Sometimes, it's not always about the theme parks...
Each year, millions of guests flock to Walt Disney World to experience the four theme parks - The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Disney's Hollywood Studios. They will get up at the crack of dawn, and head out to ride the attractions and see the shows until late into the night. Hey, there's nothing wrong with this; it's what many of us do and have done. We pay for our tickets, and darn it, we're gonna "do it all"!
But wait. There are actually guests that go to Walt Disney World for a "relaxing" vacation, and never even go near a park! How can this be? What does one do with all that time when they ought to be in the parks? Well, there's a whole lot to do! Some things cost money, and other things don't. So, aside from the accommodations, let's start with the activities that come with a cost (high or low). For those who love to golf, there are championship golf courses, as well as miniature golf. There's tennis, fishing, and boating and of course, the spas! If you feel the need for speed, you can even take a high speed tour of the Walt Disney World Raceway in a real race car! As for boating, Disney offers a few options such as small "water sprite" boats that you can drive, to a Yacht that comes with all the goodies including your own captain! Not to mention the fireworks cruises and pirate adventure cruises for kids! Need a little exercise? You can rent bikes at the Disney Vacation Club resorts as well. Head over to Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground rent a canoe for a tour around the campground, or go horseback riding. Go to Disney Quest at Downtown Disney, or perhaps take in a dinner and a movie.
Now, there are many other activities that require little or no cost at all. Let's start with the Disney transportation system. Disney features two mono-rail lines (1 to Epcot, and two side-by-side around the Seven Seas lagoon). The mono-rail is a ride in itself. You can get a round trip tour of the Seven Seas lagoon with stops at 3 resorts (as well as a theme park), or you can take a round trip from the Ticket and Transportation Center to Epcot and back. It's free, it's fun, and it's unique. Next are boats. Disney features boat transportation from resorts to three out of four parks, as well as to Downtown Disney. These boats typically come in many sizes, and can provide some wonderful views which make for some great pictures while out on the water. Talk about relaxing, take a boat ride from Disney's Old Key West to Down Town Disney, or from Disney's Fort Wilderness campground to the Magic Kingdom. While it may seem strange, how about jumping on a Disney bus and admire the vast amount of Disney property as you go from a resort to a park, and back. Hey, it's a Disney bus, not a city bus! It's fun!
Next, there are some other activities that offer fun and relaxation that are a bit out of the ordinary. Let's start with grilling out. Each of the Vacation Club Villas feature grilling areas. Bring the charcoal and the food, and settle in for a great relaxing meal at your own pace. Nighttime means movie night! Head over to Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground for roasting marshmallows followed by a movie. If you're staying at a Disney Vacation Club resort, head on over to their common room, and watch some TV., or take part in some arts and crafts (check local listings). Speaking of the resorts, each of Disney's resorts are as unique as it gets. Check out the huge icons at the value resorts, such as characters from Toy Story and 101 Dalmatians. Or maybe extra large bowling balls, footballs, and giant brooms! Head over to the moderate resorts for some great theming, such as at Coronado Springs resort. The Coronado features great southwest gardens complete with cactus plants. Disney's Caribbean Beach resort immerses you into lush tropical gardens, and Port Orleans can make you feel like you're really in the bayou, or in the famous French Quarter of New Orleans! Check out the awesome architecture at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, featuring a huge fireplace, and a working geyser! Love animals? Head over to Disney's Animal Kingdom lodge and check out some huge turtles, or watch giraffes and zebra roam the savannahs. Step up to Disney's deluxe resorts, and marvel at the decor, especially during the Christmas season. And we haven't even mentioned the fantastic pools!
Want to kick back and enjoy a libation or two? Disney features some great lounges, and at some locations, some live music! Relax in one of many "sitting" rooms or areas that are featured at the Deluxe and Vacation club resorts. Take a stroll on the boardwalk, or stop in at the ESPN club at Disney Boardwalk Inn and Villas.
Disney offers shows such as Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Disney Polynesian Resort; Disney's Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Disney Fort Wilderness Campground, and Cirque du Soleil La Nouba at Downtown Disney. At Disney's Boardwalk resort, take in some fun at Dueling Pianos or dance the night away at the Atlantic Dance Hall. At night, you can enjoy the Electrical Water Pageant Parade that starts at Disney's Polynesian resort and visits the Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness Campground, and the Contemporary resort. This floating parade has become a tradition for many families over the years. End your evenings with views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks, or Epcot's Illuminations.
All this, and you never step foot into a theme park! Yet thru all these options, you may just wanna hang out at your resort and relax and do nothing, knowing that you're at Disney and that's all that matters.