location (including kiosks and table-service restaurants). You can get up to four hours of free parking with validation from a table-service restaurant or AMC Theatres movie experience. After that, prices are $12 per hour up to a daily maximum of $48. Each hour beyond the validations costs $12 (charged in 30-minute increments) after a 15-minute grace period. A lost ticket will cost you $48. TIP: Don't lose your ticket.
If you're 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 $20 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. That means that when you enter 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 the selfie stick at home. You can freely wander from the Esplanade into Downtown Disney area (and bring any theme park rented wheelchairs or strollers with you) and back. These multiple checkpoints usually result in smaller 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 sports-themed dining to contemporary yet casual cuisine, 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. 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. From tapas to burgers to salads and fish tacos you'll have many dishes to choose from. Each dish pairs perfectly with Uva Bar's extensive list of wine, beer, cocktail or milkshake. And what's better than a s'more or a root beer float? A S'MORE ROOT BEER FLOAT. Yum! Uva Bar is the more casual sister bar/restaurant to Catal.
If you're feeling froggy 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 (but 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.
Catch a game on one the huge TVs broadcasting 13 live satellite feeds — Go Horned Frogs — while enjoying appetizers, sandwiches or entrees. Yes, they have dessert too — cookie sundae, cakes and milkshakes. Sports fans of any age can work on their skill level in the ESPN Sports Zone Arcade, but guests under 18 need a supervising adult in the restaurant or arena.
Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria
Naples serves up Italian food and pizza. Share some small plates or get started on some Zuppa (soup) and Insalate (salad) before digging into the hearty pasta. Save some room for tiramisu, cannoli, panna cotta with hints of orange, gelati or sorbetti. This paragraph justified that summer I spent in Italy after college.
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.
You'll feel like you've stepped into a tropical rainforest where exotic animals come to life. Beware of thunderstorms! Lily says to keep your eye on that gorilla (she finds him a little scary!) This fun family-friendly restaurant will add some excitement to your dining experience and hopefully your taste buds too! The décor may be exotic, but the food is American with plenty of kid favorites to keep them from roaring. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Downtown Disney at Disneyland Fast Food
Who has time to eat when you're at the Happiest Place on Earth? If this is your family — constantly on the move to other attractions — Downtown Disney at Disneyland offers great fast food restaurants. Check them out for a snack or as a less expensive offering to table service.
Earl of Sandwich
Stop in for quick, easy and affordable hot sandwiches, soups, salads, and wraps. You can also start your day with hot breakfast sandwiches, omelets and more. The Original 1792 roast beef, cheddar and horseradish sandwich is the star of the menu. You will find this shop located near the AMC Downtown Disney 12 Theatre.
It's always a good time for ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet. Enjoy a sundae or frozen shake made with premium Häagen-Dazs ice cream.
For a smoothie or energy bowl on the go, hop into Jamba Juice. Get the kids to drink their vegetables for a nutritious start to their day.
What's better than a Starbucks in Downtown Disney? A second Starbucks in Downtown Disney! You'll find a small one near the LEGO store and a larger one with an outdoor patio near World of Disney. If you finish your coffee before you hit the next Starbucks, you can pop in for a refill. Keep the caffeine flowing for a full day ahead.
La Brea Bakery Express
Grab a quick breakfast Panini or pastry and coffee before hitting the parks. For lunch or dinner, 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.
When you need a slice of pizza, Panini or boxed salad but you don't have time to wait, Napolini is your quick-fix solution. They also offer breakfast sandwiches and Italian frittatas in the morning.
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 moves your taste buds to New Orleans. At breakfast, try the cinnamon French toast dippers, breakfast burrito or sandwich.
If gourmet cupcakes are your thing, then Sprinkles cupcakes (and cookies) might hit the spot.
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 and people watch. At breakfast, feast on one of several breakfast burritos or entrees.
Enjoy a fresh-baked flavored pretzel or pretzel dog. Whether you go for the sinful cinnamon, cheese meltdown, or sour cream and onion 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.
If you are looking for snacks on the go, there are kiosks throughout Downtown Disney at Disneyland for caramel corn, cotton candy, churros, corn dogs, hot dogs, fancy macarons and more.
Downtown Disney at Disneyland Bars
Feel like sipping some luxurious libations? All of the 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.
ESPN Zone has three different bars, supplying you with bar food, huge TVs and even a few recliners equipped with cup holders and tray tables. The ESPN Sports Zone Arcade area features a bar as well. Note that children under 18 must be supervised, and one bar is 21 and over. The downstairs restaurant bar allows children to sit at high-top tables but not at the bar itself.
Rainforest Café has a bar with fun animal barstools. You'll find it located to the left just inside the building.
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.
