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  • Writer's pictureBrenda

Beyond the WDW Parks

Updated: Apr 29

Not planning a park day on arrival day, but still have time to kill? Planning a break day in the middle? Taking a longer trip and want to experience more of the resort? Got someone in your family that loves golf and wants to play every chance they get? Let’s look at fun things that WDW has to offer on your non-park days.

*Updated 4/29/24

Are there any water parks at the Walt Disney World Resort?

WDW has two amazing water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Need a day with a break for the Florida heat? These are right up your alley! And starting in 2025 free entry to a Disney Water Park with a Disney Resort Package on arrival day.

Blizzard Beach

***Closed for Refurbishment as of March 17, 2024. No reopening date announced

According to Disney lore, at one time a freak snow storm blanketed the area with snow, and some enterprising folks created a ski resort. But, as one might have predicted, the snow melted and Florida returned to its normal balmy temperatures. Those same enterprising folk then refitted the area into a water adventure park.

The theming is spot on.

Slide down the ski slopes from Mount Gushmore, travel the Lazy River, enjoy the Met Away Bay wave pool or barrel down the Summit Plummet reaching speeds up to 55 miles per hour. The younger crew can enjoy Tikes Peak - a Frozen themed play area, or Ski Patrol Training Camp for the older kiddos and young teens.

Blizzard Beach costs:

Adults (10 and up) - $69.00 plus tax

Child (3-9) - $63 plus tax

Starting in 2025 free entry to a Disney Water Park with a Disney Resort Package on arrival day. Or add the Water Parks, Sports, and More to your Disney Multi-Day theme park ticket, or the Parkhopper Plus option.

Typhoon Lagoon

According to Disney lore a hurricane came through, depositing ships every which way and wreaking havoc on the Placid Palms resort village. But the residents rebuilt, creating the water park you see today.

Brave the 3 story tall Stormy Slides, the Mayday Falls, Gang Plank Falls, and Keelhaul Falls raft rides, Miss Adventure Falls family raft and the Humunga Kowabunga 214 feet long enclosed slide! Don’t miss the Crush n Gusher water coaster, the one of a kind Surf Pool with waves large enough to actually surf on, and the Castaway Creek Lazy River.

Ketchakidde Creek area is a fun splash extravaganza for kids and the Bay Slides are for older kids and young teens.

Adults (10 and up) - $69.00 plus tax

Child (3-9) - $63 plus tax

Starting in 2025 free entry to a Disney Water Park with a Disney Resort Package on arrival day. Or add the Water Parks, Sports, and More to your Disney Multi-Day theme park ticket, or the Parkhopper Plus option.

For summer 2024 Disney is offerering H2O Glow After Hours at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. Select evenings from May 25 to August 31, 2024 the park will be open for this limited ticket event from 8PM - 11PM, with entry beginning at 6PM. Tickets start at $75.00 plus tax for ages 10 and up.

Are there Mini-Golf courses at the Walt Disney World Resort?

Want a fun way to kill a few hours in the afternoon? Why not try your hand at one of the two mini-golf courses at the WDW resort, Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens & Fairways Miniature Golf.

Winter Summerland is located right next to Blizzard Beach and imagines how Santa and his elves would be spending their downtime, combining the wintery theming of Blizzard Beach with a sandy oceanside beach. Operating Hours are typically 10AM -10PM.

Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf is located by the Swan and Dolphin Hotels. Immerse yourself in the world of Disney’s Fantasia and choose from two different mini-golf experiences. Fantasia Garden’s is a traditional family style mini-golf course. Fairways is, according to Disney, a traditional golf course built on a miniature scale.

Four rounds of mini-golf are included in your magical extras in a standard WDW package. Multi Day Park Hopper Plus tickets and Water Parks, Sports, and More also offer the flexibility to visit either course but note that guests with these tickets must utilize the mini golf visit prior to 4PM. The regular price is $14.00 per adult (ages 10 and up), and $12.00 per child (ages 3 to 9).

Are there any actual Golf Courses at the Walt Disney World Resort?

