Visiting theme parks is undoubtedly the number one activity for guests staying at Walt Disney World resorts, but the stellar hotels offer many other options for filling the time.
If you’re looking for something a little different to spice up your vacation, consider one of these activities.
1. Boat rentals
Walt Disney World, like most of Florida, was once a swamp. To create the dry land that guests enjoy today, massive amounts of water had to be diverted, hence the large waterways and plentiful lakes all over property. While these do not make for good swimming, they are perfect for other water activities. These include:
- Canoeing and kayaking at the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
- Piloting a 13-foot catamaran around the Polynesian Resort
- Renting a motor boat for 2, 6, or 10 guests; select boats available at the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Polynesian Resort, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
- Parasailing, tubing, wake boarding, and water skiing at Sammy Duvall’s at the Contemporary Resort
2. Evening campfires
Gather around a cozy campfire after a long day at the parks at any of 14 Disney resorts. Sing-alongs, stories, and treats are included in the festivities. Guests are encouraged to bring a blanket or beach towel along for a comfortable place to sit. Resorts offering campfire activities include:
- Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas
- Beach Club Resort
- Boardwalk Inn
- Caribbean Beach Resort
- Contemporary Resort
- Coronado Springs Resort
- Old Key West Resort
- Polynesian Resort
- Port Orleans Resort, French Quarter and Riverside
- Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- Wilderness Lodge
- Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds
At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds, the campfire celebration takes on a whole new level of excitement as Chip ‘n Dale join the festivities. The characters are on hand for photos and autographs as well as all kinds of campfire fun.
3. Movies under the stars
Outdoor movies are regularly available at the Walt Disney World Resorts. Just check with yours when you check in to find out what time the movies are shown and what’s playing. At resorts with campfires, the movie typically follows the campfire festivities.
If you’re staying at the All-Star Resorts, you should note that there’s a different movie at each resort every night, so if you don’t like what your section is playing, you can head to a nearby option to see something different.
These screenings are the perfect way to wind down at the end of the day and get everyone ready for bed. Bring a blanket or towel and refreshments so you can stay comfortable and satisfied through the film. Movies range from classics like Cinderella and Jungle Book to recent favorites, including Frozen, Brave, Planes, and Wreck-It Ralph.
4. Horse-drawn carriage and wagon rides
Scenic carriage rides are available at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and Port Orleans – Riverside. Each carriage can fit up to four adults, or two adults and three small children. Rides last for 25 minutes. At Fort Wilderness, you’ll take a soothing trip through the surrounding pine forests. The carriages at Port Orleans travel along the banks of the Sassagoula River.
In December, Fort Wilderness offers faux “sleigh” rides, where the carriages are decked in holiday garlands and lights for a fun seasonal alternative to the traditional rides.
For larger parties, a wagon ride at Fort Wilderness may be more appropriate. You can reserve an entire wagon for 30 to 35 guests, or ride with other parties and pay per person. These old-fashioned wagons take you on a 45-minute tour around the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.