Remember how we watched the Atlantis launch a couple of weeks ago? Since we were in the neighborhood, we stopped by Downtown Disney on our way back home from the east side of Florida. These photos from our visit to Disney are better late than never, right?
After navigating heavy traffic due to the launch of Atlantis, my husband and I had worked up an appetite the size of Texas. Subway sandwiches just didn't do cut it. I could feel that we were getting closer to Disney, so I convinced my husband that we must stop at Downtown Disney for food (and maybe a little bit of tourist activity too). Score! Mentioning food always seems to do the trick. My husband likes food, and I like Disney. Actually, I really like food too. It was a win-win for me, but my husband was the tough sell.
Downtown Disney is great for a few reasons. It's very close to the interstate, which makes it a quick stop for enjoying a meal or browsing the many stores. Not to mention the parking is free! Anything 'free' at Disney is hard to come by, so take what you can get. Granted, you will most likely spend money in their stores and/or restaurants. However, with a conscious effort, you can manage to spend a small amount of cash while still having fun.
We walked the entire length of Downtown Disney, and I made sure to stop in almost every store along the way. I wanted to get our time's worth of stuffed animal fondling and merchandise ogling. Not to mention, the obligatory silly hat-wearing photos. We managed to escape the grasp of Disney without spending money on anything other than food and drinks. Not too shabby if you ask me.
After browsing some dinner options, we decided to eat at Paradiso 37 where we split appetizers for dinner. The water view from our seats was probably the best part about eating there. Our ceviche was gorgeous, but it looked much better than it tasted. I gave them an A+ for presentation, but we have enjoyed much better food elsewhere. We should have known better than to order seafood at Disney. You live, and you learn.
We probably should have drank/ate our dinner at the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop instead. I'm sure that would have been a fail-safe option. You can rarely go wrong with chocolate for dinner. Right? There's always next time!
After having our fill of over-priced appetizers, we made our way through the shops of Downtown Disney. Curl had some really great surf-inspired clothing and accessories, but my favorite shop was the TrenD boutique store. The chandeliers hanging overhead made the whole place feel luxurious and chic. They sold some candies in really great boxes with silly names and phrases. I found some scarves that I liked, but someone already gave me one as a gift. It was really fun just browsing all of the items, and it was even more fun walking out without spending a penny! After making our way across Downtown Disney, we made mental notes of places we would visit again when we return.
On our way out of the park, we noticed the House of Blues was selling fairly affordable tickets to a concert. Unfortunately we had not planned on staying out all night, so we passed on the tickets. Attending a concert at the House of Blues would be a fun way to spend an adult evening at Disney World. They really do have something for everyone at Disney!
Walt Disney World always gives you plenty of things to look at while visiting. They have beautiful gardens, they pay incredible attention to detail, and they provide plenty of entertainment throughout the parks. Minus the cost of entrance, if you are able to avoid buying everything in sight (they don't make it easy to avoid) and eating the over-priced food, you can probably escape Disney without hurting the pocketbook too badly.
Have you ever visited Disney on a budget?
How did you fare?