Updated August 8, 2018
***A new Disneyland Resort Hotel will be arriving in 2021 – in Downtown Disney. Several businesses have been closed to make room for this hotel. Visit this link to keep up with the changes. I’m walking this area weekly to keep you up to date with the construction as it develops.
Let’s take a look at what this area entails including restaurants, shops, and how to tie this part of the Disneyland Resort into your visit.
Here we go!
Click on this image, below, for a detailed map of all that Downtown Disney (also known as DTD) includes:
Downtown Disney resides to the west of both Disneyland and California Adventure and is a quick walk from the parks. Admission is free and parking is, too, for up to 3 hours. Have your parking pass validated for an additional 2 hours of free parking.
DTD is a shopping district that is usually less crowded than the parks. There are lots of dining and shopping destinations, but they come with a touristy vibe, so be prepared. Balloon artists might walk up to your table and the prices are a bit higher than usual. (For example, some kids’ meals are as much as $12.)
Overall, the hours range from 7:00am – 1:00am, but activity varies depending on your destination.
There are nearly 20 dining options, ranging from Starbucks to Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen. Each can be found on the map posted above.
Quick service options include:
- Jamba Juice – Smoothies, baked goods and snacks. (7am-12am) menu
- La Brea Bakery Express – One of my favorite breakfast stops. I could live on their bread and butter alone. (8am-12am) menu
- Napolini – Pizza by the slice, salads and pasta. This place gets busy, too, with a line out the door. (11am-12am) menu
- Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express – Beignets, sandwiches and house specialties – quick service! (8am-12am) menu
- Starbucks – Mega-store with interactive fun for kids. Coffee, snacks, sandwiches and desserts. (7am-11:30pm) menu
- Tortilla Jo’s Taqueria – Customize tacos, burritos and more while sipping a margarita or soda. (9am-12am) menu
- Wetzel’s Pretzels – Carbs and butter. Not much else to know (or want). (9am-12am) menu
- Sprinkles Cupcakes – The original cupcake bakery. Love this place!
Table service options include:
- La Brea Bakery Cafe – Delicious breakfast, salads, sandwiches and more. (8am-9pm) menu
- Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria – Southern Italy cuisine with pizza and salads. (11am-10:15pm) menu
- Tortilla Jo’s – Mexican food with a modern twist. (11am-10pm) menu
******Reservations are recommended for all of the above table service options. Click on the link provided for each restaurant or call (714) 781-DINE (3463) between 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM daily (Pacific Time).
Fine dining can be found at:
- Catal Restaurant – Tapas, small plates, lamb and other delicacies. (8am-9:30pm) menu (Note: I LOVE the Happy Hour upstairs at Catal. Hard to find a glass of wine for $7 anywhere in the Disneyland Resort. Find that and other well priced drinks and small plates from 3pm-5pm each day.)
******Reservations are recommended. Click on the link provided or call (714) 781-DINE (3463) between 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM daily (Pacific Time).
My Picks for Breakfast:
I’m a big fan of breakfast in Downtown Disney because you can enjoy it prior to park hours. Here are my 3 favorites and they all just happen to be spread out over DTD, so regardless of where you’re staying, one should work for you. All 3 open at 8:00am, too.
- La Brea Bakery Express – Brioche French Toast is heaven on earth. The croissant sandwich is good, too.
- Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express – Beignets and coffee for breakfast = perfection.
People used to try to use Downtown Disney as a less expensive (or free) option for parking in order to avoid the cost of the regular Disneyland parking lots. Not an option anymore!
Per the Disneyland website:
Enjoy 3 hours of parking when you make a $20 minimum purchase and receive validation from any Downtown Disney location (including quick-service restaurants, merchandise locations and kiosks)—or up to 5 hours of parking with validation from any Downtown Disney table-service restaurant.
Beyond these validations, each additional hour costs $12, charged in 30-minute increments, with a minimum $6 charge after the initial 15-minute grace period. Additionally, the maximum daily parking and lost ticket fee is $48. Parking is subject to capacity.
Downtown Disney shopping can be both fun and useful. I broke a pair of flip flops on my way into the park recently and ran over to Sanuk for a quick replacement. There’s quite a variety, too, Disney themed and not.
- World of Disney – The mecca of all Disney souvenirs. If you don’t shop in the park, this is your best option and there’s something for everyone.
- Disney’s Pin Traders – Pin trading headquarters with special trading privileges just for kids.
- Marceline’s Confectionery – Named for Walt’s hometown, this sweet shop is adorable – and one of my favorites.
- WonderGround Gallery – Contemporary Disney art with a showcase on local artists, too.
- Curl Surf – High end SoCal apparel. LOVE the Olukais that they sell here. Highly recommend.
- The LEGO Store – For the LEGO fan, it doesn’t get much cooler. Totally recommend this place.
- Sanuk – A Socal favorite stocking shoes and accessories.
- Sephora – Beauty supplies for days.
- Sunglass Icon – Trendy and cute sunglasses
While you’re ‘downtown’, you can check out a few options for fun. There’s a little bit of everything here.
- Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen – nightly jazz music
- Splitsville Bowling Alley – bowling and dining in a fun, retro setting
My Favorite Stops
- Marceline’s Confectionery – Feels like stepping back in time in this darling candy shop. ————–>
- La Brea Bakery Cafe – A bread lover’s haven. Super close to the parks.
- LEGO Store – This impresses kids and adults, alike. It’s a bit of a walk down to it from the parks, but you’ll get to see lots of DTD en route and perhaps use the Monorail station nearby.
- Catal Happy Hour! 3pm-5pm. Great prices on drinks and small plates. Walk in and go upstairs to the bar or request a table. You can usually do this without a reservation.
I recommend visiting Downtown Disney on your way in or out of town or for a mid-day break. Keep your focus on the parks while they’re open and don’t miss anything inside the gates for what Downtown Disney has to offer.
If you leave the park mid-day, as I always recommend, Downtown Disney can be a great place for lunch or a break to avoid the crowds. If you’re a guest at one of the three Disneyland Resort Hotels, you’ll be in closer proximity to DTD than if you stay off-site.
We often arrive the night before a visit to the parks and walk over to DTD for dinner or shopping. It’s a great way to get into the Disney spirit prior to entering the gates.
Bonus Tip: From Downtown Disney, hitch a ride on the Monorail to and from Tomorrowland with your theme park ticket. The Disneyland Monorail is the only attraction that can be boarded outside of the park. A valid park ticket for the day must be shown to ride.