Friday, October 21, 2011

Magical Blogorail: Time Away From The Parks

Welcome to those of you joining me from A World View and those of you just hopping aboard.  I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail.

This month, we were asked to write about how we spend a day at Walt Disney World without visiting one of the theme parks. Well, I almost never do this. I usually buy an annual pass and with that burning a hole in my pocket, I will pass through the turnstiles of a park every day. However, I am a big fan of spending time out of the parks. Whether it be a long lunch or an evening of miniature golf, there is much to do at the Walt Disney World resort that doesn't require a park ticket.

DINE: All levels of dining are available away from the parks in the resorts and surrounding area. A couple of casual favorites are Wolfgang Puck Express and Chevy's. WPE has two locations at Downtown Disney but my current favorite is in the Marketplace. Patio, evening breeze, excellent pizza and a glass of wine. Need I go on? Or shall I just meet you there? Chevy's is a Tex-Mex restaurant located in the Crossroads shopping center just off of Disney property on 535. They have very good chips and salsa but the star is the freshly made tortillas. Their flautas with pepper jelly have also been a past favorite.

SHOP: I usually visit World of Disney at Downtown Disney to buy most of the souvenirs that I take home for family and friends. TIP: always ask about discounts. They are offered for annual pass holders, DVC members, Disney Visa cardholders and more. I also love to visit the Basin stores at DTD and Grand Floridian. I don't always make a purchase from these fancy bath product stores but they are great to browse.

My mom with ANOTHER hole in one

PLAY: My family loves the miniature golf courses at Winter Summerland, located near Blizzard Beach. Again ask for discounts and remember that some vacation packages include a round of golf. These courses are delightfully themed as if the elves have moved south and feature Santa and the elves in cute vacation themes. World-class golf, horseback riding, fishing, fantastic resort pools and boat rentals are other recreation options available at WDW; I don't tend to slow down enough to take advantage of those. On some trip, I am going to ride the hot air balloon at DTD, known as Characters in Fight.

RESORT FUN: My home resort is Old Key West and they offer activities most days. From crafts to scavenger hunts to special tours, check your resort to see what is available. OKW also has basketball and volleyball courts, playgrounds, and I think shuffleboard for a little outdoor activity. Since I am always rushing off to a park, I miss these but I have a feeling I will see more of the playgrounds and pools in the coming years. I do enjoy going out for a morning run from OKW. The grounds themselves make for a nice workout or hitting the trail to Saratoga Springs and then on to Downtown Disney is even better. I almost always see DTD in the evening so it's nice to see it wake up as I jog past.

From my pre-wedding tea party
RELAX: I treated myself to a massage at the Grand Floridian Spa after the marathon. Fab-u-lous. However, my FAVORITE way to relax at WDW is with tea at the Grand Floridian. Mom and I go almost every trip. Sometimes we have other friends join us and other times the two of us just enjoy a break from the crowds and noise of the parks and of life in general.

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney Donna Kay.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ Makin’ Memories

2nd Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney
3rd Stop ~ A World View
4th Stop ~ Growing Up Disney
Final Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay


  1. World of Disney is my "buy all to end all" souvenir stop too - LOVE that store! :)

  2. I love the tea party - what a great pre-wedding treat!!

  3. Amy, I think it's great you share the tea party with your mom! Maybe one day Ash, Lexi and I can check it out. Bought souvenirs at World of Disney while I was there in July, love that place.

  4. Great tip about the discounts because if you don't ask, they won't give them. I had no idea about the Disney Visa card discount until last trip a cast member whispered, "Ask me if we have a Disney Visa card discount." I now ask every single time and have saved myself some money. We build time into our trips to go to Downtown Disney. I used to never spend days away from the park, but now with three little ones, we always do.

  5. Our number one out-of-park experience is always related to food. There are so many choices at resorts and downtown that are trips get better and better every time.

  6. We love the Fantasia Mini-Golf too! I recently got the Visa Rewards card, and found out the hard way last week that I have to be very up front about it!! I love your tips, and hope to do the GF Tea ONE DAY (oh, the joy of being surrounded by males...). :D


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