by Beauty & the Beast Diva
Maybe you are an avid Disney- goer. Maybe you are going once and never again. Regardless, STOP. For. One. Day. If you are staying on or off property, just stop and enjoy your hotel! Skip the park. Have a hotel day. It will keep the peace and let you actually have a vacation. I came from a family who was awake at 6 and out the door at breakfast by 7 AM and we stayed out until the parks closed, then went to the hotel pool until 1AM. THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO DO DISNEY. Now that my parents are older and I have a baby, we plan much more down time and it is AMAZING.
First of all, if you are staying on property, your hotel is probably a dream come true and has a ton of wonderful features to offer. You’ll be surprised how many people you see hanging out exploring the hotel and all it has to offer. Here are my suggestions of how to spend a day without going to the park:
1. SLEEP IN! You have undoubtedly been getting up to be at park openings and rope drop or staying out late to catch the fireworks, so take a morning to recoup and relax in bed.
2. Enjoy breakfast at your hotel. Most likely, your hotel offers some type of a quick-service breakfast, but many hotels offer sit down breakfasts where you are waited on! Order up a big cup of coffee and have breakfast brought to you!
3. Hit the pool. On your way back from breakfast, scope out the best lounge chairs, right in the action at your hotel pool. Or maybe your hotel has multiple pools, including a quiet pool. If that’s more your speed, throw some towels or even flip-flops down at the chairs and then head back to your room and throw on those swimsuits! The pools have activities all day long, including hula-hoop contests, pool games, dance parties with your lifeguards, and trivia! Relax, sip on a drink (every hotel has a pool bar and area where you can order food) and enjoy all Disney has to offer! Fun fact: value hotels do NOT have slides but moderate and deluxe hotels do. Some also offer splash pads for the kids!
4. Order lunch poolside or get quick service at your hotel! Lunches at the resorts are FANTASTIC! At the Poly? GET A DOLE WHIP! At the Boardwalk? Go to the bakery- their lobster roll is to die for! At the Floridian? The crab cake sandwich at the pool bar is out of this world; I ate one every day on my last trip!
5. See what your hotel has to offer! Water sports? Biking? Hiking? Horseback riding? A suri ride?! Every hotel is different but every hotel has something to offer. Before you run off to a park, see what there is to do at your location!
6. Hotel hop- there are so many gorgeous hotels. While Disney has become strict about pool use being strictly for guests staying at that particular hotel, there is no rules that say you can’t visit another hotel. If you’re staying on the monorail, check out the other monorail hotels; sit in their lobby, grab a drink in their bar. If you’re staying on the Boardwalk, you have tons of options!
7. TAKE A NAP! Can you tell I like to sleep? Find a hammock, lay in your pool lounge chair, sit on your balcony, go down to the lagoon area if your hotel has one and put your feet up and close your eyes… You’ll be glad you did!
8. Do laundry. I am a notorious over packer, but Disney has laundry areas (right next to the pool, usually), get some laundry done and pack half as much or go home with CLEAN clothes instead of having to do a ton of laundry when you get back from vacation!
9. Go to your hotel lobby and learn about DVC, maybe you don’t want to buy in, maybe it’s not in your budget but at least 5 times before I bought in, I went and talked to a DVC cast member. They are so helpful and it’s not pushy or stressful; you can go home to think about it before purchasing. PLUS you get FREE ice cream if you chose to tour and Fastpasses =) Double win!
10. Have dinner at your hotel! If you are staying on-property, you will probably have more than one restaurant to choose from. If you feel like you need to leave your hotel (even if it’s just for dinner), go to another hotel or Disney Springs! If you decide on having dinner at the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, or the Polynesian, you can hang out and watch Wishes from that hotel. Most restaurants filter the music in, and it gives you a new and sometimes better view than you would get in the park. If you are in the Boardwalk, Yacht and Beach or Swan and Dolphin area for dinner, you can see IllumiNations. Granted, it’s not the best view, but you can still end your night with fireworks, which is super important to me! Disney Springs won’t offer you fireworks, but it will offer you a night OUT without using a day off your park hopper. Disney Springs offers casual dining and a ton of variety: Seafood, Italian, Cuban, Japanese… Name it and you can find it there!
I highly suggest taking a vacation from your vacation, if only for one day. You won’t miss the parks at all. And the next morning while you’re all rushing out of the room to make it to rope drop, you’ll be happy you took a day to unwind and see what your hotel had to offer! ENJOY your hotel and do more than just sleep there!