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The week has been long. Exciting, fun, adventurous and memorable, but long. You feel as if you haven’t slept in days, although you know as soon as you get to your room, the kids are asleep and you aren’t far behind to the Land of Nod. So, you decide instead of going Commando* today through another park, you will take a break and slow the pace down. You will enjoy what I call a Hakuna Mawednesday activity. But What Unknown

Magical thing will you do in Disney World today? Go to the beach? (Yes, there are beaches in Disney) A water park? Hang out at the Resort? How about a shopping excursion? That’s the one; a Shopping excursion. Did you know that the Walt Disney World Resort has its own shopping complex that is a short bus ride away from any of the resorts? From a few you can even take a boat to get there. This area is called Downtown Disney.

Downtown Disney is divided into three different areas; The West Side, Hyperion Wharf and the Market Place. They all have shops and restaurants and are connected by a walkway, but they each have their own neat characteristics. At the time of this writing, Hyperion Wharf is just being built. It used to be Pleasure Island an adult night club area.

In the old Pleasure Island, they had different themed clubs that you could go to. The one that will probably be missed the most is the Adventurer’s Club, which my friend Wally over at Disney Dispatch has written about.

 The West Side of Downtown Disney is the side I consider the nightlife side. Here you will find Bongos Cuban Café, which is owned by none other than Gloria Estefan, The House of Blues, a great place for music and food that I have written about in the article In Search of Great Catfish and a few other great eateries. You will also find the AMC 24 movie house here as well as Disney Quest, the Disney interactive indoor theme park, and Cirque du Soliel La Nouba, which is the only Cirque du Soliel show that has a permanent home. There are some shops on the West Side, but mostly this is the area you go for food and entertainment.

The Marketplace is the shopper’s side. There you will find a fine selection of specialty stores; some that are Disney themed and some that are not. One of the Disney themed stores is The World of Disney. This is the largest Disney merchandise store in the world. There are 10 different rooms that are found in this store including the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Another great Disney themed shop is called Team Mickey. Team Mickey is a sports store that sells not only Disney character sports shirts and items, but they also sell officially licensed merchandise. Disney’s Days of Christmas is one of my favorite Disney shops in the Market Place, because they sell Disney holiday decorations and ornaments all year around. Mickey’s Pantry sells Disney kitchen items; things everyone needs like a Mickey head egg shaper and a Disney waffle maker.

For the kids there is Mickey’s Mart, which is basically a $10 and below store of Disney merchandise. There is also Goofy’s Candy Company. Here you can make your own snack or buy some prepackaged Disney styled treats. The Disney Design a T is a neat place for kids to, because they can create their own t-shirts to wear.

The art of Disney Store is amazing and sells not only collectibles, like Vinylmations, but

limited edition Sericels, paintings, and collectible figurines. The Disney’s Pin Traders found in the market Place is one of the biggest places on Disney property to buy pins.

Non-Disney Stores found at the Downtown Disney Market Place include: Arribas Brothers, a crystal specialty store; Once Upon a Toy Store, which is a huge toy store; Basin, which sells Bath & Facial Products and LEGO Imagination Center. There are also six different non-Disney eateries found in the Market Place; our favorite is Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop.

So, now you know, a great place to take a day off and enjoy yourself is at the Downtown Disney Complex. You can enjoy many different restaurants and entertainment venues or you can head over to the Market Place to do some shopping.

*Disney Commandos are people who run from attraction to attraction to “DO” as much as they can while in Disney World.

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