Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Best at Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney and I have had an interesting relationship.  I loved it for years when Pleasure Island was open and my beloved Adventurer's Club was there (yes, I'm still sad...I know it's gone, but I can still be sad about it!) but for years after Pleasure Island closed, I didn't see a reason to trek back to Downtown Disney.  There just wasn't a whole lot that was calling my name.

I mean, sure you had interesting shopping, however, at the time, a lot of what was found in the stores in Downtown Disney were things that I could find in other stores at the parks. Not a reason to make a whole trip over to this area.  Another problem for me was a majority of the Westside.  It felt like a giant mall, with things that really weren't too terribly unique.

A lot of that has changed over the past few years.  Disney has made great strides to add stores and restaurants that help to make Downtown Disney stand out a bit more.  Sure, there are still some things that don't interest me, however, there really are a lot of things now at Downtown Disney that make it a must stop for me on my trips, as of lately. 

So, I thought I'd share with you the things that I think are standouts at Downtown Disney.  These are things that you certainly shouldn't miss, if you have been, on your next trip.

First things first, we are going to talk about World of Disney.  Yes, this is the biggest Disney store in the world!  And it does house some great fun.  I can spend forever in here browsing, seeing what thing I can't live without.  It is always just a nice trip, even if I don't buy anything.  (Keep in mind, it always seems to be TERRIBLY crowded, no matter what time of day you go.  So just be prepared.)

Another place on my MUST DO list is Goofy's Candy Co.  This place offers the ability to make your own pretzels or candy apples, but what I go here for are the things in the cases.  They have so many delectable items like candies and fudge, but my favorite is what is known (to me) as the Heavy Cookie.  Yes, you can find these huge cookies at a few other places on Disney property, but there is something about taking the trip over to Goofy's to buy it there.  These are one of my most favorite treat in all of Walt Disney World and I often bring them home as souvenirs for both me and my family! 

Around the holiday season, you will catch me making a stop over at the Earl of Sandwich.  Here they have the Holiday Sandwich, which consists of turkey, stuffing, gravy, mayo, and cranberries.  Seriously...this thing is good!  There's a reason why when the store starts selling it the line gets bigger than it usually is!  It is one of those treats that I only get at Disney, which makes it a must stop any time around the holidays when they are serving this sandwich.  Of course, their other sandwiches are perfectly fabulous too!  Really, Earl of Sandwich is the perfect lunch stop.

If you're still hungry...try taking a trip over to Raglan Road.  At first I was a little hesitant to try this restaurant.  I am a picky eater and the food options originally scared me.  That all changed after I actually ate here.  This restaurant has started my love of Irish food!  It also has great entertainment available most nights.  I strongly suggest if you are hungry one night to see if they have any availability.  It will be worth it. 

Still hungry?  (Can you tell I really like to eat?!) Head on over to my all time new love...Babycakes NYC.  I was a lot hesitant eating here at first, being the fact that it's a vegan bakery, but my good friend Jay had been raving about the place for months, so I knew I had to try it.  I got the chocolate chip cookie sandwich and OH MY GOD!  I have never had anything more delicious that was vegan in my life.  I have dreams about this cookie and I am counting down the days until I can eat it again.  Babycakes also has cupcakes, breads, and other delectable that you certainly need to try.

The last thing on my list as something  you need to try (it's not food, I promise!) is the Characters in Flight Balloon on the Westside.  I got to experience this in October and it's a really neat thing.  The balloon gives you views that are only available on property through it.  I wished it would have lasted a bit longer, but otherwise it was a very cool and entertaining activity to do on a day when I was not visiting the parks.

So those are my must dos when visiting Downtown Disney!  But what are yours?  What things do you enjoy doing at Downtown Disney?  Share your comments below.

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