Many people are surprised to see that Walt Disney World offers more to do than the four major theme parks. There are a lot of other attractions to see and activities to do aside from the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, MGM and the Animal Kingdom. While each theme park does have a wealth of things to do, it's incorrect to assume that the parks are the only things available. Walt Disney World offers a variety of amenities including dining, sports, shopping and other attractions to keep you busy during your vacation.
One of the main things you'll need to do during your vacation at Walt Disney World is eat. Many people are surprised by the amount and the variety of restaurants available at Walt Disney World. While it can be daunting to pick just a couple places from the long list, it is helpful to know what kinds of restaurants are available to you at the resort.
The first kind of dining option you have at the Walt Disney World resort complex is the in-park dining. If you are in the middle or at the end of a day at the parks and don't want to go back to your resort or venture off property to eat, Walt Disney World offers several options for you. There are a variety of snack places located all around the complex. These snacks may range from ice cream to nuts to popcorn. If you are looking for a light meal, the snack carts are a good place to start your search. There are several counter service restaurants all throughout the theme parks. These counter service restaurants are generally cafeteria or fast food style and offer a variety of cuisines. At the Magic Kingdom, for example, the Columbia Harbor House is a very good counter service restaurant that serves food like chicken fingers and French fries and soup in a bread bowl. If you are looking for more exotic fare, there is a counter service restaurant at MGM that serves more international style cuisines. At the World Showcase, most of the pavilions will have a counter service restaurant that features food from that country. You can easily get a bratwurst from Germany, couscous from Morocco or a crepe from France at the counter service restaurants at the World Showcase.
After a long day at the parks, however, most people enjoy a nice sit-down meal. There are a variety of table service restaurants at Walt Disney World from which you can choose. When picking the kind of table service restaurant you want to eat at, you can choose your destination based on price, type of food and ambience. There are several different price levels when it comes to Walt Disney World table service restaurants. A general restaurant will have average priced food. An example of a general table service restaurant would be Le Cellier at the Canada pavilion in Epcot. While this is a steakhouse, its food tends to be at an average price when compared to the other sit down restaurants. The Rose and Crown Pub at the United Kingdom's pavilion would also be a good example. If you want to step up the quality of the restaurant, you could visit a place like the Coral Reef. This restaurant features high quality cuisine in an amazing environment. Set at the bottom of a huge aquarium, you can eat right next to a wide variety of fish and water animals. Occasionally, you may also see Cast Members in the tank feeding the fish as well. Mickey Mouse has also been known to sometimes take a swim in the tank while people are eating. While the Coral Reef is on the expensive side, it is an excellent restaurant that provides quality food and quality atmosphere.
There are other kinds of table service restaurants available at Walt Disney World. Character dining is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after ways of dining at Walt Disney World. At a character meal, Disney characters will interact with you and your family while you dine. You can take pictures and get autographs from your favorite characters at character meals. There are several different places that offer different kinds of character dining. Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom and the Norwegian pavilion in Epcot offer a meal with all the Disney princesses. You can dine with Winnie the Pooh and other lovable characters at places like the Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom. Several restaurants both in the parks and at resorts feature the classic Disney characters such as Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. If you want to try an interesting dining experience, try character dining. It's a great way to get pictures with your favorite characters as well as enjoy a great meal.
There are some dinner theater shows at Walt Disney World as well. The two most popular dinner theaters are the Hoop-dee-doo Review and the Luau. At the Hoop-dee-doo Review which is at the Fort Wilderness Resort, guests can experience an interactive dinner theater modeled after the Old West. This is probably the most popular dinner show in all of Walt Disney World and quickly books up. The Luau is held at the Polynesian Resort near the Magic Kingdom. Guests can enjoy a selection of tropical foods while a traditional luau and dances are performed. Visitors can get in on the dancing and learn the hula and other fun dances. If you are interested in trying out a dinner theater show as part of your Walt Disney World dining experience, it is best to book your reservation as early as possible. Because the seating for these shows are limited and they are often only held a couple times per week, they quickly fill up. By reserving your table at the earliest possible date, you can take steps to make sure you are not disappointed.
Eating, however, is not the only thing to do at Walt Disney World. There are several activities for the sports fans who visit Walt Disney World. Disney's Wide World of Sports complex is located on Walt Disney World property. This complex features a full size baseball park where the Atlanta Braves practice during the spring. There are also a wide variety of sports facilities within the Wide World of Sports complex. Oftentimes, there are other sports functions being held at the facility. Some of these functions can be watched; others you can choose to participate in. Even if you just want to walk around the facility, there is memorabilia and a restaurant included at the Wide World of Sports complex.
