FAQ: Playgrounds at Walt Disney World
At Walt Disney World, there is lots to do for kids of all ages, but much of it is structured and programmed. Most children need at least some spontaneous physical activity to maintain their well-being. When your kiddos need a place to blow off steam, a good outlet is a playground. Here’s everything you need to know about playgrounds at Walt Disney World.
Where can I find playgrounds at Walt Disney World?
Most, but not all Walt Disney World hotels have playgrounds on property. If there is a playground, you’ll likely find it adjacent to a pool. The resorts that have them are:
- All-Star Movies
- All-Star Music
- All-Star Sports
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Art of Animation
- Caribbean Beach Resort
- Coronado Springs
- Fort Wilderness
- Old Key West
- Pop Century
- Port Orleans French Quarter
- Port Orleans Riverside
- Saratoga Springs
- Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
Do any of the hotels have more than one playground?
There is more than one playground at Fort Wilderness. At the other hotels, there is just one.
What sorts of equipment do the playgrounds have?
The quantity and style of play equipment varies considerably by resort, none of them have innovative or “wow” features. It’s no-frills stuff. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. You want your child to have some movement opportunity, but since you’ve paid a billion dollars for theme park tickets, you probably want the parks to be the main attraction.
Most resort playgrounds have a toddler-size slide and a slightly higher slide for older kids. There is typically a low climbing feature and an interactive sensory element of two, but not much more than that. The only Disney hotel playgrounds that match even the modest one at the suburban elementary school near my house are the ones at Fort Wilderness.
Fort Wilderness has swings, unlike most of the others.
What are the safety features like?
The Disney playground all have soft surfaces of either rubber composite or mulch. There are no sharp edges.
It’s hot in Florida, are the playgrounds shaded?
Unfortunately, most of the playgrounds are unshaded, which may make them less than appealing during the middle of the day during the summer. The slides are all plastic, not metal, so your child is unlikely to actually get burned, but if it’s super hot out, you might want to plan for pool time rather than playground time.
Do the playgrounds have anyone there to watch the kids?
You’re in charge of watching your own children. There is no playground equivalent of a lifeguard.
Do the playgrounds have specific hours?
Yes. Most WDW playgrounds have posted hours. Those without nearby lights typically close at dusk.
Are the playgrounds designed for children with physical handicaps?
There is a “Learn Braille” feature at the All-Star Movies resort playground, though this is more for typically-abled children than those with sight impairments. There are no specially-designed features for children with mobility handicaps.
Are there specific playground rules?
Yes. Some of the play areas are designed for smaller kids, ages 2-5, while others are designed for kids 5-12. The age ranges are posted on site. You should try to keep older kids off the equipment intended for preschoolers.
Other posted warnings state: “Before playing, remove helmets, drawstrings, or any accessories around child’s neck.”
My resort doesn’t have a playground. Am I out of luck?
Generally, anyone is allowed to visit any WDW hotel. Even if you’re not staying at a particular resort, you can use the playgrounds there. This is more easily accomplished if you arrive at the hotel via Disney’s free transportation system. If you drive to a Disney hotel, you’ll be stopped at the gate and asked why you’re visiting, but if you arrive via bus/boat/monorail/Skyliner then you can move about the resort freely.
At BoardWalk, the playground is in the fenced pool area, which you need a resort ID to access, but at other hotels the playgrounds are open and anyone may use them.
Any other options?
Well, even if your hotel doesn’t have a playground, all the resorts have some open grass and/or sand area where kids can run around. Sometimes just doing cartwheels on the grass is enough to burn off excess energy.
Also be aware that many of the resorts have non-pool water play areas that have some playground-like elements such as slides or climbing structures. The obvious caveat there is that the child, and possibly the child’s adult companion, will get wet there. If you’re heading straight from playtime to another location, that won’t be ideal.
Are there playgrounds or free play areas within the theme parks?
Magic Kingdom has a play space for a small children located in the queue for the Dumbo ride. Animal Kingdom has the Boneyard play structure and dig area. EPCOT typically offers temporarily playgrounds themed to its various festivals, which happen nearly year round. EPCOT and Magic Kingdom also have free play water features. (Hollywood Studios used to have the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground, but that closed several years ago when they began building Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.)
Do your kids enjoy spending time at the WDW playgrounds? Which one is your favorite?
First published February 3, 2021. Updated August 26, 2021.
2 thoughts on “FAQ: Playgrounds at Walt Disney World”
Are there any playground restrictions in place right now due to COVID?
@chelsey: All the common-resort-area rules apply (you must wear masks, are expected to remain distanced from other parties, etc), but there aren’t any playground-specific restrictions.