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Can You Enter Disneyland Through Downtown Disney?

When you take a trip to Disneyland, you’ll want to explore all it has to offer, including areas that may be outside the actual parks. 

So, the question of the day is, can you cruise through Downtown Disney before entering the front gate?

Yes, if you come into Disneyland through the west entrance, you will walk through the Downtown Disney District before getting to the esplanade. You can also go to Downtown Disney before entering the park if you come in from the east, but you will need to walk past the park gates and then double back. 

How to Get to the Park Entrances From Downtown Disney

Getting to the entrances for both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park from the Downtown Disney District is incredibly easy. 

The Downtown Disney District is made of pretty much only one path, and if you continue to follow it, you will come to the gates of Disneyland’s parks. 

Where Is the Downtown Disney District?

First things first, let me make it clear that the Downtown Disney District is not inside of either of Disneyland’s actual parks. 

I want to make sure I say this because I was confused the first time I went to Disneyland because I assumed the district must be inside one of the parks. 

But, Downtown Disney is actually on the west side of the esplanade. 

And remember that the esplanade is where you will find the ticket booths and the entrances to both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. 

Finding Downtown Disney From the West

The Downtown Disney District sits at the west entrance of the esplanade. 

And you can technically find Downtown Disney on Disneyland Drive, but you can’t get to the district directly from this street. 

Rather, you must take the pedestrian bridge over Disneyland Drive to get to the Downtown Disney District. 

You will find the pedestrian bridge in front of the Disneyland Hotel. 

Thus, to get to Downtown Disney from the southern part of Disneyland Drive, where Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and the Simba Parking Lot are, you must follow the path behind the Paradise Pier’s parking lot. 

You will then pass the Disneyland Hotel, turn right at the first turn, and walk over the bridge into the district. 

Or, if you are coming from the north side of Disneyland Drive, near the Mickey and Friends and Pixar Pals parking structures, you need to follow the pathway that runs alongside the road. 

This path begins as soon as you pass the Pixar Pals parking area. 

Then, you just need to continue straight until you come to the first left, where you can cross the walking bridge. 

Finding Downtown Disney From the East 

Thankfully, entering the Downtown Disney District from the east is much easier than coming in from the west. 

You just need to enter the bus depot on South Harbor Boulevard and continue straight past the security checkpoint and the esplanade. 

Is Downtown Disney Worth Visiting?

Essentially, the Downtown Disney District is a collection of shops, restaurants, and live entertainment locations. 

And whether you believe these establishments are worth visiting depends on your personal taste. 

Some people aren’t worried about these types of things and want to get straight to the rides and the excitement at the heart of Disneyland’s parks. 

However, I think many people will really like visiting the Downtown Disney District so that they can see all that Disneyland has to offer. 

What Is in Downtown Disney?

Below, I’ve listed the different locations in the Downtown Disney District so that you can easily decide what is worth visiting. 

Shops in Downtown Disney 

The shops in the Downtown Disney District are:  

  • The Star Wars Trading Post – Toys, Plushies, Apparel, Accessories, Art, and Collectibles 
  • The Glasshouse Balloon Company 
  • The LEGO Store – Toys and Plushies 
  • Disney’s Pins Traders – Pins
  • KAMAN’s Art Shoppes, Inc
  • The Sunglas Icon Cart 
  • The WonderGround Gallery – Gifts, Houseware, Pins, Art, and Collectibles 
  • Disney Home – Gifts and Houseware
  • Lovepop – Art, Gifts, Collectibles, and Houseware
  • Pelé Soccer – Accessories and Apparel 
  • The Disney Dress Shop – Accessories and Apparel 
  • California Sole – Accessories and Apparel 
  • Sephora – Cosmetics 
  • PANDORA Jewelry 
  • Curl Surf – Accessories and Apparel 
  • World of Disney – Coins

Restaurants in Downtown Disney 

The restaurants and food stands in the Downtown Disney District include: 

  • Blue Ribbon Cord Dogs
  • The California Churro Company 
  • Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen – Table-Service restaurant serving Cajun/Creole cuisine
  • Taqueria at Tortilla Joe’s – Quick-Service restaurant serving Mexican cuisine
  • Crazy Shake 
  • Uva Bar and Cafe 
  • Black Tap Craft Burgers and Shakes – Casual dining restaurant serving American cuisine
  • Sprinkles – Candy 
  • Catal Restaurant – Table-Service restaurant 
  • Ballast Point Brewing Company – Casual dining restaurant serving American cuisine
  • Wetzel’s Pretzels 
  • Salt and Straw – Ice cream 
  • Marceline’s Confectionary 
  • Napolini Pizzeria – Quick-Service restaurant serving Italian cuisine
  • Naples Ristorante e Bar – Italian cuisine 
  • Jamba 
  • Starbucks 
  • La Brea Bakery Cafe – Casual dining 

Other Places in Downtown Disney 

Besides restaurants and shops, there are a few other places to explore in the Downtown Disney District, such as: 

  • Flambeaux’s Jazz Club – Live Entertainment 
  • The Kingpin Stage – Live Entertainment 
  • Splitsville Luxury Lanes – Bowling 

Can I Visit Downtown Disney Without a Ticket?

Yes, you can. 

Since the Downtown Disney District is not inside of Disneyland’s parks, you do not have to have a Disneyland ticket to enter. 

You also do not have to make a park reservation to visit the district. 

Plus, you can rest well knowing that it is always free to enter Downtown Disney. 

How Late Is Downtown Disney Open?

Typically, the Downtown Disney District opens and closes when the theme parks do. 

Also, the district is open every day of the year unless the entire resort is closed. 

Conclusion 

So, in conclusion, you can definitely get to Disneyland’s parks through the Downtown Disney District. 

However, if you come into Disneyland from the east at the bus depot, you will need to pass the park entrances to reach the district. 

But, you can then double back to enter either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park.

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