8 Things You May Not Expect At Walt Disney World Resorts

Wilderness Lodge Pool

The Walt Disney World Parks are incredibly magical and provide guests with countless memories for decades to come, but who says the magic has to end when you exit the parks? Staying on site at a Disney Resort enhances your vacation on so many levels with continuous magic from the moment you open your eyes in the morning to the minute you lay your head to rest on your pillow each night. Each resort has its own special touch in creating all of the magic. If you’ve never stayed at an on-site resort, and are contemplating on doing so for your next trip, here are just 8 things you may not expect at the Walt Disney World resorts!

8. Attention to Detail

If it’s one thing Disney is known for, it’s their attention to detail. The resorts are no different when it comes to design and décor. There are various themes at each resort and you will see how seamless the décor and architecture infuses each and every theme of the resorts from the structure of the buildings to the pools and restaurants down to the comforters and wall art in the staterooms and suites. No matter where you decide to stay, you will truly feel like you have been immersed in a different world. For example, the Wilderness Resort always makes me feel like I’m in a Northwestern state with its classic stacked logs, carved wooden headboards, and lush landscape, and the Polynesian whisks me away to a tropical Island with its authentic culture and unbelievable landscape and colorful yet tasteful staterooms. These are just two examples of resorts on the property. As you can see, they are very diverse. Be sure to check out the different resorts on the property before you make your reservations to choose the one that is most appealing to you! You’ll love the way the detail of every single square inch reflects that of the theme.

7. Dining and Recreation Options

Disney resorts have an array of dining options that have become quite popular over the years. You can choose from dining in very inexpensive food courts, moderate restaurants, dinner shows, character dining, unique/themed dining, and elaborate elegant restaurants. The best part is you can dine at whichever one you would like without actually staying there! Believe it or not, I find myself dining at the restaurants at the resorts more than I do in the park. There are so many styles of delicious cuisine to choose from since all of the resorts are themed so differently and most of the restaurants are tailored to the themes. When you do your research for resorts, be sure to check out the restaurants that are on your site or nearby. You’ll be impressed with their great reviews and delicious meals. Resorts also have a ton of recreational activities beyond the typical swimming pool. There are various sports and boating activities to partake in as well as horseback riding, fishing, running trails, and nature trails at select resorts. You’ll love the selection of activities, especially if you love the outdoors! While the Fort Wilderness Cabins probably has the most recreational activities to choose from, be sure to check out what each resort offers so you’ll know what you want to check out on your next visit.

6. Pools

Florida is known for it’s sunny and humid weather, so a dip in the pool is a must for Disney guests. You’ll want to take a day (if you can) to just relax by the pool because the Disney resorts have some pretty fantastic ones! As with everything else, the pools are themed and very large! Some properties even have more than one because of the size of the land and to accommodate those guests that aren’t situated near the pool. These beautiful pools are absolutely amazing and they have the best surrounding views of your resort ever. While the restaurants are open to all guests, pools are not. You wont be able to ‘pool hop’ around the various resorts so if catching rays is on your ‘to-do’ list for your next vacation, be sure to check out the pool details at your resort prior to making your reservation.

5. Resort Entertainment

Like I said earlier, the magic continues before and after your park visit at the resorts. The amazing cast members are the reason that the magic is so special on each Disney trip. They have a way of putting smiles on faces of any age. The entertainment provided by them is no exception. Each resort has its own kind of entertainment. Every single resort on property has an awesome pool party where the staff play pool games and have tons of fun with the kids. This happens daily, so you don’t need to worry about scheduling around it. There are other resorts that have additional forms of entertainment. For example, the Grand Floridian offers some amazing music with a live band right in the middle of the lobby. The Animal Kingdom Lodge sometimes has cast members making art in the lobby with kids, and the Polynesian has dancing at times too. These small moments may not seem like anything out of this world, but they are the small touches of Disney magic that we all love.

4. Campfires and Movies

Speaking of entertainment, campfires have become popular at the deluxe resorts, so much so, that now you can roast marshmallows at any Disney resort! Cast members will hand out fluffy marshmallows for you to roast and enjoy with your family. I always like to bring some graham crackers and chocolate with me to make some s’mores. Don’t have crackers or chocolate? No worries! If you’re staying or visiting the Fort Wilderness cabins, you can purchase a s’more kit at the campfire sight! Don’t leave too soon though, immediately following the campfire here, you’ll want to take a seat and enjoy Chip ‘N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long, where everyone dances with Disney’s favorite chipmunks. Right after the campfires, you’ll want to grab a spot for movies under the stars. Each night, every single resort on property projects a different Disney film on a huge screen at or around the pool area. Beach chairs are set up and popcorn is given out while guests enjoy a classic Disney film. It’s a great way to end the evening! Think that’s enough? If you’re staying or visiting the Magic Kingdom resort area hotels, be sure to ask when the Electrical Water Pageant will be showing. This 15-minute show includes well-known tunes and beautifully lit sea creatures, flags, and more that are synchronized to provide a cute experience right from your resort.

3. Complimentary Transportation

One of my favorite things about a Disney vacation is that I never have to use my car to get around. Each resort has complimentary bus transportation to each of the 4 parks, 2 water parks, and Disney Springs form sun up to sun down. Depending on the location of each resort, you can also enjoy a complimentary boat or monorail ride (instead of a bus) as an alternate way of getting around the Walt Disney World property. You will want to make sure you plan in some time to get around to your destination because the busses, boats, and monorail swing by to pick up guests in intervals and many guests take advantage of this service, which can make it crowded at times.

Bonus Tip!

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 Disney travel deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius! Discover More >

2. Mousekeeping

Mousekeeping (also known as housekeeping at other hotels) is part of all the magic! Guests have been surprised with some really great ‘treats’ when they come back to their staterooms after a long day at the parks. Sometimes they will rearrange stuffed animals left in the room to make a funny scene or even make towel animals. This is another one of those small gestures that will surely put a smile across your face. Last year, my stuffed animals were all ‘watching T.V.’ together and Mickey had the remote in his hand. It was too cute!

1. Deals

We all know how expensive Disney can be, so it’s no surprise that many guests look elsewhere to stay when visiting the Orlando area. If you’re really unsure about how much a stay at a Disney World resort will cost, it won’t cost you a penny just to look and see what kind of deal you can get. There are many discounts at various times of the year, which gives families the opportunity to check the resorts out. There are also times when free dining plans are offered with a stay at the resorts, so this may also save you money. Be sure to ask about all of the deals that are available to see if one will be of use to you!

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 Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!

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About Natalie

Natalie is an elementary school teacher and a native Floridian who lives and breathes all things Disney. Her love for Disney started at the age of two during her first visit, and has continued to flourish into her adult life. She loves to share her Disney passion with her students and believes Disney is so special because there is no other place to forget about your worries and be a kid again, which is why she refuses to ‘grow up’.

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