When I was 7 years old my parents and I brought my, I guess you could call them step-grandparents (my step-dad’s parents), to Walt Disney World® for the first time. This was my 5th time to WDW, so I new my way around pretty well. One of the best memories that everyone recalls is each day when we got to each park, I would say in my best radio voice “Welcome to Epcot®” or “Welcome to the Magic Kingdom®.” So, I thought for the beginning of each blog post I would start it with that.
“Welcome to Downtown Disney®“
For teens visiting Downtown Disney® who are not looking for shopping, there are only about 4 things you can do: eat some awesome food, ride the Characters in Flight hot air balloon, eat some more awesome food while bowling at Splitsvile Luxury Lanes™, and last, but defiantly not least, go experience Disney Quest® Indoor Interactive Theme Park!
First of all, lets talk about food. Being a 14-year-old boy, all I really do is eat. Having eaten at some of WDW’s best restaurants, one of my favorites is Bongos Cuban Café™ at Downtown Disney®. The food isn’t as top notch as the Yachtsman Steakhouse or California Grill, but it is decent and has some great flavors. The thing that puts Bongos in my top 5 favorites is the atmosphere. Often, live Cuban music is blasting. Plus the two-level, music-inspired décor puts Bongos on my annual Disney restaurants reservations list.
Now for the hot air balloon. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t freak out. It is fully tethered, and isn’t going anywhere. For $18 for adults and $12 for kids, you can fly 400 feet above Walt Disney World®, and see the whole resort. At 8 to 10 min long it is a relatively short flight, so make sure to get as many pictures as you can to remember the flight.
You are probably thinking to yourself, “Bowling in Disney?” Well if you have been before and are staying for a week or longer, sometimes you want to take a day away from the parks to spend a day at the pool, or go to maybe Downtown Disney®. Splitsvile Luxury Lanes™ is perfect for that! Thirty lanes of bowling plus a full bar and menu (with some great sushi options) makes this a great place to hang out for lunch or dinner. Beware, after 11pm things get a little more club focused, but if you are into that, this would be some great nightlife on the Disney property!
Now for Disney Quest® Indoor Interactive Theme Park . The name sounds a little geeky, but believe me in is very fun. If you add the Water Park fun and More option to your park ticket(s) Disney Quest® is included. If you buy tickets at the door, it is about $45 for adults and $39 for kids. This is for an all day pass, and all attractions and old school arcade games are included in this price, so if you factor that in, it is pretty reasonable for Disney. Disney Quest® is 100,000 sq.ft and five floors, so there is plenty to do in the day. Some of my favorites are the Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblasters which is basically high tech bumper cars where riders sit side by side, and one person drives while the other loads cannon balls (which you pick up by driving over them) and shoots them at other cars. Another one I enjoy is CyberSpace Mountain which is a virtual coaster builder where you design your track, and then, ride it in a fully enclosed flight simulator (very similar to the Sum of All Thrills at Epcot®).
If I only had a couple hours, and I had to pick one thing for teens and arcade loving adults, who want to kick it back to the teenage years at Downtown Disney®, it would defiantly be Disney Quest®. But, if you had most of the day or night to kill, everything I talked about above would be a must hit at Downtown Disney®. For adults and teens who are not into that stuff, there is tons of shopping and browsing to do all over the Downtown Disney® Area. If you need to kill some time or are just checking it out, there is something for everyone at Downtown Disney®!
What are your favorite places to eat at Downtown Disney®? Also, have you been to Disney Quest®?
Nick is a 14-year-old freshman in high school. Living in Maine, he cannot go to WDW more than once a year, but enjoys that yearly trip with his family. Being the Disney connoisseur in this family, he frequently answers Disney questions and helps plan vacations for anyone who needs it. He is commonly referred to as My Pal Nicky by his friends and family. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or look him up on Facebook and twitter @njfor3.