Walt Disney World has four theme parks to offer guests which are all amazing and special in their own ways. But it doesn’t stop there. The vision extends beyond the parks in so many ways, and there are tons of activities you can do that don’t require a park admission, like:
- Watersports– Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre at the Contempotary Resort has waterskiing, parasailing and wakeboarding, and you can rent all kinds of boats from canoes to jetskis to motorboats at many of the resorts. And if all that isn’t enough, you can go on a bass fishing trip with a professional Disney fishing guide who will have you reeling them in in no time.
- Resort hopping – After a morning at one of the parks, I love to hop on a monorail/boat/bus to different resorts to take in the scenery and atmosphere there. The Polynesian is a great place to soak in that tropical feeling while enjoying a delicious Dole Whip, and Port Orleans French Quarter and the Grand Floridian are both great places for a romantic stroll with your better half. The Animal Kingdom Lodge is a great place to animal watch, and to grab some lunch or dinner.
- Food – While the Parks have some great eats, I would argue that as a whole, the food is better outside the parks. The resorts as well as Downtown Disney have some incredible restaurants with a huge variety of foods, there is a place for everyone, from the more formal Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian, to the more mellow House of Blues in Downtown Disney (where the live music is almost as good as their chicken wings!). If you’re looking to be entertained while dining, then try a dinner show (think wild west fun at Fort Wilderness or a hula theme over at the Polynesian), or a character meal, where the food is usually endless and the characters come right to your table. I highly recommend venturing away from the parks for meals, as I have found the quality and taste higher and there are often fewer crowds to contend with.
- Downtown Disney – This area is an open market type of setup full of stores, restaurants, and entertainment options. From an exclusive to Disney Cirque Du Soleil show, to a Lego store, to a Ghiradelli dessert shoppe serving up amazing sundaes, to an authentic Irish Pub, to a……well you get my point, there’s a lot to see and do! Downtown Disney is a place where you can spend a whole day (or even longer for me, since I love to shop and they have some of the best stores, including the huge World of Disney)
- Nature at its Finest – you can head over to Disney’s campground, Fort Wilderness, to partake in horseback riding, bike riding, canoe and pedal boat rentals, or just a nice walk along their many nature trails. It is truly a place to escape to, its quiet and open, green, and best of all its not crowded! I definitely recommend coming here to get away from the hustle and bustle of the parks.
- The Boardwalk – The resort is reminiscent of the Atlantic City boardwalk in the 20’s and 30’s, and Disney’s Boardwalk Resort really comes alive at night, when the waterfront promenade lights up and becomes its own little mini park. It’s a great place to grab dinner, then take a stroll and check out the street performers and midway games, before checking out Jellyrolls, a dueling piano bar where you can relax and grab a drink. The Boardwalk is truly magical, especially at night.
- Relax by the pool – every Disney resort has at least one large pool (most have more than one), with plenty of lounge chairs and most have a bar nearby. If the Parks aren’t your thing, then maybe you’re more of a lounge by the pool with an umbrella drink person….or maybe you just want to cool off with a splash after a long day of touring…either way, you better pack your swimsuit!
- Spa treatments – aromatherapy massages, pedicures, you name it, Disney can do it at one of their three world class full service If you need some pampering during your busy WDW vacation, be sure to make an appointment!
- Golf – Work on your game at one of Walt Disney World’s 5 golf courses (4 are PGA approved, and there’s also one nine hole course). If your skills aren’t exactly ready for a full 18 holes, don’t worry – they also offer golf lessons
You could probably spend your whole vacation at WDW doing things outside the theme parks and have an amazing time. Pair some of the above activities with the Parks and you will discover why it’s the Happiest Place On Earth!
- Top 5 Things To Do at Disney World Without Tickets (chipandco.com)
- Stranded at Walt Disney World and Loving It (chipandco.com)