The non-stop hustle and bustle of Disney World Parks is not for everyone. While visiting the Parks is admittedly the number one reason for why so many choose to book accommodations at a Disney World Resort, there are quite a few other ones for why this isn’t always the case. Perhaps you are visiting for business purposes and have limited time or you’re here for a wedding or special event occasion. The great news is that purchasing Park tickets is never a condition for staying onsite at a Walt Disney World Resort accommodation.
So, even if you aren’t planning on visiting the Parks for the duration of your time at Disney World, do take note that there are many magical ways to make the most out of your resort via all the awesome onsite recreations each one boasts. You can even do a little hotel hopping from one Resort to another, as most anchoring attractions at a designated site are open for all to come out and enjoy. Need some ideas? Here is a going list of recreational Resort-based pursuits to enjoy independently of Walt Disney World.
10. Swimming and Beaching
One of the most widely popular and profusely available pastimes to take to while staying on-premises at any Disney World Resort is swimming. That’s right, each and every accommodation boasts its very own onsite swimming pools, all themed to that Resort’s particular motif. Some even have multiple pools, with different designations like quiet or leisurely pools as well as those touting livelier features like water slides, splash zones, and other poolside pleasantries. Beachgoers also take notice that some Resorts even feature their own sandy beach setups with available cabana rentals.
9. Complimentary Evening Activities
How about a complimentary evening movie and delicious dessert sendoff? It comes as part of the package when you make your stay on Disney World Resort property. Most evenings, except in the event of extreme or unusual circumstances, you’re guaranteed to find a special outdoor movie playing, open for any and all to come out and enjoy. While every Resort is known for Movies Under the Stars, some also include complimentary campfire activities as a prelude to the evening entertainment. In such events, all you need to do is leave your room, head out to the nighttime happenings, take in a movie free of charge, and you have your cake (or in this case, s’more) and eat it too!
8. Community Halls
You don’t have to be an actual Disney Vacation Club Resort Member to stay at a Disney Vacation Club Resort, which is a good thing when you consider the many perks and amenities that come with such accommodation designations. For example, did you know that several such locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort feature what are known as their very own onsite Community Halls? Usually provided as either a special room or separate building section, Community Halls offer up many unique activities for Guests to come and enjoy throughout the day. From playing games like pool, foosball, air hockey, darts, or ping pong to taking part in a special crafting activity led by a Cast Member, renting DVDs or checking out books, Community Halls are awesome inclusive areas to spend time in when making the most out of your DVC Resort.
7. Staying Fit
Those who like staying active can make the most of their time at a Walt Disney World Resort via a wide range of available activities and onsite amenities. For starters, there are numerous sports courts and fitness centers all throughout, with the latter offering state-of-the-art equipment and even options for signing up for special classes or personal training if you so choose. And then let’s not forget about all those excellent walking and jogging trails to cover. Not only do they make staying in shape easy and convenient, but they offer up a scenic enticement for the eyes and a magical, lush Floridian appeal exclusive to Disney World Resorts alone. Athletes and fitness buffs also take note, that there are numerous ongoing Resort-based activities and run events offered throughout the year by runDisney. Click here to keep current with all these latest events and onsite happenings.
6. Spa and Salon Services
You can also enjoy a wide range of world-class spa and salon services right onsite at several Walt Disney World Resorts. While it is true that not every lodging boasts such, the good news is that you don’t need to be a Guest at a particular Resort in order to utilize said services. Locations that feature such include: Muscles & Bustles Health Club at Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, Heath & Fitness at Disney’s Coronado Springs, Olympiad Fitness Center at Disney’s Contemporary, Sturdy Branches Health Club at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (Boulder Ride Villas), Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness at Disney’s Yacht Club, Zahanati Massage & Fitness at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Grand Floridian Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian, and the famed Mandara Spa at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel. You can learn more about current availability and offerings by clicking here.
5. Land and Sea Rentals
Many Resorts also boast broad bike and boating rental offerings. While availability varies, depending on location, some even sport surrey bikes. You’ll also find golf cart rental options at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
For sea lovers, you’ll also find a vast array of motorized boat and other watercraft rentals. Provided particularly at those Resorts with marina locations, pontoon rentals are among the most popular picks with Guests. Those who like getting back to the basics of rowing, take note that Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground features kayak and canoe rentals as well.
4. Guided Fishing Excursions
While a self-paced, leisurely boat rental makes for an easygoing endeavor anytime, some folks get greater joy out of the whole fishing angle. Fortunately, Guests have an option to reserve their very own Guided Fishing Excursions, ranging from durations of either two or four hours. For a 21-foot pontoon that can easily take out five guests at a given time to a tournament-like bass fishing boat for three, Guided Fishing Excursions put an awesome spin on the usual high-seas outing.
3. Starlight Safari
Did you know that you can actually take a safari at Walt Disney World without ever setting foot in Animal Kingdom Park? Just head to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge instead and make reservations for a Starlight Safari. A wonderful way to view African wildlife in its nocturnal niceties, Starlight Safaris are absolutely magical for anyone who loves Animal Encounters.
2. Carriage Rides
How would you like to take a scenic ride in a horse-drawn carriage? Well, believe it or not, you can do so at Disney World. Offered as 25-minute rides at just $55 a person (not including tax), carriage rides are available at both Disney’s Port Orleans—Riverside and at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds.
1. Tri-Circle-D Ranch
On location at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Tri-Circle-D Ranch may be one of the most versatile Resort-based attractions to visit at Walt Disney World Resort. As its name indicates, this is a working ranch and home to various different horse species, many of which are active performers in Magic Kingdom Park. Others are used for carriage rides and guided horseback riding excursions, both of which you can sign up for on location. And for the littlest of visitors, they even feature pony rides! All in all, Tri-Circle-D Ranch, and Fort Wilderness by extension, is a versatile place to spend the day at, laden with many, many more activities to take to in addition, even including Archery and myriad outdoor wilderness activities that come with camping.
As we have highlighted, there is so much to take to at Walt Disney World Resorts, independently of the Parks. Guests who are not in possession of a vehicle should also take note of Disney’s complimentary shuttle services. Although shuttles generally make Park-Resort scheduled runs, those looking to “hotel hop” will find these to be viable stop-off options. Just take a shuttle to a designated Park location near the hotel you hope to visit next and then board the shuttle bound for that Resort in particular. The same goes for connecting water transportation services. Guests should also take note that while some of the highlights we’ve profiled are free of charge, others come with an additional fee.
Explore for yourself, the multitude of magical possibilities to behold at Walt Disney World Resorts, in general. As is always the case with all things Disney, fulfilling finds and premium picks comprise of just about any endeavor you take to while on vacation here, for however long that may be.