For those who are looking for sporting options at Walt Disney World that are not quite as structured, there are still many options. If you enjoy the water, you will probably have the most choices available to you. There are two water parks at Walt Disney World. Typhoon Lagoon is a water park themed after a shipwreck. The main focal point of the park is a large shipwreck that is at the front of a large wave pool. This wave pool simulates oceanic waves at certain times of the day. As the pool is varied in its depth, people of all swimming abilities can participate in the wave pool. Blizzard Beach is the other water park on Disney property. This resort is themed like a ski resort in Florida. While it may seem like a strange thing to have a ski resort in sunny Florida, the atmosphere is actually quite fun and engaging. This water park has a lot of water slides that resemble ski slops. If you would rather take a lazy ride around the park, there is a lazy river you can float along in with an inner tube. Both water parks offer a wide variety of activities for those who want to enjoy the water at Walt Disney World.
You can also make use of the various marinas located on Walt Disney World property. These marinas can be found at the various Disney resorts that are located on the water's edge. Even if your resort does not have a marina, you can visit a resort that does. The rentals are usually charged out by the half-hour. You can rent anything from a paddleboat to a pontoon boat. There are a wide variety of different boats and sizes to choose from.
For anyone who enjoys fishing, Walt Disney World offers guided fishing tours on many of the waterways and lakes on Disney property. You can reserve fishing times all throughout the day. A guide will take you to the best places to fish on Walt Disney World property. The lakes and waterways are well stocked to not only keep insect populations down, but to also provide a fun recreational activity for guests. Walt Disney World enforces a catch and release program to insure that the lakes and waterways are not depleted of fish.
At deluxe and moderate level resorts, you can also rent other sporting equipment. Many of the resorts will have a rental place where you can rent bikes and surreys for an extended period of time. If you visit the Boardwalk resort, for example, they can rent you a surrey which you can use to ride all around the lagoon where the Epcot resorts are located. These surreys are built to resemble the old-fashioned surreys and bicycles you would find in the early 1900s. You can also visit other resorts for other sporting events. Fort Wilderness has a variety of rentals. As it is a campground, you will find a lot of things at Fort Wilderness that you cannot find at other resorts. For example, you can ride horses, play tennis or visit the on-site petting zoo at the Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort. When looking for extra things to do at Disney World, do not exclude the possibility of other Disney resorts. Several of these hotels do feature extra amenities and benefits that you can easily take advantage of.
If you have any golfers in your family, Walt Disney World has some excellent golf courses you can play. The five golf courses you can use are Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course, Bonnet Creek Golf Courses, Disney's Magnolia Golf Course, Disney's Palm Golf Course and the Lake Buena Vista Course. Three of these courses are on the PGA tour as well. You can rent equipment at any of these golf courses. Four out of the five also include GPS technology to help you see the layout of the course. If you want to play a round of golf, you will need to set up a tee time. You can do this either in person at the course or at your Disney resort. If you are staying on Disney property, you can get complimentary transportation to and from the golf course. You only have to let your resort know you want transportation and they will gladly arrange that at no cost to you.
There are also two miniature golf courses on Disney property, for those who are not interested in playing a complete game of golf. The first course is Fantasia Gardens which is located near the Swan and Dolphin hotels. This Walt Disney World miniature golf course features wonderfully cultivated topiaries all throughout the golf course. You have two options as far as courses go at Fantasia Gardens. You can either play the Fantasia Fairways or the Fantasia Gardens. Both of these miniature golf courses are themed after Fantasia, the popular Disney animated movie. Fantasia Gardens is traditional style miniature golf course. If you are looking for something a little more carefree, check out Disney's Winter Summerland. This miniature golf course complex features two unique courses. One course is themed after summer in Florida. The other course, however, is designed after what would happen if a snowstorm were to hit Florida during the winter holidays. The two courses at Winter Summerland feature a variety of interactive displays and pieces of art. This is a fun course for people of all ages. Winter Summerland is located right outside of the Walt Disney World Blizzard Beach water park. You do not need to purchase admission to the water park to play miniature golf at Winter Summerland. These two miniature courses feature fun and exciting themes that will give your family a good time playing.
