Disney Travel Travel Tips

Disney World Non-Park Days: 7 Best Things to do with Your Family

July 24, 2019

A Walt Disney World vacation is filled with so much hype and expended energy that one of my top recommendations is to enjoy a few non-park days. This post will fill you in on the best things to do on a Disney non-park day, as well as discuss how to make the most of your time while visiting Orlando.

With so many amazing things to see and do in the area surrounding Disney, adding in a couple of non-park days will allow you to experience all that this exciting area has to offer. Likewise, Disney World non-park days will help you unwind from the bustle and crowds of the Disney parks in order to enjoy some necessary relaxation and downtime (in order to stay sane!).

For those in your family who may not be theme-park fanatics, Disney World non-park days will be a welcome addition to the daily plans. So for these reasons and more, read on to find the best ideas on exactly what to do on a Disney World non-park days or other day trips from Orlando.

Have a stay-cation at your resort on Disney World non-park days

Holiday Inn pool
Holiday Inn Resort Lake Buena Vista

Whether you are staying at a Disney resort, or at an off-site property, chances are that your accommodation has a gigantic swimming pool and is loaded with other fun things to do. Being that all of the hotels in the Orlando area are in competition with one another, most have ample family-friendly amenities in order to attract your business.

Consider spending an entire day at your resort or hotel. Sleep in. Swim. Lounge by the pool. Play poolside games.

Chances are that every day your hotel will have daily scheduled activities, games, and outdoor movies all for your entertainment. Your hotel may even have an actual activity director and a print-off of the day’s activities that you can follow.

My recommendation: During our recent trip to Orlando, we stayed at an off-site property as a means to save money on our Disney World vacation. We were absolutely thrilled with our stay at the Holiday Inn Resort Lake Buena Vista. We recommend this hotel to you and other families.

The amazing swimming pool and 2 hot tubs, small indoor arcade and movie theater, poolside ping pong table, pool table, and life-size chess game, along with scheduled outdoor games and activities provided hours of fun!

For less than $99 a night (along with the additional savings of having a ‘stay-cation’ non-park day), trust in booking your stay at Holiday Inn Resort Lake Buena Vista here today!


Spend a day at the beach instead of going to the Disney parks

Disney non-park day-beach
Daytona Beach

No trip to Florida would be complete without adding in a beach day! With so many incredible family-friendly beaches near Disney world, I totally recommend unwinding from the Disney parks and spending a non-park day building sandcastles and swimming in the ocean.

We chose to spend an entire non-park day during our Disney World vacation at Daytona Beach. Daytona Beach is located 73 miles from Disney and takes 1 hour and 15 minutes by car to get there. The family-friendly beach amenities, clean restrooms, kids splash pads, and endless swimming area made Daytona beach the perfect choice.

Read all about where to park, what to do, and what to expect on our related post: How to Spend 1 Day on Daytona Beach With Kids.

Planning tip: There are dozens of free public parking areas along the oceanfront. For additional cost beachgoers can to drive onto and park directly on the beach.

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Go miniature golfing on a Disney non-park day

Disney non-park day-mini golf
Pirate Cove Adventure Mini Golf

For some reason, kids, vacation, and miniature golfing go hand-in-hand. Miniature golfing in Orlando cannot be compared to just any miniature golfing however, for just like the hotels, they all try to out-do each other. From multi-tiered putting areas, gigantic themed-obstacles, and loads of family fun, miniature golfing is an excellent way to spend a few hours enjoying a non-park day.

My recommendation: We chose to spend our miniature golf excursion at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf. It has a very convenient location and was close to our hotel. Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf is also a brand we’ve come to trust from visiting their locations on other family vacations. 8501 International Drive, Orlando, Florida.


Shop for souvenirs on Disney World non-park days

Another fun activity to add-in on Disney World non-park days is to shop at local souvenir shops. The gigantic warehouse-style souvenir shops that can be found on most street corners surrounding off-site Disney hotels are filled with thousands of neat and inexpensive souvenirs.

If you are looking for Disney, Florida, or Orlando memorabilia, there is something that everyone will find here! Off-site souvenir shopping is another great way to save money on your Disney World vacation. This is definitely an added bonus.

Explore on-site Disney resorts and amenities

Disney non-park day-resorts
Disney Boardwalk

One of the best things to do on a Disney vacation non-park day is to spend time visiting the surrounding Disney resorts. “Disney resort hopping” is fun, exciting, and free way to explore Disney’s beautifully themed on-site resorts. (Exploring other resorts also gives you an idea of where you may want to stay during your next visit.)

We spent time visiting Animal Kingdom Lodge to admire the exotic animals that roam free in the Savannah. We also spent time walking around the Disney Boardwalk to admire the resorts, street performers, and to dine at the ESPN Sports Club.

Spending time within the Disney resort areas kept us immersed in ‘all things Disney’ without physically being in the parks.

Planning tip: If you have dining reservations at a Disney resort, you are allowed to park in the resort parking lot for free. You must provide proof of your reservation via the My Disney App.

Enjoy a Disney dining experience on a Disney World non-park day

Disney non-park day-dining
Hoop De Doo Musical Revue

Typically I don’t like to make dining reservations during park days in order to maximize my time at the parks. Instead, using a non-park day is a great time to schedule character dining or attend a Disney dining show.

We were fortunate to be able to get reservations for the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. The fun-filled dining experience is held at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Once again, though not physically in a theme-park, it added to the overall magic of our family vacation. Minus the crowds and standing in line for rides.

Here you will find everything you need to know about the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue if you are considering it!

Visit Disney Springs instead of visiting a theme park

Disney non-park day-lego store
Disney Springs The Lego Store

Disney Springs is an outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment complex at the Walt Disney World Resort complex.

There are literally so many things to do at Disney Springs. that hours upon hours of fun can be had here!

The multiple retail shops at Disney Springs have both Disney and non-Disney shopping. There is also a multitude of entertainment options such as boat rides, bowling, and a virtual reality experience.

Last, be sure to visit kids’ favorite, The Lego Store.

Planning tip: Disney Springs includes four distinct areas: Marketplace, The Landing, Town Center, and West Side. Buses and water taxis operated by Disney Transport provide transportation between Disney Springs and other areas of Walt Disney World.

If you like our article on the Best Things to do on a Disney World Non-Park day, click here to check out our Related Posts:

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  1. Reply


    July 28, 2019

    I totally believe in a non-park day during a Disney vacation!! I learned this the hard way by trying to do too much and coming home sick as a dog! And by having a crying toddler begging to go to the hotel pool! Great tips!!

    • Reply


      July 28, 2019

      Thanks Julie! And yes, Disney non-park days were the ticket to our sanity! We loved them just as much as the parks, actually 🙂

  2. Reply


    July 28, 2019

    When we went (sadly, years ago now), we loved Disney Springs, but we didn’t get to the beach, or mini-golf, which are both things we really enjoy. There are so many things to do over there- it would be great to go back. Fab advice in this post.

    • Reply


      July 28, 2019

      Yes…so much to do in this area, and not just theme parks! Thanks for the compliment 🙂 -Jen

  3. Reply

    Kathryn Dickson

    July 28, 2019

    When we visit Disney, we are coming from Ontario, so we make sure to hit the outlet malls as well! Even with the hit we take on exchange rates, we save money shopping.

    • Reply


      July 28, 2019

      Great tip! I am originally from Int’l Falls, MN and my home bordered Ontario! Thanks for reaching out!


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