After a few days in the Parks, trying to pack in as many rides, shows, character meet and greets, and fireworks as you can, it is nice to have a free day to actually relax and enjoy the other options that Disney has to offer. What?!? Disney World has more than just theme parks?!? Why yes, yes they do! Here are some of the things that my family likes to do on our down day:
The Disney Resorts have some of the best pools around. Many have great water slides like the Pirate Ship at the Yacht Club, and all of them have amazing themes that really make you feel like you are right in the middle of the story, and some even have beaches! Parents and teens can relax and catch some rays, and the kids can run around and splash all day long at their own speed. No lines, just lots of play! The Disney Water Parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, are also great options, but these do require a separate admission ticket, and I can’t guarantee there won’t be lines for those rides!
Other Sporting Activities
You can go for a run; work out at the fitness center; play tennis, volleyball, or basketball; go fishing; rent a boat; go parasailing; tubing; waterskiing; wakeboarding; play at the playground; head to the arcade; go horseback riding; drive a racecar at the Walt Disney World Speedway; or, just relax at a spa!
Golf and Miniature Golf
There is no shortage of golfing options at the Walt Disney World Resort – both the standard variety and the miniature type. There are 4 18-hole courses, Magnolia, Palm, Lake Buena Vista (all rated 4-stars by Golf Digest), and Osprey Ridge, which was rated as one of the best golf courses in Florida by Golf Digest. There is also a 9-hole course – Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. Disney offers golf lessons, and equipment is available for rent as well.
The Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course is located within the Epcot Resort Area, and consists of 2 courses: Fantasia Gardens and Fantasia Fairways ($12.00 for adults, and $10.00 for children 3 to 9). The Fantasia Gardens course is inspired by Walt Disney’s classic animated movie Fantasia, and includes many characters from the film. Fantasia Fairways is an 18–hole course, which looks a traditional golf course, and is geared more for older kids, as it requires more skill than chance. Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course, located next to Blizzard Beach, is an elf–sized course with two different Santa–themed courses: the Snow Course and the Sand Course ($12.00 for adults, and $10.00 for children 3 to 9).
Shop to your hearts content at Downtown Disney. You can also grab a bite to eat, see a show, or catch a movie. It is fun to catch the latest Disney release at the AMC, and La Nouba is performed at theater built especially for Cirque du Soleil. Walt Disney World is the only place you can see this amazing show.
We rented a surrey once at the Boardwalk and took a ride around the lake. It really did feel like we were on the boardwalk at the Jersey shore! Other hotels have bike rentals as well – Fort Wilderness Lodge and Campground, Old Key West, Port Orleans, Coronado Springs, and Caribbean Beach.
Character Meals or Specialty Dining
We like to make our reservations for Character meals on our days out of the park. We head over to Chef Mickey’s for breakfast, or 1900 Park Fair for dinner or the afternoon Tea Party, so we don’t have to feel rushed to get back to a Park. We also like to make reservations at resorts around the Seven Seas Lagoon (Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and Contemporary) close to fireworks time, so that we can enjoy Wishes without all of the crowds.
Other Nighttime Activities
We like to head over to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground for Chip n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-along. This is a nightly free event where you can roast your own marshmallows, hear some music, see the Characters, and then watch a movie under the stars. Most other Disney Resorts also have movies under the stars as well. Carriage rides are available at Port Orleans and the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, and private and Pirate Fireworks cruises are available from The Contemporary.
There really is no shortage of options for you and your family at the Walt Disney World Resort. So relax, have fun, and enjoy your day off!