Most travellers to Walt Disney World typically assign a couple of days to spend time in the Orlando area without going to a theme park. Here are a few suggestions for ways to spend a day near Walt Disney World while keeping a lock on your wallet (sort of!):
Disney Springs is Walt Disney World's outside mall. Unlike normal malls back home, this mall has Disney magic sprinkled throughout. Not only are the stores well designed, diverse and fun to walk through, but throughout the day (especially after 4:00) there are many entertainers. Enjoy an evening watching singers, magicians, irish bands, dancers and string quartets. Many of these entertainers are located at the numerous excellent restaurant and patios located around Disney Springs, but some are on Disney designated stages. I would highly recommend spending an evening at Disney Springs and enjoy dinner or a drink at a pub.
Animal Kingdom Lodge:
All of the Walt Disney World resort hotels are open to the public to shop and dine and I would recommend touring all of them as the architecture is fantastic. With regard to enjoying a day off from the theme parks in Orlando, I would suggest a visit the Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge. At the gatehouse, let the guard know that you are going to shop at the resort stores or have a drink or meal at the restaurants. They will check your ID and let you through. Self parking is across the road from the hotel lobby and I challenge you not to be impressed once you enter the building. The shopping and restaurants at Animal Kingdom are incredible, but If you walk through the lobby and exit the building at the back, you will be rewarded with a park like savannah setting where you can walk around the African safari. Expect to see animals close up animals including giraffes, flamingos, zebras, gazelles, impalas, cranes, pelicans, waterbucks and wildebeest. Also enjoy s'mores by the campfire, available between 4:00pm and 6:00pm. Another great viewing area is behind the pool area of Jambo House.
In 1996, Walt Disney World began building a planned community called Celebration. It was designed to be the magical American town with Disney flare. Walking around the main street town square, you feel like you have entered the set of The Trueman Show. There are coffee shops, quant art shops, an ice cream shoppe and outdoor cafes. There's even a dog bakery. The streets are lite with old world lanterns and residents travel around in electric beefed up golf carts. Highlighting the downtown is a 1/2 mile walking trail that circles the lake at the foot of main street. I recommend taking a walking tour of the town and enjoying a meal at Columbia, our favourite restaurant in Celebration. If you aren't up for Cuban food, try any of the other restaurants around town or just stop into Celebration Town Tavern and have a drink and a chat with the locals and tourists.
Encore Resort at Reunion Water Park:
If you are a guest at our Encore Resort at Reunion vacation home near Walt Disney World, you have unlimited access to The Encore Club water park. Spend the day at the 3 acre water park and relax by the resort style pool. The kids will love the Surfing Safari water structure with it's slides and water dumping bucket, while the teens and brave youngster enjoy the larger water race mats, tube ride or 50 foot trap door Aqua Drop. When your ready for a break, enjoy poolside bar and food service at very affordable prices.
Our whole family will be contributing to this Blog. We write about our experiences and news related to Walt Disney World as well as post our Encore Resort Blog and Reunion Resort Blog