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An afternoon of Disney Marketplace Fun!
 
 
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By Kelly Goode, Florida Family Vacations

Families in search of Disney flavor without the price tag should head to the Disney Marketplace in Downtown Disney. This outdoor shopping mall offers first rate window-shopping and people watching as well as FREE outdoor entertainment and FREE hands-on activities for the kids.

The Disney magic begins the moment you set foot on the plaza. Stroll to your favorite Disney movie tunes and feel free to sing along (you may be surprised how many families do!). Watch the resort boats as they make up and down the channel and the monorail as it cruises by on its way to the main park entrance. It's almost like being there!

The shops at Disney Marketplace are works of art, especially the window displays at Disney's Days of Christmas. Adults will love the museum quality sculptures and animation cells on display at The Art of Disney gallery. Kid favorites such as the World of Disney, the largest character shop anywhere on the property, and Team Mickey Athletic Club, which offers bin after bin of bouncing balls, are not to be missed.

The free entertainment goes beyond the cute ducks. Enjoy the colorful parrots just outside the Rainforest Café. Let the kids splash in one of the many ground fountains located in between the Disney shops. Who needs to pay for a "wet and wild" adventure in the hot Florida sun! And don't go home without checking out the events calendar, a free live performance at the Dock Stage may be about to begin.

For free hands-on fun check out the LEGO Imagination Center. Kids will enjoy putting their imaginations into overdrive creating, and even racing, their own LEGO toys. Younger children will enjoy the toddler play area, complete with a LEGO slide. Take a picture of the kids next to the life-sized snoring LEGO man. Pause to marvel at the giant sea monster made entirely out of LEGO pieces. And when it squirts water out of its nose enjoy a moment of gross-out kid fun!

The recently opened Once Upon a Toy is more than a toy store. This interactive wonderland is chock-a-block with toys and games. Watch as Peter Pan, Wendy, and Tinkerbell fly overhead, relax while the kids make their own Mr. Potato Head with a Disney twist, and relive your childhood memories at the Tinker Toy and Lincoln Log play stations. Don't miss the toy model of the Magic Kingdom.

A trip to the Disney Marketplace is a half-day of FREE family fun and great kid activity. Unless you shop!

Smiles and an economical day at play are of utmost importance to The Most Miserly Mom.

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