Monday, August 15, 2011

Disney Marketplace: No lines. Kids LOVE this place.

Looking for some cool Orlando-only attractions that don't cost anything? This is the first in a series on local favorites that are great for kids. Today's discovery is Downtown Disney Marketplace

Disney Marketplace is always a low stress, fun place for families. Imagine an attraction where you can experience the Magic without lines or turnstiles! 

Don't park by Cirque de Soleil or House of Blues. That is the wrong end of the complex, literally miles from the child-friendly party of Downtown Disney.  Drive to the other end of the parking lot for "Disney Marketplace".

Locals visit the Marketplace for the Lego store which has a great outdoor play area, the Ghirardelli soda fountain and Ice cream parlor (chocolate ice cream- amazing) and the huge Disney toy store, which features a giant Mr Potato Head and myriad versions of Disney toys. 

Need a break?  Sit and enjoy a cool drink at tables by the lake while the toddlers run around.  Moms love this!  

If your children are older, there is a HUGE fountain where they can run in and out of the water. Trust me, you will have to pull them away, they can do this for hours!  Luckily, there is a great Disney food store right next door for the inevitable hunger that strikes after this type of action.

If you want to splurge a little and you have time, put your name on the list at Rainforest Cafe. For elementary school-aged kids, this place is magic. You have to eat anyway, right?  The animatronic animals and simulated rainstorms are great. The food is good, too and they have a full bar, great for weary parents. The bar is large and usually uncrowded compared to the very popular restaurant, a good spot for Dad to watch the game if the vacation coincides with the playoffs in his favorite sport.  Finally, even if you don't eat at RC, check out their gift shop.  Lots of fun items, especially for pre-teens.

Seasonally, the Marketplace dresses up for holidays and there are events for children. If you are here for the holidays, don't miss the Christmas shopping and decor. 

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