Do you value time to make family memories? Then your answer is YES!
Parents of small children, especially toddlers, know how overwhelming a whole day at a theme park can be. Did you ever consider spending time at the Walt Disney World Resorts WITHOUT stepping foot into a park?
There is Disney magic all over, and it is just waiting to be explored by YOUR family! Check out some of your options.
A vacation at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is more like a vacation in Wyoming. Calm streams and private cabins line the property. What is more relaxing than that!? Toddlers will enjoy a walk along the wooden paths looking for wildlife and enjoying the quiet sounds of Orlando. Mom and Dad will grab a drink at Geyser Point Bar & Grill and be able to follow behind the kids instead of carrying them around. Ending your night with a family stroll around Wilderness Lodge might seem trivial, but to busy parents, enjoying quiet moments as a family is magic.
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
Adults know that imagination happens during unscheduled play time. Remember the day you stumbled upon a creek and turned it into a raging river for your inflatable toys??
Disney Resorts provide hours of opportunities for just that – PLAYTIME! At Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, even the smallest Toy Story fan can get lost in the world of imagination of Andy’s bedroom. Here kids can ride on R.C., view a 3 story Buzz Lightyear and sit beside the clouds like Andy does on his bed. This bit of Disney magic is waiting to be explored by small kids, and kids at heart.
Does relaxing in your own Cozy Cone sound great? Poolside complimentary cabanas are not just for Piston Cup Racer in Radiator Springs. They are part of a fun-filled stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Sitting in the shade while your kids splash around in the pool is just one of the ways you can spend your afternoon at this family friendly resort. Parents: sit back, relax and listen to the sounds of laughter and “Ka-chow” filling your Cozy Cone.
Sassagoula River Ferry
Does a relaxing 20 minute boat ride sound enjoyable? The Sassagoula River connects the Port Orleans Resorts, Old Key West and Saratoga Spring with Disney Springs. With water taxis arriving at these resorts every half hour, what better FREE activity to add a little nature into your trip? This 20 minute slow moving ferry ride is perfect for bird watching or even a power nap on Dad’s shoulder. Parents, you will need to fold up strollers but will find the shaded canopy provides adequate coverage from the hot Florida sun.
Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast
If you have a little princess, adult princess or anyone who likes great food – the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast is a must do! Located in the Trattoria al Forno restaurant at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, this morning of magic is available without a park ticket. Better yet, you can meet 4 unique characters during a Table Service plated meal. Prince Eric and Ariel along with Rapunzel and Flynn Rider will greet guests, perform sing-a-long parades and entertain throughout your whole meal.
Can we talk about the food? The theme of this restaurant is in the food and presentation, not the physical decor of the room. My personal recommendation is “Ursula’s Cauldron” because the hearty mix of potatoes, sausage and cheese will keep you satisfied for whatever else your day may bring. Kids will enjoy Flounder’s Flapjacks since they are topped with powdered sugar character logos and designs!
Parents in particular, this is NOT a buffet. You will not miss the character interactions by trying to feed your little ones. Less stress + great food + lively atmosphere = Magic morning outside the parks!
Travel as Adventure
Getting there can be a pPlanes, trains and automobiles adventure. My son’s first trip to Disney was full of hidden Magic for him. Simple things that I, as an adult, take for granted are magical to a little boy.
Our “transportation adventure” started early in the morning while driving in my Jeep (1) to Philadelphia International Airport. We rode the shuttle (2) from offsite parking into PHL. Once inside, Luke experienced an escalator (3), moving walkway (4), airplane (5), MCO tram from the terminal (6), and an elevator ride (7) to Level 1 of MCO. Next was the complimentary Magical Express Motorcoach (8) to take us to our resort.
After getting checked in to our hotel, we rode the ferry boat (9) to Disney Springs. If you count riding in a stroller, Luke experienced 10 different modes of transportation in less than 5 hours. As his mom, I will never forget the simple excitement and pure joy only a little boy can experience, all made possible Outside the Disney Parks, but Inside the Disney Magic.
