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When I’m at Disney I want to keep the magic going, even when I’m not in the parks. I would love to stay at a Disney Resort every time we visit Walt Disney World, but sometimes this just isn’t possible, either due to capacity or because some of the resorts are just too darn expensive. I still want to embrace the magic that is everything Disney. I know I’m not alone with the desire to surround and immerse myself in the culture that permeates the 47 square mile property. Even if we aren’t staying at a Disney resort, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some of the fun extras that come with the Disney Resort. Here is how to add a little extra Disney magic into your vacation by visiting a Disney resort.
Enjoy a meal.
Disney is known not just for its excellent dining and food service choices, but for all the amazingly unique and delicious dishes, this isn’t solely limited to the park. Each resort has several venues to eat that range from counter service food courts to sit-down dining. When we arrive early, on the day before our Disney vacation starts, we always pick a different resort to go to, to have dinner. The value hotels, such as the Art of Animation’s Landscapes of Flavor, have larger food courts. However, my favorite food courts are the ones at the moderate resorts, such as Disney’s Port Orleans or the Coronado Springs. The food courts are more elaborate and decked out in full Disney style that reflects the specific theme of each resort. Although I find all of the food courts charming in their own way, there are two that truly stand out to me, the El Mercado de Coronado at the Coronado Springs and the Centertown at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Each one is colorfully decorated down to the last detail.
Hotel Hopping and Photo Opportunies
My absolute favorite part of visiting the resorts is seeing all the fun Disney-ness about them. Each resort is carefully and meticulously designed. Such as the Polynesian Resort, which has an incredible, completely immersive Hawaiian theme, complete with tiki torched lit paths. My family truly enjoys touring around a different resort each visit and seeing the little touches, bits of Disney magic that permeates each property. If you are observant, you can find different Disney characters and hidden mickeys carefully placed around the resorts. Looking for fun photo opportunities? Then you will want to visit the value resorts. These resorts have a one of a kind design, with larger than life Disney character statues as well as other amusing iconic statuary. Our favorite is The Art of Animation resort, which is split up into four sections; Cars, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Finding Nemo. There are statues and classic scenes from all of these movies spread throughout the resort. We always have a great time walking around the Art of Animation Resort, snapping pictures as we go. My kids have a blast striking a pose with some of their favorite characters.
Watch the fireworks.
There is nothing quite as spectacular as a Disney firework show. The great news is that you don’t have to be in the park to enjoy one. There are several resorts on the Disney property that have a view (although distant) of the fireworks. The boat launch at the Grand Floridian or the Beach at the Polynesian Resort offer a good view of the Magic Kingdom firework show. To view the Epcot fireworks, head over to the Disney Boardwalk. The best view is from the bridge that connects the Disney Boardwalk and the Disney Beach Club. This is a popular spot and can be crowded. An alternative is to view them from the back entrance to Epcot (The International Gateway entrance). If you want to catch the Star Wars Firework show at the Disney Hollywood Studio, the best spot is on the beach of the Disney Beach Resort.
Enjoy special extras.
There are some places within the Walt Disney World property that offer some neat experiences. The Electric Water Pageant is a not to be missed experience, that astonishingly few people are aware even exists. This on the water parade of 14 lighted floats sails through the Seven Seas Lagoon nightly and can be viewed from the Contemporary Resort, the Polynesian Resort, the Wilderness Lodge, the Fort Wilderness Resort, and the Grand Floridian Resort. Love animals? Then head over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge to view exotic African animals. There are cast members there handing out night vision goggles to help visitors view the animals wandering through the savannah behind the hotel. There are butterfly gardens at the Contemporary Resort that are open to the public, and you can stroll through and enjoy the lovely butterflies floating from flower to flower. The geyser at the Wilderness Lodge is a smaller version of Old Faithful and spouts water every hour between seven AM and 10 PM.
When planning your Disney vacation, make sure to add in some time to visit at least one of the unbelievable Disney Resorts. They will add a little extra magic into every Disney vacation.