Outside the Parks at WDW

Sammy Duvall Walt Disney World Bay Lake
Sammy Duvall
Walt Disney World
Bay Lake

Sure, most of us go the Walt Disney World intent on hitting all of the parks as many times as possible during our stay! But, did you know that there are plenty of things to do outside of the parks? Let’s take a look at just a few of those things today, shall we?

One of the benefits of staying at a Disney Resort, even if you aren’t visiting any of the four theme parks, is that there is a lot to do in other parts of the property. After all, there are about 47 square miles to play with in this area of Florida! One thing I like to do, is just check out other resorts! It can be a bit time consuming with transportation, but if you aren’t on a schedule, the Disney World buses are a great way to enjoy the scenery! You might have to take a bus from your resort to one of the parks and transfer to another bus to visit the resort you are wanting to see. But, there’s no cost to riding the buses, or visiting the resorts. And, if you ask at the front desk, you may be able to get a glimpse of a room. Then walk around the outside areas of that resort. Check out the pool areas, landscaping, theming, or whatever might be of interest to you. And, all it costs is a little time!

There are golf courses and miniature golf options around the Walt Disney World Resort. Tee times can be arranged in advance for the PGA level golf courses. And, the mini-golf spots are open most of the day, so you can practice your putting all day long, if you wish! No reservations are needed for the miniature golf!

And then, there is Downtown Disney (DTD)! Getting to DTD is tricky with the transformation into Disney Springs, but again, the buses are a great way to get there! There are plenty of places to eat that will fit nearly any palate. There is entertainment all around, especially in the evenings. Disney Quest is at DTD and is a large arcade complex! It does have a cost, but can be fun, in a retro kind of way!

So, if you want the Disney feel without all of the rushing around, think about a more relaxing vacation outside of the parks! You still get the Disney touches, and a little bit of magic, too, but you can avoid the crowds and hustle of the parks. Even if you don’t want to leave the parks out completely, think about a day or two of your trip relaxing! After all, it is vacation!

What are some of the things you might do, if you aren’t going to the parks?  I want to hear about it!  Thanks for reading, and have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!!

Young At Heart

A 53 year old man walks toward The Magic Kingdom, he gets a flutter in his chest and feels his step getting a little lighter! As he passes under the train station and walks onto Main Street U.S.A., he gets a whiff of something delicious…Popcorn! He looks around at all the other people walking around and realizes that he’s not alone in what he is sensing. Oh, if feel great to be YOUNG AT HEART!

Me, being fun and impulsively Young At Heart!
Me, being fun and impulsively Young At Heart!

Yes, it doesn’t matter who you are, or what the cares of the world may be, when you come to Walt Disney World, you have permission to be Young at Heart! It’s time to put away the everyday, because it isn’t everyday around these parts! You can let the business of your life rest as you enter into the peace of the Disney “bubble” and just let it all wait for your return, later.

When Walt Disney decided to enter into the theme park business, I can’t help but imagine that along with providing a place for entire families to play together, he was giving each of us permission to be kids for just a little longer. There is nothing that makes me smile wider, or laugh harder, than when I am at the Walt Disney World Resort and in one of the theme parks! I forget that there is a life full of stress and responsibility and allow myself to relax. The cares of the world wash off my shoulders and I am home!

When you visit the Vacation Kingdom, I would like to suggest that you forget the rest of the world for as long as your vacation is set to last. If needed, shut off the ability to receive calls on your cell! I know with all the new technology, it’s necessary to carry your smartphone, but you don’t have to answer any calls, unless it’s a lost family member somewhere on the property. The boss can wait! The bills can wait! Anything that steals from your vacation is a vacation thief!

It’s time to give yourselves permission to be Young At Heart!! Be a kid at Walt Disney World! Visit the characters that you grew up with, and meet the ones your kids have gotten to know, too! Enjoy the attractions, rides, shows, or whatever else you want to take part in while visiting WDW. And, don’t forget to allow yourself to have FUN!!

Remember the old song? Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you, if you’re Young At Heart!!


Walt Disney had a vision of how he wanted to entertain early in his life and it continued right up to his death. The greatest tool I think he possessed was his IMAGINATION. And, as shown by the pavilion of the same name at EPCOT, all of us are encouraged to use OUR imaginations to move forward with progress.

Fountain at the Imagination Pavilion
Fountain at the Imagination Pavilion

In it’s original production, was hosted by Dreamfinder and Figment! The ride attraction had Dreamfinder on a dirigible type aircraft collecting various elements of imagination. And, one of the results is the creation of Figment! A cute little dragon with two tiny wings, eyes big and yellow, horns of a steer, a lovable fellow, with a touch of childish delight. And, I remember the Image Works part of the Imagination pavilion! It was fun and inventive and I was able to be the kid I was never able to be growing up! It was one of the most special places on the property for me.

Today, Disney’s Imagineers continue to combine imagination with engineering to create and develop new experiences within Disney Parks worldwide. And, more often than not, they develop the new, fun, and unique attractions that keep us coming back for more.

Finally, I think that one of Walt’s goals may have been to allow us to give ourselves permission to let our own imaginations loose when we are at Walt Disney World. He wanted to encourage the use of our imaginations to see where we could go with our thoughts and creations. I believe he accomplished that goal.

Until next time, my friends, have a Blessed and Magical Day. And, let you imaginations loose!

Mug Shot!

As many may know, Walt Disney World is introducing the Rapid Fill Mug (RFID) system at all on-property resorts. On the surface, this seems like a good idea. It seems Disney may be trying to control the inventory of sodas. But, as I think about the impact on my wallet, I’m beginning to think it’s just a money driven decision.

I love going to Disney World, but over the twenty-five or so years since I first began visiting WDW, there seems to be a bit of a lack in the magic that built the Disney empire. Sure, I agree they need to make money. But, as a father of three, I have to consider every dollar being spent.

For instance, on our upcoming trip we have 6 people traveling for a six-night stay. The cost of the mugs would be
$128. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t drink enough soda to make that worth the spending! I don’t think my kids could, either. Although, I’m sure they would try.

Refillable-Mugs-500x333Photo from disneyfoodblog.com

That being said, if using one of the dining plans, it’s another thought all-together. These mugs are usable at any of the on-property resort food courts, if I’m reading this right. So, theoretically, you could be staying at POP and wander around the Boardwalk area, make a pass through the Beach Club Marketplace to fill your Rapid Fill Mug!
That’s the way I read it, anyway!

As always, feel free to leave your comments! I’d love to know your thoughts!