Walt Disney World's biggest and most popular entertainment complex is called Downtown Disney. It is currently under major construction as it is transformed from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs. It formerly consisted of three sections called The Marketplace, Pleasure Island, and the West Side. It's hard to say what's going to happen to these areas once the renovations are complete, but so far we know Pleasure Island won't be returning. With all the construction going on, everything about this place can change very quickly. Here's what's at Downtown Disney currently:
The Marketplace is filled with mostly stores. The majority of this area is nothing more than a massive Disney Store, only with better decorations. These stores are filled with lots of eye candy to look at to keep you entertained, such as stuff like animatronic pirates. The major restaurant in the Marketplace is a Rainforest Cafe. It's overpriced tourist food, but since you are about saving money, just go inside and wander around the gift shop and seating area. It's filled with giant aquariums and all sorts of animatronic animals. Once you have had your fun, walk out and move on. Also be sure to visit the Ghiradelli store. They always give free chocolate samples!
What was Pleasure Island is currently nothing but construction walls.
The West Side is filled with most of the expensive stuff in Downtown Disney. They have a Cirque du Soleil show that is awesome, but is also very expensive. Disney Quest is a virtual reality theme park. It's a whole lot of fun, but since it's in Disney, it is also costs to get in. There are more overpriced restaurants here, and some higher end shops. These are fun to look around in...
Walking through all of Downtown Disney is a nice walk, and if you don't eat here or buy anything, it's a free way to spend a few hours of your Disney vacation.
Disney's Boardwalk technically doubles as one of Disney's many hotels (more on hotels later) as well as an entertainment complex. There are lots of restaurants here as well as two nightclubs, but they all cost money. During the day there really isn't too much to do here if you don't want to spend money on renting bicycles or eating. It's a nice mile walk around the lake that the Boardwalk is built around. In the evening, the free entertainment picks up a bit. Every night there are several different street performers that rotate through their acts. These acts are normally somewhere between 10-15 minutes long and can be anything from juggling to magic to a guy playing a piano on a bicycle. Some nights the acts are good. Other nights they are a waste of time. But don't complain, because they are free!
The Boardwalk is located right next door to EPCOT. At 9:00 each night, EPCOT explodes with their fireworks show. Since you are right next door, you can see some of the show over the trees if you find a good spot. It will be far from the full show, but again, it's free! More on how to see fireworks for free later.
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