Walt Disney World Resort is MASSIVE, and there is plenty to do, both inside AND outside of the parks. You’ll want to have a down day or two, if for no other reason than to just relax. Here is just a sampling of cheap and/or free things to do on your down days.
1. Take a Scenic Ride
Hop on the Skyliner and just go for a ride. Or the monorail. Or take a boat ride. You can take a free boat ride on the Friendship Boats or the boats between the resorts with water access, or you could rent a boat from one of the hotels with Marinas.
- Fort Wilderness
- Wilderness Lodge
- Grand Floridian
- The Contemporary
- The Polynesian
- Beach and Yacht Clubs
- Old Key West
2. Resort Hop
You don’t have to stay at the resorts to visit them, though with COVID, it may not be allowed during busier times. But you can easily hop on the monorail, and explore the Deluxe resorts on the monorail line. If you’re there are Christmas, you will DEFINITELY want to explore these resorts to see the decorations!
You can also visit the Skyliner resorts and take a free drawing class at Art of Animation, or take a walk around the Boardwalk and explore the resorts that surround Crescent Lake.
If Port Orleans ever reopens, take the boats from Disney Springs to explore, and don’t forget to get yourself some beignets!
Head to the All-Star resorts or Pop Century for some fun photo opportunities with all the massive Disney props around those resorts. Note, though, while you can explore the resorts, the pools are only open for the guests staying at each specific resort.
For an incredibly relaxing and unique experience, head over to Animal Kingdom Lodge for some great dining and a relaxing view of the Savannah and all the animals. Grab a drink and enjoy!
3. Play Mini Golf or Golf or Foot Golf
Walt Disney World is home to four full size golf courses, one foot golf course, and two miniature golf courses. You could purchase the Water Parks and Sports tickets to have access to these courses, and work them into your non-parks day. If you purchase a vacation package, you will receive a voucher for 4 people to play 18-holes of miniature golf for free, too! Currently, only the Fantasia Mini Golf Course is open.
4. Nightly Movies and/or Campfires
On most nights, the resorts offer nightly movies outside, either at the pool or at some dedicated spot on the resort grounds. Check with each resort for times and movie schedules. Some resorts also offer campfires. You can purchase marshmallows there, or bring your own. A very popular campfire that I hope comes back very soon is Chip and Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-long over at Fort Wilderness. Check individual resorts for more information!
5. Visit Playgrounds and Splash Pads
The Moderate and Value Resorts almost all offer playgrounds for the kids to run around and burn off some energy while you sit and relax, maybe with a coffee, maybe with a cocktail. You’re on vacation, too, so live it up! Some resorts also offer splash pads. Disney Springs has TWO!
6. Watch the Electrical Water Pageant
The Electrical Water Pageant happens every single night in Seven Seas Lagoon. It’s completely free and it’s honestly something that you have probably seen a million times and just not thought about what you’re seeing.
Approximately when and where you can see it:
- 8:45 pm – The Polynesian
- 9:00 pm – The Grand Floridian
- 9:30 pm – Wilderness Lodge
- 9:45 pm – Fort Wilderness Campgrounds
- 10:00 pm – The Contemporary
7. Hunt for Hidden Mickeys
Hidden Mickeys are not just a thing in the theme parks. Each resort has their own Hidden Mickey. You can also look for them around Disney Springs!
8. Running/Walking Trails
Not a runner? OK no problem. You can walk around the trails, located at several Walt Disney World resorts to push the kids in the stroller or just walk around and explore the resort. Or get your morning run in before a day in the parks!
9. Explore the Boardwalk
Disney’s Boardwalk area is modeled after a classic Atlantic Ocean-area Boardwalk. There are food kiosks all along the way, to stop and have a snack or even a meal. There are carnival-style games to play (for a cost, of course), bars, restaurants, a dance hall, and more. Or just sit on a bench and watch the Friendship Boats come and go.
If and when EPCOT and Hollywood Studios has firework shows again, the Boardwalk is a great spot to watch without park admission.
10. Visit Disney Springs
Disney Springs is a good place to walk around and waste time! There are, as I said, two splash pads, a carousel (for a small cost), cheap food, and tons of shops to window shop or actually shop. Head over to Jock Lindsay’s Hanger Bar and walk around it, exploring all the amazing details the Imagineers worked into the decor.
Ready to book your trip? Contact me today!