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Thornton Park is an upscale and sophisticated shopping district, teeming with boutiques, restaurants and bars within downtown Orlando. Nearby Lake Eola Park also offers a relaxing setting to unwind. Every second Thursday of the month, Thornton Park hosts a wine and art walk to celebrate the arts in the community.
This unique area combining shopping, dining and special events is open year-round and provides a Disney-influenced, admission-free center for the city of Anaheim. There is usually live music and street entertainment out on the street. Much of the fun is free, although special concerts will have a fee. The schedule changes daily, so most visitors grab a free copy of "Downtown Disney Today" from the newsstands located throughout the area. The holiday season is especially busy with strolling musicians, yuletide decorations and special events for kids and adults alike. Your first three hours of parking is free with additional validations available from the restaurants, shops and theaters.
The most important thing to know about Downtown Disney Marketplace is that you don't have to be a park patron to shop here. An open-air shopping enclave, it is built at the edge of a lake and offers 26 stores, including the Ghiradelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop, Lego Imagination Center and, of course, the World of Disney, billed as the planet's largest Disney merchandise store. A number of restaurants are tucked in here, including Bongo's, Blues Cafe, Rainforest Cafe, Planet Hollywood, and Wolfgang Puck Express.