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7 Awesome Things To Do At Walt Disney World Outside Of The Parks

7. Movies under the stars

Each night, your Disney resort hosts a movie night, featuring a Disney movie. Schedules for which movies will be shown when can be obtained from the front desk of your resort. If you’re looking to get away from the parks, but still relax as a family for a bit, this might be a great option for you. I usually bring a blanket or towel to sit on, along with some dinner from the quick service restaurant at the resort, and treat myself to dinner and a movie.

6. Spa services

While there are a couple of different places around Walt Disney World that provide spa services, I’d recommend heading to the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, or Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. If you’re looking to unwind, or even simply get a manicure or pedicure, indulging in some spa services can be a great way to relax with some time away from the theme parks.

5. Dinner shows

Walt Disney World offers two dinner shows at resorts that do not require a park ticket of any kind: the Hoop de Doo Musical Review at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, and the Spirit of Aloha dinner show at the Polynesian Village Resort. It is highly suggested that you make reservations in advance (which can be done online just like ordinary dining reservations) and that you leave early if you’re taking Disney transportation. These two shows are some of my favorite things to do outside of the park, and they make a nice end to a day of sitting by the pool or touring Disney Springs, if I don’t feel like using a park ticket on that particular day.

4. Fishing

If you’re looking to go fishing at Walt Disney World, there are a couple of places to do so. In addition to the fishing excursions that can be booked for Bay Lake, I’d recommend checking out the cane pole fishing at the Port Orleans resorts. This more old fashioned style of fishing is something that you’ll likely only ever experience if you do it at Port Orleans, which makes it a bit more unique to Walt Disney World even though it is technically an experience that could be had elsewhere.

3. Resort pools

I mention resort pools because so many guests skip out on the pools at their resorts in order to get to the parks instead. I used to be one of those people, but after having spent some time at the pool during my last couple of trips, I highly recommend making a pool day for yourself. If you don’t think you can dedicate a whole day to being away from the parks, you’ll want to at least set aside a couple of hours in the middle of the day one day just to head back to the resort and be able to say that you did in fact use the pool.

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2. Resort hop

Disney resorts are beautiful, and if you haven’t stopped by and visited all of them you’re definitely missing out. If you’re looking for something to do outside of the parks, simply stop at the resorts you haven’t been to and look around the lobbies, stroll through the gift shops, and maybe even stop for drinks. The easiest places to do this are at the Epcot resorts (because you can easily walk to all of them) or the monorail resorts, however each Disney resort will have a bus going there from the theme park, so it’s still fairly easy to visit the others as well.

1. Disney Springs

My favorite place to go outside of the theme parks is to Disney Springs. While my primary reason for being here is shopping, there really is so much to do here that you can have tons of fun without stepping foot into a theme park. Aside from shopping there’s also live entertainment, the VOID, Splitsville, AMC, food trucks, House of Blues, and a bunch of award winning restaurants. Next time you’re looking for a day away from the parks, try hitting the resort pool in the morning, and Disney Springs in the evening, you’ll be glad you did.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.