Planning a Disney World vacation takes a lot of planning and decision making. Your first big decision is where to stay. There are many factors that go into choosing the resort you would like to call home for the duration of your trip, price and location being two of the bigger factors. There are so many different resorts to choose from, all with fun themes, in Disney World. So it can be a hard choice to make, but there is a way to see the resorts you don’t choose. It’s called resort touring.
Lots of people do this on non park days. You can hop on the monorail and tour the monorail resorts or take a bus from any park or Downtown Disney to the resort you want to see. It actually makes for a pretty relaxing day.
On our last trip, we made a lot of dining reservations at different resorts. We actually had more dining experiences at the resorts than in the parks and it worked out pretty well for us. If we showed up a little early we were able to look around the resort before our reservation, otherwise we would tour the resort after we were done with our meal.
We had dinner at California Grill one night and we had a little time before the fireworks viewing, so we decided to do the monorail loop. We didn’t have enough time to get off at each stop, but it was still fun to ride the monorail and see all the monorail resorts.
Here are some things to see on your resort tour:
Obviously, there are areas you will not be able to go to if you are not a guest at that resort, but there is plenty to see in the areas that are open to the general public. The grounds of the resorts are fun to walk around, because so much goes into the theme of each resort. It does not matter if the resort is a value, moderate, deluxe, or deluxe villa, all of the grounds are well-kept and make for a fun way to tour a resort.
At Pop Century there are signs positioned along the walkway with fun pop culture tidbits. It’s fun to read the signs as you have a leisurely stroll around the resort. The grounds at Kidani Village and Animal Kingdom Lodge are the savannas. So, seeing the grounds means watching the animals, and that is fun for both kids and adults. Wandering around the grounds of the Polynesian Village Resort will make you feel like you are in the tropics. I love taking pictures of all the tropical plants that the Polynesian Village Resort has on their grounds, they are so beautiful.
Another area that you can visit are the hotel lobbies. Those are also fun to walk around. Some are pretty grand, like Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge, and others are just fun and colorful, like Pop Century and Art of Animation. The Beach Club lobby is warm and inviting with all of the pastels on the furniture and walls.
Off of the lobbies you will find the resort gift shop and those are always fun to poke around in. The gift shops are designed to the theme of the resorts. So it is fun to look for those extra Disney touches, even in the gift shop.
A dining reservation is a good excuse to tour a resort. You are already at the resort, so if you have no where else to be that day, I would definitely recommend sticking around to see the rest of the resort.
If you don’t have a dining reservation you can look at the list of quick service restaurants at the resorts and choose one of those to try. Once your get your food you can find a place to sit and people watch at the resort.
Whether you try a quick service or a table service, make sure to look around at the decor of the restaurant. Like the resorts, the restaurants have themes. We enjoyed the theme at Cape May Cafe. We were seated near the sandcastle that they have on display. The beach umbrellas that line the back area of the restaurant were a nice touch. The characters at the character breakfast are dressed in beach gear and the kids loved that. It is a very fun theme.
Some resorts will have special activities that you can take part in even if you are not a resort guest. For instance, there is nightly viewing of the animals at Animal Kingdom Lodge that everyone can enjoy. So if you are there for dinner at one of their delicious restaurants, head up to the viewing area afterwards and check out the animals with night vision goggles. Please note that the night viewing is different from the Night Safari. The Night Safari is only available to guests who are staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House, and Kidani Village.
Another activity that is offered at many of the resorts is nightly campfires. The activities at the campfire will vary depending on the resort, but there are usually stories, singalongs, and marshmallow roasting. These are a lot of fun and they are free activities offered at the resorts.
Sometimes it is fun to just spend the day taking different forms of Disney transportation, especially if you are staying at a resort that only has bus transportation. The monorail is fun to ride and you can take it to the monorail resorts or you can transfer and take it to Epcot and back. There are boats that will take you from some resorts to Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Downtown Disney. You can also walk to some parks from certain resorts. Epcot is a short walk from Yacht and Beach Club and from the Boardwalk Inn, you can also walk to Hollywood Studios from these resorts (about a 20 min. walk). The Magic Kingdom is a short walk from the Contemporary. So you can walk to and from the parks and just enjoy the scenery and landscaping.
There are lots of ways to experience different resorts at Disney World. Not only is it a nice relaxing day, but it can also help you decide which resort you would like to book for your next trip. When we had our first breakfast a Boma, we knew we wanted to book a stay there at some point. For our last trip, we did end up booking at Kidani and we were certainly not disappointed. So, if you know you want to try different resorts for each trip, I definitely recommend giving yourself a tour of different resorts. Plus, it is good to have days off from the parks to relax and this is a great way to do that. Happy exploring!
Thanks for reading!