Arrival and departure days we generally don't go into the parks. Without Annual Passes, we like to make sure we have full days when we're actually in the parks.
For us, that's where Downtown Disney comes in. As we learned later in our trip - on our last day when we were trying to kill time for our flight that had been delayed from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m., a full day down there isn't close to possible. 2-3 hours max, including a meal, is about as good as we could do. But, we did find some great entertainment down there, along with some pretty good food options!
Noah loved the train! For around $2, we took a ride on a small looping train. Located in the Downtown Disney Marketplace just outside of the favorite Earl of Sandwich, Noah and Piper both loved riding on this train. We rode it on 2 separate occasions during our January 2012 trip to Orlando.
Though it's a small loop, you go continuously for several minutes - plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful weather and even people watch!
Near the train is also a small carousel. I learned quickly that, unlike Prince Charming's Royal Carousel in the Magic Kingdom, these horses are much smaller and not quite pregnant-woman friendly. But again, Noah loved it and it helped us enjoy the time Adam was spending in line looking for our lunch!
We did make a couple of different stops at DtD in January. Our final trip, we were hoping and planning to finally take a trip on the eye catching hot air balloon, Characters in Flight.
I've wanted to go up on this balloon since I first saw it a few years ago and my husband finally agreed! So excited... and then, as we walked up to it, we realized it said "Expectant Mothers should not ride."
I figured that was standard 'just in case' but realized with extra sensitivity to motion, that we should definitely wait for a future trip. Noah wasn't happy - he really wanted to go up in that balloon! But, it's still on our list for a future trip, so we'll make sure to ride it eventually!
With all the shopping and goings-on around, it's easy to spend a few hours around Downtown Disney, but the last thing that we found to really entertain our 2 year old boy?
The boats that go from the Marketplace to the West Side over by Cirque to Soleil's La Nouba. The water taxi's go from DtD to one of the DVC resorts (I believe Old Key West) and also to the other parts of DtD. Noah enjoyed our boat ride and then we enjoyed the leisurely walk back to our car before heading out.
What are your favorites at Downtown Disney?