It’s no surprise that without the sale of new annual passes, many DVC members are looking for ways to enjoy Disney with fewer or no park days at all. “Resort Only” DVC stays are becoming more and more common. Just because you’re not entering a park, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the other experiences and Disney activities available. I thought it would be fun to explore ways you can get your Disney fix at the most magical place on earth without going into the parks.
Special Note: While parking can be tricky at some of these resorts if driving, we recommend either parking at Disney Springs or a theme park (free with a resort stay) and taking free Disney transportation when partaking in activities without a reservation component.
Everyone is familiar with Disney Springs. However, there is much more to do there aside from shopping and dining. Here are some of our favorites.
- Fly above the skyline on the Disney’s Aerophile hot air balloon.
- Challenge your friends to a bowling match at Splitsville Luxury Lanes.
- Boat through Lake Buena Vista in a Vintage Amphicar.
- Take in dinner and a movie together with plush seating at the AMC Movies at Disney Springs location.
- Experience the Drawn to Life Cirque du Soleil Show.
- Listen to live music and see entertainment at a variety of locations including the Advent Health Waterside Stage, Exposition Park, Riverboat Square, Reglan Road Patio Stage, and more.
Even if you’re not staying at a Disney resort, you can still take advantage of many experiences. While accessibility to the resorts has changed, there are still ways to visit. You can visit any resort on property with an advanced dining reservation. Another option is to take Disney transportation. You can park for free at Disney Springs, then take a bus to your resort destination. Some non-dining experiences, like those you book in advance, will allow you to park at the resort. Let’s dive into some exciting adventures you can have at the resorts.
- Stroll along Disney’s Boardwalk taking in the nightly entertainment and games (many of which have reopened).
- Relax in the Grand Floridan lobby listening to the Pianist who plays most evenings.
- Head over to Fort Wilderness to visit Tri-Circle-D Ranch or learn to shoot arrows at the Archery Experience.
- Also at Fort Wilderness, you can go Horseback Riding or rent a Kayak.
- Observe the animals at the multiple savanna overlooks at Animal Kingdom Lodge or experience the Starlight Safari tour also available at the lodge.
- Rent a Surrey Bike offered at resorts like Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, and BoardWalk to bike around exploring the scenery. Try really hard not to mow people over.
- Enjoy a scenic walk or run on one of many jogging and walking trails located at the Disney resorts.
- Taste a variety of snacks and drinks through a bar/lounge crawl of the monorail resorts, or visit resorts along the Disney Skyliner.
- Watch Magic Kingdom fireworks from resort viewing locations such as the Polynesian Beach, Grand Floridan Marina, or the Contemporary Observation Deck just to name a few.
- Watch Epcot fireworks from the Boardwalk . You can also see them from lounges at resorts like Riviera Resort and Grand Destino at Coronado Springs.
- See the Electrical Water Pagent from one of the Magic Kingdom area resorts.
- During Christmas, explore the holiday decorations. Some of my favorites include Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House, Wilderness Lodge, and Grand Floridan.
- Visit a spa! While the spas inside Disney resorts are still closed, you can visit the Madara Spa at the Swan & Dolphin.
- Experience Sangria University at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
Outside of Disney Springs and the Resorts, there are still more experiences to be had.
- Challenge your family or friends at a Disney-themed game of miniature golf at Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland.
- There are no shortages of real golf courses around Disney either. Check out Disney’s Palm Golf Course, Magnolia Golf Course, Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, and Oak Trail Golf Course.
- Go Fishing! Disney offers fishing excursions at a variety of locations.
- Get in touch with nature, Disney style. About 40 minutes from Disney World, you will find the Disney Wilderness Preserve. Here, you can hike, bird watch, and enjoy Florida’s native plants and animals.
Let us know in the comments what your favorite Disney experiences are outside the parks. As always, stay tuned to DVCFan.com for the latest information on all things Disney Vacation Club!