If you are visiting Walt Disney World on a family vacation, you may wonder what there is to do outside the parks at Walt Disney World. You can easily spend so much time in the parks, but you may want to take a break for a day or two and do something different. Luckily, Walt Disney World offers so much to do outside the parks, including outdoor and indoor activities.
These can be a great way to save money or to just have a change of pace from the theme parks. Check out some of our favorite things to do outside the parks at Walt Disney World.
I am a former member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and have been on some complimentary press trips at Walt Disney World, but all opinions are my own. During those trips, I experienced a few of these activities at no cost.
What to Do Outside the Parks at Walt Disney World
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I’ve always loved playing miniature golf on vacation, and Walt Disney World offers two different mini golf spots. Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf is located by the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts. There are two 18-hole courses that are inspired by Disney’s Fantasia.
The second mini-golf course, Winter Summerland, is located near Disney’s Blizzard Beach. Inspired by Christmas time, this facility also features two 18-hole courses. Mini golf is such a fun activity in the warm weather, so it’s a great option if you are looking for something different to do.
Miniature golf may be included in some vacation packages, but you can also pay an additional fee to play. Wondering which is the best mini golf course at Walt Disney World?
Winter Summerland may be the easiest to access if you are planning to take a bus. Fantasia Gardens is convenient if you are staying at the Swan, Dolphin, or Boardwalk, but might be more difficult to access if you are staying elsewhere.
Walt Disney World Resort Activities and Amenities
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel, you’ll find lots of activities for families. Many of these are included in your stay, so they can be a great way to save money on your Disney vacation.
All of the Disney resort hotels offer heated outdoor pools. Some (at the deluxe and moderate resorts) have water slides as well. You’ll also find other water activities like spray pads, depending on where you are staying. For indoor fun, many have arcades.
Most of the resorts also offer other activities. You’ll find outdoor movies, poolside activities, and more. When you check into your resort, you’ll get a schedule. Surrey and regular bikes may also be available for an additional fee depending on the resort.
It’s always a good idea to use the amenities at your resort on your trip. You can plan for a whole day at the hotel, or just some afternoons during the major heat of the day.
ESPN Wide World of Sports
If you child plays competitive youth sports, you may eventually find yourself at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. This facility includes a number of things, including many sports fields. It’s also home to many different sporting events held throughout the year, including the runDisney expos during the races. You can always check the schedule on their website to see what is being offered during your stay.
Activities include spring training baseball games (the Atlanta Braves play there). You’ll also find several shops and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill.
There are two large water parks at Walt Disney World. Depending on your ticket package, you may already have admission included. Otherwise, you can purchase admission separately. You could easily spend most of the day at one of the water parks.
Blizzard Beach is themed after a ski resort that has melted. It features a number of water slides, and even has a chair lift, just like any ski resort. Summit Plummet, with a 12 story drop, is the highlight of this park.
Typhoon Lagoon is the other water park at Walt Disney World. The signature attraction here is the Crush ‘n’ Gusher – a water coaster raft ride. There’s also a surf pool and so much more.
Wondering what is the best water park at Walt Disney World to visit? Depending on when you are traveling, you may not have an option. In the winter months, one of the water parks is usually closed for renovations. Blizzard Beach has more thrill-type rides, while Typhoon Lagoon is often preferred as a park that suits a wider age range.
Disney Springs has undergone a huge transformation into a massive shopping, dining, and entertainment complex. There is so much to do there, whether you are planning to visit all day or for a few hours.
Head over to our Disney Springs post to read about the shopping and dining available. There’s also a variety of entertainment options, including Splitsville (bowling), an AMC movie theater, Aerophile (a tethered hot air balloon), the NBA Experience, and the House of Blues. It’s also just fun to walk around the whole Disney Springs area.
Over the past few years, Disney Springs has added so many amazing and delicious restaurants. I would recommend making reservations for at least one dinner there. That way, you can eat and then walk shopping and enjoying the atmosphere.
Disney Springs offers free parking. You can also get there from any resort with either boat service or bus service (depending on the resort).
The Walt Disney World Boardwalk
Disney’s Boardwalk has a few fun attractions and restaurants that you can visit. I prefer it in the evenings, after a full day at the parks.
Jellyrolls is a 21+ piano bar that is fun to visit for an adult-only trip. The Boardwalk also features the ESPN club, as well as shops, restaurants, and carnival games.
You can get to the Boardwalk by bus or boat. It’s also a quick walk from Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Swan/Dolphin, the Beach Club, the Yacht Club, and Epcot. It’s great for adult-only trips but there are also things that kids will enjoy.
The Boardwalk does differ from Disney Springs quite a bit. It’s much smaller, but it’s within walking distance of two parks and a few resorts. So it can be much easier and convenient to visit.
Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Fort Wilderness
For something completely different, head to Disney’s Fort Wilderness. They offer a number of activities (for an additional fee), including pony rides, horseback riding, carriage rides, and wagon rides. Click here to learn more.