Any time I watch the Olympics on TV, part of me thinks that there’s some sports that I might have a chance at competing in. Then reality sets in and I realize that there’s no Olympic medal for typing and glaring at computer screens for extended periods of time. But if you want to get a taste of some Olympic-type events on your next vacation, there are some options at Walt Disney World. Here’s some you can try out! (Note: Some of these activities are currently on hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions.)
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground has a variety of activities for all ages, including the basics of archery. For a fee, guests ages seven and up can have a 90-minute archery lesson and practice. Because the program is limited to 10 participants per session, you do get quality hands-on training, but it is advisable to make reservations in advance.
Also at Fort Wilderness, you can rent a canoe to paddle around the calm waters. Admittedly, this won’t help if you’re trying out for the Canoe Slalom, but maybe it’s a great start for a shot at Canoe Sprint?
Many resorts, including Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, Port Orleans, and Wilderness Lodge, offer bike rentals for all ages. For a real workout, however, I suggest the Surrey Bike rentals, especially in the Boardwalk resort area. Watching people straining to get up some of the hills at either end of the resort shows that it’s a decent workout for those leg muscles.
If you’re planning to go for the gold in Equestrian, you probably will want to get on a horse at some point before the big day. Nothing like a nice, relaxing trail ride to learn how to not fall off a horse, right? For a fee, Fort Wilderness offers 45-minute trail rides from the Tri-Circle-D Ranch (reservations are recommended).
Fencing can be incredibly exciting to watch in its own right, but I’ll admit that every so often I’ll do lightsaber sound effects while watching it. (I’m not the only one who does that, right?) You know who have the best moves with a sword and/or lightsaber? Jedi. Start your kids on their future Olympic goals in fencing with a spin at the Jedi Training Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Yes, Disney has several world-class golf courses on property, along with instructors to help improve your swing. But why not start your Olympic aspirations small. Really small. As in miniature. A round at Winter Summerland or Fantasia Gardens mini golf is a great way to improve your short game.
Running events from runDisney are held throughout the year and can provide a real challenge, whether that is running in near-freezing temperatures for Marathon Weekend or attempting to run in a particularly unwieldy costume at any time of the year.
You may not think of Walt Disney World as a place to get some training time in for this sport, but head on over to Frontierland with a pocket full of quarters and mosey on up to the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade. With the “interesting” accuracy of the sites on those guns, you have to be a good shot to hit the targets. For backup training at least cost, you can also try Toy Story Midway Mania over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at Magic Kingdom.
With two water parks and a large number of pools scattered across resorts at Walt Disney World, there are plenty of opportunities to get time in the water into your daily plans. Although most of the pools are not really set up for doing laps, why not impress guests with a synchronized swim routine. Even better, if you do it at the Big Blue Pool at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, you’ll have music piped underwater.
Got any other Olympic sports you could train for at Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments.
First published January 29, 2018. Updated July 26, 2021.