Planning a Non Park Day at Walt Disney World

Did you know that outside the gates of Disney’s theme parks lies more magic? When our family travels to Walt Disney World, a “non park day” is a must. Typically it’s our arrival and/or departure day while we are there.  Working a day or so of “non park” entertainment into your itinerary can allow you to experience Disney’s magic outside the parks.


Downtown Disney  Downtown Disney is a marketplace of shops, restaurants, and entertainment. It’s divided into three sections-Downtown Disney Marketplace, Downtown Disney West Side, and Pleasure Island. You can visit the huge LEGO store, enjoy some Ghiradelli ice cream along the water front, or listen to live music at different times of day. Or, take in a movie, the Circque duSoleil La Nouba performance, and enjoy the Characters in Flight hot air balloon attraction. If you have a “gamer” in your travel party, Disney Quest might be a great way to cool off during the hot days. It’s an interactive, indoor theme park at Downtown Disney.

Resort Hop. What does this mean? Basically, you hop on a Disney bus, monorail, or boat for a different Disney resort than where you are staying. Staying at Contemporary? Hit the monorail and ride it over to the Polynesian to enjoy a Dole Whip at Captain Cook’s and explore the grounds of this Hawaiian themed resort. The monorail will also take you to the Grand Floridian or the boat to Wilderness Lodge. There are several EPCOT resorts within walking distance of each other. Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Resort, and Boardwalk Inn are all on the Boardwalk area outside of EPCOT. Another fun excursion could be over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. This resort has balconies for viewing the animals on the savanna, and the resort in and of itself is gorgeous. Exploring some of the theming, restaurants, and views from other resorts can be so much fun!


Disney’s Boardwalk Area  Speaking of the Boardwalk resorts, hang around the Boardwalk for some non park fun. To get to the Boardwalk from your resort, simply take a Disney bus. At the Boardwalk, you can enjoy a surrey ride, movies from the beach, and fun street performers. This is also the home of Disney’s famous “Kitchen Sink” dessert. Literally, the most ice cream I’ve ever seen in one serving!  You can also see the fireworks portion of Illuminations from the bridge at the Boardwalk.  So cool!  Get a pizza from the walk up window, or a bottle of wine, and enjoy the fireworks!


Watching Wishes  A “magical” way to end your non park day is watching Wishes from the Polynesian Resort beach. Perhaps plan a 7:00 or so dinner reservation for Chef Mickey’s {at the Contemporary} or Ohana {at Disney’s Polynesian Resort}. Enjoy your dinner, and take the boat or monorail to the Polynesian Resort. You can also enjoy Disney’s Electrical Water Pageant from the Poly Beach.

Disney’s Fantasia Mini Golf Course or Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf  When you receive your Disney travel documents, often there are vouchers for a discount at one of the min golf courses at Walt Disney World.  Did you know that Fantasia Mini Golf Course is within walking distance of the Boardwalk area?  It is!  Winter Summerland is closer to the Blizzard Beach Waterpark.  Both are themed perfectly for everyone in your family to enjoy!

Do you plan a day outside the parks? If so, I’d love to hear about it!



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