Are you a lover of actual Golf, and never miss a chase to try out a new course? Disney has 4 different courses. Find out more about them here. plus the new FootGolf experience that is available.

What kind of shopping and dining experiences are there outside of the parks on the Walt Disney Resort Properties?

Love to shop? Are you a foodie? Do you love strolling through a marketplace with live entertainment? Disney Springs is the place for you. This outdoor shopping and dining area has more than 150 shops and restaurants. This is our preferred way to “kill” an afternoon or evening at WDW. From great souvenir shopping at the world’s largest Disney store - the World of Disney - to boutique souvenirs at several specialty stores like the Marketplace Co-Op or the Disney’s Days of Christmas store, and a plethora of bougie stores and fine dining. Do not forget the nightly entertainment. Live bands can be found through out Disney Springs, plus bowling, AMC Movie Theatres, and Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil & Disney is performed several times a week. Learn more about Disney Springs here.

Are there Character Meals outside of the Parks ?

A number of Disney Resorts have character meals that can be a great addition to your non-park day. We especially love Breakfast al la Art at Topolino's Terrace found in the Disney's Riviera Resort with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy all decked out in their finiest artist attire. Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is hosting the newly reopened 1900 Park Fare featuring Aladdin, Mirabel, Tiana, and Cinderella. (Read all the details in our post here.) Disney's Wilderness Lodge has Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White and over at Disney's Beach Club you can dine with Minnie and friends at Minnie's Beach Bash Breakfast. Plus there is also the classic favorites, Chef Mickey at Disney's Contemporary Resort and O'hana at Disney's Polynesian Resort. Read about all of these and more here in our detailed post about character dining around the Walt Disney World Resort. Click here for our downloadable Character Dining Cheat Sheet.

What other kinds of dining experiences are at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels?

Disney Resorts also offer a range of dining experiences that are not to be missed. Beyond Character meals there are Signature fine dining offerings at most of the Deluxe resorts. You can couple diner and fireworks by eating at California Grill at the top of the Disney's Contemporary Resort or really go all out with a trip to Victoria and Alberts at the Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Plus there are hidden gems that offer excellent dining at a reasonable price point such as Sebastian’s Bistro at the Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort and Boatwrite’s Dining Hall at Disney's Port Orleans - Riverside. These great restaurants often have table availability for walk-ups. In addition, all of these resorts have phenomenal theming and it is fun to get to see the different resorts and have a look around while you are there.

Are there outdoorsy things to do at the Walt Disney World Resorts?

Fort Wilderness Campground has activities for the whole family that are open to the public. However, if you are visiting as a day guest you will need a reservation for dinning or a recreational activity.

Tri-Circle-D Ranch - all of the horses from the various WDW parks are housed here. It is open to the public and you can tour parts of the barn free of charge - although sometimes guided tours are offered.

  • Children over 2 who are under 80 lbs and 48 inches tall can ride a pony on a walk-on basis. They cost is $8 per person

  • 45 minute group horseback trail-rides for those 9 and over are available for $55 per person plus tax. Reservations are available online here.

Boat Rentals of all kinds from motor boats to sea racers are available at the marina.

As well as guided catch and release fishing.

Bikes, Canoes, Boats and Fishing Equipment can be rented at the Bike Barn

Archery Lessons are available at the Bike Barn. This experience is for guests 6 and up and costs $45 per person plus tax. Reservations can be made by calling (407) WDW-PLAY.

For nightime entertainment there is the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review, a popular western themed vaudeville/comedy/dancing dinner show. Fried chicken, BBQ, and other delicious “vittles” are served. It is a hard to get reservation, so make sure to book 60 days in advance. There are three different viewing categories and prices start at $66 plus tax for ages 10 and up and $39 plus tax for ages 3 to 9.

And you can end your day with the Chip and Dale Campfire Sing-Along followed by Movies Under the Stars.

Are there any other fun things to do at other resorts?

