Time and time again I hear travelers talk about how exhausted they are when they return from a Walt Disney World vacation. "I need a vacation from my vacation" they tell me. I get it. It costs a lot of money to go to Disney, and you want to get your moneys worth. But this is your vacation, and if you try to squeeze everything into one trip you are likely to come home stressed and exhausted. Here are a few tips and ideas to help you slow down at Disney while still making the most of every day.
Enjoy Some Leisure Time at Walt Disney World
Plan In Some Free Time. Leisure is the opportunity afforded to you by free time, but if you pack every moment of your trip full of activities you just don't have any place for it. By scheduling free time into your travel plans you will have the chance to explore things that you weren't expecting before hand. You may choose to relax and hang out at the hotel, or venture out to explore non-Park activities, the point of the free time is giving you a chance at the spontaneity to do whatever you would like.
How Much Free Time? The amount of free time people need at Walt Disney World is entirely dependent on the people traveling. Some folks are perfectly happy with a couple of hours each day, some clear a whole day, others may even plan a Disney vacation that is mostly free time. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Disney has more than enough to do outside the Parks to keep even just about anyone from getting bored.
Monorail Yellow Slides Through The Contemporary Resort
But What Will I Do? If just relaxing in your hotel room isn't your style, there are lots of things to do to fill the free space in your schedule. Here are just a couple of ideas.
- Take advantage of the wonderful Disney Marinas. Many of the waterfront hotels at Walt Disney World have marinas where guests can rent a variety of recreational watercraft. Sammy Duvall's Watersports Center at Disney's Contemporary Resort is the place to be to rent personal watercraft, go wake boarding, parasailing, or tubing on beautiful Bay Lake. Over at Fort Wilderness Resort, guests can rent canoes and kayaks from The Bike Barn to paddle the scenic streams and ponds. Check out our previous article on parasailing at the Contemporary.
- Get a spa treatment at one of the beautiful SENSES spas at Disney's Grand Floridian or Disney's Saratoga Springs Resorts. While they do take reservations in advance, I have been lucky enough to get in for same day services on many trips. After a few days in the Parks, a leg massage can often be just the thing to get you going again.
- Head to the newly rejuvenated Disney Springs for some high end shopping, to catch a first run movie at the AMC Theater, or even bowl a couple of rounds at Splitsville. While you're there you may want to consider making a pub crawl, or treating yourself to an extraordinary meal at one of the celebrity chef restaurants.
- Hotel hopping is another fantastic way to spend some time just wandering at Walt Disney World. Hotel hopping is simply the act of spending the day jaunting from one fabulous Disney hotel to another so that you can experience and enjoy the different thematic environments. One popular way to hotel hop is to have some grown-up fun on a Monorail Crawl. Simple board starting at one of the three Magic Kingdom Monorail Resorts and hop off at each resort stop to imbibe at the bars. You don't have to drink your way around the Seven Seas Lagoon to have fun though, Disney's Monorail Resorts are all fantastic places for shopping and dining as well. Photographers will also enjoy hotel hopping for the new and unique views from their lens.
Up Up And Away!
I'll be honest, I've even used my scheduled free time to sleep in, or to take a much needed nap. It's not what you do with the time that matters - it's the fact that you have it available to spend any way you would like.
Do you schedule free time into your Walt Disney World vacations? If so, leave a comment and share your favorite way to spend it.