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6 Ways to Enjoy Disney World Without Going into the Parks

When most people plan their vacation to Disney World, time at the parks is usually at the top, middle and end of the list. Disney World, though, has so many excellent activities that can be enjoyed outside the park. You may find that you want to include some extra “non-park” days into your vacation. Here are the top 6 ways to enjoy Walt Disney World without going into the parks!


6 – Spend a Day at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

We love Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground for its natural beauty and activities. There is so much to do here and you don’t need to be a resort guest to enjoy them! Read our article to see why you should spend a day at Fort Wilderness.

5 – Non-Park Specialty Tours

Disney World offers a variety of special, guided backstage tours. These special tours offer guests unique glimpses into the workings behind the goings on of Disney World. While many tours are offered only in the parks, there are tours and experiences available outside the parks as well. Pirate Adventure Cruises for Kids and the Wilderness Back Trail Adventure are a couple of the specialty tours available outside of the parks. The list of tours available is always changing and seasonal tours are often offered as well. Visit the Disney World website for more information on these tours.

The very awesome Kids Pirate Cruise
The very awesome Kids Pirate Cruise

4 – Visit Resorts & Even See Some Rooms

One of our family’s favorite activities, especially during the holidays, is visiting the different Disney resorts. We have a lofty goal of staying at each Disney property and we enjoy visiting the resorts that we have not had a chance to stay at yet. It is fun to scout out each property and see all that it has to offer. Sometimes you can even see a room, just ask at the front desk it that is possible. During the holiday season, we love taking a resort tour to see the resort decorations and holiday displays. Each resort is decked out and has its own particular theming and decorations.

Art of Animation Cars Section
Art of Animation Cars Section

3 – Recreation

Disney World boasts a variety of recreational activities for the whole family. From bike and boat rentals to Specialty Cruises and watersports, and championship or miniature golf, chances are Disney has just what your family is looking for! Read our article to see the many amazing recreational opportunities at Disney.


2- Meet the Characters with Resort Dining

If you are unable to get into the parks for whatever reason, then Character Dining meal is a perfect opportunity for your family to meet the characters and get a fantastic meal in the process. Here is a list of all of the characters you can meet at resorts:

Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck, and Goofy

1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – Mary Poppins, Alice and Wonderland, The Mad Hatter, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh

Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Yacht Club – Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Donald Duck

O’hana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort – Lilo, Stitch, Pluto, Mickey Mouse

Artist Point and Wilderness Lodge – Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy, Evil Queen

Trattoria al Forno at Boardwalk Resort – Rapunzel, Flynn Ryder, Ariel, Prince Eric

Garden Grove at the Swan Hotel – Goofy and Pluto (Chip n Dale drop in on Sundays)

Note: Character appearances are not guaranteed and are subject to change.

1 – Disney Springs

The recently re-imagined Downtown Disney into Disney Springs has provided an unbelievable upgrade to the entire area and experience. Gone are the days of crippling traffic and circling endlessly to find a parking spot. And of course, there are the dozens of new restaurants making Disney Springs a dining destination all on its own. The shopping will thrill many, not to mention the various entertainment options. Splitsville, has 30 bowling lanes and 5 bars! The AMC Theater boasts 24 screens and the not to be missed Fork & Screen Dine-In theater. There is so much to see and do at Disney Springs that you’ll want to carve out plenty of time to spend at this fantastic destination.

Remember, Disney World is twice the size of Manhattan. There is so much to do outside the parks. Take time to explore all Disney World has to offer. And take a minute to give your fellow Disney fans your suggestions below in the comments section.

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.


Cindy E. Nykamp

After friends and family made them their go-to people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched DisneyLists.com in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Cindy wears many hats for DisneyLists.com. As a content creator, she has written over six hundred articles providing news, tips, planning, and more, for trips to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line to our followers. She directs a team of authors to bring our fans up-to-date information so that they can have the best Disney vacation experience. Cindy manages DisneyLists.com's Instagram account, sharing photos and videos to bring some Disney magic into our followers' feeds. She is also our chief photographer and has her photos featured on the official Walt Disney World Instagram account. Finally, Cindy regularly represents DisneyLists.com at Disney media events. While attending these events, she gets an insider's view of all the new things that have come to Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line and passes this information and tips to our followers.
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