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Top 10 Things to Do Outside the Park at Walt Disney World

On your next Walt Disney World vacation, I encourage you to plan in a couple extra days that are NOT spent inside the parks.  There is a whole other world of things to do and explore OUTSIDE the parks, but still WITHIN the Walt Disney World Resort.  There are really so many that it was hard to narrow it down to just 10. Here are 10 of my favorite things to do when not in the parks.  And this does not include time at the resort pool…that is just a given!

10.  Rent a Surrey bike and cruise around Port Orleans, Boardwalk or Fort Wilderness Campground.  Boardwalk would be my first pick for this because it\’s just a fun place to be!  This is probably your most congested bike ride and there are 2 hills that can be a killer, but this is a great addition to an evening at Boardwalk.

9.  Take in a Dinner Show! Enjoy an enchanting luau with Polynesian dancing and an all-you-care-to-enjoy, family-style feast at the Spirit of Aloha Show. Check out the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review, a hilarious, high-spirited hootenanny the whole family will enjoy, accompanied by a countrified feast.  Dance with Mickey, Minnie and Friends at a finger-licking, foot-stomping buffet at Mickey\’s Backyard Barbecue.   Depending on the timing of your dinner show you can then take in the fireworks or Electrical Water Pageant from the shore of the Polynesian Resort or Fort Wilderness Campground.

Picture Credit:  Touring Plans

8.  Join in the fun at the campfire singalong at Disney\’s Fort Wilderness Resort!  At Chip \’n Dale\’s Campfire Singalong, a guitar playing cowboy will lead the singalong while you toast s\’mores (kits for purchase) and take pictures with Chip and Dale. Stay for a movie following the campfire.  

7.  Challenge the family to a game of miniature golf at Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland.  Fantasia Gardens offers the choice of two 18-hole mini golf courses: a whimsical family-friendly course or a challenging miniature version of a traditional golf course complete with sand traps and water hazards.  Winter Summerland offers the option of the Winter Course or Summer Course.  Both are great family options!

6.  Take a monorail tour!  Stop at each of the three monorail resorts and check out some highlights:  listen to the lobby orchestra at the Grand Floridian; check out the amazing architecture and grab a beverage at the Wave Lounge in the Contemporary Resort; stop in at Trader Sam\’s Grog Grotto, an enchanted tiki bar at the Polynesian resort!  Be sure to notice the details of each Disney hotel. Flower arrangements and even the scents in each resort are unique and complement the themes!

5.  Sammy Duvall\’s Watersports Centre at the Contemporary.  Take in the view high above Bay Lake on a parasailing adventure! Or you could enjoy the thrill of wakeboarding, tubing or water skiing behind a boat piloted first-rate instructors.  How about renting a personal watercraft for an open water ride or a guided tour! Reservations are highly encouraged.

4.  Set sail for a wild voyage on the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage.  This boat ride sets sail from the Contemporary resort and gets you a spectacular seat for Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. Indulge in some snacks before you hit the high seas. Captain Hook and Mr. Smee will then greet the new recruits before you set sail! Reservations are a must!

Photo Credit:  Disney Food Blog

3.  Save your appetite for the Kitchen Sink….an incredible family sized ice cream sundae at Beaches and Cream Soda Shop at Disney\’s Beach Club.  Too much? Try the Mickey\’s Kitchen Sink version:  a smaller sundae in a souvenir Mickey sink!

2.  Check out all the entertainment at Downtown Disney!  Check out La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil which offers nightly performances or ascend 400 feet in the air as you hover over Downtown Disney area in the world\’s largest tethered helium balloon on Characters in Flight!  There are endless dining, shopping and live entertainment opportunities at Downtown Disney!  Note: The conversion of this area to the newly marketed Disney Springs has presented a parking challenge!  Take Disney transportation if possible!

1.  Enjoy the jugglers, magicians, carnival games and the lively atmosphere at Disney\’s Boardwalk Resort.  Make the evening complete with dinner at one of the fabulous restaurants at Boardwalk, Beach Club or Yacht Club.  End the night with live dueling pianos at Jellyrolls or dance the night away at the Atlantic Dance Hall!  Note:  Boardwalk entertainment starts around 7 pm on most evenings and is subject to weather cancellation.

Heather Gordon is a Disney Travel Planner with Wishdrawals Travel and the mom of one awesome boy and a pretty fabulous girl!  Contact her at to start planning your family\’s next magical vacation!

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