With all there is to do inside the parks at WDW, sometimes all of the great stuff outside the parks goes unnoticed. While we love spending time in the parks, we also spend a good amount outside of them as well each trip.
From great dining and entertainment, to relaxing boat rides, there are tons of great ways to spend time outside the parks. Here are our top 11 things to do outside the parks at WDW. Note: Not all of these are family friendly.
11. Mini Golf
Walt Disney World has 2 miniature golf locations, each made up of two separate 18 hole courses. Fantasia Gardens is located near the Swan and Dolphin hotels and Winder Summerland located just outside Blizzard Beach Water Park.
Honestly, and not surprisingly, mini golf at WDW is overpriced compared to many local courses. That being said, its still a fun activity if you are looking for a date night out. We don’t recommend visiting mid-day (we made that mistake in the photos above) as it can be very hot, and there tends to be a wait to get onto the courses.
10. Visit Universal City Walk
This one is easier if you have a rental car as its about a half hour drive from WDW. City Walk at Universal Orlando has some solid dining and entertainment options for a fun night out.
Parking is free after 6 pm so we like to head over for dinner then check out one of the entertainment venues after. If you are into dessert, the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium has some really fun options. Our favorite entertainment venue is Rising Star Karaoke; a karaoke bar (I know, shocking right?) where you can sing with a live band and background singers.
9. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto
In our opinion, Trader Sam’s, located at the Polynesian Resort, is the best bar at WDW. Even those who aren’t big drinkers can have a lot of fun here. The theming and details are wonderful with many in park references. From the Jungle Cruise, to 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, you can find all kinds of fun details throughout the bar. Its a super fun atmosphere and highly recommended.
8. Use Your Resort Pools
We love taking a break and just relaxing by the pool from time to time during our Disney trips. It helps, that many of the Disney resorts have some really great pools to enjoy. Whether its a mid-day break or a late night swim after the parks, we always make sure to hit up the pools a few times during our trips.
7. Explore the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness
Exploring different Disney resorts can be a great activity during your trip. The Wilderness Lodge is one of our favorites to visit as it has good dining, a beautiful layout and an awesome lobby. This is particularly true during the holiday season.
We recommend exploring a bit, having dinner at Artist Point and then taking the boat over Fort Wilderness. The boat ride is lovely on a nice night. Fort Wilderness has lots to do from carriage rides to campfires. If you skipped dinner at Wilderness Lodge, you may want to look into Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. Its a great dinner show which really brings back feelings of the Vacation Kingdom era.
Once you’re done doing whatever you choose at Fort Wilderness, take the boat back to WL and have a drink or two at Geyser Point.
6. Visit Animal Kingdom Lodge
We already covered why we love Animal Kingdom Lodge so much in our “Why You Should Visit Animal Kingdom Lodge” post. Check that to see all that the resort has to offer!
5. Dinner and a Walk at Disney’s Boardwalk
We also visited Disney’s Boardwalk and Crescent lake area is this post here. In addition to great dining and entertaiment venues, the Boardwalk just has a fun atmosphere. Street performers come out at night and everywhere you look there is something going on.
4. Dinner and a Walk at Disney Springs
Disney Springs has several of our favorite on site restaurants. The Boathouse, Morimota Asia, Homecoming are just a few of several great options. It also has some wonderful dessert places with Amorette’s Patisserie being our favorite. If you like shopping there is certainly no shortage of that either. At night, there is tons of live entertainment all around. It’s a great place to spend an evening.
3. Monorail Loop Dinner and Fireworks
Some of the best dining in all of WDW can be found at the monorail resort Hotels. We particularly love California Grill (Contemporary), Ohana (Polynesian) and Narcoossee’s (Grand Floridian). Each of these places can provide a great meal, along with a unique view of Magic Kingdom’s fireworks. If you’re looking for a night filled with plenty of Disney magic outside the parks, this is probably your best bet.
As mentioned in our Crescent Lake post, we love Jellyrolls! We won’t retread many details here, but to sum it up, Jellyrolls is an extremely entertaining piano bar where you can spend several hours and not get bored. Strongly recommend checking it out during your next trip!
1. The Edison
Just opened earlier this year, we visited The Edision for the first time during our most recent trip. Obvious from its position on this list, we loved it. We ended up returning several times during the trip. The Edison features a great house band, as well as a wide range of “variety show” style entertainment. All of the acts we saw were great.
They also have some really fun food options and a huge drink menu. Food and drinks are good, but expensive.
Overall, we think the Edison is the best place to spend a fun night outside the parks in WDW. Since entertainment doesn’t start before 9:30 pm, pairing this with dinner in Disney Springs is a great way to go. We have not had dinner at The Edison ourselves but that’s certainly an option as well.
Let us know what your favorite things to do outside the parks are in the comments below. Thanks for reading!