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In Step 1: How Much Time Do I Need?, I discussed taking resort days and how that factors into how many days your vacation will be. Although I do believe that these days need to be slower paced that doesn’t mean they should be boring. With your typical hotel, your entertainment options are limited to swimming in the pool and watching tv in your room. And although you should spend time in your hotel pool, that is only the start of the things to do on your resort days.
Why Resort Days?
Gives you time to relax
Our first few vacations, we didn’t take any days off. We went from sunup to sundown and sometimes long past that! We were exhausted by the end of our vacation. Like go home and sleep for three days tired, but here’s the thing. If I was going to spend the money to buy a park ticket, I was going to be there open to close. We finally realized doing this for a week straight wasn’t a vacation. Now we go open to close one day and then sleep in the next. We can relax without worrying about what we’re missing at the park.
It’s also a huge money saver! Park tickets aren’t exactly cheap. Not only did taking days off help us relax, but it also helped our budget. Many of the activities I’m going to share with you are free or low cost. Because Disney has so much going on outside the parks, I keep everyone entertained on the cheap!
Your resort is awesome!
Your resort will be awesome! No matter which one you chose. If you need help with that, Step 2 covers it all! I mentioned last time that our son wanted to go swimming more than go on rides. That’s because the pools are great! They are themed well, and most moderates and deluxe resorts have slides at their pools! And all resorts will have poolside activities! They will entertain you with trivia, music, and games. It’s a great opportunity for the kids to have fun while mom gets some sun!
Heading to Disney Springs on a day off is probably the first thing that comes to mind after swimming in your resort’s pool. Disney Springs is one of the nicest places on Disney property.
If you haven’t been there before, Disney Springs is an entertainment district complete with unique shopping, dining, experiences, and live entertainment like the amphicars. To hear more about these cars turned boats and how you can ride in one, check out my friend Dawnmarie’s adventure!
I could spend pages talking about all there is to do here so I’m just going to mention a few key experiences and hopefully cover Disney Spring more in future posts.
Star Wars Experience
One of the newest experiences is the Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire virtual reality experience. In this scenario, your team of 4 are tasked by the Rebellion to go undercover and gather intelligence. You must work together to complete your mission. You not only see your surrounding through a VR headset, but you can physically interact with your environment.
Why not get your family photos taken while you’re at Disney? Disney has a Photopass studio located in Disney Springs. No appointment needed you can simply stop in and get some nice pictures with fun Disney backgrounds. If you purchased Memory Maker for your trip, all your photos will be included with that.
If you need some air conditioning and a cushy chair for a couple of hours, go see a movie. I mean it is Disney…movies are kind of a big deal!
All the resorts on Disney property are incredibly themed, and your day off is a great time to do some resort hopping. (Note: resort hopping does not mean pool hopping.) Take some time to walk around a few resorts that you think you might want to stay at in the future. There are a few special things at some of the resorts though.
Magic Kingdom Resorts
The Resorts located near the Magic Kingdom are some of the most fun to hop. The Monorail connects them as well as a boat system. For my kids taking rides on the boats and Monorail is as fun as any attraction in the Magic Kingdom. It’s also a great place to do a progressive dinner. Have appetizers at the Contemporary, dinner at the Polynesian, and dessert at the Grand Floridian. You can even end the night watching the Electrical water pageant!
Another set of resorts with special transportation is the Boardwalk and Yacht and Beach Club. The Friendship Boats connect to each other as well as to Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Take a ride on them while you’re there! These hotels also feature a boardwalk that has restaurants and live entertainment at night. It’s much smaller than Disney Springs, but just as much fun.
Resorts with Special Activities
All of the resorts have poolside activities and movies under the stars which are both great to do on days off, but a few resorts boast some extra special activities. Animal Kingdom Lodge has a free culinary tour of their acclaimed Boma restaurant and Art of Animation has free drawing classes in the lobby. You don’t have to be staying at either of these resorts to take advantage of them.
If you booked a package through Disney, you probably received tickets for a round of mini golf. Use your day off to take advantage of this. Disney currently has two miniature golf courses. Winter Summerland is themed with a summer side and a winter side while Fantasia Gardens is themed after the movie Fantasia. From what I’ve heard Fantasia Gardens is the more challenging of the two, but I’ve yet to confirm this myself.
If given the choice, I would always have a character meal on resort days. Whenever we have done a character meal in a park, I feel torn. I want to sit and enjoy the meal, but the park is calling me the whole time. Alternatively, when we have done character meals on resort days, I feel relaxed and totally in the experience. You can have character meals at most of the Deluxe resorts. You don’t have to be staying there. Breakfast at Ohana’s in the Polynesian is one of my favorites!
I think you’ll agree you will have plenty to do on resort days, probably enough to do over several days. For many people, a Disney vacation immediately brings to mind the Magic Kingdom, but I feel the rest of the property has so much to offer that I usually schedule in several off days to take advantage it!
Leave me a comment and let me know how you’ll be spending your Resort Days! Before you go download the Disney Vacation Mini Guide that includes a list of over 20 Resort Day Activities!