Downtown Disney - Market Place - Orlando / Florida Guide
Florida Guide > Disney General
Downtown Disney is set into three sections and is a free area which gives you a taste of what is to come when you hit the parks. We always spend our first day in Orlando there, just acclimatising ourselves and getting in the Disney Spirit. A bit like Christmas time in early December really. It is also very useful if you are about to go home and realise that there was something at one of the parks you forgot to buy, as the shops sell everything you can buy at the parks. I prefer to buy my Disney gifts there as they can then be put in the car in the car park – no more than a five minute walk – rather than have to carry it round a park all day. I know you can leave purchased gifts in the parks to be collected later, but I live in dread of having paid for something then forgetting to collect it before I go home. Three sections are, Market Place, Pleasure Island (about to be refurbished) and West Side.
The main Disney shop is probably as big, if not bigger, than the one in the Magic Kingdom in Main Street. Winnie the Pooh also has his own shop and there are shops which deal exclusively with, Christmas decorations, sports outfits, swimming outfits, cooking equipment and sweets. My favourite by far, is the Christmas Shop, even in the middle of July. It has a magical atmosphere all of its own. It is like stepping back in time with its Christmas music box playing and the many old fashioned ornaments long gone in normal shops.
There are good restaurants to eat in; for lunch the favourite (and busiest) is the Earl of Sandwich café. Here you can choose from a very wide selection of sandwiches which are made with ciabatta bread and toasted and will definitely fill you up until dinner time.
There is a new café now which serves Mexican style chicken based foods and very healthy fruit and vegetables. The other restaurants are the T Rex café, Rainforest Cafe, Captain Jacks fish restaurant, Fultons Crab House, Portabello Italian Restaurant, Cooks of Dublin Fish and Chips and Raglan Road irish Pub and Restaurant. So there are no shortage of places to eat.
But, I have saved the best until last, Ghirardelli’s Ice Cream and Chocolate House. The ice cream sundaes are amazing and best shared as they are huge! They have very exotic names like, “The Haight Ashberry Very, Berry Sundae” (my personal favourite ), The Gold Rush Peanut Butter Sundae and many more. Wherever you decide to eat remember to save room for one of these Ice Creams. You won’t regret it – but your figure might!
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