Thrifty Thursday: Taking a Non Park Day

The parks at Walt Disney World are, for good reason, the focus of a Disney vacation, but going at full speed through your whole trip might mean that you’ll be worn out by the last day. Building a day off from the parks into your trip is often a good idea, particularly if you have children in your group and you’re staying for around a week or longer. You don’t have to buy park tickets for every day of your trip, so consider taking a day off at a more relaxing pace….it’s a great way to get more out of your Disney vacation dollars. Here are some ideas for planning a non-park day.

Swim at the Pool – All the Disney resorts have pools, often more than one, uniquely themed to the resort. For anyone with little ones, you know that the pool is a must-do! Many resorts also have designated quiet pools, so that adults can also swim and relax. This is a great way to spend a hot day in Florida.

Tour Disney Resorts – Disney has some gorgeous resorts, especially some of the Deluxe resorts, and you can visit them whether you’re a guest of that resort or not (though you cannot use the pool if you’re not a guest). Wilderness Lodge, the Polynesian Resort, the Grand Floridian Resort, the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the Boardwalk Inn are all beautiful places to explore and stroll. In the evening, you can see Wishes fireworks at the Magic Kingdom from the beach at the Polynesian Resort, and the Magic Kingdom area resorts have a view of the Electric Water Pageant on the Seven Seas Lagoon.

Try a New Restaurant – There are lots of great places to eat outside of the parks. Many Disney Deluxe resorts have multiple restaurants with fabulous dining experiences, like ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort, the Flying Fish Café at the Boardwalk Inn, or California Grill at the Contemporary Resort. There are a number of other great restaurants at Disney Springs, like the energetic Raglan Road.

Visit Disney Springs – Speaking of Disney Springs, it has a lot more than dining. There are tons of shops for souvenir hunters, including the massive World of Disney store. There is also the new Splitsville Luxury Lanes, and an AMC Dine-In Theater. If you’re looking for a special experience, try Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba, or, for a cheaper experience, the hot air balloon, Characters in Flight.

Improve your Game – Disney has four golf courses and two mini-golf courses on property. For regular golf, tee times are available to reserve. I am only experienced in the mini version of golf, and my family enjoyed both Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland – it’s a fun and relaxing way to spend some time.

There is plenty to do outside the parks at Walt Disney World, and you could easily fill several days with these activities, but remember that you want your non-park day to also function as a break. Remember to relax, slow down a bit, and enjoy! This way, you’ll be recharged when you head back into the parks.

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Elizabeth lives in Kansas City with her wonderful parents and sister. She enjoys long walks, happy thoughts, and Disney magic! Elizabeth first visited Disney as a child, and when she prepared to visit Walt Disney World as an adult, she foolishly thought she may have ‘outgrown’ Disney. Happily, Elizabeth was proven wrong. After planning a second trip to Walt Disney World, Elizabeth is now her family’s go-to resource for Disney. She even has her own blog,, with advice on how to plan your next Disney trip. Someday, she even hopes to be an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Elizabeth’s Disney wish list is a mile long, so she’s always ready to plan her next Disney adventure.

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