Downtown Disney is that bustling intersection between Disneyland Resort’s major hotels and theme parks. The easternmost end spills out onto an open esplanade. This space is flanked to the North and South by Disneyland and Disney California Adventure respectively. You can get there by tram from the Mickey and Friends parking structure, or you can take the monorail from Tomorrowland all the way to the end of Downtown Disney where the parking lot and the Disneyland Hotel meet. As a Grand Californian Hotel and Spa guest, you can walk right out from your hotel into the middle of all the action. Whichever way you come and whatever you’re looking for, you will certainly want to try some ice cream at Downtown Disney.
The outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment district is full of venues to enter and explore. You’ll find luxury bowling lanes, home goods, art, Legos… even a Star Wars Trading Post! There are also a bunch of sweets including Marceline’s Confectionary, Sprinkles, and incredible beignets at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express. Interestingly, if you want ice cream at Downtown Disney, you have to cross over to the north side of the district. None of the locations on the south side sell it.
That’s fantastic if you are on a quest for some ice cream at Downtown Disney and you need to narrow down your options. If your sweet tooth is in the mood for something creamy and frozen, there are three (technically four) locations that have you covered. Two are really easy to get to and two are a little bit trickier.
Filo’s Italian Gelato – Napolini and Naples
First up is Napolini. This is a grab-and-go quick service location connected with Naples, the Italian restaurant with the most incredible Neapolitan Pizza. For those familiar with Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria, you will find yourselves right at home in this affordable yet elegant Downtown Disney eatery. The restaurant is right near the drop-off for the park trams and Napolini is conveniently located right next door. Both the table service restaurant and its quick service counterpart have gelato. There are three flavors: vanilla; chocolate; and pistachio. This is not the go-to place for ice cream at Downtown Disney. However, it is the only place where you can get gelato.
Super Sundae – Splitsville
Another exciting venue where ice cream at Downtown Disney is available is Splitsville Luxury Lanes. This central Downtown Disney location is the singular place to go in the whole district for entertainment. Besides bowling in the charmingly retro-styled environment, there is a restaurant that serves up apps, pizza, sushi, burgers, and more. Part of that “more” is ice cream, a relatively difficult thing to come by if you are scouring the Downtown Disney area for this specific treat. The form ice cream takes here is that of a super sundae. A massive concoction that if you buy one for your kid you can make them share with you without sustaining serious damage to your eardrums.
Sadly, as with Naples, this is a dessert offered from the restaurant menu. But here, there is no grab-and-go alternative.
Salt and Straw
Now the real deal. This is the true destination for ice cream lovers at Downtown Disney. Salt and Straw has a unique lineup of flavors for grown-up taste buds and also has some next-level twists on more basic traditional options like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. While the other places have more standard fare, Salt and Straw is where you go to be dazzled when you are looking for something more edgy or even seasonal. Double Fold Vanilla is a good play-it-safe flavor, but you can also get Honey Lavender, Avocado and Oaxacan Chocolate, or Pear and Gorgonzola, just to name a few of the more unique flavor profiles.
Salt and Straw is conveniently located across from Wetzel’s Pretzels right between Naples and Splitsville.
What About Shakes?
If you’re interested in ice cream at Downtown Disney, it may not take too much convincing to point you toward a shake. Salt and Straw is a huge Downtown Disney attraction, but Black Tap is also a very popular place for satisfying your sweet tooth. Plus, Black Tap has a side window called Crazy Shakes just for your shake-loving pleasure.
There are $11 classic shakes in standard flavors like vanilla, chocolate, coffee, strawberry, peanut butter, etc. But there are also nine “crazy shakes” to choose from. These decadent shakes are topped with cake slices or candy for a truly over-the-top, must-try experience. You’ll find both Black Tap locations near Splitsville.
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