Going to Disney World is so much more than just visiting an amusement park. Disney World truly is a mini-world full of activities, shops, and entertainment! If you're planning on visiting Disney World for 7 days, one way to save money is to buy a 5 day park pass and spend the other two days outside of the park enjoying other amenities that Disney World has to offer! Some are completely free while others cost a fee. Check out the list below for ideas of what to do in Disney World when you're not in the parks.
1. Shop in Disney Springs
The most obvious thing to do when you're not in the parks is visit Disney Springs. This is a huge shopping center that features World of Disney (largest Disney shop in the world), restaurants, popular store brands, and more. You can easily spend an entire day at Disney Springs walking around, dining, and shopping. This is definitely a spot you don't want to miss! Some of my favorite things here are:
World of Disney
Ever After (Disney Boutique Store)
Splitsville Bowling & Dinner
Cupcake ATM at Sprinkles
Note: If you still want to shop even more after leaving Disney Springs, there are 2 outlets nearby off Disney property. Each of them have a Disney outlet store that features discounted Disney items!
2. Relax at Your Resort
Whether you're staying at a Disney Resort or off property, chances are that you're hotel has a resort pool. Spend the day or afternoon relaxing by the pool. The parks can certainly exhaust you quickly so a day of rest and relaxation is the perfect way to recharge.
I personally prefer staying at a Disney Resort - their pools are always themed and so fun! I've provided a full list of perks for staying on property at a Disney Resort HERE.
3. Walk Along The Boardwalk
The Boardwalk is a Disney Resort that features a true boardwalk. If you're there during the day, try renting a surrey bike - these bikes can fit up to 4 people and are fun for the whole family (plus its like a mini workout). The Boardwalk is also is a great place to come for an evening stroll. There are great bars along the boardwalk that are fun at night.
4. Play Mini-Golf
Disney has 2 different mini-golf courses on property. Fantasia Gardens is located in the Epcot Resort Area while the Winter Summerland is located just outside of Blizzard Beach Waterpark. Both courses are themed and unique. The price per person is $14 and features the standard 18 holes.
There are a few mini-golf courses outside of Disney property, but they don't have the special Disney magic touch or themeing. To me, it is worth it to stay here on property and enjoy the fun here!
5. Play Golf
If mini-golf isn't your thing, try actual golf! Disney has a total of 4 Disney Golf Courses here on property: Disney's Palm, Disney's Magnolia, Disney's Lake Buena Vista, and Disney's Oak Trail. They even have a Junior Golfer program that kids can enroll in!
6. Resort Hop
Each Disney resort it themed completely differently. They're all so unique and so fun to explore. I like to spend an entire day resort hoping when I need a break from the parks. This is particularly fun in the winter season because some resorts build large, grandiose Ginger Bread Houses & Christmas Trees that are a must see! Otherwise, you can check out the beautiful lobbies and try some of the restaurants at the resorts. My must-see resorts are below:
Port Orleans French Quarter (must try: the Mickey Benigets)
Polynesian (must try: Uncle Sams Tiki Bar)
Animal Kingdom Lodge (must see the different animals living here)
I also love to take the monorail around the Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian for drinks at each. No need for a Designated Driver when you have a monorail!
7. Ride Disney Transportation
Speaking of monorails, don't forget about ALL the free Disney transportation options. This includes ferries, boat rides, the Skyliner, monorails, and buses! Honestly, some of the transportation options are like mini-rides (with a far shorter line). My favorite is riding the Skyliner around sunset - beautiful views!!
Disney Transportation will take you to various places so you can plan ahead and schedule lunch/dinner at one of the resorts if you want. See the various resorts you can reach by free Disney transportation:
Skyliner: Caribbean Beach, Riviera, Art of Animation, and Pop Century
Monorail: Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian
Boat: Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness
Ferry: Boardwalk, Swan and Dolphin, Beach Club and Yacht Club
Ferry: Port Orleans Riverside, French Quarter, Disney Springs, Saratoga Springs, Treehouse Villas, Old Key West
Bus: offered between every Disney resort and park
8. Cirque du Soleil
Treat yourself to a wonderful show at Cirque du Soleil's Drawn to Life. This is a NEW show that opened Spring 2020. Ticket pricing starts at $79 per person plus taxes and fees. The theatre is located in Disney Springs so it is easily accessible and perfect for dinner & a show!
9. Watch The Electrical Water Pageant Parade
Parades are not just for the parks! Disney has a free parade on water at the Seven Seas Lagoon. You can see it from any of the hotels that touch the Seven Seas Lagoon (Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, and Contemporary). Timing is different for each hotel (typically ranging between 9PM and 10:30PM). Ask your hotel front desk for the best time to see the water parade.
10. Enjoy Character Dining
Character Dining is a fun treat for kids and families. There's nothing better than seeing your favorite friends while enjoying a great meal. While there are Character Dining options inside Disney parks, there are also great options in the resorts. A full list of Character Dining offered in the Disney Resorts is listed below:
Ohana - Polynesian (Lilo and Stitch, Mickey and Pluto)
Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera at Riviera Resort (classic characters with adorable French outfits)
Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast - Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk (Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel, and Prince Eric)
1900 Park Fare - Disney’s Grand Floridian (Alice and Friends, Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, or Cinderella and the stepsisters)
Cape May Café - Disney’s Beach Club Resort (Minnie and Daisy)
Story Book Dining - Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort (Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy, and the Evil Queen)
Chef Mickey’s - Disney’s Contemporary Resort (classic characters in chef outfits)
Overall, there are PLENTY of things to do outside of the Disney Parks! You can't ever get bored here in Disney World. Other ideas include fishing, boating, working out, going to the movies, etc. Also, don't forget about the Water Parks!!
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