On The Edge

About the Column

K Martin Beaudry became a Disney fanatic when he found himself standing underneath a monorail track waiting for his parents to buy WDW ticket books in December of 1971. The anticipation of experiencing the Magic Kingdom, combined with the fantasy of seeing transportation and architecture unlike anything he has ever seen was enough to cause a Disney obsession that continues to this day.

Multiple hundreds of visits and many annual passes later, Martin still feels the same thrill when arriving at the main gate of any WDW park. As an adult, however, his enthusiasm has extended beyond the parks and into the resorts and on-property activities that many people have never experienced. He and his wife find adventure by checking out things they’ve not seen before – another restaurant, boat ride, resort, or show is always there waiting for them to enjoy.

In recent years, Martin has put his experience and knowledge to work by writing reviews and blogs for several websites related to theme parks in general – but mostly Disney parks. His corny humor and desire to cover unusual topics (an entire blog about a monorail?) provides a welcome relief from the hundreds of articles saying the same things repeatedly. His hope is that he can encourage Disney park visitors to go beyond the parks and into the undiscovered country that is Walt Disney World.

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FROM: On The Edge Published Regularly

Taking It Down Town!

KMB picks about Downtown Disney and gives the real inside scoop as to what you can expect on a day visiting Disney's favorite shopping area.



In our continuing series covering things “on the edge” of Walt Disney World, we must take a bus to Downtown Disney and check it out. There are some who call this the 5th park on WDW property, while others wonder why it is there at all. Me? Well, as usual, let’s just say I have some observations that may be a bit different.

Downtown Disney

  • Downtown Disney is a Mall! Yes, that’s right. I have to begin my observations by candidly admitting that I hate malls and I hate shopping. My idea of a shopping spree is running into the pharmacy for a prescription. Amelda Marcos said, “Win or lose, we go shopping after the election.” To me, that is a picture of today’s shopping insanity. Some people say they just like to “window shop.” Huh? The last time I went window shopping I came home with 3 windows.
  • Downtown Disney is a Crowded Mall! If there’s one thing that‘s worse than shopping, it is shopping in a crowded mall. When discussing this issue with a friend, I was told that I am overreacting. “Downtown Disney has times when there are hardly any crowds at all.” they said. But the last time I shopped at 2 AM I had the flu on the couch with the remote control just beyond my reach and the TV stuck on the shopping channel.
  • Downtown Disney is a Mall with Boat Rentals? I truly had to think about this one for awhile. After all, why would a shopping mall enable you to rent a boat? Recreation? Nah. Who goes to a mall for recreation? Then it struck me! Picture in your mind an overloaded boat full of refugees trying to escape a country. That’s it! Can’t stand shopping? Escape on a boat. Thirty dollars for a half-hour cruise is a small price to pay for freedom.
  • Downtown Disney is a Mall with Very Little Parking!  OK – let’s get real here. How many of you completely ignore the “Parking Lot Full” signs? C’mon, admit it! Think about this for a second. If the parking lots are for shoppers who are constantly coming and going, how can a sign truly indicate that the lot is full? One second it would be full and the next there would be 2 or 3 cars leaving. It doesn’t make sense. Seriously though, why did the planners decide on such small lots? I must admit that it has worked out tremendously for me, however. When I take my family to Downtown Disney, I don’t have to shop. I drop everyone off and then start to look for a parking place. My wife says, “OK, we’ll bring you some lunch and some dinner. See you tonight!”
  • Downtown Disney is a Mall with Chocolate! So why do I go to Downtown Disney then? It is because of the smell of chocolate wafting throughout all of Disney World and coming from an overcrowded, tiny shop called Ghirardelli’s. This small island in paradise calls my name from distant lands and like a lemming I am drawn into it without a care in the world. You say I have to sit outside in the sun because all the chairs are taken? No problem. You are charging me how much for a sundae? No problem. Your bratty kid just spilled hot fudge on my shoes? No problem. This is Ghirardelli’s!


Despite my extreme dislike for shopping, something still draws me to Downtown Disney – something besides Ghirardelli’s, of course. What could it be? Perhaps it is the fact that Downtown Disney has the word “Disney” in its name, and wherever there is Disney, there is magic.


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