You’ve planned the perfect Walt Disney World vacation- reserved character meals, obtained FastPasses, and scheduled time to ride all of the kid-friendly rides- and yet somehow, your child still wants to do things “at the hotel.” Sometimes the parks can be overwhelming, and kids express this desire for some down time. Luckily, there are tons of amazing activities for kids to do at Walt Disney World resorts. If you’re able to “let it go” and slow down the pace of your trip to check out some of the activities, you’ll probably be glad that you did. When you check into your resort, grab an activity guide so you know when and where all the fun happens. Here are some of our favorite activities for kids (and parents, too) to enjoy at the resorts.
1. Shopping for a friend to take home
Your little one will love bringing a friend home from Disney! Each resort has at least one delightful shop with fabulous options for a Disney friend plushie. Or maybe another item like a t-shirt or bath toy. Whatever your child chooses, it’ll bring a smile to their face!
2. Enjoying pool time
Perhaps the most obvious on this list is pool time! It’s a huge motivator for most kiddos. Some kids just love to swim and be in the water; others love the thrill of a water slide. Many of the resort pools also have excellent splash pad/play areas for children. Check the resort activity guide to find out when there are special events at the pool, like games, dance parties, or craft and tie-dye activities.
3. Searching for pressed pennies
Collecting pressed pennies is a fun past-time, and there are certainly loads of machines to search for. Be sure to get a pressed penny book to hold your growing collection. With approximately 120 pressed penny locations on Walt Disney Property, you’ll find nearly 30 of those located at resorts. You can use the interactive map on Disney’s website or on My Disney Experience to find exact locations.
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4. Collecting pins
Is your family into pin collecting? In addition to making trades in the parks with Cast Members, you can also find many opportunities to trade at the resorts. You may have better luck searching for pins to add to your collection if you check the pin boards where you’re staying. Ask everywhere! Bell Services or the Concierge might even have a pin book that you can flip through. Of course, if you’d like to purchase a special pin as a reminder of your trip, check the gift shop! You can make an event of this activity and do a “pin crawl”, stopping off at each of the resorts along the monorail to check for pins.
5. Surfing the in-room Disney channels
I know you didn’t come on vacation to watch TV, but let’s face it- sometimes kids just need to plop on the bed and zone out for a bit and watch a show. Your little guys might love checking out Timon and Pumba’s Wild About Safety (in room Channel 81), which reviews park touring rules and tips in a fun way. Other resort channels are great for helping kids get a sense of what’s to come in the parks, too!
6. Collecting transportation cards
Some of the fun of the resorts is getting there. There are so many exciting ways to travel across Walt Disney World property, and your kids will love collecting Disney Transportation Cards along the way. Each card features a specific mode of transportation and includes trivia about that specific vehicle. Just ask your bus driver, boat captain, or even Minnie Van driver if they happen to have any cards with them! These Cast Members may also have Wild About Safety cards, which are related to our next tip.
7. Exploring playgrounds
Check your resort map to see if there’s a playground on-site. Kids love theme parks, but sometimes a quick jaunt on an imaginative playground is all they want! Many value and moderate resorts have playgrounds, and some of the deluxe resorts do as well. The Deluxe resorts, however, are more likely to have a themed water play area in the pool complex than the value and moderates.
8. Catching a movie under the stars
Under most circumstances, Disney’s resorts show a “Movie Under the Stars” each night. This is a fun way to find a little relaxation out of the parks, while still feeling the Disney spirit and doing an activity children will love. Check the resort activity guide to find out what’s playing during your stay!
9. Visiting a Community Hall
Looking to hang around the resort and enjoy some indoor activities? Several resorts offer a Community Hall where you can play games like foosball or darts, enjoy crafts, and even borrow movies to watch in your room. Currently, community halls are located at certain Disney Deluxe Villa locations, including Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, Bay Lake Tower, Boardwalk Villas, and Animal Kingdom Lodge.
10. Gaming at an Arcade
There are several really great arcades found among the Disney resorts, though not every resort has one. If your resort doesn’t have one, you’ll want to figure out the best way to get to one that does. Resort to resort transportation can be tricky, so consider stopping to check one out on your way back from a park, using park transportation back to that resort. Or, if you’re staying on the monorail loop or at a skyliner resort, the continuous transportation provided there makes resort hopping much simpler.