The main attraction to a Disney vacation is spending time in the parks. It’s the attractions, the entertainment, the characters and the great picture opportunities. Still, there a number of things to do outside of the four main parks that can be just as much fun, if not more so since they can be less crowded. While there are certainly more than 10 things to do, here are some of the highlights of what you can do around Disney property.
10. Water Parks
Technically they are parks, but aren’t a park of the “big four” and don’t cost the same per person to get in. Both the Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks provide excellent ways for guests to enjoy rides, cool down, and greet some Disney characters as well. Be on the lookout for Stich and Lilo at Typhoon Lagoon.
Whether you’re into mini golf or the grown up version, Disney has its own set of golf courses for all ages. The mini golf courses are Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland. For teens and adults, there are 9-hole and 18-hole courses. Three in total. Work on your game and see if you get stuck in the Mickey-shaped sand trap. Golf cart rentals are available.
8. Resort Amenities and Activities
Besides their pools, food courts and rooms, each resort also has a number of recreational amenities. Moderate and Deluxe Resorts have bike rentals, carriage rides, boat rentals, fishing, parasailing, and a variety of activities for kids. Some resorts, like Port Orleans Riverside, even have their own entertainment on property like Ye Haa Bob.
7. Disney Quest
If you like video games, you’ll want to check out Disney Quest found in Downtown Disney/Disney Springs. With games ranging from classic arcade to virtual reality, there’s something for everyone. Sail on a pirate ship, navigate white water rapids, fly on a magic carpet, or create and ride your own rollercoaster. The elevator takes you to the top of the building where you can take your time traveling floor by floor on your way down.
6. Resort Dining
The best dining experiences aren’t necessarily in the parks. Take the Spirit of Aloha at the Polynesian Resort. You get an all-you-can-eat dining experience with live entertainment including songs, dances, and some audience participation during a real luau. Guests even get a free leis and picture taken of them before heading to their seat. If you haven’t seen it before, you’ll want to make reservations for your next trip. Other options include Chef Mickey, Ohana, Victoria and Alberts, and a number of restaurants found in Downtown Disney/Disney Springs. Check out “8 Disney Resort Restaurants That Should Be On Your Bucket List.”
5. Spa Time
There are also a number of spas and fitness centers around the resort area. The most widely known is Senses located at the Grand Floridian. They have a variety of packages available and often are booked if you wait until you arrive to make a reservation. There is also a Senses at Saratoga Springs. Other resorts that offer spa services and massages include Coronado, the Boardwalk Villas, the Dolphin Hotel, and Animal Kingdom Lodge.
4. Splittsville Luxury Lanes
If your family likes to bowl, you’ll want to check out Splittsville located in Downtown Disney/Disney Springs. With two floors of bowling lanes and food stands, you can enjoy some time with your family alongside plates of burgers and sushi. Amenities also include live entertainment, an outdoor patio, and billiards tables.
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3. La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil
This family friendly show can only be seen at Downtown Disney/Disney Springs and includes both high-energy acrobatic performances and calming graceful dances. With more than 65 performers from over 15 countries, watch as everyone comes together to celebrate an enormous party with unique makeup and costumes.
2. Visit the Boardwalk
The Boardwalk is another great place to visit outside of the parks. Besides being a Deluxe level resort, it is also host to a variety of entertainments such as two dance halls for adults only, the ESPN Club, Big River Grille and Brewing Works, a bakery, and a number of sweets and snack stands. There is also a Character Carnival and an arcade for games for all ages. It’s not at the top of a lot of to-do lists, so it’s usually not overly crowded. Check out “5 Things You Don’t Want to Miss at Disney’s Boardwalk.”
1. Tri-Circle-D Ranch
If you’re really looking for an out-of-the-park experience, you’ll need to visit Tri-Circle-D Ranch at the Fort Wilderness Resort. Here you can see the horses seen in the Magic Kingdom up close on their days off and get a pony ride or horseback ride. Guests can also get a wagon or carriage ride as well. Here you can see a variety of different horses and farm animals. The ranch itself closes in the afternoon but wagon rides take place later at night.
All these activities and more can be done without setting foot in one of the four main Disney World parks. Yet, you and your family can still have a great time and experience a few things that most Disney guests skip because they only visit the parks.
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