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Disney World is
We have even taken trips to Disney World without stepping into the parks at all. There are so many things to do around the Disney World resort without having to go into the parks.
All of these Disney activities are also perfect for any rest days you take during your Disney vacation. If your trip is longer than 4 days, I highly recommend you take at least one non-park day to explore the offerings around Disney Springs and the resorts.
Even better some of the activities on these lists are free things to do near Disney World!
18 Things to do at Disney Springs
For some reason, Disney Springs never seems to get the credit that it deserves as a worthy destination of its own. In reality, there are plenty of things to do at Disney Springs, especially at Christmas time.
Of course, there is the obvious option of shopping, but there is also so much more.
- Shopping, shopping, shopping
- Eat lots of awesome food-from snacks to Quick Service, to Table Service, to food truck, Disney Springs has it all when it comes to food
- Go bowling at Splitsville
- See a movie at AMC Cinema
- Go for a balloon ride
- Concerts and live entertainment at the House of Blues
- Take a ride in an Amphicar
- Let the kids ride the carousel…
- …or let them ride the Marketplace Train
- Play with Legos at the Lego Store
- Go to the Photopass Studio for a family portrait – If you have the Memory Maker package, the photos are included in that
- Visit The Edison for late night drinks and entertainment
- Experience The Void: Step Beyond Reality
- Coming in the summer of 2019: The NBA Experience
- Take in the live entertainment scattered around Disney Springs
- See live Irish Step Dancers and music at Raglan Road
- Take the kids for a makeover at Bippity Boppity Boutique
- Make your own treat at Goofy’s Candy Company
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44 Things to Do at Disney Resorts
The resorts have an extensive array of activities to keep guests of all ages well entertained. And you aren’t limited to just the activities at your Disney World resort. Use Disney transportation to visit any of the other resorts and check out their offerings.
Quite frankly, I think this list of things to do at Disney resorts is probably not even close to complete. There really are just that many things to do at the resorts.
- Go for a run or walk – all of the resorts have designated walking/running paths
- Exercise in the fitness room
- Go swimming at your resort
- Rent a boat on Bay Lake…
- …Or go parasailing and waterskiing
- Rent a bicycle
- Eat the Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream – this famous sundae includes 28 different ingredients. It can even be modified to be gluten free!
- Take a surrey bike ride around Crescent Lake
- Resort hop – each of the resorts has its own unique theme and things to see. It’s definitely worth it to visit other resorts to check them out. This is probably one of my #1 recommendations for a non-park day at Disney World
- Pool hopping – only a benefit for Disney Vacation Club members staying with points
- Head to the spa for some pampering and relaxation
- Movie night at your resort – what fun to watch a complimentary movie under the stars to wind down at the end of a long day
- Watch the Electrical Water Pageant
- Go horseback riding at Fort Wilderness – or simply visit the stables and watch the blacksmith work
- While at Circle D Ranch at Fort Wilderness, visit the horses that pull Cinderella’s carriage
- Take a yoga class
- Find hidden Mickeys
- Trade some pins with Cast Members
- Walk around Crescent Lake
- Walk the nature trail between Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness
- Check out the extra recreational activities of your resort: For example, Wilderness Lodge has ping pong tables, giant Connect Four, and other activities available to its guests
- Go to dinner and a show at the Hoop Dee Doo Revue
- Experience a Luau at the Polynesian
- Have a BBQ with Mickey and his friends
- Dine with Characters – you don’t have to go to the parks to have a great meal with a vast array of Disney characters
- Monorail Pub Crawl
- Check out the animals at Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Eat, eat, and eat some more – there are so many restaurants and lounges scattered around the Disney Resorts it would take many visits to eat at them all
- Ride a Friendship boat, just for fun
- Watch Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach at the Polynesian
- Ride the Skyliner around, just for fun!
- Archery lessons at Fort Wilderness
- Hang out at Jellyrolls on the Boardwalk
- Speaking of the Boardwalk, hang out and watch the performers
- Go fishing
- Watch sporting events at the ESPN club
- Horsedrawn carriage rides at Fort Wilderness or Port Orleans
- Learn to draw at Art of Animation – this is a FREE class which is offered to all. You do not need to be a guest at Art of Animation, either. Simply ask for the class times at the front desk
- Take complimentary hula lessons at the Polynesian Resort lobby – lessons are held on weekday afternoons and Saturday mornings
- Let the kids become pirates – There are two different Pirate Adventure Cruises that bring the kids on raucous pirate adventures (departing from Yacht & Beach Club and Caribbean Beach Resort)
- Go to a sing-along with Chip and Dale – This includes a campfire, s’mores kits (sold separately), and a movie under the stars
- Watch the park fireworks from outside the parks – The beach at the Polynesian is especially good for watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks
- Hang out in the arcade
- Build a sand castle – there are a few Disney resorts which have sandy beaches to play on
7 More Things to Do in Disney World Besides the Parks
Because in this case, more is better!
- Go golfing at one of several Disney golf courses. Or hit them all!
- Have fun at Blizzard Beach
- Let’s not forget Typhoon Lagoon
- Mini Golfing – There are two separate mini-golf courses on Disney property
- Take a Disney Vacation Club tour – as an added bonus, you can often earn extra FastPasses by going on a DVC tour
- Some of the best Disney add ons are special tours you can take at various Disney resorts
- Pick a Pearl – There are locations at Disney Springs and Beach Club
6 Seasonal Disney Activities Outside the Parks
The holiday seasons, especially Christmas, create even more opportunities for fun. As an added bonus, all of these are free things to do near Disney World.
- Walk the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs
- Take a “Sleigh Ride” at Fort Wilderness to see the Christmas Lights
- Visit the other resorts to see Christmas Decorations
- Listen to Christmas music performed in the lobby of the Grand Floridian
- Visit Santa at Disney Springs
- Resort hop at Easter to see the famous chocolate Easter egg displays
As you can see, there really are a lot of things to do outside of the Disney parks. In fact, you can take a trip to Disney and never set foot inside of the parks and still have a great time. And to make matters even better, several activities on this list are free!
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Have I forgotten to list one of your favorite things to do outside of the parks? If I have, please add it to the comments below. I’m always looking to expand my Disney horizons and find new experiences to try.