Yes, there was a time when I thought Disney World was all about the parks, morning until night. Well, who doesn’t come to Disney and go to the parks?
Since becoming a DVC member (or even if you are not), I’ve discovered the “resorts only” stay. There is so much more to Disney than the parks!
Of course there is the obvious, visiting Disney Springs. Endless restaurants, bars, and shopping. My personal favorites are Art Smith’s homecoming, T-Rex and Raglan Road. There is always the hot air balloon ride and the antique water cars at The Boathouse. Visiting during the holidays also gives you The Christmas Tree trail and Santa Claus!
Probably, my most favorite thing to do is visit the various resorts. You can enjoy night time movies, marshmallow roasts, pool games and daytime parties, trivia, designing tie-die shirts, etc. The activities are endless! The horse drawn carriage rides at Fort Wilderness and Port Orleans are always on my to do list as well as renting the mini boats around the monorail resorts. Yes, there is a small fee but always great to have the DVC discount!
Animal Kingdom Lodge should always be a place to visit on a resort only stay. In addition to the unique dining and seeing the exotic animals on the savannah, you can par take in many free cultural art activities, play African drums, and listen and learn from the many tours and cast members that love to share their culture.
The best resort to visit, in my opinion is Fort Wilderness. Nothing is better than a horse ride, wagon ride, dinner at Trails End and fireworks on the beach. I just love having a cocktail on the veranda while sitting in a rocking chair and watching my children play on the playground. There are picnic tables and you can even order a picnic basket to go. This really is a hidden gem and just a short boat ride from Magic Kingdom. One day, I will rent a golf cart and just explore the entire campground!
Of course, no resort stay would be complete without a monorail crawl or boat crawl (I think I invented that!). It’s lovely to spend an afternoon or evening. The best monorail crawl begins at The Contemporary. Start with some appetizers and drinks at The Wave, then monorail over to The Polynesian, where of course you need a Lapu Lapu and pulled pork nachos from The Tambu Lounge. Grand Floridian is the next stop for drinks and the charcuterie board and finally end back at Top of the World Lounge for the 7 layer cake and fireworks. The boat crawl is around the boardwalk resorts. I normally start at beach club for snacks and cocktails at Hurricane Hannahs then head on over to Ale and Compass at the Yacht Club for a delicious sandwich. After that, we catch the boat to Swan and Dolphin (yes, you can walk but it’s a boat crawl) and hit the Cabana Bar and Beach Club. And of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a ride to the Boardwalk for ice cream at Ample Hills.
So, no park tickets, no problem! You can fill your days and nights with pool fun, activities, night life and just about anything!