I'm a firm believer in giving my tootsies a break between marathon days at the theme parks, so this begs what to do on these off days. Sure you can stick with the easy options of sleeping in & pool time, but there really is so much more & I'm pumped to share my three favorite ways to spend those bonus days at Walt Disney World.
Winter Summerland Miniature Golf
As a kid, we grew up playing mini-golf on all our family vacations. And when you see the price tag of $14/adult ($12 ages 3-9), you'll may assume that it's a total ripoff, but trust me its way more than your typical Putt-Putt. There are 2 different 18-hole courses to choose from, but I prefer the Winter Course, especially on a hot Florida day. Just looking at "sandcastles" made of snow almost drops the temperature a good 20 degrees. To get there, take the bus to Blizzard Beach & the path will walk you right to the entrance. For the real golfers in your group, who want to train the next generation, you can always try Fantasia Gardens, which is near the Boardwalk Inn. They have two different courses, one of which is a true green which puts the focus on ability over the fun tricks in a normal mini-golf course. You can't go wrong either way. FYI - if there is lightening nearby (in typical afternoon shower style), they will close the course. You can wait it out, or they will give you a voucher to return at a later time.
Ride The Monorail & Tour The Magic Kingdom Resorts
Who doesn't love a good ride on the Monorail? One of my favorite things to do at WDW is to visit different hotels. Take the bus from any hotel on property to the Magic Kingdom, but instead of heading into the park, jump on the resort monorail. This is a super easy way to see the three most famous Deluxe resorts, The Contemporary, The Polynesian, & The Grand Floridian. There are great views of the castle from each of these if you walk their grounds, but remember you can't "pool-hop" - there are now gates that lock you out unless your MagicBand indicates that you are a guest at that particular hotel.
There are plenty of Tiki's to take in at the Poly, and don't forget you can grab an extra Dole Whip for your trip just outside the Main House at the Pineapple Lanai. The lobby of the Grand Floridian is one of a kind. The life-sized gingerbread house in the Christmas season in the lobby there is my favorite, but it is ornately decorated all year round. Tons of weddings take place here, so there's always a chance you may catch a glimpse. The Contemporary has beautifully elaborate tile murals inside & I love grabbing a quick lunch at Contempo Cafe and then sitting back while watching the monorail continue it's loop through the center of the resort.
You can take a boat between the hotels if you want to take a break from the monorail, and that let's you add a tour of the Wilderness Lodge to your journey. If you take your resort tour in the evening, you can always catch the Electrical Water Pageant, which starts around 9pm most days at the Polynesian and then ends after touring the lagoon over at the Contemporary. If that's past your bedtime, you can grab a bus to Disney Springs from any resort and grab dinner at The Boathouse or Wolfgang Puck Express.
To me, even though this area was recently renamed, to me it will always be Downtown Disney, or as we've taken to calling it in recent years, DOWNTON Disney. As much as I typically dislike change, I'm excited to see the latest updates to this shopping & dining area during my next trip in a few months. No matter what ages you have in tow, there's something here for everyone. I recommend picking out a place for lunch or dinner & spend the day taking in the sites & stores. And clearly the snacks. All the snacks.
World of Disney - the end all be all of shopping & home to one of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutiques
Try out the splash areas for the kiddos on a hot day
Take an early family Christmas card picture in the Marketplace section beyond the Christmas shop with snowman versions of Mickey & the gang
Catch a movie at movie at the huge AMC theater or family bowling at Splitsville
Build your own Havianas
Grab a Sprinkles cupcake from their cupcake ATM
Get a free piece of wrapped chocolate just for walking into the Ghiradelli shop
Pick out a Christmas ornament from 'Disney's Days of Christmas'
Take pictures with all the oversized Disney characters made of LEGOs
Watch an Amphicar take off at The Boathouse - too expensive for me to take a ride, but fun to watch them drive right into the lagoon!
Take the Character Balloon up for an aerial view of the Happiest Place on Earth
Build your own lightsaber at 'Once Upon A Toy'