Last week I discussed my top 5 must dos for the parks during our next trip to Walt Disney World. Not necessarily the top 5 of all time, but the things that we personally have to make sure we do next time – some of these include amazing things we’ve done before and others I’ve read about and know I can’t miss this time round. So for this post, I thought I’d extend that to outside of the parks.
5. Watercraft rentals. There are numerous locations for water craft rentals around Disney World – many of the moderate and deluxe resorts offer it. I’d like to try something at the Contemporary I think – it just adds that extra bit of Magic to be shooting around on the water with Magic Kingdom in view, or nearby. One of the options offered is parasailing, which I would really love to try but quite honestly I think I might chicken out! If not, then the sea raycers look fun, so we might try that.
4. Mini-golf. I’m fairly sure that my love for mini-golf dates back to our seaside holidays to Skegness when I was a kid – mini-golf being one of the few attractions! But as with everything Disney, they do it just that little bit better! Instead of aiming to get the ball up a ramp or through a lone windmill the entire courses are themed. At Blizzard Beach you can find Winter Summerland – two courses themed one to winter and one to summer – and both featuring Santa Claus. We’ve done Winter, but not Summer yet. The other mini-golf location is Fantasia Gardens, located near the Swan hotel in the Epcot area. This is themed on the Fantasia film and again has two courses – the Fantasia Fairways course being a more difficult than the Fantasia Gardens course. All courses are 18 hole and are $12+tax for adults and $10+tax for kids (around £8 and £6.50). If you have booked a holiday package through the Walt Disney World Travel Company you will receive a voucher for 1 round of mini golf at either of these courses. It always annoys me that the voucher is only valid for one person – since we pay per person for the dining plan and tickets etc – but I guess I should be grateful for the voucher at all. We haven’t decided which of the courses we’ll do yet – probably depends where we start out on the day we decide to do it – but it will be one of the ones we’ve not yet tried.
3. Hotel cruising – we are putting aside an afternoon for doing a tour around a few of the hotels. The imagination and detail that goes into the parks is carried out throughout all of the Disney hotels and as we can’t stay in them all, a quick tour of them will have to do! A few of these we’ll be seeing anyway as we have ADRs at quite a few resort-based restaurants, but I’d like to see a few of the others too – Wilderness Lodge, in particular, as I’ve heard a lot about and I want to see it for myself. The lobbies, pools and shops should all be fun to see.
2. Water parks – as these are entire parks, it is a bit of a cop out to list them as one activity, but it is my rules! I love the water parks for numerous reasons. Firstly, as a Brit, these are pretty much a holiday-only treat as the UK weather means there really is no such thing here (unless you count the slightly adventurous swimming baths you can find dotted around the country, but I don’t!) But in particular, I love the two Disney parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon – even compared to the others in Orlando. I love the theming of them, I think they’ve done it really well and I also find them much less ‘concrete’ and a lot cleaner than most parks. In practical terms I also don’t have any problem at all leaving my towel and books etc on my seat while I go off to do the rides – which you can’t say for everywhere (although money and valuables are probably best in a locker!) But the biggest thing I love about the water parks is that it it gives me some time to relax and recuperate! We do the rides, usually first thing, but we also spend a lot of time lying on a sun lounger or floating around the lazy rivers. It is the only time during the 14 days that we don’t spend the entire day rushing around and on our feet. They’re the perfect way to recharge your batteries and still have fun!
1. Characters in Flight at Downtown Disney. I cannot WAIT to take this tethered hot air balloon ride. It was available on our last trip too, but for some reason we didn’t get round to it, even though I really wanted to. So this trip it has become my number 1 must do for outside of the parks. The 72 foot diameter balloon takes up to 30 people 400 feet into the air, for some incredible views of the surrounding area. It costs $18/$12+tax (£12/£8) per person. It won’t ride in inclement weather so you can’t book in advance, which means it can get busy. Mornings are usually less so, with evening being the busiest. We’ll probably tie it in with another trip to Downtown Disney, but no matter what the wait, this time, we’re doing it!
The problem is going to be fitting it all in!
Next week I’ll finish off this mini-series with my must-dos for food on our next trip!
BRiTMiCK is a blog aimed at British visitors to Walt Disney World, helping you to make the most of your holiday. Follow @Britmickuk for the latest on whats going on at BRiTMiCK and other Disney sites.