When the idea of going on a vacation to Walt Disney World Resort comes up, what do you think of first and foremost? Are you met with images of visiting the four theme parks and pursuing all the must-do attractions? For many folks, even those who have been to Disney World many times in the past, that is precisely the case. But the fact remains, in-Park endeavors only constitute a portion of the magical experiences that come included as part of a Disney World visit. And that’s great news, particularly for those looking to have at least a day or two where they don’t have to bother with making a Park Reservation or purchasing pricey Park tickets. So, what can you do alternately at Disney World if you choose not to spend time in the Parks? In short, a lot! Here’s a look at 10 awesome activity suggestions.
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10. Resort Swimming
One of the best-loved pastimes you will find available to you at every single Disney Resort is swimming. Each accommodation has at least one swimming pool, with most sporting multiple pools and some even featuring whirlpools as well. In many cases, the Resort pool scene also includes a splash area, maybe a slide or two, and fun follies that kids and adults alike can rightfully enjoy. All pools at Disney World are kept at a constant 82 degrees, making any day an ideal day to go for a swim. So, go ahead and let yourself have a full-fledged pool day, all day long.
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9. Pampering Yourself
Many vacations worldwide emphasize the concept of ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation while headlining their standout spa services of great distinction. And why should a visit to Walt Disney World Resort be any different, especially given the fact that it too is home to some of the most impressive world-class offerings of such as well? Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is site to its most impressive namesake spa, which features a vast array of top-quality full-service features. From body treatments to massages, they even offer manicures and other salon stylings to make you feel your best inside and out.
Many other Disney Resort locations also feature spas, although, at the present time, the Grand Floridian Spa is the only one to have returned to full operations. Mandara Spa over at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Hotel is also open. Both locations welcome all folks, regardless of where they are staying at. And because neither is located within the limits of any Disney theme park, no tickets are required—just another thing to relax about.
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8. Taking in a Movie
Your Resort is host to a vast number of complimentary recreational activities and extras to enjoy. And one such offering, Movies Under the Stars, is an absolute favorite freebie for Guests to take delight in. These are presented as outdoor showings of a different movie every evening (weather permitting), projected onto a massive screen on location at your Resort.
Disney Guests can take in an alternate, more traditional moviegoing experience with AMC DINE-IN Disney Springs 24. Here you get to enjoy all the latest releases and can even make your outing into a dinner and a movie combo excursion.
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7. Enjoying the Vibrant BoardWalk Scene
There’s a nice little hub right outside of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT that is a known bustling social scene. It’s none other than Disney’s BoardWalk promenade, and as you likely guessed, it’s located right within range of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn while still maintaining a separate identity. Home to several shops, unique dining establishments, and lively entertainment happenings daily, Disney’s BoardWalk is free and open to anyone to come out and rightfully enjoy. There are no admission costs or tickets required. However, certain activities, in conjunction with the various nightclubs, do have a cover charge for entering.
6. Renting a Boat
If you like spending time on the water, let it be known that several Disney Resorts have their own connecting marinas where you can rent out boats. A great alternative to spending all your time in the Parks, an outing on the waters of Disney’s many surrounding lakes and lagoons can offer a much-needed respite. There are also guided fishing excursions offered at some locations. Also, for those looking to forgo the luxury of motorized watercraft in favor of a physical rowing endeavor, there are kayak and canoe rentals over at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
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5. Bike Riding
You will find eight different Resorts at Disney World where you can rent bikes and ride along calming, tree-lined paved pathways and designated trails. Bikes are available for adults and children alike, some even with training wheels. And complimentary helmets are provided for children under 16. There are also six different Resort locations offering fun two- or four-person surrey bikes well. Bike riding can be a fun alternative to spending a day in the Parks.
4. Learning Archery
Did you know that you can even learn to shoot a bow and arrow on your visit to Walt Disney World? Even more surprising is the fact that you can pursue this pastime outside of the limits of Disney Parks. It’s an experience that takes place on location at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and is available to anyone aged seven or older. These fun, instructive lessons last 75 minutes, in which a professional guide will teach you the right way to hold a bow and fire arrows into setup range targets.
3. Horsin’ Around
If you love horses, you’ll be happy to know that there are many horse-related activities you can get into during your Disney World visit that don’t even require Park admission. Most can be found again over at Disney’s Wilderness Resort & Campground, which is home to the one and only Tri-Circle-D Ranch—the permanent home of all Disney horses. Guests are always welcome to stop by, tour Tri-Circle-D Ranch, and pursue the many additional activities and offerings to be had here. From horseback trail rides to even pony rides for tykes, there are also horse-drawn carriage rides to partake in! Additionally, carriage rides are offered over at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort—Riverside.
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2. Getting in Some Golf
Whether you’re a serious golfer or you just like to play a little mini-golf every once in a while, you can get in some golfing in both the aforementioned ways at Disney World. Four professional courses can be found throughout varying Resort locations, all of which are operated by Arnold Palmer management. Golf enthusiasts can have a literal field day among these offerings, without ever stepping foot in any Disney Park. For others looking for a fun miniature golf folly, you’ll find two offerings: Disney’s Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens & Miniature Golf.
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1. Doing a Disney Springs Day
In addition to boasting four major theme parks and two water parks, Walt Disney World Resort is home to a bustling social hub known as Disney Springs. Much bigger than the aforementioned BoardWalk promenade, Disney Springs is a mega center boasting a wide variation of distinguishable callouts. Most widely recognized for the vast array of shopping and dining possibilities, it’s also worth noting that there are many onsite activities to take to here. I briefly touched on the AMC Theater option for taking in the latest movies, but that’s just one of many options. From interactive in-store experiences to family-friendly live entertainment taking place at various locations at any given time, bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes to unique Vintage Amphicar sightseeing tours on the water; you can even go on a tethered hot air balloon ascent for unrivaled views spanning the surrounding area! The possibilities at Disney Springs can be equally as engaging as time spent in the Parks, and one can easily commit to doing an entire day here. The best part is that visiting Disney Springs is completely free and open to the public, with no tickets needing to be purchased or reservations to be made beforehand.
There are so many possibilities to have a fulfilling time at Disney World, even if you decide to forego visiting the Parks for a day or two. It’s in the versatility of offerings here that makes a visit to Disney World a mutually magical experience that all folks can find joy in.