Itinerary for A Sensational Day Outside Walt Disney World’s Parks
Without a doubt the parks are the main attraction at Walt Disney World. But when planning your next Disney vacation, consider leaving an extra day or two (or more!) for all the other amazing non-park activities on Disney property. Here’s an example of how you could spend your no-parks Disney day…
8:30am Wake Up – “Sleep in” today! You don’t have to wake up for rope drop or to use every minute of your extra magic hours. But pack some walking shoes and maybe a change of clothes – it’ll still be a busy day!
9:00am Character Breakfast, Cape May Cafe – On park days, a longer breakfast can feel almost stressful because you want to get going. Make breakfast reservations at a place like Cape May (or Ohana is another great choice) on a non-park day and linger over the food, ambiance, and character interactions.
10:00am Stroll the Grounds, Beach and Yacht Club – After breakfast, don’t rush off! There is no time limit on your parking lot admission, so make the most of it. The Beach Club is part of a delightful paved loop connecting it to the Boardwalk and the Swan and Dolphin. You can rent bikes or little boats at the Yacht Club (right next door) or even reserve a pontoon boat and captain. At the Boardwalk (a short walk over the bridge), you can rent one of those awesome surrey bikes if your party is big enough. You’ll work off your breakfast calories…and laugh a LOT!
11:00am Massage, Mandara – Who says a Disney vacation has to be all hustle and bustle? Make a reservation to pamper yourself in the Mandara Spa in the Dolphin Hotel. Again, leave your car parked, if you like. The walk is short and refreshing.
12:30pm – Lunch, Boardwalk Bakery – Grab a quick bite before finally heading back to your car. The sandwiches here are amazing and the service is super quick. I highly recommend the roast beef with the cucumber salad on the side. Try to resist the cupcakes if you can…on second thought, go ahead and get the Oreo one – you’re on vacation!
1:30pm – Mini-golf, Fantasia Gardens – Fun for the whole family! Fantasia Gardens is actually two courses in one. Fantasia Gardens is a whimsical course with crazy obstacles, while Fairways is built to test your skills like a truly miniaturized version of a golf course.
3:00pm – Tea Time, Grand Floridian – Oh, this would be my absolute favorite time of the day! Afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian makes you feel like a modern day princess. The daintiness and serenity could make me squeal with happiness…but that wouldn’t be very proper, of course. I’ll settle for another spot with two lumps, please. Oh, and pass the scones and sandwiches, if you will.
5:00pm – Shopping, Disney Springs – Don’t waste time shopping on a park day! Head to Downtown Disney before dinner and browse leisurely though the shops until you find that perfect souvenir.
7:00pm – Dinner, Boathouse – Disney Springs’ newest culinary attraction is sure to impress. Make a reservation WELL ahead of time! The Boathouse is known for seafood and steak in a sleek, nautical atmosphere. If it’s nice outside, ask to be seated at a table overlooking the water. And don’t forget my tip above to pack extra clothes before you venture out. No dress code is required, but I like to look a little bit fancier at a more upscale restaurant like this one.
9:00pm Showtime, Disney Springs – There is a plethora of entertainment options available at Disney Springs. If you like live shows, tickets to La Nouba will be a treat. Or for a more casual option, catch a movie at the AMC theatre. But if you want entertainment on the cheap, just wander the sidewalks. Live performances can be found all over Disney Springs for free!
Whew! What a busy day! There’s so much fun to be had on Disney property, even without setting foot inside a theme park. And this is just the beginning! What have you done on your best non-park Disney day?
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!
Melissa resides on Florida's beautiful Space Coast with her husband and four Disney-loving boys. She frequently allows skipping school for Disney World visits...because making memories is more important than math. Their family has also been seen on HGTV's hit show "My Yard Goes Disney."