I think one of the biggest mistakes families can make when they visit Walt Disney World is to think they need to be in the parks from sun up to sun down every day. Granted, the parks are where most of the action is, but with little ones that really isn’t realistic. Visiting Disney World is about making lasting memories, enjoying each and every smile, cherishing the laughter and just being together in the moments.
This summer was the third time my children have been to Disney but the first time we planned multiple days at the park closer together. We had planned our 10th anniversary trip at Disney and although we had planned to stay nine nights, we had decided to only visit the parks only every other day. Why? Because we wanted to enjoy our vacation and relax. And, there are SO MANY other things to do at Disney than just the parks!
That trip was postponed (yet to be rescheduled) when we found out about being pregnant with our bonus baby.
When I start talking Disney my long posts go from long to longer so bear with me as I take a walk down memory lane from this summer! Today I wanted to share with you just a few of our favorite things to do that don’t involve visiting the parks. Not only does it allow you some down time to relax and rejuvenate, it save you tons of money and allows you to see parts of Disney you may not have otherwise seen.
Things to Do at Disney World WITHOUT Visiting the Parks
Spend a leisurely day walking Downtown Disney! I shared a day we spent over the summer at Downtown Disney here. There are plenty of things to do to keep everyone happy, no matter what the age.
Ride the Monorail! I have great memories of being a child and how thrilling the Monorail was. Back then, we were able to ride with the captain. While that is no longer aloud, the Monorail is a great ride in itself! The children and I took a bus to the ticketing station at the Magic Kingdom and then hopped aboard the Monorail. The kids referred to it as a flying train!
They would have stayed and ridden all day if mom had allowed. I think their favorite part was that I let them stand in front of me! And the fact we were high in the air!
We were picking tickets up for later in the week to visit Typhoon Lagoon but you could also ride one of the Monorails that go through the resorts. While you are at it, make reservations to have breakfast or lunch out at another resort. That takes me to the next!
Visit other resorts. Even if you are staying off property, plan to eat at a few other resorts during your stay. Not only is it fun to check out the other properties, and cuisines featured at other resorts, it also allows you to see more of Disney. Each resort is so inclusive, you could visit any Disney resort and have so much to do at the resort alone. On the top of our list was this visit was to see the Art of Animation resort! The kids were so hoping we could snag a room here but they were packed during our stay. We did the next best thing and visited for lunch. It truly was a bright and beautiful hotel.
Ride the water ferries. The water ferries are free of charge for guests and run from various resorts to other Disney locations. The water ferries that departed from Port Orleans transferred to and from Downtown Disney. If you are not staying at Port Orleans, you can still take advantage of the relaxing ride. Park for free at Downtown Disney and ride over to Port Orleans, Saratoga Springs or Old Key West for great eats! The ferries depart about every twenty minutes in good weather.
When you are planning parks:
As an alternative to visiting one of the theme parks, why not spend a day at one of the water parks. After watching the Disney planning DVD over and over again, Austin spoke of Typhoon Lagoon as if he had been there 10 times. Truthfully, I didn’t have any desire to attempt a water park without my husband but Austin wished to visit with all his heart and it worked out that we could make it happen. It was a relaxing day, filled with fun but also plenty of down time, just what I needed!
The truth is, there are so many fun things to do at Disney beyond just the theme parks, these are just a few of our suggestions.