When people think of Disney World their first thought is usually the theme parks. That’s understandable, but there is so much to do outside of the parks.
With all the options of things to do outside of the parks, a lot of people will plan resort only stays. Most people, who do resort only stays, say that they don’t even miss the parks, because of all the activities available.
So if you have been thinking about trying a resort only stay or if you are doing an adults only trip and want to avoid the parks, here is a list of 10 Things to Enjoy Outside of the Parks:
When suggesting activities to do outside of the parks, shopping will always be on the list. There are so many fun stores on Disney property to explore. Every Disney resort hotel will have a gift shop, so you can go around the property exploring the shops.
Disney Springs has a lot of stores to check out, you could spend all day there just going from shop to shop, you can spend hours in the World of Disney Store alone (it’s huge!). Another area with some shops to see is the BoardWalk. There aren’t as many shops as there are in Disney Springs, but you have the added bonus of being on the BoardWalk and if you are there at night you can catch some of the entertainers outside of the shops.
Just like shops in Disney World, there are lots of restaurants to check out too. You definitely don’t have to go to the parks to find a good meal or even a character dining experience. Our favorite character experience that is outside of the parks is 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian (Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club is a close second). Our favorite signature restaurant outside of the parks is the Yachtsman Steakhouse (California Grill at the Contemporary is a close second). There really are a lot of great restaurants to try.
Here are some more of our favorites:
- Kona Cafe – Table Service (Polynesian Village Resort)
- Boma ~ Flavors of Africa – Buffet (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
- Beaches and Cream – Table Service (Beach Club)
- Captain’s Grille – Table Service (Yacht Club)
- BoardWalk Bakery – Quick Service (BoardWalk Area)
- Chef Mickey’s – Character Dining (Contemporary Resort)
- Big River Grille and Brewing Works – Table Service (BoardWalk Area)
This is something I am really looking forward to doing on my next visit to Disney World. The themes of all the Disney World hotels in all the categories are fun. Each resort hotel is themed in a different way and Disney is really good with attention to detail. You can spend multiple days exploring all of the different resorts.
I would suggest breaking them up by location, so you can explore the monorail resorts one day and the Epcot resorts another day. I would definitely hop over to Animal Kingdom Lodge to see both resorts (one building, Kidani Village, is all DVC), because you can see the animals roaming around the resorts. It’s pretty cool to walk out of the lobby and see giraffes walking around!
Not only are the resorts fun to walk around, but they all have great activities for guests to enjoy. They all show movies outdoors at night and have arcades, but you can also take part in campfires, join in fun pool activities, take a tour (for free) at the BoardWalk Inn, view the animals at night (with night vision goggles) at Animal Kingdom Lodge, horseback riding at Fort Wilderness, rent surrey bikes, and that’s just a few of the things offered. At check-in you will receive a sheet with the activities that take place at the hotel and the times and dates for each activity.
This is perfect for anyone that is looking for something a little adventurous. Over at the Contemporary Resort guests can go parasailing by making reservations through Sammy Duvall’s (407-939-7529).
You will get a pretty cool view of the Contemporary Resort and of Magic Kingdom, because you will be flying 400 ft. – 600 ft. high (depending on the package you choose). The ride lasts anywhere from 8 – 12 minutes (again depending on the package you choose) and you can bring a camera with you to take pictures.
Disney has both mini golf and full golf courses available for guests to use. There are three 18-hole golf courses: Disney’s Palm Golf Course, Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, and Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course. Disney also has one 9-hole golf course: Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. In addition to the bigger golf courses there are also a couple of mini golf places on Disney property: Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf.
The cost for mini golf is $14 for adults and $12 for kids. The cost for the golf courses will vary.
If you are a bowler then you are in luck. You can find the very large Splitsville Luxury Lanes in Disney Springs. There are 30 lanes, 5 bars, a dining room, 2 sushi bars, outdoor dining, live music, billiards, and dancing. Plus, the whole place is 2 floors. It’s pretty impressive.
Pricing on the Splitsville website says that Monday – Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. the cost is $15 per person and from 4 p.m. to close it’s $20 per person. On the weekends it’s $20 per person. The amount of time you get depends on the number of people in your party. Here’s the breakdown:
- 1-2 People: The price per person will get you an hour of lane time
- 3-4 People The price per person will get you an hour and 15 minutes of lane time
- 5-6 People The price per person will get you and hour and a half of lane time
- 7-8 People: The price per person will get you an hour and 45 minutes of lane time
This is a fun show full of acrobats, singers, trapeze artists, jugglers and more. Fifteen countries are represented in the performances that take place in unique looking building that was designed specifically for this show.
La Nouba is a fun for the whole family, but it’s also a great place to go for a date night. So if you are looking for something different to do in Disney for a date night this would be a good choice. Tickets start at $59 and show times may vary, but they are usually 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
This experience is still relatively new. It came along with the opening of the BOATHOUSE in Disney Springs. It’s a boat ride, but a very different boat ride, because you are in a car. You board your car and your captain will take you on a 20-minute ride in the water touring Disney Springs in a vintage car. It looks like a very cool experience and it’s fun to watch the cars enter the water and when they drive out of the water back up the ramp. You can inquire about the Amphicars at the BOATHOUSE.
Characters in Flight
This is another fun experience that you can find in Disney Springs. The Characters in Flight balloon ride will give you a 360-deegree view of Disney Springs and you’ll also be able to see other areas (and icons) of Disney World. The whole thing lasts about 8-10 minutes and it holds up to 29 guests.
Some things to note:
- Winds will affect this attraction, so if winds exceed 22 mph or if there is a storm, the balloon won’t go up.
- The balloon is tethered
- You can’t bring food, drinks, bags, or strollers
- Smoking is not permitted
Here’s a tip for Characters in Flight, check Groupon before you go, because I am always seeing Groupons for this experience. The cost (without a Groupon) is $18 per adult and $12 per child.
I hope this list helps if you have been thinking about doing a resort only stay. There are lots of things to do on Disney property outside of the parks, so you will never be bored!
Have you ever done a resort only stay?
Thanks for reading!
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