Beyond the Parks Part 1


I go to Disney World a lot. During my many visits, I have been fortunate enough to experience the different sides of Disney. Sadly, some families go straight from hotel to theme park and back again, and miss out on some of the most entertaining and exciting parts of Walt Disney World. I want to share some of these tips and activities with you in hopes to make your Disney vacation even more unforgettable! There are so many things (and I won’t even be including them all!) so I am going to break this up into two posts. I will post part two in a few days.

What to do in Walt Disney World Beyond the Parks

Waterparks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are Disney’s two waterparks. If you have an annual pass, you can save $4 on admission. Or, if you purchase a package with your vacation, you can add on the “waterparks and more option” so you can hit up both waterparks! I have been to both more than once, and don’t really prefer one over the other, they are both fun for different reasons….and both have great lazy rivers! They are open from 10-5 seasonally.



Miniature Golf (and regular golf!) I have played mini golf in Disney, but not regular golf. My dad has and had a great time though. Disney has two mini golf courses and four championship golf courses. I think golf is one of those great things to do when the parks are super crowded, and it’s also just plain fun!



Water craft: You can rent watercraft from certain resort marinas throughout WDW. You can rent Sea Raycers, sailboats, SunTRACKER® pontoon boats, Boston Whaler Montauk boats, pedal boats, kayaks and canoes among other things. The marinas you can rent them from are:

  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Downtown Disney Marketplace


Afternoon Tea: Sometimes it’s nice to just relax and unwind after a long morning in the parks. One of my favorite ways to do that is by going to afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian in the Garden View Tea room. Tea is offered from 2-6 pm and reservations are suggested. And, if you have a little girl on your trip ages 3-11, you can take her to the Perfectly Princess Tea Party held at the Tea room. Contact me for more info on this fun outing!



Fitness Centers/Spas: If you will remember my post on the gym shared by the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian, you will know that working out on vacation/hitting up the gym is something I love to do! Not only can you get your sweat on at a lot of the resort’s in the gym, but you can also get pampered at the spa! The Grand Floridian has one (currently being refurbished) as does Saratoga Springs. I have been to both and only have good things to say. Book a massage, it is vacation after all!



Bike and Jogging Paths: I have also done a post already about the jogging path’s between the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian resort. I love running in Disney World, and s lot of the resorts have great places to run. If you stay at the Boardwalk, Beach Club, and Yacht Club, you can run around the Boardwalk and all the way to Hollywood Studios. If you stay at Wilderness Lodge of Fort Wilderness, there are beautiful wooded trails connecting the two…which brings me to my next point, BIKES! There are several places you can rent bikes throughout WDW. I have rented bikes from the Wilderness Lodge before, and it was a really fun activity on a day when the parks were really crowded.


Ok this post is getting really wordy so I will save some more fun activities for next time, so stay tuned!

QOTD: What is your favorite “overlooked” Disney activity?

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  1. We don’t get to do enough non-parks stuff when we go to WDW! However, I have golfed at Magnolia (the one with the mickey bunker) and it was amazing! I’ve never been to a waterpark. 🙁 When I was in 2nd grade (? I can’t even remember anymore) and took my first trip to WDW, I remember doing something on the lake at Contemporary. I had on a red Snoopy (!) swimsuit. LMAO. I hope to do mini golf one of these days, and when the Kid gets older, hopefully a water park!

  2. Great post Heather! There is always so much to do and never enough time to do it which is why we go often as well! Disney offers so many opportunities and that’s what makes each tip unique and different. We just went to Ft Wilderness and stayed in the cabins and was blown away by all there was to do. Do you know that I have never even gone to the waterparks, mini golfing or spa? *gasp* I think I need to do something about that! 😉 Looking forward to reading part 2!

  3. Love this! I thought the boardwalk area was really cool when I was a teen. I didn’t even know it was a resort! My favorite part of Disney will always be the food though 🙂

  4. I absolutely loved the Disney Marketplace when we were there for our honeymoon!

  5. Amanda @ Let Me Be Whats Underneath says

    I have only been to Disney once as a kid growing up, but your post makes me want to go back now as a grown-up kid! 🙂

  6. Bethany Couto says

    I love the mini golf courses!!! Hoping to be able to play this weekend! I;m so excited for my afternoon tea on Friday! So glad you posted this! Thanks again for all your help!

  7. Only started using the fitness centers on the last couple of visits. They are great and should have used them sooner. Saratoga Springs Resort has a good amount of paths to run on and if you include the Treehouse Villas it is even better! Ran a 7 miler from Old Key West-Treehouse Villas-Saratoga-Downtown Disney and back. Can’t wait to do it again in May!

    • oh fun! I love finding new paths and trails to run on! did you see my post about the paths between the poly and grand floridian? I think its called “trails of disney” if you search for it.

      • Yes and I may check it out! I am a DVC member so OKW and SSR are natural choices for running paths as those are the two resorts we spend the most time at. Always looking for new runs though!

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Mentioned elsewhere:

  1. […] my last installment of beyond the parks of Disney world, we discussed golf, working out/spa, waterparks, water craft, afternoon tea, and bike rentals. […]

  2. […] wrote two blog posts a while back about things to do beyond the theme parks. You can check them out here and […]

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