Vacation Tips

Five Relaxing Activities Outside of the Parks at Disney World

It’s no secret that going to Disney World (or Disneyland for that matter) isn’t a typical, relaxing vacation.  While having a blast at Disney World, guests usually walk 10-15 miles a day.  Along with that walking, guests will typically be in warmer than usual temperatures.  I haven’t even gotten into the exhaustion that could come with having kids at the parks (ask Kelsee about that).

I’m not trying to scare you about taking a Disney vacation.  That’s kind of the opposite of what this blog is about.  I’m just trying to point out what most Disney veterans already know, sometimes you have to take a break from the parks.

Grand Floridian drums_edited-2

Grand Floridian

Disney World is a unique place to take a break from the parks because there is so much on the property to do.  You could take several days in the middle of your vacation to ‘take a break’ and there would still be plenty of activities to fill your time.  Some are short activities that give you time to catch your breath.  Others could last half the day.  Here are five of my favorite relaxing activities outside of the Disney World parks.  All of these are either free with a resort stay or add-on additions to a ticket.  I’m not going to include renting a boat or doing some of the water sports (although those would be incredible).

1.  Take a break in your resort pool

This is an obvious one.  If you are staying on property at Walt Disney World then take advantage of it and go spend an afternoon relaxing pool side.  Some of the pools are extraordinarily themed.  The Beach Club pool is generally agreed on as the best pool on-site.  Of the ones that I’ve enjoyed, the Coronado Springs pool is my favorite.  No matter where you are staying though, they have a pretty good pool and it’s a nice relaxing way to cool off.

2.  Ride the monorail

This would be one of those quick breaks.  The monorail is vintage Disney and an attraction in its own right.  This would be something a guest would ideally do if they were spending the day at Magic Kingdom or Epcot (those are the parks the monorail runs to).  Maybe take the monorail to a lunch in one of the resort hotels (the Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian are all connected to the Magic Kingdom monorail loop) or just ride it around a look so you can get off your feet for half an hour.  The views are interesting and it’s universally proven that monorails are the magic unicorn of transportation.  If you don’t know what that means, I just meant that they are awesome.

3.  Go to Disney Quest

This suggestion takes a little longer than the first two.  In fact, a guest could spend all day here.  Disney Quest is called an indoor, interactive theme park by Disney.  That’s a very generous description.  To me, it’s a huge arcade.  With a Magic Your Way or Water Parks and More option, entrance to Disney Quest is usually free (well, technically you paid for it to be added on but what I mean is you don’t have to pay at the door to enter).  If you get it for free, going here is worth it.  Once inside, all of the arcade games are free and there are several other things to do like the virtual Jungle Cruise or building your own Space Mountain.  If you’re like me, you could post up there all day just playing random arcade games.  It’s a nice way to get out of the sun.  The place isn’t amazing or anything but if you’re spending a day outside of the parks, I’d recommend going here.  I’ve had a lot of fun both times I went.

Wreck-it Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph is at Disney Quest!

4.  Explore the resorts

This one can last as long as you’d like it too.  The resorts at Disney are all pretty impressive.  They each are unique and some are truly beautiful.  I usually like to explore a couple on each vacation that we go to.  If you take the monorail like I suggested earlier, get out at the Contemporary and explore one of Disney’s oldest resorts.  Or go a little farther, get out at the Grand Floridian and explore the beautiful lobby and elegant buildings.  You can take a boat over to Wilderness Lodge from Magic Kingdom and that’s a really cool place to explore, as well.  A few other of my favorite resorts to explore are any of the resorts along the Boardwalk, Port Orleans and Animal Kingdom Lodge.  If you know you will be going back to the World then walk around some resorts that you might want to stay in next time.  This isn’t the most relaxing of my suggestions but even getting out of the ‘rush’ of the parks is somewhat relaxing to me.

5.  Go to the waterparks

Like Disney Quest, this one takes a while and costs more when you buy a ticket.  With that being said, the waterparks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon) are both wonderfully themed and a lot of fun.  While you won’t get out of the crowds as much in this suggestion, you will be able to cool off and there aren’t as many people here.  A day at the waterparks is as relaxing as you make it.  I love the slides, but floating around in the lazy river for an hour can give you another boost of energy that you may desperately need.  I’d recommend going to the waterparks 100 times before going to Disney Quest, for the record.  It’s just lower on this list because I felt like it was cheating (they are kind of a park) and because it’s a fairly obvious suggestion.  To me, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are worth the money and a great way to spend a day away from the parks.

DTB Typhoon Lagoon

Via Tom Bricker at Go check out more of their amazing posts and photos.

There are plenty of other suggestions that guests could do (eat, play shuffle board, take a nap, eat again) but these are some of the more interesting ones, in my opinion.  Part of what makes Disney World so great is the amount of entertainment that surrounds you.  Guests don’t have to go to the four main theme parks from dawn until dusk to entertain themselves there.  Take advantage of that!

What are your favorite things to do outside of the parks at Disney World?  We’d love to know what you think in the comments!

Thank you for reading!

– Andrew

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