Did you know that outside the gates of Disney’s theme parks lies more magic? Working a day or so of “non park” entertainment into your itinerary can allow you to experience Disney’s magic outside the parks.
It is even possible to still experience so much Walt Disney World magic without entering a park. I am going to share some great “non park” experiences at Walt Disney World with you!
1. Character Dining
My number one tip for enjoying Disney magic outside of the parks is character dining. Did you know that the majority of the character dining is actually at the Walt Disney World resorts? Yes! You can have a well rounded experience with characters if you just do a little meal planning.
Visit Mickey and his friends at Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort or Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club Resort. Plus, you can find Lilo, Stitch and their friends at ‘Ohana in Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
You can even find princesses outside the parks if you visit 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian for dinner with Cinderella or Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort for breakfast with Rapunzel and Ariel. Are you a fan of Mary Poppins and Alice? Then book a breakfast at 1900 Park Fare! So many options for characters outside the parks!
2. Resort Hop
What does this mean? Basically, you hop on a Disney bus, monorail, or boat for a different Disney resort than where you are staying.
Staying at Contemporary? Hit the monorail and ride it over to the Polynesian to enjoy a Dole Whip at Captain Cook’s and explore the grounds of this Hawaiian themed resort.
The monorail will also take you to the Grand Floridian or the boat to Wilderness Lodge. There are several EPCOT resorts within walking distance of each other.
Another fun excursion could be over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. This resort has balconies for viewing the animals on the savanna, and the resort in and of itself is gorgeous. Exploring some of the theming, restaurants, and views from other resorts can be so much fun!
*Note from Cheryl: Resort hopping in November and December is a must do – you have to check out all the holiday decorations and events!
3. Enjoy the Resort Activities
Each Walt Disney World Resort has activities that your family can enjoy-even if you are not staying there. Port Orleans Riverside has carriage rides, as does Fort Wilderness Resort.
You can take a pirate adventure cruise from Caribbean Beach, as well as from the marina near Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. Art of Animation has drawing classes, and Animal Kingdom Lodge offers free tours of the kitchen at JIKO.
4. Plan a Pool Day
You chose your Disney resort for a reason….and the pool is a huge part of your stay at the Disney resorts! Everyday, there are poolside activities, games, and movies at the Walt Disney World Resorts. Take advantage of this fun, relaxing atmosphere and enjoy your time at your resort.
5. Souvenir Shopping
While you are taking a break from the parks, why not do a little souvenir shopping? This is the perfect time to do so, as you aren’t trying to stay with your touring plan, make your FastPASS+ times, and you don’t have to carry your packages around the parks with you! This is a great way to explore Disney Springs, and enjoy the shops and pick up something perfect to take home!
Do you plan a day outside the parks? If so, I’d love to hear about it!