Downtown Disney – a quick review

I’ve been to Downtown Disney maybe three or four times in its existence and I’m not sure if I’ve ever given it a fair shake and spent more than a few hours there, but, to be frank, I’m not sure it deserves one.

My biggest problem with Downtown Disney is the design: it’s a long strip rather than a location with a heart, which creates a lot of unnecessary walking on a vacation that is already walk heavy. For me, the stores are small and don’t feature many items and there is a serious lack of bars. The bars we found were small or outdoors, and when it’s a million degrees out in Orlando, you’ll find yourself making a deal with the devil for an air-conditioned bar. The restaurants are nothing special (mostly chain restaurants, if not entirely chains) and if you’re vegan, you’re pretty much screwed if you want an actual meal. We were lucky to stumble upon a falafel burger, which was available in the same building as Baby Cakes, the vegan bakery. (Like wanderers in the desert who’d come upon fresh water, we must have purchased a dozen or so assorted donuts, cakes and breads. It was glorious!) Even though there didn’t seem to be many people around, it always felt crowded – some of the walkways are very narrow.

AMC Dine-In Theatres at Downtown Disney
We saw The Great Gatsby in 3D at the AMC Theater, which was a satisfactory viewing experience. The image was bright, the screen was crisp and the seats were comfortable. There is a table in front of you, but it seems a bit too high to eat off of, but since there was nothing vegan on the menu, all we had was popcorn and booze, which was brought to us by a server. Last call was a bit earlier in the film than I’d expect, but maybe they were on to something as it was a race to the bathroom after the flick was over. The room wasn’t half full, so I can imagine that if it was sold out, all of the servers and activity could be distracting, but overall, we enjoyed the experience, despite the lack of food selection.

Important tip: there are two bus stops!
If you’re coming to Downtown Disney via a Disney bus, it’s important to remember that there are two bus stops. If you have a destination in mind, just ask your bus driver at which stop you should disembark. Otherwise, you’ll have to walk the full length of Downtown Disney, which isn’t that long, but again, Disney is a walk intensive vacation, and any walking you can avoid is a good thing. In any case, you’re going to end up trudging across the parking lot to get back to the bus stop, which is entirely too far from the strip.

Is Downtown Disney a must see during your Disney World vacation? No, not by any stretch of the imagination. But, if you need a down day away from the parks, it might be worth checking out.

Or, you could just hang at your hotel pool – that’s probably a better idea.

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About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on June 5, 2013, in movie review, vegan stuff, walt disney world blog posts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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