It’s fun to go against the grain and do the unexpected, especially at the most magical place on earth. By unexpected, I’m not referring to a ride on Splash Mountain or the umpteenth visit to Cinderella Castle! If you are looking for magic in exciting new places then this article is right up your alley or in this case, Main Street, U.S.A., with a slight detour, errrt!
If you have not ventured off the normal Walt Disney World beaten path, you’re in luck. I will be Jimmity Cricket to your Pinocchio, Mushu to your Mulan. I will give you my family’s favorite detours that will take you off the beaten path. If you are staying on property, it might be right out your front door. Here we go!
- Disney Resort Hop- Visit a different themed Disney hotel for a few minutes or an entire afternoon. Maybe next time you will be inclined to stay. Our family favorites include-
Animal Kingdom Lodge, whether you are a guest or an observer, you can enjoy most of what this hotel has to offer.View the African savanna during the day or the evening with night vision goggles. Cop a squat in the gorgeous lobby while snacking on Zebra Domes and people watching, it’s probably more entertaining than the wildlife, ba-dum-ching. Veg-out at one of the sought after dining establishments or just entice yourself at the bar. Admire the lodge itself with its African history, heck maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.
Maybe you are a cowpoke at heart, then grab your cowboy hat partner and mosey on over to Fort Wilderness Campground. Shoot Archery, rent Bicycles, ride Horseback or experience a Horse-Drawn Carriage ride through the campground, etc. Gather nightly for Chip & Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long at Fort Wilderness Campground Cinema. This celebration includes singing Cowboys, Disney characters Chip & Dale and a classic Disney Movie Under The Stars and the best part, it’s free. Fort Wilderness Campground is a great place to unwind with family and it is the least crowded character interaction on property. (S’mores kits available for purchase)
Aloha friends! Is Hawaiian ambiance your good vibration? Then we are sister’s from another mister, as Polynesian Village Resort is my o’hanas hotel-of-choice. Hula yourself over to the live Hawaiian music playing at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (FREE) Partake in the Torch Lighting Ceremony five nights a week Tuesday – Saturday.(FREE)
On select nights they offer the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show (Luau) ($$$) make your reservations early, they sell out fast.View the Electrical Water Pageant and/or Happily Ever After Fireworks from the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, possibly with my favorite Disney drink in your hand, the Pina Co-Lava. WOOT! It’s our Disney home away from home. Mahalo!
- Cowabunga dude! Catch a wave Surfing at Typhoon Lagoon ($$$)
- Interactive Games at the parks – Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, Wilderness Explorers at Animal Kingdom Park and Epcot’s Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure.(FREE)
- If you have mad love for Walter Elias Disney, Horticulture or Trains then Backstage Tours ($$$) might peak your enthusiasm. I’m interested in Wild Africa Trek – a private safari VIP trek through Animal Kingdom Park.
- Stroll Disney’s Boardwalk (FREE)– It’s Atlantic City fun at its finest. Try your luck at Coney Island style midway games while juggling a basketball in one hand and a corn dog in the other. Witness unique entertainment, dining and recreation near two of your favorite Disney theme parks- Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
- If you are staying at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels or really just walking through one at showtime, you can view (FREE)– Movie Under the Stars
- Rent Surrey Bikes at select Disney Resorts. ($$$)
- WDW Golf ($$$)– Walt Disney World Resort has the golfers in your life covered with four signature golf courses to choose from- Disney’s Palm, Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course.
- If Mini Golf ($$$) is more in your athletic range, then put your putting skills to the test at Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf.
- If currently staying onsite, relax and unwind at select Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Cabanas ($$$) **This is my family’s favorite pastime when taking a day off from the parks.**
- Scuba Diving at the Coral Reef Restaurant in Epcot’s Future World. (Previous Diving Certification Required)
- Guided Fishing Excursions at select Walt Disney World Resorts. ($$$) My hubby and I did this on our last trip. We absolutely loved the experience and our fishing guide Tim was perfection personified.
- Ride the Walt Disney World Resort Monorail Loop– A uniquely magical experience. How many monorails have you experienced? (FREE)
- Listen to the elegant sounds of the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra and the Grand Floridian Pianist located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort lobby. Don’t forget to say hello to Richard underneath the porte cochere. He’s the most delightful greeter on Walt Disney World Resort property. (FREE)
- If you are a thrill seeker and love water, then water sports like Parasailing, Water Skiing might be your thing. They are available at Sammy Duvall’s Water Sports located at the Disney’s Contemporary Resort Marina.($$$)
- Explore Tom Sawyer Island at Magic Kingdom Park- Board a log raft across Rivers of America to explore this almost secret hideout. The Mark Twain inspired island is practically hidden in the back of Frontierland at Magic Kingdom Park. Search through caves, forts or simply take in your surroundings. My children and hubby love this excursion and I love the stillness it provides. (Park Admission Required)
Store my family’s suggestions in your Disney bag of tricks for the moment you errrt’ off the normal “Walt Disney World Resort” beaten path!