Walt Disney World also provides guests with a variety of shopping experiences. The most popular shopping center in all of Walt Disney World is the Downtown Disney complex. This shopping complex features a variety of stores, restaurants and activities for you to participate in. If you want to get some souvenir shopping done, the stores at Downtown Disney offer you plenty of options. The largest Disney store on Walt Disney World property is located at Downtown Disney. This store features a lot of the merchandise that is found in the parks, so if you forgot to pick up your souvenir while still at the theme park, you can easily pick it up at Downtown Disney. There are other Disney stores at Downtown Disney as well. With a sports store, art gallery, Christmas store, toy store, kitchen store and many more Disney stores to choose from, you have plenty of options of where to purchase your Walt Disney World souvenir. There are other stores at Downtown Disney as well, however. You can shop for music or movies, autographed memorabilia, children's toys and many more things at the Downtown Disney shopping center. One little known fact about the Downtown Disney shopping center is that Annual Passport holders can often get good discounts on merchandise and dining merely by presenting their ticket at the completion of the sale. If you have an Annual Pass, be sure to bring it with you to Downtown Disney.
There are a variety of restaurants located at Downtown Disney. You can dine at the House of Blues and listen to excellent music or you can get a taste of Cuba at Bongos. The House of Blues will regularly feature popular musical acts. If there is a musician or group coming to town during your Walt Disney World vacation, you might be able to see them perform at the House of Blues. There is also a Rainforest Café, Wolfgang Puck, Fulton's Crab House and many more restaurants located at Downtown Disney as well. If you are looking for a wide selection of restaurants that are not necessarily Disney themed, the restaurants at Downtown Disney might be an excellent choice for you.
Downtown Disney also has a club complex called Pleasure Island. This complex has a variety of different kinds of clubs including comedy clubs, dance clubs and others. Pleasure Island requires a separate admission. The clubs do have an age requirement, but they usually allow all ages to walk through the main street. There are a variety of stores and restaurants located in Pleasure Island as well, including an Irish Pub and a popular Harley Davidson store. Oftentimes, Pleasure Island will celebrate the New Year, even if it is not really New Year. The club complex will celebrate the midnight hour with a fun fireworks display and New Year’s festivities.
If you are looking for something that everyone, regardless of age, can participate in, try the DisneyQuest complex. This indoor virtual amusement park is extremely popular. Specializing in virtual and interactive video games, DisneyQuest offers visitors a variety of games. One of the most popular attractions at DisneyQuest is a virtual ride where you can design your own rollercoaster. Before you ride, you design the various aspects of your perfect rollercoaster. You can pick the intensity, setting, amounts of turns and twists and many other elements of the rollercoaster. The ride culminates in getting into a virtual reality pod that performs the rollercoaster for you. This attraction at DisneyQuest is immensely popular and many people create multiple rollercoasters. You can also participate in a variety of virtual reality attractions that use multiple people. These games are fun for large groups or for families to get paired together. These rides rely either on teamwork or competition to win. When you go to DisneyQuest, you can purchase admission just like you would for any other Walt Disney World theme park.
One of the most popular attractions at Downtown Disney is the Cirque du Soleil show. This world-renowned circus show features a unique style of performance that keeps audiences enthralled during the entire show. You can purchase a ticket at the box office located in Downtown Disney or online. You can also add admission to Cirque du Soleil to your Walt Disney World vacation package as well. This show often sells out, so it is best to get your tickets as soon as possible.
If you would rather see a movie, there is a very large movie theater complex that stretches across the Downtown Disney complex. You can see all the latest Disney movies as well as a variety of other popular movies on huge screens. Almost all of the theaters feature stadium seating as well. If you are interested in seeing a movie during your Walt Disney World vacation, this is definitely the place to go.
When you visit Walt Disney World, you will see that there is much more to do than just the four Disney theme parks. While the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, MGM and the Animal Kingdom have many fun activities for you to do, the Walt Disney World resort complex still offers a variety of other attractions as well. You can dine on Disney property, at Disney themed restaurants or at several different popular restaurant chains. You can play a game of golf on a renowned golf course or play a fun game of miniature golf that's good for the entire family. You can spend a day shopping to get a souvenir to remind you of your vacation at Walt Disney World. Whatever you choose to do with your days at Walt Disney World, it's good to know that you have a variety of attractions from which to choose.
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