My last post for this month of talking about making the most of your Disney vacation, will discuss all those “other” things that you can do at Disney World. Because believe it or not, there are a lot of fun, interesting, and in many cases quite affordable things to do beyond just visiting the parks. (I’ll let you in on a secret: there are so many really cool things to do at Disney World, that is what keeps many folks going back again and again….we have yet to see/do it all.)
One thing I do want to mention at the start is that not all of these things are free or even necessarily inexpensive. But I mention them because one or more may very well appeal to you or your family, and it may be worth a trade-off with something else instead. Planning an affordable Disney vacation is very much about choices: you choose what is most important to you and your family, and make up for it in other areas.
OK? Here we go then, my list of favorite things to do outside of the parks…
- Downtown Disney: Can you imagine an entire area that is pretty much devoted to just eating and shopping? Disney sure has lol! This is a great way to spend an afternoon, evening, or even an entire day if you like. There are lots of great restaurants, many of which participate in the Disney Dining plan so that is nice. There are even more stores….and so this is my caveat to keep this affordable: go with the amount of money you are willing to spend…or willing for your kids to spend. Leave the credit cards back at your room. The enormous World of Disney store is my personal place to buy souvenirs, as they have most of the things you will find in the parks…plus a lot more. (Note that they don’t have EVERYTHING, so if you come across something in your travels that you *must* have, especially if it is unique, you should probably not assume it will be at World of Disney, and just get it when you see it instead.) Now there are a few things that are at Downtown Disney that are not shopping or eating related though. Which brings me to…
- Disney Quest: think video games on Disney Imagineer-induced steroids. If you have teens…especially boys….they will love spending a day here. The admission here is less than a day at the parks, and depending on how you structured your Disney Magic Your Way tickets, you may have the option to visit here without paying extra. While it’s not my personal cup of tea, DH and DD loved it when they visited….although DH ended up with a headache at the end of the day, so if you are not fond of loud noises, then bring the Tylenol with you.
- Did you know that miniature golf is an option at Disney World? In fact, you have two choices: Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland. Cost for each is $12 per adult and $10 per child ages 3-9.
- To cope with Florida’s heat, think water parks. If you are visiting during the summer months, you may very well want to take a day to visit Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach, Disney’s two fantastic…and very popular….water parks. Both are separate admission, unless you have the “Water Parks and More” option on your tickets. With slides, lazy rivers, and giant pools among other things, each park is guaranteed to cool you off in the most fun way possible. You should note though: the available chairs at each water park do get “taken” relatively early in the day, so if you want to go and just camp out in a chair while your family is on the go, plan to get there when they open.
- Fishing and boating: Yup Disney has these too! With the lakes, lagoons, and canals that are in or near each of the parks and many of the resorts, you will find lots of options for spending time on the water if you like. Whether it is renting a small boat at one of the resorts, or reserving a fishing excursion on Bay Lake, if you want water fun, Disney has it. You can check this out for more information for information on speed boats, or this for information on fishing.
- Rent a bike, four-wheel surrey, or carriage! Several resorts offer this option and some, like the Wilderness Lodge or Fort Wilderness, have the picturesque trails to go with them. Learn more here.
There’s your quick overview of a few more ways to get the most out of your Disney visit. You can check out this page for the full list of all the “other things” Disney World has to offer. While I could easily write an in-depth post about each of these, (and I may at some point!) this will at least give you an idea of what else you can do to have fun at Disney World. Affordable Disney vacations are all about getting value and there are a number of ways that you can add value to your visit without adding significantly to your cost. The bottom line is this: you don’t have to go to the parks every day to have fun at Disney World!
- Visiting the Disney World Resorts: Why Taking a Day Off From the Parks Can be FUN
- Disney with Little Ones: Fun Outside of the Parks
- Thrifty Thursday: What Can I do Outside the Disney Parks?
- Disney with Little Ones: Water Park Fun… and More!
- Minnie Minus Mickey: A Single Mom Plans for Disney—Planning Your Parks, Day 1