Yes indeed, there are many, many fun offerings at the Walt Disney World resorts. Below is a highlight of some of the most popular activities that are open to all guests. Each of the resorts also have offerings that are exclusive to guests staying there, from the resort pools to movies under the stars and other recreational activities. Check with your resort for what offerings are available while you are visiting.

Sangria University - Love yourself some sangria and want to learn all about how to make it? Then the Sangria University offered at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort is likely for you. Sangria University is held Saturdays and Sundays and lasts approximately 90 minutes, $59 per person (includes tax and gratuity) paid at time of booking. Guests must be 21 years of age or older, a guest younger than 21 can attend for a non-alcoholic experience but must be accompanied by someone 21 or older.

Spanish Mosaic Art Class - Also at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, you can join in an experience where you will learn how to create your very own mosaic artwork. This is a fun activity that the whole family can participate in and you get a unique keepsake to bring home. Spanish Mosaic Art takes place in Dahlia Lounge Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 1 to 3PM. Costs $25 per person plus tax. The expereince can also sometimes be found at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter.

Horse Drawn Carriage Ride - Take a romantic carriage ride, or possibly just a fun carriage ride if you are with friends or kids, through Disney's Port Orleans - Riverside. Horse Drawn Carriage Rides last 25 minutes and cost $55 plus tax. The carriage can seat up to 4 people.

Motor boat rental - From the Disney's Contemporary Resort you can rent a Sun Tracker Pontoon in half hour increments to tour the Seven Seas Lagoon at your leisure. Each boat can seat up to 10 guests and is $45 per half hour rental. Those driving must be at least 18 years of age.

Resort Tour- At Disney's Wilderness Lodge take a daily free tour of the resort, learn about the history behind the resort and the details that make the resort come alive.

Starlight Safari - Over at the Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge you can join in a unique experience and tour the resort’s savannas by starlight, viewing the animals through night vision binoculars. This experience lasts approximately 1 hour, guests must be at least 8 years of age and guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Staring cost is $75 per person plus tax, but this cost can go up during peak crowd times.

Spas - At both the Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and Disney's Saratoga Springs there is a Spa where you can get pampered with facials, body massages, manicures, alongside a host of other indulgences to choose from. Click here for more information about the spa at the Grand Floridian, and here for Saratoga Springs.

Watch the fireworks from outside the parks - The best viewing location for fireworks outside of the park is at Disney's Polynesian Resort, where you can stand on the beach and view the fireworks while they pipe in the music for you to hear. This is free, but you will either need to get to the Polynesian via Disney transportation or have a dining reservation if you are not staying there. Note that during peak times such as New Year's Eve the beach is restricted to Disney's Polynesian Resort guests.

Another great option is watching the fireworks from the balcony outside California Grill at the top of the Disney's Contemporary Resort. Fun fact, you do not have to have a dinner reservation to view the fireworks from here. If you have dined there earlier in the day, you can go back with your receipt and get onto the balcony for the fireworks.

Electrical Water Parade - If you are already on the beach to view the fireworks you might catch the Electrical Water Parade, which tours the Seven Seas Lagoon a couple times each night and can be seen from each of the resorts that border the lagoon.

Resort Lounges - The Disney Resorts have some great lounges that are each uniquely themed and have great drinks. Plus at a number of them you can get full meals or at least some really yummy small dishes to go with your drinks. You can make it a fun sort of event by resort hopping around the monorail resorts - circle from Disney's Contemporary Resort with the Outer Rim Lounge to the Tambu Lounge at Disney's Polynesian Resort and finish off at the Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa’s Enchanted Rose Lounge. Or do the same thing but via the Skyliner - starting at the Disney's Caribbean Beach’s Banana Cabana, then onto Bar Riva at Disney's Riviera Resort, then to the Epcot stop, from which you can walk or boat to Disney's Beach Club and Martha’s Vineyard, Disney's Yacht Club’s Crew’s Cup Lounge, and finally the Belle Vue Lounge at the Disney's Boardwalk Inn. There is also Jellyrolls, a dueling piano bar and dance hall that can be found along the boardwalk outside of Disney's Boardwalk Inn.


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