D O W N T O W N D I S N E Y
Although they have the same name, the Downtown Disney districts of Disneyland and Walt Disney World (now called Disney Springs here) couldn’t be more different! But as you will see, comparing the two isn’t altogether fair. The sheer volume of WDW’s DTD makes this comparison a bit like pitting a heavyweight boxer against a ballerina. But that doesn’t mean DLR’s DTD has anything to apologize for!
I’d like to compare the DTD’s using three main categories:
Winner: WDW’s DTD. You can easily spend a day taking in the streetmosphere, shops, restaurants, shows, carts, and speciality attractions. Splitsville. Cirque du Soleil. Characters In Flight. Disney Quest. Truly something for everyone! And when they finally finish revamping the old clubbing area, it will offer even more.
Rebuttal: DLR’s DTD is smaller and closer to the Parks and both on-property and off-property Hotels. WDW’s DTD is so big that you have to drive to it or spend time on a bus just to reach it, making it a less convenient source of fun.
Winner: DLR’s DTD. The same argument that diehard Disneyland fans use to put their Resort above its big sister in Florida puts the smaller shopping district in the winners seat here. There is a more intimate feel to this place. You don’t have to walk for miles to take it all in. It’s easier to do an impromptu meet-up with friends.
Rebuttal: WDW’s DTD does have character, though, especially when you factor in the waterfront and nighttime lighting.
DISNEYNESS (it is too a word!)
Winner: WDW’s DTD. Everywhere you look, you are reminded that you are experiencing something Disney. Even though there are many non-Disney shops and restaurants, they are far outnumbered by Disney and Disney-style offerings. Some say that Disney went overboard just to sell swag, but I say: ‘That’s OK with me!’
Rebuttal: You do have to walk between the entrances to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure to get to DLR’s DTD. And on the other end of it you have the iconic Disneyland Hotel complete with Monorail Station! Now that’s a pair of Disney bookends!
So WDW’s DTD comes across as one of the world’s best heavyweight retail and entertainment districts. But DLR’s DTD is like a beautiful ballerina with style and grace, and that’s not a bad thing. Overall, though, I have to give a clear decision in favor of WDW’s DTD.
If you want to shop or play Disney, the biggest bang for your fun is to be found in Florida!