Looking to escape long ride lines? Want to take a quick break from the mayhem? Need some ways to convince your kids that vacationing away from the parks can be fun, too?
Here are ten things you could do at Disney, outside the Disney World parks.
- T-REX at Disney Springs
Formerly known as Downtown Disney, Disney Springs is a 120-acre complex full of exciting things to do. Dine, shop, and explore, all without actually stepping foot in Disney World!
Have a future paleontologist in tow? Chow down at T-REX, a colossally fun dino-themed restaurant with animatronic dinosaurs!
Tip: Hungry kids can busy themselves with the DIY archeological dig before finally digging into a classic American-style menu.
- Vintage Amphicar at Disney Springs
Also at Disney Springs, don’t miss the chance to drive right into the water on this twenty-minute amphicar ride on Lake Buena Vista!
- Aérophile at Disney Springs
Lastly, be sure to stop by the world’s largest hot air balloon, The Aérophile! Secured to the ground, the Aéro30 can fit twenty-nine people and rises to a stunning 400 feet, for a total of 8 minutes!
Note: Most of what Disney Springs has to offer is currently open, with COVID-19 guidelines in effect, but double-check hours and updates before you go!
- Tri-Circle-D Ranch
If you’re willing to venture a bit off the beaten path, head out to the Tri-Circle-D Ranch for the chance to meet some friendly horses (including Cinderella’s ponies)! Horseback riding is always an adventure, and they’ve even got Shetland Ponies for the littlest guests!
Tip: Ever wonder how horseshoes are made? A blacksmith is there to show you!
- Ride the Disney Skyliner
In addition to the Skyliner, Disney World also provides bus and boat services to and from the parks.
Feel the breeze while gazing at awesome views! Located at the Caribbean Beach, Disney Riviera, and Pop Century/Art of Animation resorts, up to ten guests can ride the gondolas (six, if there’s a stroller or wheelchair). Hours of operation are 7:30-8:30 in the morning until 10:00 or 11:00 at night, depending on the parks’ hours.
Tip: Don’t forget to get the My Disney Experience app! You can check out maps of the Skyliner paths including wait times, right at your fingertips.
- Disney Beach Club
Disney’s Beach Club Resort is a slice of paradise! Stormalong Bay is only open to guests staying at the resort, but Beaches and Cream Soda Shop- an ice cream parlor nestled on the boardwalk- is open to everyone! Jive and jitterbug to a classic jukebox while slurping on malted milkshakes in this adorable pocket of nostalgia!
Are your favorite Disney movies The Little Mermaid or Finding Nemo? If so, fishing might be just for you! Catch-and-release excursions with a trusted tour guide will teach you all about bass fishing at several locations (including Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort). Or you can rent your own casting-rod to fish off the docks at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside!
Note: As per Disney’s policy, you must release your fish after you catch them. Nemo’s friends only want to say hello!
Whether you’re an 18-hole go-getter or 9-hole devotee, the Walt Disney World golf courses are the perfect activity for anyone looking for some outdoor fun. Besides, where else can you find sand traps shaped like Mickey Mouse?!
Also, check out “Winter Summerland” mini golf at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park! Celebrate Christmas (or Christmas in July) with Santa and friends on two charming 18-hole courses!
- Fort Wilderness Archery Experience
Channel your inner Robin Hood or Katniss Everdeen at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort! This 75-minute archery adventure will teach guests how to safely point and shoot a compound bow (without harming any friendly critters)!
- S’mores and a Movie with Chip and Dale
Kids will adore singing songs with Chip and Dale at one of their nightly campfire gatherings! And don’t miss the opportunity to close your night with a cozy bedtime movie. After Chip and Dale’s sing-a-long, grab a blanket and cuddle up for a Disney film under the stars!
Tip: They have S’mores for purchase, but you can definitely bring your own! Otherwise, this activity is entirely free!
Thinking outside the box can be fun, too! Hopefully at least one of these awesome things to do will help you craft the perfect Disney vacation, outside the Disney World parks!