The following is what you (should) show to the holdouts in your travel party who think The Walt Disney World Resort is nothing but Theme Parks.
On January 11, 2022, Disney Parks announced that the famous spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa was reopening after undergoing a major refresh of its own. The news, welcomed among Disney fans, serves as a reminder of just what the Walt Disney World Resort offers in terms of activities and experiences outside of its Theme Parks. From golfing to wine tasting, Guests can spend the entirety of their stay with five-star quality experiences without setting foot in a single Theme Park.
Here is a quick look at this Fanatic’s list of the top 5 fun Walt Disney World Resort activities and experiences waiting for Guests outside of the Parks.
The Walt Disney World is home to three PGA golf courses: The Palm, The Magnolia, and The Oak Trail. Hop a cart and tee off into vast green fairways where your only reminder of the Mouse is the mouse-shaped tee markers and sandtraps. Disney’s Shades of Green Resort stands adjacent to the Magic Kingdom and right alongside all three courses, offering the easiest access. Lessons are also available, and across the property, you will also find Lake Buena Vista Golf Course nestled between Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.
If your handicap isn’t as low as you want it to be, you can practice your short game at the Fantasia Gardens or Fantasia Fairways miniature golf courses. A third option, Winter Summerland, is also open on a seasonal basis.
4. Boating & Fishing
It would not be a proper trip to Florida without spending some time on the water, and the Walt Disney World waterways offer just that opportunity. Several of Disney’s Resort hotels are waterfront and offer recreational boating activities. They include Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground on Bay Lake; Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa on the Seven Seas Lagoon, and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts on Crescent Lake.
My favorite part about this access is the charter fishing trips offered at many resorts. Just imagine the unforgettable memory it would be to be fishing on the Seven Seas Lagoon with the spyres of Cinderella Castle in the background.
3. Bar Hopping
Unfortunately, this one is only for those Fanatics over 21, but it is the truth. Too often, people think only of EPCOT and World Showcase when they think of drinking at Walt Disney World. The entire property is home to several amazing bars with their unique drinks and experiences. My favorite spots–outside of the parks–are AbracadaBar at Disney’s BoardWalk, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, and Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs. This brings me to my next point.
A top-tier dining and shopping center, Disney Springs offers something for every member of your travel party. Designer shopping from Kate Spade to LEGO. Dining options from The Polite Pig and Chicken Guy! to Wolfgang Puck, Morimoto, and STK Orlando, not to mention The BOATHOUSE®, Paddlefish, and Maria and Enzo’s.
Disney Springs is also home to entertainment such as the House of Blues and Cirque du Soleil.
1. The Resort Pools!
One of the defining characteristics of any Florida Resort destination is the quality of its pool, and each Walt Disney World Resort Hotel offers multiple epic pool options that are the perfect place to recover from a hard day of park-hopping from rope drop to fireworks. They range from peaceful elegance to full-on chaotic fun. Click the link below to see our favorites.
The Walt Disney World Resort covers an area twice the size of Manhattan Island, offering scores more of adventurous “non-Disney” activities not mentioned here like horseback riding, archery, and more! As an Annual Passholder, I have spent many a visit, never setting foot in a single Theme Park and walking away fulfilled. The question is: what do you want to you?