Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Outside the Disney Parks

DD button - other blogs

This week, for Destination Disney, our assignment is to share about the things that we enjoy OUTSIDE the parks, while on a Disney vacation.  I actually really like this topic because, as much as a ADORE the parks, sometimes you just need some downtime.  So, here we go . . .

{1} My entire family loves Downtown Disney. We love to shop there, we love to eat there, and we love to just walk around there and take it all in.  We often start our vacation off by a visit to Downtown Disney – either right before or right after checking in to our resort.  Confession, though:  up until last year (May 2011), we had never been beyond the Marketplace.  Now that we’ve been introduced to the “other half”, there is even more to see and do on a visit to Downtown Disney.  In addition to our first-day visit, we often end our trip here as well.  And we occasionally spend a late night here during the week too.  Yep, love it! 

Favorite Store: World of Disney – it’s definitely our go-to store for all our Disney souvenir shopping needs.

Favorite Restaurant: For table service dining, we love both Rainforest Café and T-Rex Café.  Last year, though, we “met and fell in love with” Earl of Sandwich and a trip to Disney, from now on, will not be complete without it.

{2} For many years, we chose to stay at off-site hotels and rental homes (in fact, I used to wonder why people stayed on property – but let’s not talk about that now!)  Anyway, on my very fist visit to Florida, my family and I visited Old Town; and it became somewhat of a tradition after that.  If you’ve never been to Old Town, you can find it right along the hustle and bustle that is the Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Kissimmee.  Once you leave the highway and enter Old Town it’s like a step back into a carnival in the 1950’s.  Kinda cool.  They often have old car shows and 50’s entertainment on the open stage.  We haven’t actually been there in a few years; but it’s still among my favorite outside-the-parks things to do.

{3} Something I always said that I wanted to do sometime was to visit Sea World.  My parents once  took my brothers to the new defunct Sea World park in Ohio; but I didn’t go along.  So, on our trip in 2005, we got tickets to visit Sea World in Orlando.  We enjoyed our day there – I got to touch a dolphin, we stood and watched the seals and sea lions for a long time, and we got soaked at the whale show.  I’d definitely visit again sometime – but I’d want to allow 2 days.  The park is pretty large and not as easy to navigate as a Disney park.  Therefore, we had no chance of actually seeing and doing everything that we wanted to see and do in one day. 

{4} One thing that we’ve devoted a full day to doing on several of our past few trips is resort hopping!  We all love having a more low-key day while on our vacation and we also love having a chance to visit some of the other resorts on Disney property.  We’ve seen most of them now (with only a few left on the must-see list).  We enjoy walking around the outside of the resorts, sitting in the lobbies and taking everything in, checking out the gift shops, and eating at the resort restaurants. 

{5} My family loves to be entertained, so we’re always up for a good show!  While there are plenty of shows (as attractions) inside the parks, we were anxious to try an outside-the-park show.  So, on our last trip we made reservations for Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness for the first night of our stay.  We all loved it and will definitely be doing that one again.  (Speaking of shows, my daughter Ashley and I have it on our bucket lists to see Cirque de Soleil one of these years – but we haven’t yet, so I can’t list that as a favorite). 

{6} On our last trip, while Ashley and I were enjoying a nice ladies’ tea at the Grand Floridian, Brian, Gracie, and Ian were enjoying a visit to Disney Quest!  This is something that had been on our list for many years, but we never actually made the time to squeeze it into our schedule.  This time, it fit perfectly and they all enjoyed it.  While the kids came out bouncing and all smiles, Brian looked a little worse for wear.  Oh well!  Gracie said it was something she’d definitely like to do again sometime.

{7} And lastly, I’m going to mention Disney transportation.  We have always driven to Walt Disney World in the past, so we’ve not been totally at the mercy of Disney transportation, though we have certainly made us of it.  For our next trip, we’re planning to fly; so we’ll have no choice but to use “all Disney transportation, all the time”. While I do like having my own vehicle so I can be more in charge of getting to a certain place by a certain time, I’m actually looking forward to being at the mercy of Disney transportation on this next trip – just to see how the other half lives!  We all adore the monorail (in fact, if it were the only thing at Walt Disney World on which to ride, Ian would be content!)  We’ve ridden up front with the driver several times and really enjoyed it.  We also like the buses.  We’ve had some  great conversations with bus drivers over the years – they are a treasure trove of Disney information if you’ll just make the time to chat with them.  We’ve ridden various boats to get from one resort to another and I always take at least one trip on the ferry to the Magic Kingdom. 

What about you?  What are your favorite outside-the-parks things to see and do?  Post about them on your blog and link back.  Or, if you don’t have a blog, just leave me a comment with your favorites!  (if you do post on your blog, be sure to link up here.)


Anonymous said...

Love your list Heidi! Nice and diverse and I love your last one :-) It is something different to try and once you do you will love it!!


MapleMouseMama said...

Hey Heidi, I am trying to post again under my own name and/or blog, but for some reason it only lets me do it as anonymous. Any idea why that happens?

Suzanne (MapleMouseMama)

MapleMouseMama said...

Okay it worked for using name/URL, but I am still hoping someone with a lot more blogging experience than I can tell me why I can't post on certain platforms, like blogger? Any thoughts Heidi?

Thanks, Suz

Related Posts with Thumbnails