Tips and Tricks

Magic Outside of the Parks: Our Top 8 Activities at Walt Disney World

When you think of going to Disney, you probably think of going to one of their four parks (or even one of their water parks). When I lived in Florida, there were days where I wanted some Disney magic without going into a park. With that being said, here are some awesome affordable activities to do at Walt Disney World!

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Disney Springs has plenty of scenic views!

8. Disney Springs

Disney Springs is a great destination because you can control how relaxed or busy you want to be! There are tons of shops, as it mainly is a shopping center. World of Disney, which is the largest Disney store ever, is always fun to stroll through. There are a lot of delicious restaurants, for example, my favorite is Raglan Road. There are also plenty of bars with rich theming, such as Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, which is Indiana Jones themed. They also have regular stores, such as Uniglo that have a touch of Disney in them. This is cool because they will sell Disney apparel that you can only buy at their Disney Springs location.

Disney Springs is easy to visit. You can make it a full day, a half day, or just a quick trip to walk the strip! You can get here by bus if you are staying at a Disney Resort, or you can get there by boat from one of the participating resorts. My favorite way to do Disney Springs is to walk around Port Orleans Resort, and then take the boat over there.

7. Horseback Riding

Disney offers horseback riding at the Tri D Circle Ranch at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Anywhere on Disney property is scenic, so why not explore it on a horse!

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Winter Summerland Mini Golf at Blizzard Beach

6. Mini Golf

Disney has two mini golf courses. Fantasia Gardens is Fantasia themed, which is really cool. During each hole, you get to feel like you are part of different scenes in the movie, while hearing the music that matches the scene. There is a really cool hole with Sorcerer Mickey and the broomsticks, as they pour buckets of water as you walk under them. This mini golf course was really challenging for me, so I suggest it for older kids and grown ups. You can definitely feel the Disney magic on this course, as my boyfriend and I had a lot of fun here.

My favorite mini golf spot is just outside the Blizzard Beach Water Park. This mini golf course is specifically called Winter Summerland, because there are two courses: a winter themed one, and a summer themed one. Each course is Santa themed, so it’s really fun to feel a bit of Christmas any time of year. These holes are also interactive! There is a snowman that squirts water and a North pole staff that carries your ball up and then spits it out. I don’t want to spoil any of the exciting effects that makes your traditional game of mini golf even more fun, so we will stop there!

I highly suggest trying out one of these mini golf courses if you have any extra time, because Disney mini golf is way better than regular mini golf!

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The Grand Floridian is one of the most luxurious resorts on Disney property!

5. Resort Exploring

Disney has more than 25 resorts on Walt Disney World property. It feels just as immersive to be standing in the lobby of each deluxe resort as it does to be in the Magic Kingdom Park. Standing in the hub of the Grand Floridian Resort makes you feel so classy, while walking through the Polynesian Village Resort transports you to paradise. You can even visit Radiator Springs for some photo ops with Mater, or at the cozy cone pool, at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort!

Even better, you can explore the resorts for their signature snacks and foods. My favorite restaurant at Walt Disney World was found by exploring Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. You can eat the tastiest beignets at Port Orlean’s French Quarter. The possibilities are endless. You just have to begin exploring!

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I spy with my little eye… Magic Kingdom!

4. Speedboats

I had the pleasure of taking a speedboat for a spin around Seven Seas Lagoon. You can cruise around the waterways bordering the Magic Kingdom, the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, the Contemporary Resort, as well as the other resorts in the Magic Kingdom area. It’s fun and safe, and they teach you how to use the boats.

There are also people out on the water who are willing to help you if you need it. You pay by the hour, which is great. I definitely recommend trying it out, because it is a nice way to relax but also have a special view of the castle from your speedboat!

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When Steve and I were on the speedboat, we were trying to figure out how to get to the Contemporary Resort. This Cast Member showed us the way! Here is Steve, myself, and the lovely Cast Member taking a selfie!

3. See a Dinner Show

Walt Disney World has two dinner shows. Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show is at the Polynesian Resort. There is hula dancing, fire dancing, live music, and Polynesian cuisine. You watch the show in an open-air theater, and you feel like you are a part of their ‘Ohana, because the show is about throwing a going away party for a girl going to college in the “mainlands”. I haven’t gone myself, but I’ve heard really great things about it.

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Hoop-De-Doo Revue Dinner Show at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds

My ultimate favorite is the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue Dinner Show at the campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. It’s my favorite dinner show because it’s hilarious, and interactive. It definitely has a campy feel, so you feel right at home. The food is unbelievable, as they serve you finger-licking BBQ, such as ribs, cornbread, strawberry shortcake, and much more. Did I mention that the show offers bottomless drinks? Yes, this includes draft beer, wine and sangria! This is a must see if you have a free day on your vacation. It’s perfect if you have a pool day planned, so you can do that and then see the show at night!

2. Get a Dole Whip and Watch the fireworks from the Polynesian

This is a classic for me. The Polynesian has a dole whip stand right outside the lobby. Grab your pineapple soft serve, pass the pool and grab a spot on their sand beach to enjoy the fireworks! It doesn’t get any better than that!

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This is the beach at the Polynesian Village Resort that you can view Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After fireworks from!

You can also see the Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After fireworks from the Grand Floridian and on a higher floor at the Contemporary Resort too. But the Polynesian is definitely my favorite!

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Disney’s Boardwalk Resort at sunset

1. Visit Disney’s Boardwalk

Disney’s Boardwalk Resort is easily my favorite resort at Disney World. The feel of the resort fits the turn of the century boardwalks in coastal cities. It’s super fun! There are carnival games, photo booths and live entertainment such as magicians.

The food here is incredible, as it has restaurants such as Trattoria Al FornoESPNFlying Fish, and Big River Grille & Brewing Works. For more casual food, they have a pizza window for quick and easy eats! Some of the best ice cream at Disney is at the Ample Hills Creamery right next door to the Boardwalk Bakery.

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The Boardwalk at night, including Jellyrolls which is a dueling piano bar

Nightlife here is great, because it’s safe and people aren’t obnoxious. Jellyrolls is a (21+) dueling piano bar, where you can request songs for them to play. Everyone at the bar sings along, and it is just a feel good experience. Next door is the Atlantic Dance Hall, which usually isn’t too busy, so if you have a big group of friends go on down because there will be plenty of room to dance and not feel like there are people on top of you. I also enjoy Abracadabar, because of the story it tells. The story is set as it is a magician’s hideout from the golden age of magic. Since the magician’s vanished, it’s up to you to honor them by observing the hidden rabbits, keys, and rings in the wallpaper or the magician’s posters (you might even see one appear or vanish)!

Basically, the Boardwalk is my favorite and you should visit. It’s beautiful in the daytime, and it’s beautiful lit up at night. I think it’s the best place to be at sunset on Disney property. You have to see it for yourself!

These are my favorite out-of-the-parks things to do at Disney, what are your favorites?

 

 

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