Prior to the Covid-19 reopening of Walt Disney World, Chef Mickey’s was an energetic and vibrant dinner experience for guests of all ages. Children were entertained by the dancing of Mickey and Pals, while parents could enjoy a hot meal. Although the characters are unavailable at this time, I feel the experience is still one to put on any itinerary.
How will kids behave without characters to occupy them? Ask for a table with prime viewing of the monorail. My guess is the 5th or 10th train THROUGH the resort will be as exciting as the last.
And adults! This breakfast buffet just became family-style. You don’t have to use any morning steps on getting your food. The servers will pick up the hot food at the buffet counter and bring it to your table in a family sized skillet. (This process maintains social distancing but does not eliminate a hearty meal option to start your day).
Talk to your travel agent about securing an Advanced Dining Reservation for this restaurant and simply check in on the My Disney Experience app upon arrival. Monorail viewing, happy kids and a full belly … sounds like Magic to me.
Dining with Food Allergies
Despite your food allergies, do you enjoy eating out? My family enjoyed a birthday dinner at the Rainforest Cafe @ Disney Springs. One might question the ability of a chain/franchise restaurant to provide individualized service. I am here to tell you that Rainforest Cafe did just that, and more!
My son and I have food allergies to tree nuts, which is quite common. What is not common is the commitment to service that Disney chef’s provided for my family. Upon asking for an allergy friendly menu, the waitress informed me that the chef would be coming to take my order personally. That is exactly what happened! The chef was thorough and understanding and never once made my requests seem inconvenient for his staff.
What I remember from the meal goes above the food itself, which my picky eaters had no trouble finishing. Service and care is longer lasting than the meal in your belly. Also, Disney makes a big deal out of birthdays, and Luke’s 5th birthday was no different. Since he was unable to have the standard cupcake due to allergens, Rainforest Cafe provided him (and his sister! – no risk of being left out in Disney) with an ice cream sandwich.
With the ample dining offerings at Disney Springs and the Resort hotels, your family never needs to enter a park to search for an unforgettable meal. Taking the stress away from a meal is pure Magic!
Moms, you can’t hold one more bag! Let Disney Magic come to YOU! We have all been there, actually we are there every morning. Busy Mom’s trying to get out of the house carrying EVERYONE’s belongings like we are a pack mule.
Grocery store, Target, Kohls…. even just to the park. Mom’s are always stuck carrying the bags. The MAGIC of Disney is at your fingertips. (Which might just be ready to fall off).
The image above shows the Buzz Lightyear my son just had to have. My husband thought it was a perfect souvenir and went right to the counter to purchase. Darling husband then hands me the bag. Umm not again!
But to my delight comes a friendly smiling cast member. She informs me that Disney will deliver my merchandise to my Disney Resort for free! The cast member informed me that delivery could take 1-2 days so make sure you are not shopping on your last night of vacation if you want to use this service.
Another tip is that guests can ship merchandise to their home as well. Cast members will package the item and charge you based on the price of the item. Moms… not a bad way to start Christmas shopping. Buying the items your children will enjoy without the hassle. You can even send your children to the Lego Store as you finish up your sale to keep the items a secret. Sounds like Magic to me!
Upon entrance into the Jambo House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you will find large animal and character etchings on the floor. On my recent #DisneyStayCation, Luke and I walked to Jambo House from Kidani Village and had 25 minutes of free fun! Yes Moms, this is another complimentary activity that you can find at Disney Resorts.
I planned ahead and packed some plain paper and crayons into my backpack before our walk. Luke, age 6, is growing up in the digital age and has never experienced what I like to call “crayon rubbing.” We sat on the floor (Yes, it was very clean!) and created our own souvenir book. With a teacher mom, Luke was given a little history lesson of African dancing, instruments and costumes.
Sounds like you just figured out what to write on the school’s educational trip form. 🙂 Experiencing African culture + Art + quality time, sounds like Magic to me!
Which would you choose:
- Chaise lounge by the lake
- Adirondack chair on white sand
- Plush lounger in air conditioning
On a Disney StayCation you could have all three! And what do you need those chairs for? How about finally reading that best seller or the self-help book from your girlfriends? It is time that you actually relax, renew and rejuvenate yourself. It is vacation after all! Returning home and feeling refreshed sounds like MAGIC to me!