Denise's Corner

Downtown Disney Carousel is a Ride Through Marketplace History (& Fun, Too!)

Hi everyone!

Jeff and I have both been visiting the Downtown Disney Marketplace since the 1970’s. In 1999, a carousel was added, but it wasn’t on my radar until the last few years, when I noticed the vintage artwork scenes. And by vintage, I mean that many of the scenes depicted no longer exist. As the last few years have passed, more scenes are now gone from the landscape. We wanted to capture this carousel in photos and video before the artwork changes to Disney Springs. Created in Italy, the carousel is worth a second – and third –  look.

The Marketplace scenes can be found on both the exterior and interior of the carousel.

There are 16 horses and 20 scenes of the Marketplace. The spinning teacup that is usually on the carousel was out for repair, I will add it when it returns.

I can’t believe how many years I passed the carousel without taking much notice.

570 light bulbs adorn the carousel.

The carousel costs $2.00 to ride. Children under 42″ tall need to have an adult at least 18 years old, and that adult can ride for free.

Credit cards or cash are accepted. I was unable to use coins.

This is the back and front of the token guests receive when purchasing a ride.

Adults can ride on the horses or on the seats.

We rode twice – I was on a horse and then a seat. Both were comfortable.

The carousel has a classic feel to it, but it dates from 1999.

Here is a look at the artwork.

Rental boats stopped a couple of years ago, and Cap ‘n Jacks closed around then as well. The restaurant jutted out onto the water.

The carousel takes up one panel.

The sea serpent is still at Downtown Disney, but these other LEGO characters are not. More characters – such as Buzz Lightyear and Woody – are closer to the LEGO Imagination Center building.

Mickey, Minnie and Pluto above the World of Disney entrance.

The train is part of two scenes. While the carousel is for anyone, the train is for children only.

Team Mickey closed and is now the Marketplace Co-Op.

This artwork has the feel of very early on in the Marketplace history.

An icon of Downtown Disney was the McDonald’s clock tower. It was removed after McDonald’s closed, about 5 years ago.

This was a Downtown Disney sign with Cap’n Jack’s and the Marina in the background. A bridge now spans across Village Lake. And across the lake, the Disney Institute was where Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort now stands.

There is an archway that still exists, I believe near the Marketplace bus stop.

The World of Disney has changed quite a bit in the past year, including adding a Starbucks. There was construction recently on the front of the building.

The Gourmet Pantry is now Earl of Sandwich.

I don’t remember the spaceship, I looked online and the only spaceship I could find was from the LEGO Imagination Center – so I am assuming that is the same. I may even have photos of it somewhere.

The Rainforest Cafe.

Can you see a hidden Mickey?

Once we photographed the artwork, it was really interesting to see some of the views that no longer the same – like Earl of Sandwich.

For those who haven’t been to Fun Finds, there is a nice discount wall – $4 each item. It is my one “must do” on each visit to Downtown Disney.

Rainforest Cafe added fire effects to the volcano a couple of years back.

Remember to sign up for the Earl of Sandwich birthday club and download the app for free sandwiches!

The Spice & Tea Exchange can be found inside here.

Jeff enjoyed the ride.

Carousel horse.

Design on the carousel.

I sat in a seat for the second ride.

We do talk about the carousel on Mousesteps Weekly #147, about 3 minutes, 30 seconds in.

We definitely recommend taking a spin on the Downtown Disney carousel!

The carousel at Downtown Disney – soon to be Disney Springs – captures a moment in time at the Marketplace that won’t be seen again. But soon, we expect the artwork to change, capturing a look at what is here now.