Five Must Dos OUTSIDE of the Disney Parks

When planning a trip to Walt Disney World, it’s so easy to focus on getting the most out of your time in the parks.  Planning to arrive at Rope Drop, touring the parks until lunch time then heading back for a break, making sure you get FastPasses for all the  headliner rides….plus the other details can really take over your planning.  But what about the fun Disney has to offer outside of their parks?  In fact, you could spend a whole day just doing fun activities and not even have to use a park ticket!  In fact, that is typically the plan for our family on one day of our trip.  We set aside one day {usually our arrival day} to explore our resort, the pool, and other parts of Disney that aren’t in the parks.  So, for today’s {FAVORITE} Disney Tip, I want to share our Five Must Dos Outside of the Disney Parks.


1.  Downtown Disney.  Downtown Disney is an easy half day of fun in and of itself.  There are so many fun things to do here!  And while it’s mostly shops and restaurants, we always work some time in our itinerary to have some fun at Downtown Disney.  The boys LOVE the LEGO store-and one of the coolest things about it is the huge sculptures they have outside and inside the LEGO store.  We’ve seen Buzz and Woody, Transformers, and even huge dragons.  So cool!  Also, we do a lot of our souvenir shopping at Downtown Disney.  We love the World of Disney, and often find almost all of our souvenirs here.  That way, we aren’t spending a lot of time shopping at the parks.  Also, Wolfgang Puck Express is a great Quick Service Dining restaurant here, and there is also a Rainforest Cafe.  Not to mention the boat ride over the Saratoga Springs Resort or the Port Orleans Resorts to explore those as well!  There is street entertainment at Downtown Disney, and so many fun and unique photo opportunities as well.

2.  Disney’s Boardwalk.  You can reach Disney’s Boardwalk area by walking through EPCOT, or taking a Disney bus.  Wow!  Love the Boardwalk area!  I’m extra excited right now because our family is going to be enjoying the Beach Club Resort-which is right on the Boardwalk-during our upcoming trip.  Squeal!  Anyway, the Boardwalk is chock full of entertainment, unique shops, and some of the most gorgeous resorts on property!  You can rent a surrey and go for a ride around the whole Boardwalk area!  Also, I’m looking forward to grabbing some ice cream from Beaches and Cream, and maybe a fun treat from the Boardwalk Bakery while we are there!

3.  Take the Monorail.  Riding the monorail loop is one thing our kids really look forward to!  And, I’m starting to like it more and more.  This is a great way to explore the Deluxe Resorts on the Monorail loop.  The Polynesian, The Contemporary, and the Grand Floridian are all monorail stops.  These resorts are so beautiful-and lend themselves to so many photo opportunities!  We love posing in the resort lobbies, or catching Wishes from the Poly beach or the Grand Floridian boat dock.  You don’t have to be staying at these resorts to tour them and dine at them.


4.  Chip and Dale’s Campfire Singalong . While 14 of the Disney resorts have campfires nightly-complete with s’mores-Chip and Dale lead a singalong at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground.  You have to buy the s’mores kit {or you can bring your own supplies}, but what a fun way to end a day at the parks!  Chip and Dale don’t interact with everyone at the campfire, and it’s not a prime spot for autographs, but it’s still fun!

5.  Miniature Golf.  Walt Disney World offers two miniature golf options-Fantasia Gardens and Summerland Miniature Golf.  The Fantasia Gardens is located in the EPCOT area-actually not far from the Boardwalk.  It’s a fun, magical place to run off some steam, but still enjoy some Disney magic-and a break from the parks.  Summerland is located closer to Animal Kingdom Park.  You can choose from two scenes there-summer and winter.  How fun-miniature golfing in the “snow” in the middle of Florida!

With all these options, you’re sure to find something fun to do when you are needing a break from the parks.  Some families I know stay off property, yet enjoy some of these activities to get their “Disney fix”-without purchasing a park ticket!  What is your {FAVORITE} activity outside the Disney parks?  I’m sure I didn’t cover them all!





  1. Well, we LOVE the waterparks (I know it’s still a park, technically)! My family’s fav day is usually unwinding at Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon. It has all the fun of rides without any stresses that come with the regular parks!

  2. I think the mini golf is overlooked! I love it. It’s fun, and usually not too busy!

    1. Agree! It is so fun, and a nice break from the park.

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