How to Nail a Disney Vacation Without Stepping Foot in an Overwhelming Theme Park

A Disney vacation means time spent inside a Disney park, right? Wrong. Turns out, just because you’re Disney-bound doesn’t mean you have to follow the typical mouse-house itinerary. In fact, there’s plenty to do that doesn’t actually involve standing in line for hours on end.

Without further ado, here are seven things to do without stepping foot inside an overwhelming theme park.

1. Stroll Disney’s BoardWalk

Disney boardwalk

The boardwalk is dreamy. | Disney

Everything at Disney World has a theme, and its BoardWalk is no exception. The area channels the quintessential vibes of Coney Island and Atlantic City, complete with shops, restaurants, and street performers. Hit up Jellyrolls, the dueling piano bar, or dance the night away at Atlantic Dance Hall.

Next: Love animals?

2. Go on a safari or horseback riding

Disney safari

Try out a private safari. | Disney

  • Take a private safari tour
  • Eat dinner at Jiko
  • Go horseback riding at Fort Wilderness

Love animals but don’t want to buy a pass to Animal Kingdom? Well then, you’re in luck. With the Wanyami Safari, you’ll take a private ride to spot exotic animals before sitting down to a meal at Jiko — The Cooking Place. And the best part is, you don’t need to pay for admission to Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.

Or, if a western experience is more your style, check out the horseback riding at Fort Wilderness Resort.

Next: Looking for a fun night out?

3. Explore Disney Springs

Disney Springs

Disney Springs has plenty of entertainment. | Disney Springs via Facebook

  • Take a water taxi ride
  • See a Cirque Du Soleil show
  • Chow down at the food trucks

If you’re really looking for the best of the best — at least when it comes to shopping, dining, and entertainment — Disney Springs is where it’s at. Visit Disney Springs, and get your fill of tasty grub and world-class entertainment.

You can go for a ride in the world’s largest tethered helium balloon, book a wine-tasting cruise, and even catch a Cirque Du Soleil show, La Nouba.

Next: Sweat it out the next day

4. Go golfing

Disney Golfing

There are plenty of gorgeous golf courses. | Walt Disney World Golf

  • Book a Golf Getaway package
  • Sign your kids up for Disney’s Junior Golf Club
  • Play one of Disney’s four courses

The Sunshine State is a mecca for golf, so it’s no surprise Disney World has a handful of offerings. And the best part is, hitting the links while vacationing at Disney is well within reach. Options include Disney’s Palm, Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista, and Oak Trail golf courses.

Next: It is vacation, after all.

5. Lounge at the resort pools

Disney pool

The resorts have pools perfect for relaxing. | Disney

  • Rent a cabana  
  • Lounge by the pool
  • Swim to your heart’s content

If you’re staying at any Walt Disney World Resort hotel, then you’re in luck — at least if you love sunbathing by the pool, that is. Resort guests can access any resort pool area, so long as they’re staying at a Disney-owned property. Furthermore, private cabanas are available at the Contemporary and the Grand Floridian, while every other hotel features a unique pool — or pools — all their own.

Next: There’s nothing like a little R&R when you’re on vacation.

6. Check out the hotel spas

Facial disney

Treat yourself to spa time. | Disney

  • Book a treatment at the Senses spa at the Grand Floridian
  • Break a sweat at a fitness center
  • Explore Disney’s vast property on foot

If you’re looking to get a workout in, you can hit up your hotel’s fitness center — so long as you’re a hotel guest — or forge your own path. Disney is chock-full of paths perfect for running. And of course, we’d be remiss not to recommend booking a treatment at one of Disney’s many spas. After all, you are on vacation, and what better time to treat yourself than that?

Next: Go boating!

7. Get on the water

Disney waterskiing

Try your hand at waterskiing. | Disney

With an on-site recreation center, Disney’s Contemporary hotel has a lot to offer in the way of water sports. And you don’t have to be a hotel guest to book an adventure at Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Center, either. From wake boarding behind a boat to navigating your own private watercraft, adventure is just around the corner at the Contemporary. And the best part is, you’ll be swapping a day of sweating in a park for a day of soaking up the sun on the water.

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