Wait, there’s more? Yes, there’s so much more to see at Walt Disney World beyond the parks. It’s like a whole new world. When you hear the phrase “Disney vacation”, what immediately pops in your head? If you’re like most people it’s the theme parks, whether it’s meeting Mickey or escaping a Yeti, the parks are what we think of most. We’re no different, and we love the parks, it’s what keeps us coming back year after year along with the food. You know us and our food! After a few days of rope dropping or partying the night away after hours, you’ll need a few minutes away from the parks. Trust us, we may know a thing or two about this! Our magic carpet is waiting, let’s go discover Disney Word beyond the parks!
Golf For Everyone!
If we’re not at the parks, you’ll probably finds us on the links. At Walt Disney World the links can mean a variety things for people of all golfing or non-golf abilities. Beyond the three championship courses, Disney has a nine-hole walking course, two mini-golf locations with 2 courses at each, and recently added a footgolf course. When all else fails, kick it! No clubs needed.
Our personal favorite is the Lake Buena Vista course attached to Saratoga Springs. We love to hit the links early with the Sunrise 9. For us it’s a great way to start the day. Besides golf you get a breakfast sandwich, and 2 drinks (alcoholic or not). It’s vacation – no judgement here if you need a little “swing lube” at 7 am!
If you’re looking for a unique experience, check out either the footgolf course or the Fantasia Gardens mini-golf course. Footgolf is exactly what it sounds like, you say bye-bye to the clubs and instead kick a soccer ball into larger holes. Over at Fantasia Gardens they have one of the more unique mini-courses around, it’s laid out like a smaller version of a real course complete with bunkers and water traps.
Passholder Insights: Disney provides free transportation from the Disney Resorts to and from all the golf courses and the footgolf course.
Let’s go on a 3-hour tour, you ready Gilligan? One of the more popular things at Disney World beyond the parks is boat rentals. Walt Disney World is filled with different waterways and lakes to explore. You’ll find three main areas:
- Magic Kingdom Area – In front of the Magic Kingdom is the Seven Seas Lagoon that connects Bay Lake.
- Disney Springs Area – Buena Vista Lake at Disney Springs connects to the Sassagoula River waterways where you’ll find Disney’s Old Key West and Port Orleans resorts
- Yacht Club Area – Crescent Lake between the Yacht Club and Boardwalk flows into the waterways between Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
A variety of the Disney Resorts have marinas that offer boats rentals of all sizes. A full list of boat options and marinas can be found here.
Our favorite area is Seven Seas Lagoon in front of the Magic Kingdom. Beyond the outstanding views of the castle, we enjoy making the voyage over to the Bay Lake and seeing some Disney history. In the middle of Bay Lake is Discovery Island and use to be home to an animal sanctuary. Guests would board a boat at Fort Wilderness to make the trip over to the island. When Animal Kingdom opened everything was migrated to the new park, but the facilities still remain and can been seen from your boat.
Additionally, for a short time you’ll be able to see the River Country as well. For a full breakdown River Country check out the following article.
Passholder Insights: Disney World stocks the lakes with fish and offers a variety of great fishing trip options at all the lakes.
Check Out The Wilderness
Disney Tucked away on Bay Lake is Fort Wilderness Campground. The campground has tons of unique activities that you’ll only find out on the range. From learning how to use a bow and arrow, to relaxing on carriage ride, or even saddling up for a stroll, you’ll be able to put your ranch skills to the test. You can wrap up your day with Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Campfire sing-a-long – s’mores included!
One of the more fun things to do is rent a golf cart and go explore the 70 acre campground, especially during the holiday season. Fort Wilderness campers deck the halls for the holiday and it’s one of the hidden gems on Disney Property.
Passholder Insights: You can find one of the lesser-known lounges on Disney property at the campground in Crockett’s Tavern. If you like chicken wings, you’ll want to check out this place.
Overall, there is a tons to do at Walt Disney World beyond the parks and for us it’s what makes Disney World like nowhere else.