Disney with Little Ones: Fun Outside of the Parks

12045219_10101832403321124_3282436861246668977_oAs I mentioned in a recent article, it is important for my family to build in some “rest” days during our Walt Disney World vacations. I use the term rest lightly because while some people may take that as an opportunity to snooze until brunch-time, that’s just not how my family rolls. Sleeping in is sleeping until 8 so we are up and at ’em pretty early most days, whether we are on vacation or not. Since my 2 little boys are bursting with energy first thing, we try to take advantage of the time to do something active. We had 2 full days to do whatever park-free activities we chose during our most recent trip. Our first day was a pool and laundry day followed by a leisurely evening spent at Downtown Disney. 

Each time we’ve booked a Magic Your Way package that includes room and tickets, we’ve received a small book full of various coupons and vouchers. On our second rest day we decided it would be fun to use our 2 games of miniature golf at Fantasia Gardens. We took the bus from our value resort to Hollywood Studios and then caught a Friendship Cruiser to the Swan & Dolphin resorts. From there, we took a short walk over to Fantasia Gardens for our complimentary game of golf. Afterwards we thoroughly enjoyed walking through and around the Swan and Dolphin hotels. They have beautiful recreational areas outdoors and the interiors are beautiful as well. 

Before heading back to our value resort, we ate a delicious quick-service lunch at Picabu, inside the Dolphin resort. We were paying for all of our meals with Disney gift cards and weren’t sure if they would be accepted here since Swan & Dolphin are not full Disney resorts, but they did accept them much to our delight. Picabu was one of my favorite quick-service dining locations the entire trip with it’s cheery and casual elegance. There were pre-made food items as well as fresh to order in a variety of healthy options. After our fun visit to the Swan & Dolphin area, we made our way back to Pop Century for a pool night and early bedtime. 

Don’t be afraid to check out unfamiliar territory while taking a break from the hustle and bustle inside the parks- you might just make some of your favorite family memories.

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Candice was raised in east Tennessee. While in college, her best friend dragged her to a Walt Disney World College Program recruiting session at the University of Tennessee and the rest is Disney history. In the Fall of 1999, Candice became a quick service food hostess for Sunset Ranch Market and Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios – or what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While soaking up her time as a cast member, she met Ryan, a neighbor and a fellow college programmer who worked as a custodial host at Epcot. Four years later, Candice moved to the Midwest and married that boy from across the hall. They now live in Greenwood, Indiana with their two little boys. The Disney-loving foursome took their first family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth in 2013 and Candice is eagerly planning their return. Candice also works full-time at a community mental health center and enjoys taking photographs and blogging at Mommy in the Midwest.

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