So Much Fun Outside Of The Parks

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Have you ever had this conversation:

“You’re going to Disney World again?” (funny look on persons face)

“Yes, I am so excited.”

“You just went.  How many times have you been this year?”

I think back and count and then try to justify my visit to the person who “just doesn’t get it” by saying,   “You know there is so much to do there.  You could never step foot in the parks and have a fabulous trip.”

More eye rolls. “Have a nice time.”

“I will.”

I figure that if you read this website and the blog posts, you are a Disney fan and can probably relate to that conversation.  

Before my last trip in June, I literlly decided to go just days earlier. I contacted Len to see if he needed me to do any research.  The only thing he needed at that point was a stay at Bay Lake Towers and since it wouldn’t be open during my short trip, I couldn’t help him out.  He didn’t even need wait times, so time was mine to spend — no plans, no Advanced Dining Reservations.

I have said that mantra: “You never have to step in the parks to have a fabulous trip” countless times.  I have always thought this, but never actually lived it.  I am a “be at the turnstiles 45 minutes before park opening kind of gal.”  This time would be different.   I would actually live my mantra….

We got to the Contemporary super late. Exhausted from the drive, my son, Trent, 13, slept until 1 p.m.  the next day.  (We loved the Contemporary room.  It was great for sleeping.  It was so dark and the beds were really comfortable.  We would definitely stay there again. ) We then hopped on the monorail to the Polynesian and had lunch at Kona Cafe.  Our lunch was great (other than when the man at the table next to us stood up and screamed at his teenage son over and over again.  A Disney first that I never hope to see again.)  Because it was so hot and we really didn’t want to stand in line at the parks, we decided to go to Downtown Disney and see “UP.” (Loved it!!)  How awesome to see a Disney movie at Disney World.  After the movie, the temperature cooled just slightly and because we were staying at the Contemporary, I thought we’re so close to the Magic Kingdom, we have to walk over.   We walked through Cinderella’s Castle, to Tomorrowland, down Main Street USA and out again.  Did nothing –  Just soaked up the atmosphere.  We enjoyed dinner in the bar at California Grill, which didn’t seem as busy as times past.  Saw Wishes and went to bed.

The next day, we slept in again.  We drove to the Boardwalk and had lunch at the Boardwalk Bakery.  We ate in the shade at the outside tables in front of Spoodles and just enjoyed being there.  We took in the scenery.  Watched the people and the boats. The highlight, however, was a mother duck and her tiny ducklings that came over to us and enjoyed lunch with us. 

Enjoying Lunch on the Boardwalk with Tiny Ducklings & Their Mother

After lunch we headed over to the dock at the Wilderness Lodge (we were staying there the last 2 nights) and rented the SeaRacers.  We lathered up with sun screen and headed out for a tour of Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon.  This was also a Disney first and Trent and I both highly recommend it.  We got a great peak into the back of Bay Lake Towers.  It looks awesome.  Even though it was so hot, the breeze kept us pretty comfortable.  Do this late in the afternoon or in the morning in the summer.  That night we ate at Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge. 

On our last day, we did get up early, were the first at the turnstils at Blizzard Beach.  We rode the attractions over and over again.  Had a blast, chatted with the General Manager (always researching) and then headed out by 11:50 a.m.  We lounged around the Wilderness Lodge and the had dinner at “Trails End.”

While we did go to Blizzard Beach and take a walk through the Magic Kingdom, I do believe you can have a fabulous time outside of the parks and on a last minute trip.   We are living proof.  What kinds of things do you do outside of the parks?

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Caroline Baggerly

Caroline has a love of Disney that her family and friends don't quite get. Always ready for a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth or to do research for "The Unofficial Guide".

13 thoughts on “So Much Fun Outside Of The Parks

  • June 29, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    We love Disney and get the same looks and comments. We even have a house in Davenport and are DVC members!!

    • June 30, 2009 at 11:38 am

      Hi Carole,
      What do you do or say when you get those comments? Would love to hear. Thanks for writing. Caroline

      • July 1, 2009 at 6:24 am

        I tell them for our family it is magicial!!

      • July 1, 2009 at 7:22 am

        🙂 And it is.

      • July 9, 2009 at 8:03 pm

        If you watch the ending to the Polar Express… by this point the little boy can hear the bell ring because he believes. For non-Disney people, I tell them that the bell just doesn’t ring for you does it?? They may or may not get this!! But oh well — the bell rings for me! 🙂

  • June 30, 2009 at 7:01 am

    Great piece. You could spend days outside of the parks. Downtown Disney, Mini-golf, bike rides, and just plain lounging aroud are just a few. glad you had a great time just relaxing.

    • June 30, 2009 at 11:25 am

      Thank you, Otis. We did have a great time spending time together in the Wonderful Disney enviroment. Life is so fast paced that it was a treat to get to slow down.

  • June 30, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    All Disney Lovers, sit down and go to your happy place. You will freak out at what I am about to tell you…..
    We had friends who went to Disney and said they didn’t think it was any better than the county fair. (And I am here to tell you, our county fair was nothing to write home about…)
    Can you believe that even came out of someone’s mouth??????

    • June 30, 2009 at 10:38 pm

      Sacrilege!!! I can hardly believe that. I’m still in shock from such a comment. Thank goodness we know better. 😉

    • July 3, 2009 at 4:26 pm

      Yes, I believe it! Many people in my area that have never been to WDW don’t understand what all the fuss is about. We have an amusement park in Pittsburgh,Pa and people brag about going there for the day and since they go there,they think they have seen it all and shouldn’t go to WDW. This amusement park in nothing but some thrill rides and in no way compares to WDW. In fact,it is so small,you can put in on one of the lands at Magic Kingdom. I guess people that have never been to WDW just don’t get it! I love WDW so much I get a sick feeling when I go home.Just don’t want to leave the place!

  • July 1, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Oh, what to do outside of the World…

    I’ve taken several helicopter rides around the World (they’re not allowed to fly directly over the parks) and the general area. I like Orlando Helitours on 192.

    I can no longer play real golf, so mini golf at Winter Summerland is the next best thing for me. I’ll confess, I also have played other mini courses in the area.

    Lately I’ve started to “tour” the WDW resort properties, see for myself what they actually look like (instead of relying on the brochures) and sample the resort restaurants.

    And it’s kind of fun to hop on a WDW bus and just let them give you a tour of the property during the heat of the day, instead of sweating in the sun standing in line in the parks. Strike up a conversation with the driver (even though they’re not supposed to while they’re driving) and get their perspectives on new developments and the latest cast members rumors of future WDW projects. Actually this is applicable to conversations with many cast members.

    And if you’re really in the mood, take a drive through some of the residential areas around town and look for real estate for sale. Some pretty good deals can be had these days, if you’re seriously considering buying “some day.”

    • July 2, 2009 at 8:05 am

      That was really fun to read. On my next trip, I’m going to incorporate your tips. Thanks! 😀

    • July 9, 2009 at 7:55 pm

      Hi Kerry,

      I didn’t think I was the only one! Touring the resorts is great fun! We love to ride the bus and monorail — just being on Disney propery is enough for me!! 🙂 You can easily spend the morning in the resort pool and the afternoon at Downtown Disney or the Broardwalk. Each resort or hotel is an adventure in itself! 🙂


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