A lot of the magic happens at Walt Disney World while you visit the parks. From Magic Kingdom to Epcot, most people can’t wait to grab a churro and hit the attractions as soon as they can. But after many visits, I’ve learned that you can have just as much fun with your family outside the parks. There is so much to do that you may overlook. On a recent trip, I learned so much with my family that I had to share my top suggestions — no park admission required!
1. Shop, eat, and go for a ride at Disney Springs.
This newly expanded area features great shopping, themed and non-themed restaurants (The Boathouse and Morimoto Asia are my favorites), and unique experiences such as riding on an Amphicar or Characters in Flight. You can also find the LEGO Imagination Center, the second-biggest LEGO store in the country with exhibits and interactive areas your kids will love. Not to mention an awesome store for Star Wars fans, too.
Pro Tip: Save $25 by having lunch at The Boathouse and taking a ride on an Amphicar right next door.
2. Dine in style with Chef Mickey and the gang.
A great way to see some of your favorite characters and get their autographs is by booking character dining. At Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the buffet is top notch and a great place to celebrate a birthday. You can also meet Mickey, Lilo, and Stitch for breakfast at Ohana in Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Just make sure to book early because these dining experiences are in high demand!
3. Challenge your family to a round of mini golf.
The Winter Summerland Miniature Golf inside Blizzard Beach offers two mini 18-hole adventures the kids will love — one a winter wonderland, and the other a beach paradise.
4. Go for a dip in the gorgeous swimming pools.
Disney resorts have themed pools that everybody in your family will love. No to mention, they are super safe with lifeguards on duty and complimentary lifejackets for younger guests. Many resort pools also have fun water slides.
5. Explore the always-exciting BoardWalk.
The Boardwalk area comes alive at night with its restaurants and performers. My kids love walking around or renting a surrey bike. There are also classic arcade games and a funnel cake cart!