Downtown Disney at Disneyland Shopping
Downtown Disney at Disneyland is like a small outdoor shopping mall with a variety of shops. You'll enjoy souvenir shopping, picking up necessary sunglasses or hats and learning to dress like a local at the surf shop. If you are looking for DisneyBound clothes you can wear in the parks or Disney collectibles, they have that too.
Anna & Elsa's Boutique
Guests ages 3 to 15 can get fixed up "Frozen" style, complete with hair and makeup. It's not just for girls. There is an Olaf package for boys. You can get your frozen apparel and accessories here to complete your "cool" new look. Reservations highly recommended.
Build-a-Bear Workshop - NOTE - Closing in late September 2017
Build your very own fur friend and then dress and name it. Besides the traditional Build-a-Bear choices, you'll find some Disney-themed friends to create and outfit.
Chapel Hats - NOTE - Closing in late September 2017
If you've thought that you could pull off a fedora — as Leap feels he can — or are in search of a new beanie, cap, or floppy hat for sun protection, Chapel Hats is your top shop at Downtown Disney.
The 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 totally stoked to show off your new threads at the beach.
Disney Vault 28 - NOTE - Closing in late September 2017
Are you a Disney fashionista? Welcome to the club. Hop into Disney Vault for the latest Disney women's fashions. You'll find everything you need to create your unique look with dresses handbags and accessories.
Dis-nerds will flip out over the cool clothes, accessories and tchotchkes from Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Disney Couture, Bloc 28, Junk Food clothing and more. You'll find your fanboys and girls checking out the collectible Vinylmation figures or getting D-tech phone cases.
ESPN Zone Studio Store
Find your team's jersey, hats or T-shirt in the ESPN Zone Studio Store. There's glassware, pins, collectibles and even sport-themed mementos—everything a sports fan could wish for in one place.
Shop chic watches, bags and accessories for both men and women.
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 hand-made 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.
RIDEMAKERZ - NOTE - Closing in late September 2017
Automobile enthusiasts of all ages will be revved up to build their custom ride—a 1:18 scale model car. Choose the exotic car of your dreams or even Lightning McQueen or Tow Mater and get to work with the pit crew members in picking out and assembling your parts. After that, take it for a spin on the test track. You'll end up with your own custom souvenir for that highway of life.
Get yourself some comfy, eco-friendly sandals with a cool aesthetic whether you are 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 projection 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 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 Tsum you didn't know you needed.
There are multiple Kiosks for purchasing gifts, souvenirs, T-shirts, sunglasses and more.
Downtown Disney at Disneyland Entertainment
If you've shopped, dropped and dined to your heart's delight, there's still more fun available at Downtown Disney. Select evenings let you enjoy a variety of live entertainment. To get the scoop on live performances or special events, consult the Disneyland online entertainment calendar.
AMC Downtown Disney 12 Theatre
Catch a movie at the AMC movie theatre. Perhaps the latest Disney movie is playing? The theatre has an IMAX theater and RealD 3D. Take a moment to appreciate the glamorous concessions stand, which brings the elegance of the 1920s Art Deco movie houses to a modern movie viewing experience.
Build your ride at RIDEMAKERZ - Closing in late September 2017.
This store has all its fun built into the experience of designing your own custom ride. Create a radio controlled or free wheel vehicle of your dreams, complete with paint color, rims, tires, working lights, sounds, accessories, decals and details. Then test it out on the store's own test track.
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 an inside Duplo building station for the youngest tadpoles.
From way downtown!
Catch a game on one of the 120 large-screen HDTVs or play games in the 10,000-square-foot ESPN Sports Zone Arcade.
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 Anna & Elsa's Boutique, the World of Disney store and next to Taqueria Jo's
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.
Our fine feathered friends are called macaws
SELFIE ALERT! At certain times you can meet an exotic bird outside of Rainforest Café.
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.
Get a makeover at Anna & Elsa's boutique.
Do you want to be a snowman? Get made up into Anna, Elsa or Olaf from your hair and makeup to your accessories and clothing.
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). 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 into their office and learn about Disney timeshares, including Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa (GORGEOUS). They will entertain the kids while you listen to the presentation and may be compensated for your time by receiving FASTPASS tickets.
- Vist the Walt Disney Travel Co. for terrific trip assistance. See them if you need help in planning your next Disney Vacation or need to modify your current trip. They can also help you see everything you want to see in Southern California.
Coming Soon to Downtown Disney at Disneyland
- Splitsville Luxury Lanes will be striking into Downtown Disney this winter with bowling, live entertainment and fabulous food.
- A new Star Wars Virtual Reality experience is headed to Downtown Disney this holiday season. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire promises to immerse guests into the Star Wars universe with sights, sounds, touch and even smell.
Many people begin and end their day by walking through Downtown Disney. Because it is so close to the theme parks, some guests like to exit the parks to take advantage of 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!