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10 Reasons Disney World Resorts Are As Fun As The Parks

There are so many fun activities offered at Disney World’s many fabulous resorts, and most of them are available to all guests, meaning you don’t even have to be staying at the resort to enjoy them!

1. Tours

There are some fabulous tours offered at Walt Disney World, and many of them are quite pricey. Did you know, however, that there are some absolutely FREE tours offered at some of the resorts? You don’t even have to be staying at the particular resort to take the tour (but you do have to be staying at a Disney resort). Want to check out the Wilderness Lodge? Consider their 1-hour “Wonders of the Lodge” tour. The Animal Kingdom Lodge boasts three tours, including a Culinary Tour which includes a sampling of items from Boma and Jiko.

Interested in a more adventurous tour? Check out the Wilderness Back Trail Adventure, which is a 2-hour tour that begins at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and stops at the Wilderness Lodge, Tri-Circle-D Ranch, and Bay Lake. The best part? You’ll be touring on a Segway! Learning to ride a Segway is great fun in itself. This tour will set you back about $85, and is reserved only for guests over the age of 16.

2. Nighttime entertainment viewing

Try avoiding the crowds and catching a different glimpse of Wishes from one of the resorts on the monorail loops. Or, take in a different type of parade- the Electrical Water Pageant, in which the parade vehicles are actually boats lit up on the lake! You can view this parade from the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Ft. Wilderness, Contemporary, or Bay Lake Towers.

3. Animal viewing at Animal Kingdom Lodge

I highly encourage you to take some time to explore the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s a bit out of the way from the other resorts and parks, but worth a visit. You don’t have to be a guest there to enjoy the many animal outlooks throughout the resort, and you’ll definitely see many animals easily.

4. Fun photo ops

Who doesn’t love a good family photo op? The All-Star resorts and Pop Century have great icons to take photos with. The Art of Animation resort has a lot of huge character statues throughout the resort that your family will enjoy seeing and posing with.

5. Pool time

This one is an exception to the “open to all guests” comment I made earlier. Guests are not supposed to hop to a different resort to use pool facilities. That being said, if you are staying at a Disney Resort, chances are great that your resort pool is tons of fun and worth exploring. Disney’s pools vary, but there’s fun to be had at all resort levels. The All-Star Resorts all boast themed pools, and the Finding Nemo pool at the Art of Animation Resort has sound effects under water! Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (a moderate resort) has one pool in each of the 6 “island” areas and an additional themed pool. And have you seen the pool at the Boardwalk resort, one of Disney’s finest deluxe resorts? The slide looks like so much fun!

6. Movie Showings

Most of the resorts offer free nightly Disney movie showings, often poolside. For instance, at the Art of Animation Resort, you may be able to catch big hits such as Muppets Most Wanted, The Little Mermaid, and Big Hero 6, to name just a few.

7. Water Sports

Some resorts, like the Swan and Dolphin, offer small paddle boats for use on the water. If you’re into something more extreme, check out Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Center, located at the Contemporary Resort. There, you can experience parasailing, tubing, water skiing, and other vehicle rentals.

8. Pin Trading

Pin trading at the resorts is a ton of fun. Most of them have some sort of pin board that they will bring out to show you. You’ll also find cast members wearing lanyards that might not be as picked over as those you’ll find in the parks. Some resort boards are available certain times of day, so you might have to inquire about that. Look up some of the details and take a few hours to resort hop- take the monorail and hop on and off at the resorts on the loop and see what they have! For a special treat, you might also want to try to catch King Pin at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

9. Dining

Some of Disney’s top restaurants aren’t located in the parks at all- you’ll find them in the resorts. Looking for a fun character dining experience? Try 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian, Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary, Cape May Café at the Beachclub Resort, or Garden Grove at the Swan. Interested in fine dining? Reserve a table at Artist Point (Wilderness Lodge), California Grill (Contemporary), Citricos (Grand Floridian), Jiko (Animal Kingdom Lodge), or Shula’s Steakhouse (Dolphin Hotel).

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10. Dinner Shows and other Events

Even more magical than typical dining experiences, Disney’s resorts also offer some special dinner shows and other evening events. You might consider the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show (Polynesian), which features dancing and other entertainment, at the Polynesian. Or, check out the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review or Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at the Campsites at Fort Wilderness. Fancy something free? Fort Wilderness Resort also hosts a singalong, complete with roasting marshmallows and a visit from Chip and Dale!

What are some of your favorite ways to kick back and enjoy the resorts? Let us know!

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best price for your vacation, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!

About Meredith Smisek

Meredith Smisek is a kid at heart and works as an elementary school guidance counselor. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, dog, and parrot. Meredith's hobbies include cooking, playing ukulele, and "talking Disney" with anyone she knows who is planning a trip to Disney or has just returned.