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What to Do at Walt Disney World When You Aren't at the Parks

What to Do at Walt Disney World When You Aren't at the Parks | CosmosMariners.com

On our December 2014 trip to Walt Disney World, we did something that we hadn't done in at least twenty years: we allotted free time away from the parks. And to my surprise: we weren't bored. There was plenty to do on our down-time days!

Usually, we're those crazy whirlwind people who show up at 10:00 p.m. on our travel days, go to four parks in four days, then head back out at the crack of dawn on the return travel day.

It's hectic and doesn't give you a moment to catch your breath, but we believe in packing in as much as we can.

Since this trip also marked the first trip for our toddler, we wanted some time to rest in between the park days. I knew that seeing the lights and characters and rides would be plenty overwhelming for Britton, so I planned a few low key days in there, too.

We ended up having so much fun on those days that I'm seriously considering adding more to our next trip (which probably won't be for several years, but I love planning far, far in advance).

What can you do at Disney when you're not in the parks? Here's a sampling.

Explore the resorts. 

I promise, this is not nearly as boring as it sounds. Each of the Disney resorts is themed, so you can head over to the Polynesian for a taste of Hawaii, return to the Victorian period at the Grand Floridian, see larger than life cultural icons at Pop Century, and mosey through the streets of New Orleans at Port Orleans French Quarter.


Take a surrey ride. 

What to Do at Walt Disney World When You Aren't at the Parks | CosmosMariners.com
So, when does this thing start moving?
In an attempt to do something that I've never done before at Disney, I convinced the rest of my family to rent a surrey (with the fringe on top! Oklahoma, anyone?) over at Port Orleans Riverside. It cost us $22 for a half hour rental that fit all six of us.
What to Do at Walt Disney World When You Aren't at the Parks | CosmosMariners.com
ACTION SHOT! My mom and sister peddle furiously in an attempt to keep our surrey going. 

Since it's basically a really fancy bicycle, we got our post-lunch workout cruising around the resort. We sang Disney songs at the top of our lungs and waved manically at passers-by. All of us laughed until we nearly cried, and it was the best $22 I've spent in a very long time.

Head over to Downtown Disney. 

This massive complex combines shopping, dining, a bowling alley, a movie theatre, Cirque de Soliel, and DisneyQuest. While my two favorite areas are the World of Disney store and Goofy's Candy Company, Britton loved the kiddie train ride and the carousel onsite. For $2 a ride (adults ride free when accompanying tiny ones), they were both easy and cheap ways to keep my toddler entertained while meandering around Downtown Disney. 

Clearly, Britton got WAY more than two dollars worth of fun from the train ride.

Hang out at the resort. 

Even the value resorts come with themed pools, an arcade, and afternoon dance parties! The deluxe accommodates have the best pools, and Stormalong Bay at the Beach Club resort is more than a pool--it's a small water park. All of the resorts also offer outdoor movies and campfires year round, which would be such a fun way to end a day in Disney.

Ride a pony. 

The Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds has the most adorable ponies that your little ones can ride. For eight bucks, your little cowpoke can wrangle the roughest, toughest pony this side of the Mississippi. Or, just ride a cute pony in a circle. (Basically the same thing.)

Fish for bass. 

Bass fishing excursion are offered from nine different resorts, so if you're looking to find some fish in Walt Disney World's lake, there are plenty of opportunities to do so. For those who'd rather fish from the banks, you can rent equipment at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds or Port Orleans Riverside.

Catch a wave. 

You know you've always wanted to be one of those cool surfer types, so grab your board shorts and head over to Typhoon Lagoon for some surf lessons. You'll have to get up early for your class, as they only take place before the water park opens. But if it helps you get some of that surfer swagger, an early morning might be worth it.

Have tea.

The Grand Floridian has a tea room where you can treat yourself to scones, a pot of your favorite tea, and some delicious desserts. Go for the English Breakfast tea and clotted cream, and request a seat by the window!

What's your favorite thing to do away from the Disney parks? Do you build in rest days on your


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What to Do at Walt Disney World When You Aren't at the Parks | CosmosMariners.com