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The Magic Years
Disney through the eyes of teens
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Adrienne Krock, editor
My Visit to Downtown Disney

A view from above the west side of Downtown Disney - clockwise from left top: Rainforest Cafe, Monorail station, Lego Imagination Center, the big yellow building is the movie theater complex
A view from above the west side of Downtown Disney (clockwise from top left): Rainforest Cafe, Monorail station, LEGO Imagination Center, the big yellow building is the movie theater complex

On Saturday, January 13th, my family went to Disneyland for my birthday. My best friend and her mom came along too. On our way into the Park, we decided to check out Downtown Disney. I was amazed by how nice it was! That place is HUGE! You are above the street, which I really like, and the monorail that rides above Downtown Disney is low enough for you to see each person who's grabbed a window seat. There is so much to do there that if you devoted your whole day to Downtown Disney, I can guarantee that you wouldn't get bored. There are shops, restaurants, entertainment, and much more. I didn't get to do everything, that would have taken far more time than we had. But here are some things I wanted to tell you about.

LEGO Imagination Center
The LEGO Imagination Center

One of the first stores we went to was The LEGO Imagination Center. That was my little brother's favorite store. In the LEGO store, there is this gigantic giraffe. I don't know if it is life-size or larger, but it is made completely of LEGOs. There is also a big Darth Vader and an R2-D2 in there. You can buy LEGO sets, key chains, watches, clocks, pens, even some stuff that's from LEGOLAND. You can purchase hats and shirts and they also have some really cute boxes of candy. The boxes look like LEGO bricks and have Runts or something like that in them. There are also smaller ones that have LEGO peoples' heads on top of the containers. These are sometimes filled with Nerds... one of the best candies on Earth! This store was a lot of fun. Even if you're not into LEGOs, I think you should go in and look around. They have this huge LEGO globe hanging from the ceiling with different things stuck all over it where they belong in the real world. I mean, this store is just amazing!

Compass Books and Cafe
Compass Books and Cafe

Then there is Compass Books and Cafe. Now, I love books, so of course I just had to check this place out. This was a really great store. They have a magazine/newspaper stand outside, which also carries comics for those of you who like to stand there and read them like I do. :) Inside the store, one side is mostly kids' books, and the other side is mostly books for grown-ups. The "grown-up side" is also the cafe. They serve coffee, pastries, little chocolate cakes, and lots of other good things to eat. Right outside the bookstore, there are tables and chairs. As soon as I saw these, I decided that this is where I'm going to study when I'm older. This is a very nice little bookstore, newsstand and cafe.

Something Silver
Something Silver

There is also a store called Something Silver and they carry, you guessed it, silver jewelry. They've got quite a selection of silver necklaces, charms, chains, rings, bracelets, and even some pieces of jewelry set with semi-precious gem stones. This was a fun store for my friend and me. I especially liked the charms they carry. They had a variety of different kinds from peace signs to palm trees to crosses and everything else in between.

Starabilias... now this is one store that is truly far-out. This place is packed with posters signed by musicians and movie stars, like Elton John and Steven Spielberg, and some other off-the-wall celebrity stuff. This store was way cool, but very busy. It's one of my friend's favorites, and obviously she's not the only one who likes it. There was this table in there that was really a surfboard on a stand with chairs to look like a table. It's kind of hard to explain, but it was my favorite thing in the store.

World of Disney
World of Disney

Now, this next store isn't as different as the rest but it is certainly huge and worth a visit. It is World of Disney. In this store, you can buy (almost) anything and everything Disney. They have kitchen utensils, clothing, jewelry and oh, so much more. They've got some really cool watches in there, and a huge selection of water globes (or snow globes). Many of these are mini water globes. I really like these because they are extremely detailed and very cute (check out the princess ones). They are about $12 each. Some of the water globes are big and fancy. These are really nice, but be careful... they're very delicate.

For those of you who like the glitter and lip gloss look, they have a selection of cosmetics, too. This isn't like walking into a Sav-On or anything, but it's enough to keep you busy if you're like me. I like to stand there and look over each item and ooh and aah at the sparkles. I'm not into make-up, but I just can't stay away from fun stuff like this.

Downtown Disney may have some great stores, but they also have some excellent entertainment that I can't wait to check out.

Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen
Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen

At Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, you can eat like you're in New Orleans and listen to jazz too. And at the House of Blues restaurant you will be able to enjoy live music of every kind. The "Delta-inspired" menu sounds great, as well. I'm hoping to be able to catch some of the fun before too much time goes by. I really want to listen in on some of the jazz that I keep reading about.

[Editor's Note: At House of Blues, young people 16 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. All persons 16 years and older should bring an ID card to verify age. Some concerts will be restricted to patrons 21 and older only-- Adrienne K]

Rainforest Cafe
Rainforest Cafe

Then there is the Rainforest Cafe for a dinner that you won't forget. I've eaten at a Rainforest Cafe before, and let me tell you, their grilled cheese sandwich is superb! While you're eating, there's always a chance of thunderstorms, and a 100% chance of fun. I loved this place, and I'm sure you will too.

I've also read the "Upcoming Events" list, and it sounds like Downtown Disney will be constantly busy with all these happenings. It looks like ESPN Zone, Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, and the House of Blues are the three main targets for live entertainment. Many events have already taken place. Live radio broadcasts of all types of sports and ESPN's "Up-Close" live with Warren Moon and with Eric Dickerson were at ESPN Zone. There is live jazz at Ralph Brennan's every day of the month (that's the whole idea!), and the House of Blues has been just as busy.

[Editor's Note: It's me again! At ESPN Zone, patrons 18 and younger must be accompanied by an adult 21 or older. - Adrienne K]

If you haven't already been to Downtown Disney, I encourage you to make the trip. They offer free parking for three hours, so you don't even have to pay to get in! I know I'm definitely going back!

Thanx to all of you who sent me e-mail!



PS -- Do you have any comments you'd like to make? Have you been to Downtown Disney? Maybe you even have a suggestion for a possible future column. E-mail me at I love hearing what you guys have to say!

Jewel's FastFact: Splash Mountain's final drop is 52.5' long, at a 45 degree angle. Here, the logs fall at a speed of 40 mph. The ride's average speed is 12 mph.

Downtown Disney


My name is Jewel.

I am almost 13 years old, and a typical junior high student. I live with my mom, dad, and little brother. My family and I have annual passes to Disneyland so we go quite often. I love school, and science has always been a favorite subject of mine. I am in band and hope to be involved in music for the rest of my life.

Right now, my career goal is to become a deejay. In my mind, that is the coolest job in the world! My hobbies include: listening to and playing music, reading, writing, messing around on the computer and hanging out at Disneyland. We have seven cats (four of them found us), a black Labrador, and I have a goldfish.

Photos courtesy of Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix and Al Lutz

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